MAR 13, 2016 09:00 AM PDT

Observing the Oceans from Space




Josh Willis of NASA explains the thermodynamic process of sea level rise, explaining how water takes up more room as it heats up, as well as how extra water is added to the ocean as glaciers and ice sheets melt.

“Over 90% of the heat trapped by GHG is being absorbed by the oceans; when that happens seawater expands and this helps drive sea level rise.”

Globally, sea levels have gone up about 6 centimeters over the last 23 years, as shown in the animation. Orange and red colors mean that sea levels have gone up; blue and white means that levels have actually dropped. Off the West coast of the US, sea levels have decreased due to cooling from the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Yet, as the diagram shows, most places have risen.

In the Western Pacific in particular, sea levels have risen greatly. This is because of heat being pushed from east to west across the Pacific.

Sources: The Washington Post , Reporting Climate Science
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 19, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 19, 2018
Different Pilot Whale Groups Exhibit Different Call Dialects, Study Finds
Depending on where you’re from, you may speak the same language as someone else, but with a slight accent or dialect that sets your speech apart from...
DEC 20, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 20, 2018
The science Behind the Best Christmas Trees
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Houses and storefronts are all decorated with Christmas trees, sparkling lights and shiny ornaments. The Christmas tree is an iconic part of the h...
JAN 14, 2019
Plants & Animals
JAN 14, 2019
Groundwater Salamanders From Central Texas Allegedly 'At Risk of Extinction,' Researchers Say
The discovery of a new animal species is typically followed by excitement and praise, but after a team of researchers from The University of Texas at Austi...
JAN 22, 2019
Earth & The Environment
JAN 22, 2019
The fate of Greenland
A series of studies published within the last two months highlight the concern that previous estimates regarding the state of the planet’s warming we...
FEB 05, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 05, 2019
Male Killer Whales Forage More Than Females, but Success Isn't Always Guaranteed
All wild animals must hunt to survive; it’s the natural order of things. But it’s sometimes tricky for scientists to understand the techniques...
FEB 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
FEB 20, 2019
Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?
Researchers have long wondered why zebras sport such eye-jarring black and white stripes, especially since most large mammals in the animal kingdom exhibit...
Loading Comments...