NASA now better able to measure sea level

July 13, 2005

NASA officials said they finally have the tools and expertise to understand the rate at which the world's sea level is changing.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists estimate more than 100 million lives would be impacted by a 3.3-foot (one meter) increase in sea level.

Although sea levels have been monitored since the early 20th century, it wasn't known how many changes were related to land movement. Now satellites can provide such information.

"In the last 50 years, sea level has risen at an estimated rate of .07 inches (.18 centimeters) per year, but in the last 12 years that rate appears to be .12 inches (3 centimeters) per year," said Associate Professor Steve Nerem at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research.

The most likely factor for sea level rise is changes in the Earth's ice cover. NASA said three-fourths of the planet's freshwater is stored in glaciers and ice sheets -- or about 220 feet (67 meters) of sea level.

By integrating satellite and surface data, NASA says its scientists can now better determine the causes and significance of sea level changes.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: In Greenland, another major glacier comes undone

Related Stories

2015 and 1997 El Ninos—deja vu, or something new?

November 20, 2015

El Niño: An unusually warm pool of water off the west coast of South America, usually arriving around Christmas time, linked with complex, large-scale interactions between the atmosphere and ocean in the Pacific.

US kids' lawsuit over climate change gathers steam

November 21, 2015

A lawsuit over climate change filed by 21 young Americans has gained the attention of the fossil fuel industry, which is joining the US government to oppose the kids' demands for sharper pollution cuts.

Recommended for you

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.