Over periods of 2-8 years, after removing the overall trend of about 3 millimeters per year, the globally averaged sea-level rise closely follows the waxing and waning of El Niño. The main reason for this close match is that El Niño shifts rainfall from land to ocean, raising sea level. Its opposing phase, La Niña, shifts rainfall to land, causing sea level to drop.
The Jason-2 mission provided unique insights into ocean currents, sea level rise and climate change for 11 years.
Data from the mission show water weight gain across the U.S. Midwest and rapid weight loss from Greenland's melting ice.
The new map of ice flow speeds throughout Antarctica will improve our understanding of the vast continent and of future sea level rise.