How does El Niño fit into the sea-level rise picture?
Sea-level rise has accelerated in recent decades compared to the early 20th century, reaching almost 5 millimeters per year in the last decade.
But did you know that over periods of 2-8 years, after removing the overall sea-level rise trend of about 3 millimeters per year, the remaining change closely follows the waxing and waning of El Niño/La Niña? 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.