The warming of Earth is primarily due to accumulation of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and more than 90 percent of this trapped heat is absorbed by the oceans. As this heat is absorbed, ocean temperatures rise and water expands. This thermal expansion contributes to an increase in global sea level. Temperature measurements of the sea surface, taken by ships, satellites and drifting sensors, along with subsurface measurements and observations of global sea-level rise, have shown that the warming of the upper ocean caused sea level to rise due to thermal expansion in the 20th century. Using measurements from Argo profiling floats, we know this warming has continued, causing roughly one-third of the global sea-level rise observed by satellite altimeters since 2004.
From big to small, each of us is part of the gorgeous mosaic of Earth. Learn how you can connect to NASA's Earth Day 2021 activities.
A research team camped on Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to study how water volume changes under the Greenland ice sheet influence how quickly a glacier adds to sea level rise.
Teams are headed out by land, water, and air to collect data that will be used to forecast land gain and loss in the Mississippi River Delta as a result of sea level rise.
Designed to spot potential natural hazards and help researchers measure how melting land ice will affect sea level rise, the NISAR spacecraft marks a big step as it takes shape.
Scientists with NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission are probing deep below the island’s warming coastal waters to help us better predict the rising seas of the future.