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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 16:36 EDT

Current Sea Level Rise

The sea levels all around the world are rising. Current sea-level rise has the potential to affect human populations and the natural environment.

Two key factors have contributed to the observed sea level rise. The first is thermal expansion: as the ocean water warms, it expands. The second is from the influence of land-based ice because of increased melting. The major store of water on land is found in the glaciers and the ice sheets.

The rising of sea levels is one of several lines of evidence that support the view that the climate has recently warmed. It’s very likely that human-induced warming played a role to the rising of the sea levels observed in the latter half of the 20th century.

Image Caption: This image shows trends in global average absolute sea level between 1870 and 2008. From the cited public-domain source (US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), 2010): “After a period of approximately 2,000 years of little change, average sea levels rose worldwide throughout the 20th century, and the rate of change has accelerated in recent years. [...] When averaged over all the world’s oceans, absolute sea level increased at an average rate of 0.06 inches per year from 1870 to 2008 [...] From 1993 to 2008, however, average sea level rose at a rate of 0.11 to 0.13 inches per year—roughly twice as fast as the long-term trend. Credit: US EPA / Wikipedia

Current Sea Level Rise