Global Mean Sea Level Variations from TOPEX/POSEIDON Altimeter Data

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Science  05 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5211, pp. 708-710
DOI: 10.1126/science.268.5211.708


The TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite altimeter mission has measured global mean sea level every 10 days over the last 2 years with a precision of 4 millimeters, which approaches the requirements for climate change research. The estimated rate of sea level change is +3.9 ± 0.8 millimeters per year. A substantial portion of this trend may represent a short-term variation unrelated to the long-term signal expected from global warming. For this reason, and because the long-term measurement accuracy requires additional monitoring, a longer time series is necessary before climate change signals can be unequivocally detected.