In DepthOceanography

Seas are rising faster than ever

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Science  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6519, pp. 901
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6519.901

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Summary

Over the past 10 years, sea levels have risen 4.8 millimeters per year on average—a rate much higher than the previous 2 decades. This increased rate, driven by greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced melt from Greenland ice, is known thanks to a series of radar satellites, operating since the early 1990s, that have used pulses of reflected radar to measure the ocean's height. The next satellite in this series, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, is set for launch this week. While continuing this record, its higher resolution will allow measuring ocean height closer to the shore, which has long been an area of uncertainty. Although melt from the ice sheets will dominate the trend in sea level after 2100, this century the distribution of rising seas by winds and ocean currents will be deeply important in translating the global rise to local coastlines.

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