World Green Bridge Foundation Climate            Cockpit



The Jason-2 satellite altimeter mission was launched in June 2008, extending the record of precision sea level measurements that was initiated with the launch of TOPEX/Poseidon in 1992 and continued with the launch of Jason-1 in December 2001. The authors used the measurements from these three missions to construct a seamless record of global mean sea level change from 1993 to the present. This dataset is the result of their calibration activities, including data comparisons during the ” tandem period” of the missions, during which they solve for biases between the missions, as well as comparisons to independent tide gauge sea level measurements. When the entire record is assembled, the average rate of sea level rise from 1993–2009 is 3.4 ± 0.4 mm/year. There is considerable interannual variation due to ENSO-related processes, which include the period of lower sea level rise over the last three years of the time series during the recent La Nina event. (Abstract from "Estimating Mean Sea Level Change from the TOPEX and Jason Altimeter Missions." Marine Geodesy 33, no. 1 supp 1 (2010): 435.). This dataset has been calibrated further to reflect the year 1900 as the baseline which allows for a seamless record of the older sea level datasets included in this graph.

Credits: Nerem, R. S., D. Chambers, C. Choe, and G. T. Mitchum.

YEAR 1890 TO 1993

This instrumental reconstruction relies on the past two decades of satellite altimetry measurements to determine the dominant patterns of sea level change, and then uses longer-term tide gauge records from around the world to estimate the time-varying amplitudes of these patterns. Data available from

Credits: Church, J.A. and N.J. White. 2011. Sea-level rise from the late 19th to the early 21st Century. Surveys in Geophysics, doi:10.1007/s10712-011-9119-1.

3,000 YEARS AGO TO YEAR 1890

Global sea level variations estimated as the common component of change across 24 globally distributed, high-resolution, continuous proxy sea level records derived from coastal sediment cores. There is a small uncertainty (±2 mm/year) in the trend over the whole record, but the shorter-term century-to-century variations are robust.

Credits: Kopp, R.E., A.C. Kemp, K. Bittermann, B.P. Horton, J.P. Donnelly, W.R. Gehreis, C.C. Hay, J.X. Mitrovica, E.D. Morrow, and S. Rahmstorf. 2016. Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, pp. E1434-E1441. doi:10.1073/pnas.1517056113.

800,000 YEARS AGO - TO 3,000 YEARS AGO

This geologic sea level reconstruction is based on the dominant pattern of variability in seven proxy sea level records, scaled to have the well-documented 130-meter range in sea level between the peak of the last Ice Age and today. The seven input series are based on a variety of approaches to extracting the sea level component from marine δ18O records – e.g., subtracting the ocean temperature component with the Mg/Ca proxy, calibrating to the sea level record from coral benchmarks, hydraulic modeling of evaporative enrichment in semi-enclosed basins, and inverse ice sheet and ocean modeling.

Credits: Spratt, R.M. and L.E. Lisiecki. 2016. A late Pleistocene sea level stack. Climate of the Past, Vol. 12, pp. 1079-1092. doi:10.5194/cp-12-1079-2016.


Average sea levels have swelled over 23 cm since 1850. Every year the sea rises on average 3.2 mm.

The change of sea levels is linked to:

Glaciers are a natural resource of fresh water. Storing water in the winter and doling it out in the summer as the ice slowly melts. People all over the world use the meltwater that glaciers produce. A significant part of river flow comes from melting glaciers and provide water during dry spells .