Sea Level

February 2022
101 (± 4.0) mm Created with Sketch.
This is the “uncertainty margin,” or the range within which there is a high probability that the true number resides. For example, when we say global sea level has risen 101 mm +/- 4 mm, the true value has a high probability of being between 97 and 105 mm. The uncertainty margin exists both because of sea level variability (sea level above the first point in the time series) in the ocean and the accuracy with which we measure the individual values.

In Brief:

Global sea levels are rising as a result of human-caused global warming, with recent rates being unprecedented over the past 2,500-plus years.

Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms. The first graph tracks the change in sea level since 1993 as observed by satellites.

The second graph, derived from coastal tide gauge and satellite data, shows how much sea level changed from about 1900 to 2018. Items with pluses (+) are factors that cause global mean sea level to increase, while minuses (-) are variables that cause sea levels to decrease. These items are displayed at the time they were affecting sea level.

The data shown are the latest available, with a four- to five-month lag needed for processing.

* You now need to create an Earthdata account to access NASA's sea level data. Register here for free. Once logged in, click the "download data" button on this page to access the data.

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NASA Sea Level Change


Data source: Satellite sea level observations.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

SOURCE DATA: 1900-2018

Data source: Frederikse et al. (2020) 
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/PO.DAAC
data graph