Rising Sea Levels

Frightening Aspects of Climate Literacy

What changes are we seeing now and for the future?

"This is a significantly faster rate than the sea level rise average over the last several thousand years" - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • Between 1840 and 2004, global sea level averages rose 195mm (7.7in).
  • From 1950 to 2009, the annual rise in sea level has been around 1.7 mm per year.
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What are the factors contributing to sea level rise?

  • Thermal expansion is when warm water expands. Therefore, as the ocean temperature warms, it also expands.
  • The warming temperatures in the atmosphere and in the water melt more ice, which adds to the oceans expansion.
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What is the Local Mean Sea Level (LMSL)?

Defined as the height of the sea with respect to a land benchmark, averaged over a period of time.
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How do the rising sea levels affect humans and wildlife now and in the future?

  • Changes in shape of oceanic basins
  • Loss of mass of water locked up on land
  • The ocean is a temperature regulator; when its temperature rises the so does everything else in a positive feedback loop.


Nearly 100 million people live within a mile of the shore, so coastal floods are naturally of high concern.
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Many animals find homes in ecosystems such as beaches or coastal areas that are quickly evaporating.