Friday, July 21, 2017

Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea-Level Rise for Decades

Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating as the Earth warms and ice sheets thaw.

As the Greenland ice sheet thaws, it is helping to raise the world's sea levels. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty) Click to Enlarge.
The numbers didn’t add up.  Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady — or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source:  a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar.  Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

“The rate of sea-level rise is increasing, and that increase is basically what we expected,” says Steven Nerem, a remote-sensing expert at the University of Colorado Boulder who is leading the reanalysis.  He presented the as-yet-unpublished analysis on 13 July in New York City at a conference sponsored by the World Climate Research Program and the International Oceanographic Commission, among others.

Read more at Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea-Level Rise for Decades

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