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How NASA is using cutting-edge technology to monitor global sea levels

Every single year, sea levels around the globe are rising at an alarming rate. Because of this, NASA has been monitoring sea-level changes for the past 28 years, starting in 1992.

NASA has been taking these measurements of sea-level changes via satellites, airplanes, ships, and supercomputers. The agency hasn’t been doing this work alone, though; they’ve been working alongside a handful of partners, including the European Space Agency.

Yesterday, NASA announced that they would soon be launching Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich into orbit. This is a new satellite that NASA will employ to measure sea-surface height, wave height, and wind speed by using radar altimetry. Sentinel-6 is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on November 21.

Something that NASA wants people to become more aware of is that sea levels aren’t rising solely due to melting glaciers. Another important contributing factor stems from thermal expansion. Basically, this means that the warmer water gets, the more it expands, ultimately leading to the same amount of water taking up more space than before.

Warm air along with warm water temperatures can melt the ice from above and below simultaneously

Many scientists who study rising sea-levels are now using advanced computer models to discern how sea levels will change in the coming future. In fact, NASA recently made a rather startling discovery using one of these advanced computer models. The model predicted that by the year 2100, sea levels would have risen by 15 inches.

NASA plans on continuing to be part of the global effort of monitoring changing sea levels. Hopefully, all of the hard data being gathered by NASA and others will finally make people realize that global warming is here to stay and that together, we need to do something about it sooner rather than later.




Avatar for Nicholas Terry Nicholas Terry

Nick has a love for technology, cars, and space.