Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Regional sea-level budget

Sea level has been rising in the last century, however there is still a difference between the total observed sea-level rise and the sum of the different contributions. The reason why we are not able to explain the regional sea-level variations can be due to uncertainties in the reconstructions of past sea-level change. In this research, we aim to get a better understating of the sea-level change and its contributing processes by using satellite data.

Global ice viewer Greenland and Iceland shows approximate ice loss of per year by using by using satellite data. Photo: NASA

Sea-level Budget

The sea-level budget comprises the sum of all contributors to mean sea level. These can be divided into mass change and steric variations.While the latter comprises all effects that change the density of the oceans, such as thermal expansion and variations in salinity; the former represents all the contributions to changes in ocean mass, such as melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and variations in land water storage. When the differences between the observed rate of sea level and the sum of all known contributors can be resolved, the sea-level budget is considered closed.

Using the budget as a tool

In this project we focus on closing the regional sea-level budget in the satellite era on a regional scale and consistently for the entire ocean. The second objective of this project is to use the budget as a tool to answer research questions about the processes contributing to sea-level change, such as: What is the impact of internal climate variability on landwater storage and associated changes in regional sea level? What are the hot-spots of the different contributions to regional sea-level change? Addressing these questions may have an impact on strategies of mitigation of and adaptation to future sea-level rise.

More information

For more details on this project visit the personal page of Carolina Machado Lima de Carmago
Explanatory video:  Exploring steric sea-level change (video abstract)
NASA Global ice viewer: Greenland and Iceland 

Project information
Linked department:
Linked centre of expertise:
Netherlands Organization for S…
1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2022

Meet the team

Slangen, Aimée
Research Leader