Geographic Variability of Sea-Level Change

Robert E. Kopp, Carling C. Hay, Christopher M. Little, Jerry X. Mitrovica

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Local sea-level changes differ significantly from global-mean sea-level change as a result of (1) non-climatic, geological background processes; (2) atmosphere/ocean dynamics; and (3) the gravitational, elastic, and rotational “fingerprint” effects of ice and ocean mass redistribution. Though the research communities working on these different effects each have a long history, the integration of all these different processes into interpretations of past changes and projections of future change is an active area of research. Fully characterizing the past contributions of these processes requires information from sources covering a range of timescales, including geological proxies, tide-gauge observations from the last ~3 centuries, and satellite-altimetry data from the last ~2 decades. Local sea-level rise projections must account for the different spatial patterns of different processes, as well as potential correlations between different drivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-204
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Glacial-isostatic adjustment
  • Ocean modeling
  • Satellite altimetry
  • Sea level
  • Sea-level fingerprints
  • Tide gauges


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