Graph & original report source:NASA
Global sea-level dropped significantly over the past year, NASA
satellite data show, bucking a long-term trend toward sea-levels driven higher by a changing climate.
But the drop of about a quarter inch on average does not signal a reversal of global warming, said Josh Willis, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory
climate scientist who reported the latest data this week.
"We expect that, within the next year or so, we'll see sea-level rising again," Willis said Wednesday. "And actually, the very latest data suggest that's probably already started."
The drop is the largest in the generally upward curve of sea level measured over the past 18 years, although there have been other downward bumps.
Another big one occurred in 1998 and 1999, and both have been linked to La Niña, the periodic cooling of equatorial ocean waters in the eastern Pacific. The ocean region cycles back and forth between La Niña and El Niño, a periodic warming.
"It's definitely happened before, and will definitely happen again," Willis said.
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