How much has sea level increased due to climate change since 1993?

Climate change has impacted sea levels, with data from NASA providing a clear and alarming picture of this trend. Since 1993, global sea levels have risen by approximately 103 (± 4.0mm) millimeters as of January 2024. This rise is primarily driven by two factors related to global warming:

  • The added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, and
  • The expansion of seawater as it warms.

These factors, exacerbated by human-caused global warming, have resulted in recent rates of sea level rise that are unprecedented over the past 2,500-plus years.

Satellite measurements have been tracking these changes since 1993. They show a consistent upward trend in sea levels, reflecting the ongoing impact of climate change. Additionally, data from coastal tide gauges and satellites, which cover the period from 1900 to 2018, illustrate the historical changes in sea levels. This data indicates that the factors causing sea level rise, such as melting ice and thermal expansion, have become more pronounced over time.

The impacts of rising sea levels are multifaceted and severe. Coastal erosion and flooding are becoming more frequent and intense, with higher sea levels allowing storm surges to push further inland, causing extensive damage. Saltwater intrusion into freshwater sources threatens drinking water supplies and agricultural irrigation. Furthermore, many coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves and coral reefs, face the risk of being lost, which would have devastating ecological consequences.

To address these challenges, we have to focus on both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Mitigation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning to renewable energy sources and implementing sustainable practices. Adaptation strategies can be helpful for building resilient infrastructure, restoring natural coastal barriers like mangroves, and setting up early warning systems for coastal flooding.