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Estimated contributions to sea-level rise (1993-2003)

Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

This is a static visualization, referenced from a UNEP rapid response assessment report entitled In Dead Water, depicting the estimated contributions to sea-level rise from 1993 - 2003.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators can use this graphic as an opportunity to discuss why the melting of floating sea ice does not contribute to sea level rise.
  • Suggest downloading the In Dead Water report http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/in-dead-water/ to complement the use of the this graphic. The chapter on Sea Level Rise, page 32 of the report, provides additional background on the graphic, as well as other graphics to supplement not only sea level change but other topics relating to a unit on climate change issues.
  • Be sure that the title and years are made clear to students.

About the Science

  • This visualization from the IPCC Fourth Assessment shows the estimated contributions of the two main sources for sea-level rise: 1) thermal expansion of ocean waters as they warm and 2) increase in the ocean mass principally from land-based sources of ice – glaciers and ice caps and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. The estimated contributions are compared to observed sea level rise 1993-2003.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Resource provides a clear sense of the relative contributions to sea level rise and the comparison between estimated and observed sea level rise.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The graphics can be downloaded in a number of formats.
  • Visualization can be enlarged easily, downloaded, and clearly displays the data well enough for students to understand themselves.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Cause and effect


High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS3.D2:Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities.


Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Cause and effect


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