Do rising temperatures cause rising sea levels?

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Philip Lloyd

There is a general belief that the observed sea level rise of about 1.5mm per year (according to tide gauges) and 3mm per year (from satellite measurements) is partly due to heating of the oceans and their consequent expansion.

If, however, you look at the estimates of sea temperatures, you soon find things that don’t add up. For instance, the latest IPCC Assessment Report gives:

Five different data sets agreeing so well? Miracles happen, but this seems unlikely. A bit more digging, and you discover that most of the pre-1960 data was taken by bucket sampling. It was found that the sample cooled by about 0.2oC due to evaporation, so the data were adjusted upwards. From 1960 to the 1980s, the sample was water drawn in to cool the ship’s engines, but that was found to be warmed by conduction by about 0.6

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