how much does sea level rise?

Last updated: July 2, 2020

Math Skill: Measurement (Inch & Foot)

Science Subject: Technology and Tools

Grade level: 3rd, 4th grades

Environmental Area: Air

Area level: Global level

Purpose: Understand the effect of climate change on global sea level and develop awareness of climate change


Scientific research indicates that the global sea level has risen by about 8-9 inches since 1880 (NOAA, 2019). However, the current annual rate is roughly twice the average speed of a century ago.

One of the main reasons of the sea level rise is expansion of greenhouse gas emissions that has increased the Earth’s surface and ocean temperatures. When ocean water heats up, it makes the volume of water expand, resulting in sea level rise. Sea ice has already displaced volume, therefore sea ice melt will not directly raise the water level.

Melting of glaciers and polar ice caps is another contributing factor to global sea level rise. The size of Arctic sea ice extenthas been declining by 13% each decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average (NASA, 2020).  It has been predicted that, under the worst scenario, global sea level will rise by another 4feet by 2100  (NOAA, 2019). Sea level rise is a threat to people who live in coastal areas. It can also damage coastal ecosystems including coral reefs and mangrove forests.

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NOAA, 2019

Climate change and Greenhouse Gas Effect

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This activity uses numbers that global sea level has risen by 8 inches since 1880 and will rise by another 4 feet by 2100. Students strengthen skills in measurement through answering questions related to length.

PROBLEM & answer key

Science Subject: Technology and Tools

Students are asked to find a tool to measure length.  Students will guess and measure how long 8 inches/4 feet is. A problem that asks to convert from feet to inches is provided in both PROBLEM A & B.

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