We have a new publication out in Nature Scientific Reports led by John Fasullo of NCAR and CU sea level team members.
Global mean sea level rise estimated from satellite altimetry provides a strong constraint on climate variability and change and is expected to accelerate as the rates of both ocean warming and cryospheric mass loss increase over time. In stark contrast to this expectation however, current altimeter products show the rate of sea level rise to have decreased from the first to second decades of the altimeter era. Here, a combined analysis of altimeter data and specially designed climate model simulations shows the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo to likely have masked the acceleration that would have otherwise occurred. This masking arose largely from a recovery in ocean heat content through the mid to late 1990 s subsequent to major heat content reductions in the years following the eruption. A consequence of this finding is that barring another major volcanic eruption, a detectable acceleration is likely to emerge from the noise of internal climate variability in the coming decade.
Prof. Nerem contributed to this piece in the Washington Post:
In this previous blog post, we incorrectly stated that Jason-2 had switched to the side B altimeter. In fact, only the processing chain (also known as the Platform Module) had switched to side B hardware. The actual altimeter instrument is still on side A.
As our FAQ states, we release new GMSL estimates as the Jason-2 GDR products are produced upstream by the French processing center AVISO. Cycles 170-172 were released by AVISO on May 9-10, and we released 2013_rel4 of our GMSL time series on May 15. Jason-2 did have two recent safe-hold periods during cycles 174 and 175, and these cycles will have impacted data. After the second safe-hold, Jason-2 automatically switched to its redundnat Platform Module-B. The operations team decided to leave Jason-2 operating on Platform Module-B, and no adverse effects have yet been noted to the science data.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources had a hearing April 19, 2012 on the Impacts of Rising Sea Levels on Domestic Infrastructures. NASA Chief Scientist, Dr. Waleed Abdalati, gave testimony that included our release 2012_rel1 global mean sea level time series. More here.