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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
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Higher-than-normal Sea Level
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July 25, 1997

In July, the white area of high sea level exceeded one-and-one-half times the area of the continental U.S.

At this time, the volume of associated warmer-than-average water equaled 30 times the volume of the all the Great Lakes combined. This is because for each inch that sea level was raised above normal, the amount of warm water below had increased by 200 inches. (It is like an iceberg, where the exposed tip is only a small fraction of the total volume.)

The surplus heat associated with this water mass held 93 times the fossil fuel energy used by the U.S. during an entire year!


Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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