Rising sea levels are a huge issue for coastal communities in the face of climate change. A new study reveals that levels will likely continue to rise in the tropical Pacific Ocean off the coasts of the Philippines. In order to get a better understanding of sea level rise, the researchers combined past sea level data gathered from both satellite altimeters and traditional tide gauges.
More specifically, they wanted to see how a naturally occurring climate phenomenon, known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), might influence sea rise patterns in the Pacific. So what is the PDO? It's a temperature pattern in the Pacific Ocean that's similar to El Nino. Yet instead of lasting just a few months or a year, the PDO lasts roughly 20 to 30 years and contributes significantly to decadal trends. The researchers reconstructed sea level patterns going back to 1950. Then, they stripped away the effects of the PDO to better understand its influence on current trends.