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El Nino Spurs Rise in Global Average Sea Level
CNN, Dec. 9, 1998

Average global sea level rose by about 2 centimeters (0.8 inch) during the 1997-98 El Nino event and has now returned to normal levels, according to scientists studying TOPEX/Poseidon satellit measurements of sea surfaceheight.

This is the first time scientists have been able to link El Nino to a change in average global sea level, said Dr. R. Steven Nerem, a TOPEX/Poseidon science team member at the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas at Austin. Global mean sea level change on seasonal and inter-annual time scales is a measure of the changing heat content of the ocean. The 2-centimeter (0.8-inch) rise during the El Nino implies that, on average, the global ocean may be gaining heat.