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Mean sea level trends

Call for Media: new data on global sea level changes

19/09/2012 1193 views 0 likes
ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / Space for our climate

PR 29 2012 - A unique 18-year run of satellite readings showing global sea level changes in unprecedented detail will be unveiled next week. Media representatives are invited to Italy’s lagoon city of Venice on 24 September to find out more.

The data, obtained by radar altimeters on multiple satellites, show regional increases of sea level by up to 10 mm each year, such as in the Philippine Sea. Decreases of 10 mm per year have been detected in some areas. On average, the global sea level rises about 3 mm every year.

With this new, high-resolution dataset, scientists can get a much clearer picture on regional trends and year-to-year variations.

Media representatives will have the opportunity to discuss the data with scientists at the ‘20 Years of Progress in Radar Altimetry Symposium’ at the Venice Convention Centre Palazzo del Casinó on 24 September.

Held in a city where sea level is of particular significance, the symposium is organised by ESA in collaboration with the French space agency, CNES.

The week-long event will focus on the challenges overcome to develop our current understanding of Earth’s surface variations observed by radar altimeters – the spaceborne sensor that records the height of the global sea surface, freshwater bodies, land and ice.

Future developments to advance our understanding of oceans, coastal processes, the cryosphere and other themes like freshwater storage will also be discussed.


Programme 24 September

Opening session: 09:00–13:00

The symposium will begin with welcomes from the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, the Head of the ESA Earth Observation Science, Applications and Future Technologies Department, Maurice Borgeaud, and the head of Earth observation for CNES, Pascale Ultré-Guérard.

Keynote presentations will highlight the challenges, results and future of altimetry.

The plenary session will also be streamed live on ESA’s website.

Press briefing: 13:00–14:00

During the press briefing, speakers will discuss the importance of radar altimetry to our understanding of climate. Particular attention will be paid to sea level rise and its impact on Venice.

Speakers will include:


  • Pierpaolo Campostrini, Director of Consortium for Coordination of Research Activities Concerning the Venice Lagoon System (CORILA)
  • Pascale Ultré-Guérard, Head of Earth Observation, CNES
  • Maurice Borgeaud, Head of the ESA Earth Observation Science, Applications and Future Technologies Department.

The briefing will end with a question and answer session, and journalists will have the opportunity to interview the keynote speakers from the plenary session.

Media may attend the whole conference.

Media registration

Media interested in attending the conference are requested to register at:

Notes for Editors

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