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Warming raises sea level off California.

Surface waters off the coast of southern California have warmed by nearly 1 [degrees] Cover the past 42years, causing the water to expand and raising the sea level in that area by about 4 centimeters, according to a new study of ocean temperatures.

Dean Roemmich of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., examined temperature and salinity records taken by ships in the waters off California. The records show that the upper 100 meters of the ocean have warmed by 0.8 [degrees] C since 1950, reports Roemmich in the July 17 SCIENCE.

Calculations suggest such a warming should cause the upper waters of the ocean in this region to expand, raising sea levels by roughly 1 millimeter per year. Indeed, records of tide height from the area indicate that sea levels have been rising, but the record is complicated by unrelated factors that lower and raise the land surface, causing an apparent change in sea level.

Roemmich says the California findings can help the effort to predict how the oceans would react to a global greenhouse warming. But he cautions that the warming's cause remains unclear. The rise could represent a natural temperature swing in one area only.
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Title Annotation:cause for warming unclear
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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