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La Nina Briefly Halts-Reverses Sea Level Rise November 23, 2012
Sea level graph
Global sea levels dipped sharply in 2010-2011 due to a strong La Nina. Ocean levels have since recovered and resumed their long-term rise.
The strong La Niña ocean-cooling that started two years ago halted and actually reversed the much-advertised rise in global sea levels of the past few decades.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of Colorado in Boulder said between early 2010 and summer 2011, global sea levels fell by about a quarter of an inch.

The unprecedented drop was caused when heavy rainfall brought on by La Niña temporarily “stored” a lot of water on land in parts of Australia and northern South America. Some of the storage was in vast flood disaster zones.

But the ocean’s loss was short-lived. That water eventually found its way back into the sea, bringing levels back up.

The scientists say that, as predicted, the global mean sea level has not only recovered what it had “lost” during the strong La Niña downpours, but it has also resumed a long-term mean annual rise of 0.13 inches per year.

Graphic: NASA