Climate and sea level

The oceans both moderate and drive climate change. Global warming is leading to the warming of the oceans. As the oceans warm they expand, manifested as a rise in sea level. However, both the warming, and hence sea level rise, is not happening uniformly across the oceans. Indeed, it is the polar regions that are warming the greatest leading to the melt of ice sheets which in turn will create sea level rise somewhere. Our oceans are also absorbing ever increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels. When carbon dioxide is dissolved in sea water the oceans become more acidic threatening the life cycle of certain important marine ecosystems.

The NOC carries out a range of sustained ocean observations to understand how the oceans are responding to climate change. Ocean circulation and ecosystem models, validated using our ocean observations, are developed at NOC to predict how the oceans will change over the next few decades to centuries.

Sea level

Millions of lives are at risk due to rising sea level.

Polar regions

Polar regions are rapidly warming leading to changes in global ocean circulation.

Carbon in the ocean

Marine ecosystems are under threat due to the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the oceans.


Measuring for the very first time the heat transported by currents in the Atlantic ocean.

Changing circulation

Ocean currents transport heat around the earth affecting our climate

Technology used

Novel engineering technoliogies enable us to accurately measure what is happening in the oceans.

Projects and collaborations

NOC scientists contribute to the United Nations Intergovermental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports. The RAPID -Watch project is carried out in partnership with scientsist from Canada, Germany, Spain and the USA.

Research Groups

Click on the links below to find out more about the NOC science and technology groups involvement in Climate and sea Level research-

Information for…


The outputs of research generate new knowledge about the oceans. Transferring scientific knowledge to support business and industry is an important part of our NOC remit.



Our research is intended to tackle the big environmental issues facing the world. Research priorities will include the oceans' role in climate change, sea level change and the future of the Arctic Ocean.



The University of Southampton and the University of Liverpool both offer a range of highly regarded undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Ocean and Earth Science.



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Delivery Partners

Delivery Partners helping to provide marine science national capability.


Marine Science Community

The creation of a wider association of Universities and research institutions to support wider engagement of the NOC with the marine science community is now underway.



The National Oceanographic Library is a national resource for the UK marine science community.


Principal scientists

All updated information for cruise participants can be found using the Marine Facilities Planning website: