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The rise and fall of sea level can be local or global. The shorelines of the world serve as our barometer of sea level change. During periods of lowered sea level, areas that were offshore are exposed to agents of erosion. When sea level rises, coastal areas are flooded and  river valleys drowned. 

Some causes of sea level change

  • Local short-term changes:
    Trade winds can pile up water at one end of an ocean.
  • Local long-term changes:
    Tectonic activity can cause shorelines to sink into the sea or to be pushed upward.
  • Global sea level changes:
    continental glacial melting or growth

The previous unit, The Changing Tides, focused on short-term changes in sea level. In this lesson we focus on long-term global sea level changes caused by ice-volume changes.