• global sea level;
  • water cycle;
  • Australian climate;
  • energy cycle;climate variability

Since 1993, global mean sea level has been rising by about 3 millimeters per year on average, with some year-to-year variations. However, from mid-2010 through 2011, the sea level unexpectedly dropped by 7 millimeters relative to this background trend. To investigate the cause of the unusual sea level drop, Fasullo et al. examined data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite, which can determine water content on land and sea through gravity variations, as well as altimetry data, reanalyses of other previously collected data, global precipitation data, and data on continental river discharge rates.