Penn State NASA

Goals and Learning Outcomes


Goals and Learning Outcomes


On completing this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe the processes that cause sea level to rise and fall;
  • explain the evidence for sea level change in the geologic record and over the last century;
  • project sea level rise in coming decades and beyond and their impact on coastal communities;
  • propose strategies to cope with rising seas in communities that are most threatened by sea level rise.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much is sea level forecasted to rise in 2100?
  • What are the processes that are causing modern sea level rise and what is the relative role of each?
  • How much would sea level rise if all of the ice on Greenland and Antarctica were to melt?
  • What is the current rate of sea level rise?
  • What instruments are used to measure modern sea level rise?
  • What faunas can be used to reconstruct ancient (but fairly recent) sea levels?
  • When in the last 25 thousand years were the fastest rates of sea level rise?
  • What are some of the processes that are causing relative sea level change in the region around New Orleans, and how much are some parts of the city subsiding?
  • What do the terms transgression, regression, and sequence refer to and how do they fit into the concept of relative sea level change?
  • What is reflection seismology and how does it help determine ancient sea level?
  • Why was sea level so high in the Cretaceous and Eocene?
  • What is storm surge, and why did it do so much damage during Katrina?
  • What strategies are being used to prevent flooding in the next Katrina?
  • What strategies are being used to prevent flooding on the Outer Banks, Netherlands, and Venice?
  • What is the future of sea level rise in Bangladesh, Pacific Islands, and the Torres Straits?