A Century of Global Sea Level Change
Wöppelmann, G., Letetrel, C., Santamaria, A., Bouin, M.-N., Collilieux, X., Altamimi, Z., Williams, S.D.P. and Miguez, B.M. 2009. Rates of sea-level change over the past century in a geocentric reference frame. Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2009GL038720.
Against this backdrop, Wöppelmann et al. "analyzed GPS observations from a global network of 227 stations using a consistent processing strategy over the whole period from January 1997 to November 2006," noting that 160 of the stations they studied "are co-located within 15 km of a tide gauge." Assuming that land motion is essentially linear on the time span they considered," the GPS vertical velocities they derived were then used "to correct for the land motion affecting the tide gauge records to derive absolute (geocentric) changes in sea level." As a result, the eight researchers hailing from France, Spain and the United Kingdom obtained a global-average rate of geocentric sea-level rise for the past century that ranged from 1.55 to 1.61 mm/year, depending on whether or not one outlier (of 28 individual regions) was included or omitted from their analysis.
Wöppelmann et al. say their results are "in good agreement with recent estimates," citing the 1.7 mm/year value derived by Church and White (2006) and Holgate (2007), and that they are also "in good agreement with the sum of steric sea level and land ice contributions estimated by Leuliette and Miller (2009) over the recent period of 2003-2007 (1.5 mm/year) using altimetry, Argo, and GRACE gravity observations." Hence, it would appear that 20th-century sea level rise has not been in any way unusual, even over the most recent decade of supposedly unprecedented warmth.
Church, J.A. and White, N.J. 2006. A 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise. Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2005GL024826.
Holgate, S.J. 2007. On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century. Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029/2006GL028492.
Leuliette, E.W. and Miller, L. 2009. Closing the sea level rise budget with altimetry, Argo, and GRACE. Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2008GL036010.