Activity 6: Sea level rise

Dr. Cecilia Scorza and Moritz Stähle
Status: Mar 2023

The rise of the sea level has different causes: Above all, melting ice masses on land and the thermal expansion of water contribute to it - melting icebergs, on the other hand, (almost) do not!

With the two experiments of this activity these phenomena can be worked out:

  1. Part: Is sea level rising due to melting icebergs?
  2. Part: Is sea level rising due to warming water?
physics, geography
5th Grade and higher


More materials like h5p-study units, videos and animations with Module - Consequences of climate change.

    Ausgearbeitete Lerneinheiten:



    Video 1. Partial experiment: Melting Ice

    Video 2. Partial experiment: Thermal expansion

    Technical questions and didactic comments

    Does the sea level not rise at all when icebergs floating on salt water melt?

    Strictly speaking, sea level does rise when icebergs of fresh water floating on salt water melt, because salt water has a higher density than fresh water.

    However, this halosteric sea level rise (reduction of salinity in the oceans) is of little importance compared to the thermosteric (thermal expansion) and eustatic (melting of land ice) sea level rise. More background in the Climate-Wiki.

    Do you have a technical question about the experiment? Get in touch with us! We will gladly try to answer your question or forward it to an expert in our network. Answers to central or frequently asked questions will be published here.


    • In the experiment on thermal expansion, an astonishing increase is obtained after only a few minutes of heating by hand.
    • The experiments with melting ice, on the other hand, require a little more time. Therefore, it is recommended to start them at the beginning.

    Are you missing an important reference? Please get in touch with us! We will be happy to take your suggestion and expand this compilation.