Sea levels from 1920-2000



I receive by Email graphs showing sea level data from 1920 – 2000, collected from different places around Australia.

Lines engraved into Perspex
shape a slice of sea from the past.
Oscillating, they rise
into the present.

What has this got to do with Antarctica?

Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at an increasing rate, contributing significantly to sea levels rising.

Dr John Church, who was Head Scientist on the Aurora Australis when I went to Antarctica, included these graphs in his presentation at Greenhouse 2007 conference.

When I went to Antarctica with in 2002 (V7), Dr John Church was Chief Scientist on the expedition. On the way down to collect CTDs (Current, Temperature, Depth recording devices) along the Amery Ice Shelf, he explained that Antarctic ice sheet melting contributes significantly to sea levels rising. The Amery Ice Shelf is where the largest Antarctic glacier, the Lambert, drains and meets the sea.

FACT: Lambert Glacier, in East Antarctica, is the world’s largest glacier. It is about 40 kilometers wide and 400 kilometers long. It drains nearly 8 percent of Antarctica’s ice sheet into the floating Amery Ice Shelf.

(Tulloch, 2003;11)

Animating sea levels at Brisbane:


Drawing 100s of lines, they start to feel like gestures of a choppy sea.

I think, as I draw, about forgetting, and of not knowing my father’s life at sea.

What happens at sea stays at sea.

Working on the rhythm,
I draw 40 frames for every 40 years of change.

Cycles and trends can be seen in this data set of changes measured around Australia.

See the animation.

Sea level data for Burnie, Townsville and Sydney will be animated next, and worked together as an ocean, with floating forms – some human: an underwater dance.