Indicators of past sea level play a key role in tracking the history of global climate. Variations in global sea level are controlled mainly by growth and decay of continental glaciers and temperatures that are closely correlated with the mean global climate state (glacial and interglacial cycles). Our understanding of global climate and sea level has benefited significantly from improvements in ocean floor sampling achieved by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and the Integrated Ocean Drilling and International Ocean Discovery Programs (IODP), as well as from the application of new analytical techniques and isotope mass spectrometry. This paper presents an overview of recent advances in paleo-sea level studies based on analysis of samples and data from deep-sea sediment cores and drowned coral reefs obtained through ODP and IODP. Future scientific ocean drilling will contribute further to studies of ice sheet dynamics under different climatic boundary conditions.
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