Research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that heavy 2010 rainfall in Australia coincided with a drop in global sea levels, according to Geophysical Research Letters. Before the discovery, scientists had long tried to pinpoint the cause of the drop.
It turns out the continental nation has a number of basins with water that doesn’t flow to the ocean, but instead evaporates. Following the heavy rains, the basins basically became storage for a large amount of water, removing enough from the global water cycle to lower sea levels.
The basins held the water well into the year 2012, some of it as groundwater or soil moisture. The effects of the basins’ storage contributed to a seven millimeter drop from 2010 to 2011 in sea levels – the annual average rise is about 3 millimeters.