Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


This chapter details the monstrous challenge of sea-level rise as an impact of climate change. It discusses the network of satellites that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has developed and deployed over the years to determine what is happening, how fast, and why. It asks how this network was constructed and the role of bureaucracy-driven decision making in a difficult political environment. Today, there exists an integrated, large-scale satellite system to track sea-level rise, its spread, causes, and impacts. In many ways, sea-level rise is the clearest and most understandable result of a warming planet. NASA and its partners built the network satellite-by-satellite over decades. It has gone from initiation to institutionalization. The introduction tracks how this network was built and the role of NASA in that “political construction.” It shows how NASA drove decision-making—sometimes well, sometimes not so well. It demonstrates the barriers along the way and how NASA and its key leaders overcame them through various strategies to fashion a coalition of support and neutralize opposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPalgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
VolumePart F1542
ISSN (Print)2730-972X
ISSN (Electronic)2730-9738


  • Climate change
  • Key leaders
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Political environment
  • Satellites
  • Sea-level rise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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