@bill 36 Re: The Life Of Brian
"How can it be lower or higher in one place or the other? But then, given that its a huge cauldron influenced by natural phenomena that we have little control over, moon, gravity, earthquake, subterranean volcano etc etc...."
You've just (partly) answered that question yourself. Gravity, for example, has quite an effect - gee, gravity effecting a mass distribution, who'd have thought ?.. and heat - what are the chances of *that* effecting anything... There's nothing strange here, just physics.
"It would appear to me to be just another piece of alarmist journalism."
Not really - silly headlines aside, it seems to be a quite interesting article about instrumentation, with lots of explanation as to why it's really just a snap-shot, e.g.
"The trend map is really a way of looking at average field changes over the 20 years," explained Steven Nerem of the University of Colorado, US.
"The places where you see high trends probably won't have high trends in another 20 years.
"A lot of this is decadal variability that will average out over the longer time series, which is why we need more missions to understand where this variability is."
"And i thought we'd been using water to find a level for thousands of years"
On a small scale that can work fine. At the scale of a planet it's a tad more complex, and we've known that for quite a while too.