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Effect of continental ice on sea level

by LEGOS last modified Feb 04, 2014 10:43 AM




Mountain glaciers


Recent estimates of the mass balance of mountain glaciers have been made by Dyurgerov and Meier (2005). The world wide melting of mountain glaciers has contributed to ~0.8 mm/yr to the rise in sea level over the past decade.



Greenland and Antarctica


Since the beginning of the 1990s, the ice sheets mass balance has been estimated on the basis of airborne and space observations (radar and laser altimetry, INSAR and GRACE). All these observations point to loss of mass in the coastal regions of Southern Greenland and slight mass gain in interior high-altitude regions. The net balance is an ice mass loss equivalent to 0.2-0.4 mm/yr sea level rise for recent years. Space observations of the Antarctica reveal mass loss in West Antarctica and a mass gain in East Antarctica. The two effects more or less cancel each other out, so that Antarctica currently makes a small contribution to sea level.


The figure below (fom Cazenave, 2006) summarizes recent estimates of the ice sheets mass balance.

Niveau de la mer b2-glaces


















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