Sea-level rise from polar ice melt finally quantified

by Richard on November 29, 2012

From the BBC

The results show that the largest ice sheet - that of East Antarctica - has gained mass over the study period of 1992-2011 as increased snowfall added to its volume.

However, Greenland, West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula were all found to be losing mass - and on a scale that more than compensates for East Antarctica’s gain.

The study’s headline conclusion is that the polar ice sheets have overall contributed 11.1mm to sea level rise but with a “give or take” uncertainty of 3.8mm - meaning the contribution could be as little as 7.3mm or as much as 14.9mm.

The combined rate of melting from all the ice sheets has increased over the past 20 years with Greenland losing five times as much now as in 1992.

The lead author of the research, Prof Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University, said the study brought to an end 20 years of disagreement between different teams.

“We can now say for sure that Antarctica is losing ice and we can see how the rate of loss from Greenland is going up over the same period as well,” he added.

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