Last updated October 10, 2018

Ice sheet mass balance and sea level

  • States that the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR4) was able, for the first time, to conclude that, taken together, the GIS and AIS have probably been contributing to sea level rise over the period 1993–2003 at an average rate estimated at 0.4 mm yr-1
  • States that, since the cut-off date for work included in AR4, a number of further studies of the mass balance of GIS and AIS have been made using satellite altimetry, satellite gravity measurements and estimates of mass influx and discharge using a variety of techniques
  • Finds that these studies reinforce the conclusion that the ice sheets are contributing to present sea level rise, and suggest that the rate of loss from GIS has recently increased
  • Concludes that the largest unknown in the projections of sea level rise over the next century is the potential for rapid dynamic collapse of ice sheets