Claim: Sea level rise from ice sheets track worst-case climate change scenario

by University of Leeds, September 1, 2020 in WUWT/Nature

Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica whose melting rates are rapidly increasing have raised the global sea level by 1.8cm since the 1990s, and are matching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case climate warming scenarios.

So far, global sea levels have increased in the most part through a mechanism called thermal expansion, which means that volume of seawater expands as it gets warmer. But in the last five years, ice melt from the ice sheets and mountain glaciers has overtaken global warming as the main cause of rising sea levels.

Dr Ruth Mottram, study co-author and climate researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said: “It is not only Antarctica and Greenland that are causing the water to rise. In recent years, thousands of smaller glaciers have begun to melt or disappear altogether, as we saw with the glacier Ok in Iceland, which was declared “dead” in 2014. This means that melting of ice has now taken over as the main contributor of sea level rise. “


Further information

The study, “Ice-sheet losses track high-end sea-level rise projections,” is published today (31 August) in Nature Climate Change.

View towards Icefjord in Ilulissat. Easy hiking route to the famous Kangia glacier in Greenland. The Ilulissat Icefjord seen from the viewpoint. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Photo taken in Greenland.