Ice sheet mass balance and sea level

I. Allison, R. B. Alley, H. A. Fricker, R. H. Thomas, R. C. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Determining the mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets (GIS and AIS) has long been a major challenge for polar science. But until recent advances in measurement technology, the uncertainty in ice sheet mass balance estimates was greater than any net contribution to sea level change. 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. 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. Overall, 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. The largest unknown in the projections of sea level rise over the next century is the potential for rapid dynamic collapse of ice sheets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-426
Number of pages14
JournalAntarctic Science
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

Fingerprint

sea level
ice sheet
mass balance
ice
GIS
satellite altimetry
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Greenland
gravity
sea level change
uncertainty
climate change
sea level rise
rate
methodology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Geology

Cite this

Allison, I., Alley, R. B., Fricker, H. A., Thomas, R. H., & Warner, R. C. (2009). Ice sheet mass balance and sea level. Antarctic Science, 21(5), 413-426. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102009990137
Allison, I. ; Alley, R. B. ; Fricker, H. A. ; Thomas, R. H. ; Warner, R. C. / Ice sheet mass balance and sea level. In: Antarctic Science. 2009 ; Vol. 21, No. 5. pp. 413-426.
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Allison, I, Alley, RB, Fricker, HA, Thomas, RH & Warner, RC 2009, 'Ice sheet mass balance and sea level', Antarctic Science, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 413-426. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102009990137

Ice sheet mass balance and sea level. / Allison, I.; Alley, R. B.; Fricker, H. A.; Thomas, R. H.; Warner, R. C.

In: Antarctic Science, Vol. 21, No. 5, 01.10.2009, p. 413-426.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Allison I, Alley RB, Fricker HA, Thomas RH, Warner RC. Ice sheet mass balance and sea level. Antarctic Science. 2009 Oct 1;21(5):413-426. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102009990137