Ice sheets, global warming and sea level



Global warming, also referred to as climate change, is the observed rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system and its related effects. It is established scientific consensus that the climate system is warming, and that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. A major consequence of global warming is sea level rise, currently occurring at a rate of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year. For the 21st century, the range predicted by the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change across different possible climate futures is between 0.26 metres and 0.82 metres. The largest source is thermal expansion of ocean water, followed by melting/discharge of ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers. In the long term, the two ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are the largest potential contributors to global sea level rise because of their enormous amounts of stored water, together amounting to ~ 65 metres of sea level equivalent. The ice sheets are therefore the focus of observational as well as modelling efforts.

In: Y. Yamabayashi and M. Kawase (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th Chitose International Forum on Photonics Science & Technology, pp. 12-17. Chitose Institute of Science and Technology, Japan (2018).

Last modified: 2018-09-03