Contribution of Small Glaciers to Global Sea Level

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Dec 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4681, pp. 1418-1421
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4681.1418


Observed long-term changes in glacier volume and hydrometeorological mass balance models yield data on the transfer of water from glaciers, excluding those in Greenland and Antarctica, to the oceans. The average observed volume change for the period 1900 to 1961 is scaled to a global average by use of the seasonal amplitude of the mass balance. These data are used to calibrate the models to estimate the changing contribution of glaciers to sea level for the period 1884 to 1975. Although the error band is large, these glaciers appear to account for a third to half of observed rise in sea level, approximately that fraction not explained by thermal expansion of the ocean.

Stay Connected to Science