PerspectiveClimate Change

Regional Sea-Level Projection

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Science  04 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6081, pp. 550-551
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220366

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  1. All change.

    Interactions between ice sheets, ocean, and atmosphere affect the balance of mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The dynamic response of the ocean, which affects regional sea level, may bring warmer waters in contact with marine glaciers, leading to the decay of ice shelves. Rapid changes at the boundary of the ice sheets can be communicated far into the interior of the ice sheets by ice streams, leading to unloading of the continent and changes in the global gravitational field and thus sea level. Changes in atmospheric temperatures and circulation may bring more precipitation to the Antarctic, offsetting ice loss at the boundaries.

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