Melting of Arctic glaciers and ice caps and its impact on sea level

Martin J. Sharp, G.J. Wolken, B. Wouters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Arctic glaciers occur in areas with maritime (southern Alaska, Iceland, Svalbard, and Scandinavia), continental (interior Alaska/Yukon), and Polar Desert (Arctic Canada, Arctic Russia) climates. They form where snow accumulates faster than atmospheric heat can melt it. This balance between accumulation and melt is called “surface mass balance”. Where a glacier ends in the ocean, ocean heat may melt the submerged part of a terminal ice cliff, or the underside of a floating ice tongue. Melt of all of the glacier ice in the Arctic would raise global mean sea level by 0.41 m. Complete melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet would add another 7.2 m
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINTERACT Stories of Arctic Science II
EditorsT.V. Callaghan, H. Savela, M. Johansson
PublisherAarhus University
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)978-87-93129-17-7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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