Antarctica ramps up sea level rise

News - 14 June 2018 - Communication

Ice losses from Antarctica have increased global sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, with two fifths of this rise (3 mm) coming in the last five years alone.The findings are from a major climate assessment known as the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE), to which TU Delft also contributed, and are published today in Nature.

0.6 mm per year

The findings show that prior to 2012, Antarctica lost ice at a steady rate of 76 billion tonnes per year – a 0.2 mm per year contribution to sea level rise. However, since then there has been a sharp, threefold increase. Between 2012 and 2017 the continent lost 219 billion tonnes of ice per year – a 0.6 mm per year sea level contribution.

Crevasses near the grounding line of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica (Credit I. Joughin, University of Washington)

Delft contribution

TU Delft researchers contributed significantly to the publication, through mass calculations from GRACE satellite data and through post glacial rebound models. According to the Delft researchers, the publication gives a better consistency between measurements and models of Antarctica, leading to better insight into the contribution to sea level rise.

Faster

Professor Shepherd (University of Leeds): “According to our analysis, there has been a steep increase in ice losses from Antarctica during the past decade, and the continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years.”

More information

Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017, The IMBIE team, Nature volume 558, pages 219–222 (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0179-y

Contact TU Delft: Wouter van der Wal https://www.tudelft.nl/staff/w.vanderwal
Science Information Officer Roy Meijer, r.e.t.meijer@tudelft.nl +31 15 2781751

The original press release of University of Leeds: Antarctica ramps up sea level rise