A satellite composite image of Antarctica
A satellite composite image of Antarctica
A map of West Antarctica
Antarctic Skin Temperature Trends between 1981 and 2007, based on thermal infrared observations made by a series of NOAA satellite sensors. Skin temperature trends do not necessarily reflect air temperature trends.
Aerial view of the ice sheet on Greenland's east coast
A topographic and bathymetric map of Antarctica without its ice sheets, assuming constant sea levels and no post-glacial rebound
Polar climatic temperature changes throughout the Cenozoic, showing glaciation of Antarctica toward the end of the Eocene, thawing near the end of the Oligocene and subsequent Miocene re-glaciation.
Map of Greenland
grounding zone
An image of Antarctica differentiating its landmass (dark grey) from its ice shelves (minimum extent, light grey, and maximum extent, white)
Carbon stores and fluxes in present-day ice sheets (2019), and the predicted impact on carbon dioxide (where data exists).
Estimated carbon fluxes are measured in Tg C a−1 (megatonnes of carbon per year) and estimated sizes of carbon stores are measured in Pg C (thousands of megatonnes of carbon). DOC = dissolved organic carbon, POC = particulate organic carbon.
Visualization of NASA's mission Operation IceBridge dataset BEDMAP2, obtained with laser and ice-penetrating radar, collecting surface height, bedrock topography and ice thickness.
The bedrock topography of Antarctica, critical to understand dynamic motion of the continental ice sheets.
Ice mass loss since 2002, as measured by NASA's GRACE and GRACE Follow-On satellite projects, was 152 billion metric tons per year.

The Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is the segment of the continental ice sheet that covers West Antarctica, the portion of Antarctica on the side of the Transantarctic Mountains that lies in the Western Hemisphere.

- West Antarctic Ice Sheet

The only current ice sheets are in Antarctica and Greenland; during the Last Glacial Period at Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered much of North America, the Weichselian ice sheet covered northern Europe and the Patagonian Ice Sheet covered southern South America.

- Ice sheet

The WAIS is classified as a marine-based ice sheet, meaning that its bed lies well below sea level and its edges flow into floating ice shelves.

- West Antarctic Ice Sheet

In East Antarctica, the ice sheet rests on a major land mass, while in West Antarctica the bed can extend to more than 2,500 m below sea level.

- Antarctic ice sheet

The Antarctic ice sheet is divided by the Transantarctic Mountains into two unequal sections called the East Antarctic ice sheet (EAIS) and the smaller West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

- Ice sheet

This found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was in balance but the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was losing mass.

- Antarctic ice sheet
A satellite composite image of Antarctica

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Satellite observations of sea level rise from 1993 to 2021.

Sea level rise

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Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century.

Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century.

Satellite observations of sea level rise from 1993 to 2021.
Historical sea level reconstruction and projections up to 2100 published in 2017 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program for the Fourth National Climate Assessment. RCP2.6 is the scenario where emissions peak before 2020, RCP4.5 the one where they peak around 2040, and RCP8.5 the one where they keep increasing.
Different sea level rise projections for the 21st century
Map of the Earth with a long-term 6 m sea level rise represented in red (uniform distribution, actual sea level rise will vary regionally and local adaptation measures will also have an effect on local sea levels).
Earth lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice between 1994 and 2017, with melting grounded ice (ice sheets and glaciers) raising the global sea level by 34.6 ±3.1 mm. The rate of ice loss has risen by 57% since the 1990s−from 0.8 to 1.2 trillion tonnes per year.
Ocean heat content (OHC) between 1957 and 2017, NOAA
The Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica's largest, is about the size of France and up to several hundred metres thick.
grounding zone
Greenland 2007 melt, measured as the difference between the number of days on which melting occurred in 2007 compared to the average annual melting days from 1988 to 2006
Trends in land water storage from GRACE observations in gigatons per year, April 2002 to November 2014 (glaciers and ice sheets are excluded).
A stripe graphic assigns ranges of annual sea level measurements to respective colors, with the baseline white color starting in 1880 and darker blues denoting progressively greater sea level rise.
Jason-1 continued the sea surface measurements started by TOPEX/Poseidon. It was followed by the Ocean Surface Topography Mission on Jason-2, and by Jason-3
Between 1993 and 2018, the mean sea level has risen across most of the world ocean (blue colors).
Tidal flooding in Miami during a king tide (October 17, 2016). The risk of tidal flooding increases with sea level rise.
Major cities threatened by sea level rise. The cities indicated are under threat of even a small sea level rise (of 1.6 foot/49 cm) compared to the level in 2010. Even moderate projections indicate that such a rise will have occurred by 2060.
Bramble Cay melomys Melomys rubicola. In 2016 declared extinct on Bramble Cay, where it had been endemic, and likely also globally extinct, with habitat loss due to sea level rise being the root cause.
Placard "The sea is rising", at the People's Climate March (2017).
Beach nourishment in progress in Barcelona.
Changes in sea level since the end of the last glacial episode

This acceleration is due mostly to climate change, which heats (and therefore expands) the ocean and which melts the land-based ice sheets and glaciers.

Each year about 8 mm of precipitation (liquid equivalent) falls on the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, mostly as snow, which accumulates and over time forms glacial ice.

Different satellite methods for measuring ice mass and change are in good agreement, and combining methods leads to more certainty about how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the Antarctic Peninsula evolve.