A satellite composite image of Antarctica
A map of West Antarctica
Satellite observations of sea level rise from 1993 to 2021.
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
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.
Map of Greenland
grounding zone
Different sea level rise projections for the 21st century
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.
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

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

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.

- Sea level rise

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

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), loss of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet mass contributed, respectively, about 0.21 ± 0.35 and 0.21 ± 0.07 mm/year to sea level rise between 1993 and 2003.

- Ice sheet

Rapley said, "Parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that rest on bedrock below sea level have begun to discharge ice fast enough to make a significant contribution to sea level rise. Understanding the reason for this change is urgent in order to be able to predict how much ice may ultimately be discharged and over what timescale. Current computer models do not include the effect of liquid water on ice sheet sliding and flow, and so provide only conservative estimates of future behaviour."

- West Antarctic Ice Sheet

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.

- Sea level rise
A satellite composite image of Antarctica

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A satellite composite image of Antarctica

Antarctic ice sheet

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One of the two polar ice caps of Earth.

One of the two polar ice caps of Earth.

A satellite composite image of 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.
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.
An image of Antarctica differentiating its landmass (dark grey) from its ice shelves (minimum extent, light grey, and maximum extent, white)
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.

It holds approximately 61% of all fresh water on Earth, equivalent to about 58 m of sea level rise.

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.

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

The Amundsen Sea area of Antarctica

Amundsen Sea

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Arm of the Southern Ocean off Marie Byrd Land in western Antarctica, lies between Cape Flying Fish to the east and Cape Dart on Siple Island to the west.

Arm of the Southern Ocean off Marie Byrd Land in western Antarctica, lies between Cape Flying Fish to the east and Cape Dart on Siple Island to the west.

The Amundsen Sea area of Antarctica
Antarctic iceberg floating in the Amundsen Sea water, October 2009.
Large B-22 iceberg breaking off from Thwaites Glacier and remnants of the B-21 iceberg from Pine Island Glacier in Pine Island Bay to the right of the image
Amundsen Sea as part of the Southern Ocean

The ice sheet which drains into the Amundsen Sea averages about 3 km in thickness; roughly the size of the state of Texas, this area is known as the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE); it forms one of the three major ice-drainage basins of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Scientists have found that the flow of these glaciers has increased starting in the mid-2000s decade; if they were to melt completely global sea levels would rise by about 0.9–1.9 m (1–2 yards).