Sea-level rise from glaciers and ice caps: A lower bound

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One of the most easily measured dimensions of a glacier, the accumulation area, is linked to future changes in glacier volume and consequent changes in sea level. Currently observed accumulation areas are too small, forcing glaciers to lose 27% of their volume to attain equilibrium with current climate. As a result, at least 184 ± 33 mm of sea-level rise are necessitated by mass wastage of the world's mountain glaciers and ice caps even if the climate does not continue to warm. If the climate continues to warm along current trends, a minimum of 373 ±21 mm of sea-level rise over the next 100 years is expected from glaciers and ice caps. When compared to recent estimates from all other sources, melt water from glaciers must be considered as a particularly important fraction of the total sea-level rise expected this century. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

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