The sea level fingerprint of recent ice mass fluxes 1Bristol Glaciology Centre, University of Bristol, UK
21 Dec 2010
2Delft Institute of Earth Observation and Space Systems, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
3Faculty of Geoscience, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Received: 30 July 2010 – Published in The Cryosphere Discuss.: 03 September 2010 Abstract. The sea level contribution from glacial sources has been
accelerating during the first decade of the 21st Century (Meier et
al., 2007; Velicogna, 2009). This contribution is not distributed uniformly
across the world's oceans due to both oceanographic and gravitational
effects. We compute the sea level signature for ice mass fluxes due to
changes in the gravity field, Earth's rotation and related effects for the
nine year period 2000–2008. Mass loss from Greenland results in a relative
sea level (RSL) reduction for much of North Western Europe and Eastern
Canada. RSL rise from this source is concentrated around South America.
Losses in West Antarctica marginally compensate for this and produce maxima
along the coastlines of North America, Australia and Oceania. The combined
far-field pattern of wastage from all ice melt sources, is dominated by
losses from the ice sheets and results in maxima at latitudes between
20° N and 40° S across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, affecting
particularly vulnerable land masses in Oceania. The spatial pattern of RSL
variations from ice mass losses used in this study is time-invariant and
cumulative. Thus, sea level rise, based on the gravitational effects from
the ice losses considered here, will be amplified for this sensitive region.
Revised: 15 December 2010 – Accepted: 16 December 2010 – Published: 21 December 2010
Citation: Bamber, J. and Riva, R.: The sea level fingerprint of recent ice mass fluxes, The Cryosphere, 4, 621-627, doi:10.5194/tc-4-621-2010, 2010.