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The melting of floating ice raises the ocean level
Article first published online: 11 JUN 2007
Geophysical Journal International
Volume 170, Issue 1, pages 145–150, July 2007
How to Cite
Noerdlinger, P. D. and Brower, K. R. (2007), The melting of floating ice raises the ocean level. Geophysical Journal International, 170: 145–150. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03472.x
- Issue published online: 11 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 11 JUN 2007
- Accepted 2007 April 19. Received 2007 April 13; in original form 2005 August 1
- laboratory measurement;
- present-day ice melting;
- sea level change
It is shown that the melting of ice floating on the ocean will introduce a volume of water about 2.6 per cent greater than that of the originally displaced sea water. The melting of floating ice in a global warming will cause the ocean to rise. If all the extant sea ice and floating shelf ice melted, the global sea level would rise about 4 cm. The sliding of grounded ice into the sea, however, produces a mean water level rise in two parts; some of the rise is delayed. The first part, while the ice floats, is equal to the volume of displaced sea water. The second part, equal to 2.6 per cent of the first, is contributed as it melts. These effects result from the difference in volume of equal weights of fresh and salt water. This component of sea rise is apparently unrecognized in the literature to date, although it can be interpreted as a form of halosteric sea level change by regarding the displaced salt water and the meltwater (even before melting) as a unit. Although salinity changes are known to affect sea level, all existing analyses omit our calculated volume change. We present a protocol that can be used to calculate global sea level rise on the basis of the addition of meltwater from grounded and floating ice; of course thermosteric volume change must be added.