What happens when an ice sheet melts?
Article first published online: 24 AUG 2009
© 2009 The Royal Statistical Society
Special Issue: Darwin 200th Anniversary
Volume 6, Issue 3, pages 122–125, September 2009
How to Cite
Bamber, J. (2009), What happens when an ice sheet melts?. Significance, 6: 122–125. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2009.00375.x
- Issue published online: 24 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 24 AUG 2009
The great ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland have enough frozen water locked in them to raise the global sea level by some 70 metres. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be inherently unstable and if it collapses the universal belief is that it would raise sea levels by 5–6 metres globally. But that estimate is wrong. What happens to sea levels when an ice sheet melts is complex and surprising. In some places, even, levels can go down. Jonathan Bamber explains.