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Alaska Glaciers Are a Major Contributor to Global Sea Level Rise

May 25, 2013; 10:35 AM ET

Alaska glaciers have been found to be one of the top contributors to global sea level rise.

New, in-depth research on glacier mass losses and their contribution to the rising sea level between 2003 and 2009 shows that the world's mountain glaciers have contributed just as much melt water to rising sea level as the the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Much of Alaska glacier ice is located near the coast, making it more susceptible to climate fluctuations, according to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

The melt from worldwide mountain glaciers alone added about 0.10 of an inch yearly to sea level rise, which is a third of the total contribution. The remaining two-thirds of the contribution were broken down equally between ice sheet melt (Greenland/Antarctica) and the warming of ocean water (thermal expansion).

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