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How much are melting Glaciers and Icecaps contributing to Sea Level Rise?

February 09, 2012; 5:25 PM

U.S. scientists from the University of Colorado, using a satellite that measures variations in gravity fields to measure changes in the mass of large-ice covered areas have now determined that melting glaciers and icecaps were causing sea levels to rise an average of 0.06 inches or 1.5 mm a year, according to Reuters.

Combine this with the thermal expansion (water expands when it gets warmer) of the oceans and you get an annual global rise of 0.138 inches or 3.5 mm a year.

"That's a large number, and represents a lot of melting ice," said John Wahr of the University of Colorado in Boulder. "But it's at least 30 percent smaller than previous global estimates, none of which have used GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment)," he said, referring to the name of the satellite. (via Reuters)

The GRACE satellites.

Sea levels have already risen on average about 18 centimeters since 1900, according to the report.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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