Projections of sea-level rise from glaciers and ice caps for the next century and beyond should be based on an assessment of the ice available for melting. Projections to date are based on all regions except Greenland and Antarctica, yet no sound estimates for this volume of ice and its potential for sea level rise are evident in the literature. An ice cap data set is compiled allowing the separate treatment of glacier area coverage data. Glacier inventory data are comprehensive enough in some regions to allow the estimation of glacier size distributions. The differences in the distributions are related to a metric of the regional topography, allowing glacier size distributions to be estimated on a 1o latitude longitude grid of glacier containing cells. Appropriate volume-area scaling for glaciers and for ice caps gives global estimates of glacier and ice cap volumes by size class. This leads to an estimate of the total ice volume of 0.087 ± 0.005 106 km3 and a sea-level rise equivalent of 0.240 ± 0.015 m. The glaciers and ice caps contribute 41% and 59% to these estimates respectively. Some aspects of modelling glacier and ice cap melt will be discussed and some idealized projections will be presented.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > MAR-MARCOPOLI