Slide 18: Thermal indicators: Sea level change
Sea level has risen by an average of 15 cm over the last century (IPCC 2001).
Melting of sea ice does not increase the level of the oceans.
However, as the ice Antarctic ice sheet retreats, it is increasing polar glaciers' access to the ocean.
As their flow increases undergravity, they will likely contribute more to the rise in sea level. The extent and rate of this influx is a subject of much research.
In addition to the increasing amount of water flowing into the oceans, the sea level is likely to rise due to thermal expansion. Simulations predict that ultimate levels could reach as much as an additional 2m at equilibrium.
IPCC (2001): Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. (Houghton, J.T., Ding, Y., Griggs, D.J., Noguer, M., van der Linden, P., Dai, X., Maskell, K. and Johnson, C.A., Eds.). Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press.