Articles | Volume 1, issue 1
06 Dec 2007
06 Dec 2007

Reconstructing the glacier contribution to sea-level rise back to 1850

J. Oerlemans, M. Dyurgerov, and R. S. W. van de Wal

Abstract. We present a method to estimate the glacier contribution to sea-level rise from glacier length records. These records form the only direct evidence of glacier changes prior to 1946, when the first continuous mass-balance observations began. A globally representative length signal is calculated from 197 length records from all continents by normalisation and averaging of 14 different regions. Next, the resulting signal is calibrated with mass-balance observations for the period 1961–2000. We find that the glacier contribution to sea level rise was 5.5±1.0 cm during the period 1850–2000 and 4.5±0.7 cm during the period 1900–2000.