WASHINGTON — NASA scientists have found that ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland accounted for roughly half-inch sea level rise between 2003 and 2019, according to a NASA release on Thursday.
Using the most advanced Earth-observing laser instrument NASA has flown in space, scientists have made precise and detailed measurements of how the elevation of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have changed over the 16 years.
The results provide insights into how the polar ice sheets are changing, demonstrating definitively that small gains of ice in East Antarctica are dwarfed by the massive losses in West Antarctica, according to NASA.
The scientists found the net loss of ice from Antarctica, along with Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet, was responsible for 0.55 inches (14 millimeters) of sea level rise between 2003 and 2019, which was slightly less than a third of the total amount of sea level rise observed in the world’s oceans.
The findings came from NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), which was launched in 2018 to make detailed global elevation measurements, including over Earth’s frozen regions.