Mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets from 1992 to 2020

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Abstract

Ice losses from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have accelerated since the 1990s, accounting for a significant increase in the global mean sea level. Here, we present a new 29-year record of ice sheet mass balance from 1992 to 2020 from the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE). We compare and combine 50 independent estimates of ice sheet mass balance derived from satellite observations of temporal changes in ice sheet flow, in ice sheet volume, and in Earth's gravity field. Between 1992 and 2020, the ice sheets contributed 21.0±1.9g€¯mm to global mean sea level, with the rate of mass loss rising from 105g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1 between 1992 and 1996 to 372g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1 between 2016 and 2020. In Greenland, the rate of mass loss is 169±9g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1 between 1992 and 2020, but there are large inter-annual variations in mass balance, with mass loss ranging from 86g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1 in 2017 to 444g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1 in 2019 due to large variability in surface mass balance. In Antarctica, ice losses continue to be dominated by mass loss from West Antarctica (82±9g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1) and, to a lesser extent, from the Antarctic Peninsula (13±5g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1). East Antarctica remains close to a state of balance, with a small gain of 3±15g€¯Gtg€¯yr-1, but is the most uncertain component of Antarctica's mass balance. The dataset is publicly available at 10.5285/77B64C55-7166-4A06-9DEF-2E400398E452 (IMBIE Team, 2021).

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Otosaka, I. N., Shepherd, A., Ivins, E. R., Schlegel, N. J., Amory, C., Van Den Broeke, M. R., … Wouters, B. (2023). Mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets from 1992 to 2020. Earth System Science Data, 15(4), 1597–1616. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-15-1597-2023

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