Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are losing large amounts of water to the world’s oceans. However, estimates of their contribution to sea level rise disagree. We provide a consensus estimate by standardizing existing, and creating new, mass-budget estimates from satellite gravimetry and altimetry and from local glaciological records. In many regions, local measurements are more negative than satellite-based estimates. All regions lost mass during 2003-2009, with the largest losses from Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes, and high-mountain Asia, but there was little loss from glaciers in Antarctica. Over this period, the global mass budget was -259 ¬± 28 gigatons per year, equivalent to the combined loss from both ice sheets and accounting for 29 ¬± 13% of the observed sea level rise.


Gardner, A., G. Moholdt, J.G. Cogley, B. Wouters, A. Arendt, J. Wahr, E. Berthier, R. Hock, W.T. Pfeffer, G. Kaser, S. Ligtenberg, T. Bolch, M. Sharp, J.O. Hagen, M. van den Broeke and F. Paul. 2013. A reconciled estimate of glacier contributions to sea level rise: 2003 to 2009. Science. 34(6134): 852-857. DOI: doi: 10.1126/science.1234532.