Land ice loss—especially from northern hemisphere glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet—now exceeds thermal expansion in its contribution to rising sea level. While the loss of glacier mass has continued for the past few decades with a slight increase in recent years, the rate of mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet has dramatically increased in the past decade and continues to increase. These rapid changes are the result of increased discharge from grounded ice into the ocean and from increased ice melting, which more than outweigh increases in surface accumulation. In light of these observational facts, it is unsettling that neither quantitative prediction of future land ice loss nor credible estimation of an upper bound of future sea level are possible (IPCC, 2007). Correcting this situation requires a predictive understanding of the processes responsible for land ice loss.

The full science goals and objectives for the "Land Ice and Sea Level" theme can be found here.

SEARCH land ice activities are coordinated by an Action Team led by Dr. Waleed Abdalati and Dr. Ted Scambos.