Improve Predictions of Future Land Ice Loss and Impacts on Sea Level

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 Robert Bindschadler, NASA Scientist Emeritus and Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center.


WCRP/IOC Conference on Regional Sea Level Changes and Coastal Impacts

Jochen Hinkel
During the week of July 10-14, 2017, over 350 scientists from 34 countries attended the International WCRP/IOC Conference on Regional Sea Level Changes and Coastal Impacts. It was held during a steamy week at Columbia University in New York City, but attendees were able to stay cool listening to talks that addressed sea level from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and covering time scales from paleo, to contemporary, to future projections. Over half of the members of SEARCH's Land Ice Action Team (LIAT) attended. The fact that each LIAT member gave an oral presentation (a number of them invited) reflects the prominence of their research activities in this international scientific community. The conference program and many of the presentations can be viewed at One stated objective of the conference was to identify stakeholder needs for sea-level information for coastal planning and management purposes. This is also a key LIAT objective and a number of discussions with the stakeholders in attendance identified the opportunity of a follow-on workshop where stakeholders and scientists can co-produce actionable information for improved coastal management decision support.

For more information, contact R. Bindschadler (bobbindschadler [at]