Brief communication: On calculating the sea-level contribution in marine ice-sheet models

Heiko Goelzer*, Violaine Coulon, Frank Pattyn, Bas De Boer, Roderik Van De Wal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Estimating the contribution of marine ice sheets to sea-level rise is complicated by ice grounded below sea level that is replaced by ocean water when melted. The common approach is to only consider the ice volume above floatation, defined as the volume of ice to be removed from an ice column to become afloat. With isostatic adjustment of the bedrock and external sea-level forcing that is not a result of mass changes of the ice sheet under consideration, this approach breaks down, because ice volume above floatation can be modified without actual changes in the sea-level contribution. We discuss a consistent and generalised approach for estimating the sea-level contribution from marine ice sheets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-840
Number of pages8
JournalThe Cryosphere
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2020


Financial support. Heiko Goelzer has received funding from the programme of the Netherlands Earth System Science Centre (NESSC), financially supported by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) under grant no. 024.002.001. Vio-laine Coulon was funded by the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique de Belgique (F.R.S. – FNRS) with a F.R.S. – FNRS Research Fellowship. Bas de Boer is funded by the SCOR Corporate Foundation for Science.

FundersFunder number
SCOR Corporate Foundation for Science
Fonds De La Recherche Scientifique - FNRS
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap024.002.001
Netherlands Earth System Science Centre


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