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ΔH - The change in ice thickness at a particular point.
dS/dH - The rate of change in local sea level at the chosen city due to ice thickness change at this point.
dS/dH * ΔH - The change in local sea level at the chosen city due to ice thickness change at this point.


Primary Controls


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To start the demo, click "Let's go" at any time. What our team from NASA/JPL at CalTech shows here are results from work published in Science Advances, "Should coastal planners have concern over where the land ice is melting?". Once you click "Let's go", choose your city. The results will show for the entire world, the contribution of icy areas to sea-level in your city. The colorbar means the following: red, strong contribution to sea-level rise in your city, blue: exact opposite, contribution to sea-level DECREASE, green: no contribution. Also displayed in the lower right are specific trends for your city (sea-level from ice, from specific basins, and total). If you want to know more, click "More Info".

All results presented here are precomputed and rendered on the fly. They rely on simulations carried out using the ISSM-SESAW (Adhikari et al., GMD 2016) and ISSM-AD (Larour et al., GMD 2016) capabilities. We have three results here: 1) the gradient fingerprint, which is the derivative dS/dH, where S is local relative sea level rise in your city, and H is ice thickness changes around the entire world. 2) ice thickness changes around the world measured by the GRACE mission. 3) the contribution of each glaciated area in the world to sea-level rise in your city (this is the default result displayed). The forward model itself (upon which the gradient computation is based) captures sea level rise over the entire planet, taking into account eustatic sea level (global mean sea level), sea level rise from perturbations to the gravity and rotational potential of the Earth, and sea level rise from local elastic rebound of the Earth's crust. Be careful, the results here show contributions from the glaciers/ice sheets, not the overall contribution from thermal expansion of the ocean, or dynamic effects such as ocean currents. For ease of use, we provide in the overlay (lower right) the "icy" component of sea-level rise in your city, the contribution from specific basins, and the total contribution (including thermal steric effects). You can download the results by clicking on the button prior to displaying.

Datasets Used for the Simulation

  • Coastline from Wessel, P., and W. H. F. Smith, A Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline Database, J. Geophys. Res., 101, #B4, pp. 8741-8743, 1996.
  • Ice forcing from 2003 to present-day from JPL RL05M GRACE mascon solution, provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (GRACE-JPL) (Watkins et al., 2015).

Model Settings

  • Anisotropic mesh refined to best capture the coastlines. Initial resolution, 400 km, anisotropically refined to 100 km for coastlines of both Greenland and Antarctica.
  • Coastline mapping using GMT - The Generic Mapping Tools, Version 5.1.1 (r12968) [64-bit] (c) 1991-2014 Paul Wessel, Walter H. F. Smith, R. Scharroo, J. Luis, and F. Wobbe.
  • Ocean vs Ice vs Continent mask determined using GMT and GSHHG.
  • Spherical geometry, radius = 6371.012 km.
  • Sea-level rise solution following Farrel and Clarke, 1976, according to algorithms described in Adhikari et al., GMD 2016.

How to Run the Simulation

In the Controls section, choose your local coastal city where the results are to be rendered as well as which result is to be displayed: 1) Local Sea Level Contribution from glaciers/ice sheets (the default), 2) the Gradient Fingerprint and 3) the Ice Thickness Change from GRACE to be displayed. The results will then be rendered automatically. For further experiments, you can chose to extrapolate GRACE ice thickness changes into the future (Time Series). You can also compute the contribution of a specific basin to Local Sea Level in your city. To download the gradient fingerprint map, click on the "Download" button.


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If you have any questions or feedback, please send us an email.

    Local Sea Level Change Contributed by Glaciers/Ice Sheets

    Basin contribution

    Total contribution (Ice + Ocean)

    data marker