Will the Ice Disappear and Cause Sea Level Rise?

When wondering whether melting ice will make the level of the oceans rise, one has to remember two things.

First of all, the ice in Antarctica or Greenland, for example, is what is known as continental ice and is formed by snow which has fallen, accumulated and, over time, become ice, like an immense glacier. When this ice melts, it adds water to the ocean and makes the sea level rise. Consequently, if all the ice in Greenland were to melt, the level of the oceans would rise on average about 7 metres. If this were to happen in the Antarctic, on the other hand, there is so much ice there that sea levels would rise 55 metres.

By contrast, were the ice in the North Pole to melt, according to the Archimedes' principle this would not make the level of the oceans rise, because this type of ice was formed by seawater that was already there before it froze.

These are, in conclusion, the two elements we must bear in mind when we talk about melting ice in connexion with sea level rise.


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