30 Aug 2022
30 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Mass Balance of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets from 1992 to 2020

Inès N. Otosaka1, Andrew Shepherd1, Erik R. Ivins2, Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel2, Charles Amory3, Michiel van den Broeke4, Martin Horwath5, Ian Joughin6, Michalea King6, Gerhard Krinner3, Sophie Nowicki7, Tony Payne8, Eric Rignot9, Ted Scambos10, Karen M. Simon11, Benjamin Smith6, Louise Sandberg Sørensen12, Isabella Velicogna2,9, Pippa Whitehouse13, Geruo A9, Cécile Agosta14, Andreas P. Ahlstrøm15, Alejandro Blazquez16, William Colgan15, Marcus Engdahl17, Xavier Fettweis18, Rene Forsberg12, Hubert Gallée3, Alex Gardner2, Lin Gilbert19, Noel Gourmelen20, Andreas Groh5, Brian C. Gunter21, Christopher Harig22, Veit Helm23, Shfaqat Abbas Khan12, Hannes Konrad24, Peter Langen25, Benoit Lecavalier26, Chia-Chun Liang9, Bryant Loomis27, Malcolm McMillan28, Daniele Melini29, Sebastian H. Mernild30, Ruth Mottram31, Jeremie Mouginot3, Johan Nilsson2, Brice Noël4, Mark E. Pattle32, William R. Peltier33, Nadege Pie34, Ingo Sasgen23, Himanshu Save34, Ki-Weon Seo35, Bernd Scheuchl9, Ernst Schrama36, Ludwig Schröder5, Sebastian B. Simonsen12, Thomas Slater1, Giorgio Spada37, Tyler Sutterley38, Bramha Dutt Vishwakarma39, Jan Melchior van Wessem4, David Wiese2, Wouter van der Wal11, and Bert Wouters11,4 Inès N. Otosaka et al.
  • 1Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States
  • 3Institute of Environmental Geosciences, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France
  • 4Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 5Institut für Planetare Geodäsie, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
  • 6Polar Science Center, University of Washington, Seattle, United States
  • 7Department of Geology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, United States
  • 8School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 9Earth System Science, University of California Irvine, Irvine, United States
  • 10Earth Science and Observation Center, CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, United States
  • 11Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geoscience, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 12Geodesy and Earth Observations, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
  • 13Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom
  • 14Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE-IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 15Glaciology and Climate, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 16Spatial Geophysics and Oceanography Studies Laboratory, Toulouse, France
  • 17ESA-ESRIN, Frascati, Italy
  • 18Geography, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  • 19Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, West Sussex, United Kingdom
  • 20University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 21Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, United States
  • 22Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, United States
  • 23Glaciology, Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 24Satellite-based Climate Monitoring, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach/Main, Germany
  • 25Department of Environmental Science, iClimate, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • 26Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada
  • 27Geodesy and Geophysics Laboratory, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, United States
  • 28Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom
  • 29Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
  • 30SDU Climate Cluster, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  • 31Research and Development Department, Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 32isardSAT, Guildford, United Kingdom
  • 33Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 34Center for Space Research, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, United States
  • 35Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
  • 36Department SpE, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, TU Delft, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 37Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 38Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, United States
  • 39Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India

Abstract. Ice losses from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets have accelerated since the 1990s, accounting for a significant increase in global mean sea level. Here, we present a new 29-year record of ice sheet mass balance from 1992 to 2020 from the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE). We compare and combine 50 independent estimates of ice sheet mass balance derived from satellite observations of temporal changes in ice sheet flow, in ice sheet volume and in Earth’s gravity field. Between 1992 and 2020, the ice sheets contributed 21.0 ± 1.9 mm to global mean sea-level, with the rate of mass loss rising from 105 Gt yr-1 between 1992 and 1996 to 372 Gt yr-1 between 2016 and 2020. In Greenland, the rate of mass loss is 169 ± 9 Gt yr-1 between 1992 and 2020 but there are large inter-annual variations in mass balance with mass loss ranging from 86 Gt yr-1 in 2017 to 444 Gt yr-1 in 2019 due to large variability in surface mass balance. In Antarctica, ice losses continue to be dominated by mass loss from West Antarctica (-82 ± 9 Gt yr-1) and to a lesser extent from the Antarctic Peninsula (-13 ± 5 Gt yr-1). East Antarctica remains close to a state of balance (3 ± 15 Gt yr-1), but is the most uncertain component of Antarctica’s mass balance.

Inès N. Otosaka et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-261', Kenneth Mankoff, 03 Sep 2022
    • CC2: 'Reply on CC1', Kenneth Mankoff, 03 Sep 2022
      • AC1: 'Response to referee and community comments', Ines Otosaka, 04 Dec 2022
    • AC1: 'Response to referee and community comments', Ines Otosaka, 04 Dec 2022
  • CC3: '“Peripheral glaciers matter” by Hugonnet R. & Berthier E.', Etienne Berthier, 12 Sep 2022
    • AC1: 'Response to referee and community comments', Ines Otosaka, 04 Dec 2022
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-261', Anny Cazenave, 26 Sep 2022
    • AC1: 'Response to referee and community comments', Ines Otosaka, 04 Dec 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-261', Ellyn Enderlin, 07 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Response to referee and community comments', Ines Otosaka, 04 Dec 2022
  • AC1: 'Response to referee and community comments', Ines Otosaka, 04 Dec 2022

Inès N. Otosaka et al.

Data sets

Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance 1992-2020 for IPCC AR6 The IMBIE Team

Model code and software

IMBIE2 Processor The IMBIE Team

Inès N. Otosaka et al.


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Short summary
By measuring changes in the volume, gravitational attraction and ice flow of Greenland and Antarctica from space, we can monitor their mass gain and loss over time. Here, we present a new record of the Earth’s polar ice sheets mass balance produced by aggregating 50 satellite-based estimates of ice sheet mass change. This new assessment shows that the ice sheets have lost 7.5 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2020, contributing 21 mm to sea level rise.