Present distribution of glaciers

The large ice sheets of Antarctica (85.7 per cent) and Greenland (10.9 per cent) together represent 96.6 per cent of the world's total glacierized area (13,586,310 km2). About two-thirds of the remaining 3.4 per cent (ca. 550,000 km2) are high-latitude ice caps and ice fields, and one-third mountain glaciers. Table 4.1 shows the distribution of glacierized areas of the world. The volumes of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are estimated to be 30,100,000 km3 (91.8 per cent) and 2,600,000 km3 (7.9 per cent), respectively. The volume of the remaining glaciers is estimated to 100,000 km3 (0.3 per cent), making a total glacial volume of 32,800,000 km . Estimates suggest that about 80 per cent of the world's freshwater is stored in glacier ice. If the West and East Antarctic ice sheets melted, sea-level would rise by 5 m and 60 m, respectively. Greenland would add another 5 m to sea-level rise, while the remaining glaciers would contribute less than 1 metre. Thus, if all glaciers and ice sheets melted, global sea-level would rise about 70 m.

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