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Answered 2012-01-01 07:44:16

Actually, the sea level would not rise appreciably--at least, not at first. Arctic ice is floating in water, and when melted, takes up less volume than ice does. This is an oversimplification, though, since the climate changes accompanying the increased amount of seawater--which would then evaporate in larger volumes, resulting in increased rainfall, etc.--are harder to predict.

It is the ice that is sitting on land that is important. Melting of continental ice sheets acts to raise sea-levels.

According to the Third Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change, the ice contained within Greenland Ice Sheet represents a sea-level rise equivalent of 7.2 metres (24 feet).

The ice contained within the Antarctic Ice-sheet represents 61.1 metres (200 feet) of sea-level change.

That is, if both the Antarctic Ice-Sheet, and the Greenland Ice-Sheet were to melt, sea-level would rise by 68.3 metres (224 feet).

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