Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms.
Global sea level rose about 8 inches (20 centimeters) in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and accelerating slightly every year.
Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September. September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.1 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. The graph above shows the average monthly Arctic sea ice extent each September since 1979, derived from satellite observations. The 2012 extent is the lowest in the satellite record.
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019, while Antarctica lost about 148 billion tons of ice per year.
Over the past 171 years, human activities have raised atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by 48% above pre-industrial levels starting in 1850. This is more than what had happened naturally over a 20,000 year period (from the Last Glacial Maximum to 1850, from 185 ppm to 280 ppm).