Mass Balances of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets Monitored from Space

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review



Satellite data have revealed that the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are changing rapidly due to warming air and ocean temperatures. Crucially, Earth Observations can now be used to measure ice sheet mass balance at the continental scale, which can help reduce uncertainties in the ice sheets’ past, present, and future contributions to global mean sea level. The launch of satellite missions dedicated to the polar regions led to great progress towards a better assessment of the state of the ice sheets, which, in combination with ice sheet models, have furthered our understanding of the physical processes leading to changes in the ice sheets' properties. There is now a three-decade-long satellite record of Antarctica and Greenland mass changes, and new satellite missions are planned to both continue this record and further develop our observational capabilities, which is critical as the ice sheets remain the most uncertain component of future sea-level rise. In this paper, we review the mechanisms leading to ice sheets' mass changes and describe the state of the art of the satellite techniques used to monitor Greenland’s and Antarctica’s mass balance, providing an overview of the contributions of Earth Observations to our knowledge of these vast and remote regions.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages38
Journal Surveys in geophysics : an international review journal of geophysics and planetary sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85161972093
ORCID /0000-0001-5797-244X/work/142246561


DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Antarctica, Earth Observations, Greenland, Ice sheets, Sea level

Library keywords