This question on Maths SE asked how we might calculate the effect on sea level if all the world's ice (ie including the whole Antarctic ice sheet) were to melt. I posted an answer containing calculations suggesting - and this came as a surprise to me - that the rise in sea level would be up to about 40 metres more at high northern than at high southern latitudes. The key qualitative assumptions underlying this conclusion are:

  1. Most of the world's ice is in the Antarctic ice sheet.
  2. The melting of all the world's ice and spread of the resulting liquid water across the oceans would result in a shift in the earth's centre of gravity. Given 1 above, the shift would be towards the north.
  3. The shift in the earth's centre of gravity would not significantly affect the position of the earth's land masses and ocean bed which in this context can be regarded as a solid mass around which the ocean water would position itself.
  4. The distribution of liquid water across the world's oceans, though affected by other factors, is largely determined by the gravitational force pulling it towards the earth's centre of gravity. Hence a northward shift in the centre of gravity would pull a slightly larger proportion of the ocean water to the northern hemisphere.

Are these assumptions broadly correct?


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