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Global sea level rose by about 120 meters during the several millennia that followed the end of the last ice age (approximately 21,000 years ago), and stabilized between 3,000 and 2,000 years ago. Sea level indicators suggest that global sea level did not change significantly from then until the late 19th century when the instrumental record of sea level change shows evidence for an onset of sea level rise. Estimates for the 20th century show that global average sea level rose at a rate of about 1.7 millimeters per year. Satellite altimetry observations, available since the early 1990s, provide more accurate sea level data with nearly global coverage and indicate that since 1993 sea level has been rising at a rate of about 3 millimeters per year.
Antarctica and Greenland, the world's largest ice sheets, make up the vast majority of the Earth's ice. If these ice sheets melted entirely, sea level would rise by more than 70 meters.