We present a method to estimate the glacier contribution to sea-level rise from glacier length records. These records form the only direct evidence of glacier changes prior to 1946, when the first systematic mass-balance observations began. A globally rep- resentative length signal is calculated from 197 length records from all continents by normalisation and averaging of 14 different regions. Next, the resulting signal is calibrated with mass-balance observations for the period 1961–2000. We find that the glacier contribution to sea level rise was 5.5±1.0 cm during the period 1850–2000 and 4.5±0.7 cm during the period 1900–2000
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