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The sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a changing climate: past, present and future


Noble, TL and Rohling, EJ and Aitkin, ARA and Bostock, HC and Chase, Z and Gomez, N and Jong, LM and King, MA and Mackintosh, AN and McCormack, FS and McKay, RM and Menviel, L and Phipps, SJ and Weber, ME and Fogwill, CJ and Gayen, B and Golledge, NR and Gwyther, DE and Hogg, AMcC and Martos, YM and Pena-Molino, B and Roberts, J and van de Flierdt, T and Williams, T, The sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a changing climate: past, present and future, Reviews of Geophysics, 58, (4) Article e2019RG000663. ISSN 8755-1209 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1029/2019RG000663


The Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is out of equilibrium with the current anthropogenic‐enhanced climate forcing. Paleo‐environmental records and ice sheet models reveal that the AIS has been tightly coupled to the climate system during the past, and indicate the potential for accelerated and sustained Antarctic ice mass loss into the future. Modern observations by contrast suggest that the AIS has only just started to respond to climate change in recent decades. The maximum projected sea level contribution from Antarctica to 2100 has increased significantly since the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, although estimates continue to evolve with new observational and theoretical advances. This review brings together recent literature highlighting the progress made on the known processes and feedbacks that influence the stability of the AIS. Reducing the uncertainty in the magnitude and timing of the future sea‐level response to AIS change requires a multi‐disciplinary approach that integrates knowledge of the interactions between the ice sheet, solid Earth, atmosphere, and ocean systems, and across timescales of days to millennia. We start by reviewing the processes affecting AIS mass change, from atmospheric and oceanic processes acting on short timescales (days‐decades), through to ice processes acting on intermediate timescales (decades‐centuries) and the response to solid Earth interactions over longer timescales (decades‐millennia). We then review the evidence of AIS changes from the Pliocene to the present, and consider the projections of global sea‐level rise, and their consequences. We highlight priority research areas required to improve our understanding of the processes and feedbacks governing AIS change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic Ice Sheet, climate change, sea level
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Noble, TL (Dr Taryn Noble)
UTAS Author:Chase, Z (Professor Zanna Chase)
UTAS Author:King, MA (Professor Matt King)
UTAS Author:Phipps, SJ (Dr Steven Phipps)
UTAS Author:Gwyther, DE (Dr David Gwyther)
ID Code:141284
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2020-10-12
Last Modified:2022-08-29
Downloads:22 View Download Statistics

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