Articles

Changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

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Science  15 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5034, pp. 959-963
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5034.959

Abstract

The portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet that flows into the Ross Sea is thinning in some places and thickening in others. These changes are not caused by any current climatic change, but by the combination of a delayed response to the end of the last global glacial cycle and an internal instability. The near-future impact of the ice sheet on global sea level is largely due to processes internal to the movement of the ice sheet, and not so much to the threat of a possible greenhouse warming. Thus the near-term future of the ice sheet is already determined. However, too little of the ice sheet has been surveyed to predict its overall future behavior.