PerspectiveClimate Change

On Thickening Ice?

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 451-452
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068919

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The large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica play an important role in global climate. Much attention has focused on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. In his Perspective, Alley highlights the report by Joughin et al., who show that in the region of the West Antarctic drainage into the Ross Sea, on average, the ice sheet is thickening slowly. Earlier studies indicated a net thinning in this region. The results may indicate the stabilization or readvance of the ice sheet, but the system is complex and existing data are insufficient to identify a trend.