PerspectiveCryosphere

Ice sheet in peril

Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 562-563
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad9997

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Summary

Earth's large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are major contributors to sea level change. At present, the Greenland Ice Sheet (see the photo) is losing mass in response to climate warming in Greenland (1), but the present changes also include a long-term response to past climate transitions. On page 590 of this issue, MacGregor et al. (2) estimate the mean rates of snow accumulation and ice flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 9000 years based on an ice sheet-wide dated radar stratigraphy (3). They show that the present changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet are partly an ongoing response to the last deglaciation. The results help to clarify how sensitive the ice sheet is to climate changes.

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