Abstract

Since the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, new observations of ice-sheet mass balance and improved computer simulations of ice-sheet response to continuing climate change have been published. Whereas Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing pace, current Antarctic ice loss is likely to be less than some recently published estimates. It remains unclear whether East Antarctica has been gaining or losing ice mass over the past 20 years, and uncertainties in ice-mass change for West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula remain large. We discuss the past six years of progress and examine the key problems that remain.

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Acknowledgements

The work presented here is based on the Ice-Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS) workshop that was held in Portland, Oregon, USA, on 14 July 2012. This workshop was jointly organized by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Word Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and was co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), SCAR, IASC, WCRP, the International Glaciological Society (IGS) and the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS), with support from Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK

    • Edward Hanna
  2. Departamento de Matemática Aplicada a las Tecnologías de la Información, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain

    • Francisco J. Navarro
  3. Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

    • Frank Pattyn
  4. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia

    • Catia M. Domingues
  5. Department of Geography, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium

    • Xavier Fettweis
  6. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109-8099, USA

    • Erik R. Ivins
  7. Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

    • Robert J. Nicholls
  8. Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, UJF – Grenoble 1/CNRS, 38402 Saint-Martin d’Heres, France

    • Catherine Ritz
  9. Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105, USA

    • Ben Smith
  10. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA

    • Slawek Tulaczyk
  11. Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

    • Pippa L. Whitehouse
  12. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA

    • H. Jay Zwally

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Contributions

E.H. coordinated the study, E.H., F.J.N. and F.P. led the writing, and all authors contributed to the writing and discussion of ideas.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Edward Hanna.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12238

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