Remote. Pristine. Unyielding. Antarctica was once all three; now it is none. Humanity ravaged Antarctica’s marine ecosystems and now tempts catastrophic sea-level rise. But, as collated in this Insight, we are also revealing the physical mechanisms that control Antarctica’s interactions with, and impact on, the broader climate system. Our current knowledge illuminates society’s looming choice for Antarctica’s future.
This paper discusses how Antarctic ice has changed over recent decades, and how these changes have been recorded in satellite observations.
A discussion of past Antarctic and global climate history as seen from Antarctic ice cores, with an outlook on future goals and drilling priorities.
The future of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean by 2070 is described under two scenarios, one in which action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and one in which no action is taken.