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Response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past and future climate change

Stokes, CR, Abram, NJ, Bentley, MJ, Edwards, TL, England, MH, Foppert, A ORCID: 0000-0003-2958-1454, Jamieson, SSR, Jones, RS, King, MA ORCID: 0000-0001-5611-9498, Lenaerts, JTM, Medley, B, Miles, BWJ, Paxman, Guy JG, Ritz, C, van de Flierdt, T and Whitehouse, PL 2022 , 'Response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past and future climate change' , Nature, vol. 608, no. 7922 , pp. 275-287 , doi:

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The East Antarctic Ice Sheet contains the vast majority of Earths glacier ice (about 52 metres sea-level equivalent), but is often viewed as less vulnerable to global warming than the West Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets. However, some regions of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet have lost mass over recent decades, prompting the need to re-evaluate its sensitivity to climate change. Here we review the response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past warm periods, synthesize current observations of change and evaluate future projections. Some marine-based catchments that underwent notable mass loss during past warm periods are losing mass at present but most projections indicate increased accumulation across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet over the twenty-first century, keeping the ice sheet broadly in balance. Beyond 2100, high-emissions scenarios generate increased ice discharge and potentially several metres of sea-level rise within just a few centuries, but substantial mass loss could be averted if the Paris Agreement to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius is satisfied.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Stokes, CR and Abram, NJ and Bentley, MJ and Edwards, TL and England, MH and Foppert, A and Jamieson, SSR and Jones, RS and King, MA and Lenaerts, JTM and Medley, B and Miles, BWJ and Paxman, Guy JG and Ritz, C and van de Flierdt, T and Whitehouse, PL
Journal or Publication Title: Nature
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 1476-4687
DOI / ID Number:
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© Springer Nature Limited 2022

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