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Antarctic Ice Sheet stability in a warming world

How will the Antarctic Ice Sheet respond to continued warming of the climate system? Will it collapse into the ocean, raising sea level by as much as 55 m globally? Is it perhaps impervious to warming on the scale anticipated for the coming centuries? Or does ice sheet sensitivity vary regionally? These are important questions, yet difficult to test in the absence of robust geologic data revealing how the ice sheet responded to past periods of climate change. I am involved in providing those data through field-based reconstruction of ice sheet behaviour over the past 15 million years.


NSF-funded research:

OPP- 1443321, Collaborative Research: Potential direct geologic constraints on ice sheet thickness in the central Transantarctic Mountains during the Pliocene warm period    [2015-2020] 

Gordon Bromley and Greg Balco (PIs) 

Margaret Jackson (field assistant)

Allie Balter-Kennedy (MS thesis student) 

Holly Thomas (undergraduate field assistant)

Chris Simmons (team mountaineer)


Balter-Kennedy et al., 2020. A 14.5-million-year record of East Antarctic Ice Sheet fluctuations from the central Transantarctic Mountains, constrained with cosmogenic 3He, 10Be, 21Ne, and 26Al. The Cryosphere 14, 2647-2672.

Bromley et al., 2020. A 14.5 million-year geologic record of East Antarctic Ice Sheet fluctuations in the central Transantarctic Mountains, constrained with multiple cosmogenic nuclides. EGU 2020-199999

The full cosmogenic surface-exposure dataset for this project is stored on the ICE-D database here

Read our 'Ancient Moraines: A field season in the Antarctic' field blog written by Allie Balter-Kennedy here

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