Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS) Expert Group

Terms of Reference

ISMASS was established in 1993 as a SCAR-tasked group on Antarctic mass balance and sea-level contribution, which has since become bipolar. ISMASS is international and interdisciplinary across the spectrum of relevant ice-sheet mass balance disciplines, and is a self-governing expert group sponsored by SCAR, IASC and CliC. ISMASS aims to:

  • Assess the status of research on interactions between ice sheets and the climate and Earth systems, and identify gaps in current understanding requiring process studies, sustained and targeted campaign-based observations and model development and experiments.
  • Serve SCAR, IASC, CliC, research sponsors and other organizations as a source of knowledge on ice-sheet mass balance and propose directions for future research in this area.
  • Facilitate and serve as a forum for the evaluation and promotion of scientific understanding of ice-sheet system models for both Antarctica and Greenland, in particular with respect to their contributions to global sea-level rise, and to make such information readily available to scientists, policymakers, and the wider public.
  • Keep track of the status of ice-sheet research carried out and sponsored by scientific organizations such as WGMS, GLIMS, IACS and IGS, and liaise with them to ensure that respective activities contribute as much as possible to the objectives of SCAR, IASC and CliC.
  • Promote collaboration between all disciplines (e.g. atmospheric, oceanographic, cryospheric, biogeochemical, solid earth and palaeoclimate sciences) that have an interest in interactions between ice sheets and climate, and on rapid response to modern ocean and atmosphere forcings.
  • Work in concert with relevant SCAR, IASC and CliC panels and other groups to integrate ice-sheet observations and modelling into corresponding global and regional activities, and ensure that our collective objectives are met and resources used most efficiently.
  • Work with appropriate agencies on the distribution and archiving of ice-sheet observations and model output.
  • Attract a new generation of scientists, via interaction with groups such as APECS, into the field of ice-sheet mass balance research.