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SCAR XXXI IP27: Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS): A Science Plan Popular

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XXXI SCAR Delegates Meeting
9-11 August 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina

SCAR XXXI IP27: Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS): A Science Plan

Information Paper 27
Agenda Item: 5.3
Person Responsible:

Executive Summary

Title: Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS): A Science Plan

Authors: C. J. van der Veen and ISMASS

Introduction/ Background: The importance of ice sheet modeling efforts has been magnified by recent reports suggesting that sea level rise remains the most poorly constrained and potentially catastrophic impact of climate change.

Important Issues or Factors: First, three scientific questions of great significance are posed. Englacial processes and the closely related numerical schemes for addressing them will be pivotal to advancement on the questions, but the other three component processes will play a role as well. The questions are:

  1. Will climate change lead to irreversible (non-linear, rapid) ice-sheet response?
  2. Does a rapid change lead to a large mass change?
  3. Are observed rapid changes “natural variability” or responses to warming?

In this contribution, the scientific background for each of the questions is presented. This is followed with a “roadmap” for studying the questions that is consistent with the best available data.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification: The SSGs and Delegates (along with potential partners such as ISMASS) need to evaluate how to take this initiative forward, for example should ISMASS be a potential future SRP?

Expected Benefits/Outcomes: The ISMASS document has been prepared to coordinate and focus scientific inquiry in the coming years

Partners: IASC are interested in cosponsoring the ISMASS initiative