The 2016 SCAR Weypecht Lecturer, Prof Christina Hulbe, has recently published a Perspectives article in Science on the current understanding around the likelihood of a collapse in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS) and its implications.
Despite the extensive observations gathered since the vulnerability of the WAIS was first identified 40 years ago, model projections of the future rate of change can vary by a factor of ten. It is clear that in order to be able to plan for future climate scenarios, and potential sea level rises, the uncertainties in projections needs to be reduced. Christina identifies areas where both observations and modelling need to be improved to address these issues.
Christina Hulbe, “Is ice sheet collapse in West Antarctica unstoppable?”, Science 356, 6341, 2017. DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9728