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Investigating the warm climate stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet

last modified Oct 02, 2018 12:35 PM
Recent modelling studies predict that anthropogenic warming could lead to the loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in the next few centuries, and a big rise in sea level.
Investigating the warm climate stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet

Ice core drilling camp at Fletcher Promontory, close to where the new core will be collected ©Robert Mulvaney

This new project aims to discover whether the WAIS was destroyed by similar warming in the last interglacial, as modelling and indirect evidence suggest.

The five-year European Research Council (ERC) funded WACSWAIN project, led by Prof. Eric Wolff, will involve colleagues in the Department of Earth Sciences and at the British Antarctic Survey. During field seasons in the West Antarctic the team will drill two new ice cores. These will be analysed in Cambridge to understand past retreats of the ice sheet, allowing models for ice sheet cover on the continent over the past 130,000 years to be tested.