West Antarctic ice sheet change since the Last Glacial Period
Article first published online: 26 JUN 2007
©2007. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 88, Issue 17, pages 189–190, 24 April 2007
How to Cite
2007), West Antarctic ice sheet change since the Last Glacial Period, Eos Trans. AGU, 88(17), 189–190, doi:10.1029/2007EO170001., et al. (
- Issue published online: 26 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 26 JUN 2007
The potential for rapid deglaciation, or collapse, of the 2-million-square-kilometer West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in response to climate change is one of the most serious environmental threats facing mankind. The WAIS is a marine ice sheet with large parts of its ice grounded below sea level. Complete collapse would result in a global sea level rise of approximately 5 meters, with immense social, economic, and ecological consequences.
While most experts consider such a collapse unlikely within the next few centuries, the Amundsen Sea sector has been identified as the most likely site for initiation of collapse, and it alone contains the potential to raise sea level by approximately 1.5 meters [Vaughan, 2007]. This would result in devastating flooding in many low-lying cities (e.g., New Orleans, London), agricultural areas (e.g., Netherlands, Bangladesh) and atolls (e.g., Maldives).