The main cause of the differences between existing Antarctic Ice Sheet model projections is the extent to which they incorporate processes that control the rapid melting of ice shelves, as well as rapid irreversible retreat into deep basins below sea-level. These processes include x and y.
Many of the models underestimate modern melt rates at the base of ice shelves. Better understanding of ocean circulation underneath the ice shelves is therefore critical for improving these ice flow models. This is why the IPCC has a “low confidence” and “medium confidence” set of projections for global sea-level rise.
Resolving the future melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in process-based models is one of the biggest challenges being addressed by the international Antarctic and climate research community.
Our modellers use equations and algorithms to run experiments to explore processes that might explain the changes we observe in the cores. These ‘paleo-validated’ models then help us see the future. They allow us to project the global consequences of change in Antarctica. Dr Molly PattersonCo-Chief Scientist
What's our aim?
We aim to improve our understanding of ice sheet processes and refine the numerical models, so that we can reduce uncertainty associated with Antarctic ice sheet behaviour and its contribution to sea-level rise.
Once the core has been recovered, it will be flown back to Scott Base and shipped to the Otago Repository for Core Analysis in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Our international team of scientists will meet at the core facility to describe and examine the core and sample it for further analysis at their home laboratories around the world.
Our ice sheet and climate modellers will join the team to develop experiments to simulate past environmental change using our new observations and data as guides and constraints (examples of models). The new records will be used to reconstruct past climate conditions and will tell us how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet behaved in the past. We can then test the climate and ice sheet models that we use to project, understand, and foresee our possible future.