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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Pippa Whitehouse

Whitehouse, P.L., Gomez, N., King, M.A. & Wiens, D.A. Solid Earth change and the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Nature Communications. 2019;10:503.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that Antarctica has the potential to contribute up to ~15 m of sea-level rise over the next few centuries. The evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is driven by a combination of climate forcing and non-climatic feedbacks. In this review we focus on feedbacks between the Antarctic Ice Sheet and the solid Earth, and the role of these feedbacks in shaping the response of the ice sheet to past and future climate changes. The growth and decay of the Antarctic Ice Sheet reshapes the solid Earth via isostasy and erosion. In turn, the shape of the bed exerts a fundamental control on ice dynamics as well as the position of the grounding line—the location where ice starts to float. A complicating issue is the fact that Antarctica is situated on a region of the Earth that displays large spatial variations in rheological properties. These properties affect the timescale and strength of feedbacks between ice-sheet change and solid Earth deformation, and hence must be accounted for when considering the future evolution of the ice sheet.