Ice Sheet Reconstructions

Once ice-sheet models have been verified and validated against the modern glaciological regime, they can be used to test geological hypotheses regarding past changes in Antarctica. Whereas the boundary conditions of the present ice sheet can be established reasonably well, past conditions are difficult to quantify. This difficulty obviously increases with past time. Researchers should be aware, therefore, of the limitations of ice-sheet models, and the reliability of information they are able to provide, given necessary assumptions about the past environment. Despite this problem, ice-sheet modelling has been used in innovative ways to help understand past ice-sheet changes in Antarctica. Two examples of such activities are provided below.

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