Conclusions

This survey of ice in the Antarctic Sector of the Pacific has shown that the diverse ice forms there are understood in general terms. Their distribution and other characteristics are complex and very significant in environmental and human terms.

However, important information on physical process is still lacking. More data on the mass balance and flow of the Ross Ice Shelf and the major glaciers in Pine Island Bay are needed so that the ice sheets response to global change, for example the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, can be determined and properly modelled. The distribution, volume, production and decay of icebergs need to be better known to help refine estimates of the mass balance of the ice sheet, iceberg production rates and to quantify the iceberg hazard. More information on the distribution and properties of sea ice, especially in winter, is needed to produce better models and improve our understanding of this important component of the earth. Obtaining such information is becoming increasingly urgent with the likelihood of significant climate change in the next few decades and its effects on Antarctic ice.

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