W0 E30 E

Kilometers

Figure 42.1 The Antarctic Ice Sheet today. The image is a synthetic aperture radar mosaic acquired by the Canadian satellite Radarsat. (Reproduced courtesy of Radarsat and Ken Jezek, Byrd Polar Research Institute.)

Kilometers

Figure 42.1 The Antarctic Ice Sheet today. The image is a synthetic aperture radar mosaic acquired by the Canadian satellite Radarsat. (Reproduced courtesy of Radarsat and Ken Jezek, Byrd Polar Research Institute.)

sheet are now possible and we have moved forward into a new realm of investigation—strong evidence is emerging that the Antarctic Ice Sheet is changing. In this chapter, we shall show that some of these changes are gross whereas others are surprisingly subtle, and that they operate over a range of time-scales with a variety of causes and varying degrees of predictability.

Thirty years of research in Antarctica have taken us from an almost blank map to a growing understanding of a constantly changing ice sheet of enormous complexity. Understanding this complexity and the interplay between drivers of change is a huge task that could take many more years. Unfortunately, we probably cannot afford to take that long, because it is also increasingly clear that changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be felt across the world, sooner rather than later.

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