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Journal Article

The Antarctic Ice Sheet–A Sleeping Giant?


Winkelmann,  Ricarda
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Nicola,  Lena
External Organizations;

Notz,  Dirk
External Organizations;

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Winkelmann, R., Nicola, L., Notz, D. (2022): The Antarctic Ice Sheet–A Sleeping Giant? - Frontiers for Young Minds, 10, 702643.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26972
The coldest, the windiest, the driest: the continent of Antarctica is a place of extremes. Located at the South Pole, Antarctica is covered by a vast ice sheet, millions of years old and in some areas more than 4,000 m thick. If all this ice were to melt, sea levels would rise by roughly 58 m. Despite its massive size, the Antarctic ice sheet is vulnerable, losing more and more ice as the climate is warming. Most of this ice loss happens along the coast, where the ice sheet slowly flows into the ocean and forms ice shelves, which melt from below because of the comparably warmer ocean water. While the ice loss is still relatively slow right now, several processes could accelerate it and eventually even make it partly unstoppable. Wide-spread ice loss can only be prevented on the long-term if we manage to limit global warming to well below 2°C.