News Source: 
UW Today

The planet’s two largest ice sheets have been losing ice faster during the past decade, causing widespread confusion and concern. A new international study provides a firmer read on the state of continental ice sheets and how much they are contributing to sea-level rise.

Dozens of climate scientists have reconciled their measurements of ice sheet changes in Antarctica and Greenland during the past two decades. The results, published Nov. 29 in the journal Science, roughly halve the uncertainty and discard some conflicting observations.

“We are just beginning an observational record for ice,” said co-author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist in the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory who is lead author on an accompanying review article. “This creates a new long-term data set that will increase in importance as new measurements are made.”

The paper examined three methods that had been used by separate groups and established common places and times, allowing researchers to discard some outlying observations and showing that the results agree to within the uncertainties of the methods.