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New Estimates for Ice Sheet Mass Loss

Science Highlight

October 8, 2020


Antarctic ice sheet 200 years after all floating ice shelves are removed. Shown are simulation results from ProSPect MALI

Science Achievement       

An international consortium of researchers has calculated new estimates for the melting of Earth's ice sheets due to greenhouse gas emissions and its impact on sea levels, showing that ice sheets could contribute more than 40 cm of rise by 2100.

Significance and Impact

As sea levels continue to rise due to increased melting and retreat of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, large areas of densely populated coastal land will be affected. It is important to understand the impact climate change could have on the rate of melting and, consequently, changes in sea level.

Research Details

  • The Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6), consisting of more than 60 scientists from 36 institutions across the world, used the latest generation of climate and ice sheet models to estimate the impacts of a changing climate on ice sheets and sea level.
  • Results were presented under multiple publications in a special issue of the journal The Cryosphere, published between June and October of 2020.
  • A team led by Stephen Price and Esmond Ng used the Los Alamos, Sandia, and Berkeley Lab-developed MALI and BISICLES ice sheet models for the study.
  • All ISMIP6 simulations conducted by DOE were run on NERSC supercomputers.

Related Links

The Cryosphere, Special Issue: The Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6)

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.