Workshop Proposal: West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) meetings have been held annually since 1994. This award supports the 17th annual WAIS meeting at the Pennsylvania State University. The intellectual merit of this award is that there are currently large uncertainties in sea-level rise estimates over the next century that are cause for concern for policymakers and the public. Projections of sea-level rise for the next century implicate the large polar ice sheets (in particular, marginal melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet and of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica) as the major contributors, but with significant uncertainty on the magnitude and timing of those contributions. Obtaining better constraints on those uncertainties requires better ice-sheet models and better inputs to the ice-sheet models, and a concerted, interdisciplinary effort including ice sheet modelers, ocean modelers, and observational efforts. Over the last two decades, the role of the Polar ice sheets has grown in importance with regards to global environmental and societal concerns. The WAIS community consists of glaciologists, geologists, atmospheric- and earth-scientists, oceanographers, and others. This workshop award supports a meeting that will examine these questions and will formulate a community strategy for the future. The particular science topics to be addressed are: 1) Ocean & Ice interactions: how important and how well-understood?; 2) Basal properties: mm to km scale importance; heat flow; 3) Ice sheet models: recent advances and future prospects; 4) Observations: satellites, airplanes, skidoos, and crampons; 5) History of the ice sheet: ice cores, ocean-bottom features, geology. In order to encourage a broad representation of early career scientists and scientists who might not have attended WAIS previously, this award provides funding for participant support that will lower the cost of attendance for many of the attendees. The broader impacts of this award are that priority for support will be given to early-career scientists, scientists from underrepresented groups, students, and scientists from science disciplines of importance to WAIS who have been absent in the past.The meeting will be held in central Pennsylvania in late September, 2010. WAIS is strongly interdisciplinary and high-visibility meeting. Students and researchers mingle in an informal setting that encourages the free exchange of ideas. WAIS meetings bring together scientists from many fields with a central focus on understanding ice sheets and sea level interactions, which as yet have large uncertainties.

Effective start/end date8/1/107/31/11


  • National Science Foundation: $25,440.00


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