The Antarctic Ice Sheets hold enough freshwater to raise global sea levels by 58m.
Even a partial collapse of the smaller (but still massive!) West Antarctic Ice Sheet could raise sea levels by 2-3m, displacing millions of people. We know Antarctica is losing ice and that in the future the ice sheets will be smaller than they are today.
To understand how quickly such configurations are reached we need to understand ice sheet behaviour at times in the past when they were potentially smaller than present.
To understand smaller than present configurations we need to access rock that is now covered by ice. This rock retains measurable properties that record when it was last uncovered by the ice sheet letting us work out when, and how quickly, this happened.
Across Antarctica scientists are beginning to use new technologies to get access to the sub-glacial environment to try to answer questions about how and where Antarctica might change in the future. This website shows how one of these projects aims to help us understand Antarctica' future.