Survey of the Antarctic ice sheet grounding line

Survey of the Antarctic ice sheet grounding line

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
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Dates / Project duration

January 2020 - December 2022 / 3 years

Field of action :

Study on climate change and its effects

Branch :


Location :


Project sponsor(s) :

University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute


A large part of the Antarctic coastline is made up of a grounding line. This zone is the boundary at which land ice detaches from the continent and falls into the ocean, becoming a platform of floating ice. This phenomenon directly contributes to rising sea levels. The retreat further inland of the grounding line zone therefore acts as a sensitive signal of ice loss.

The aim of this project, led by the Scott Polar Research Institute, is to produce a detailed time[1]series assessment of changes in the grounding line across the entire Antarctic ice sheet, through the establishment of the first comprehensive and continuous survey of the Antarctic coastline in nearly 15 years.

This project will therefore help to produce the first comprehensive mapping of the grounding line bordering the vast Antarctic ice sheet by collecting, processing, analysing and interpreting a set of satellite data. The results of this survey will provide vital information about climate change, which will reinforce international work on projecting sea level rise, and will facilitate the introduction of strategies to anticipate one of the major challenges of our era.