There is a general consensus among Earth scientists that melting of land ice greatly contributes to sea-level rise (SLR) and that future warming will exacerbate the risks posed to human civilization. As land ice is lost to the oceans, both the Earth’s gravitational and rotational potentials are perturbed, resulting in strong spatial patterns in SLR, termed sea-level fingerprints. We lack robust forecasting models for future ice changes, which diminishes our ability to use these fingerprints to accurately predict local sea-level (LSL) changes.

Volume changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet are poorly understood, despite the importance of the ice sheet to sea-level and climate variability. Over both millennial and shorter time scales, net water influx to the ice sheet (mainly snow accumulation) nearly balances water loss through ice calving and basal ice shelf melting at the ice sheet margins.