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Robert M. DeConto - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Robert M. DeConto Robert M. DeConto

Professor and Co-Director of the School of Earth and Sustainability | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Rob DeConto is one of the world's leading experts on modeling polar ice sheets, sea level rise and ocean response to climate change.


Expertise (8)

Ice Sheets and Sea Level




Earth System Modeling

Sea Level Rise


Ice Sheets


One of the world's leading experts on modeling polar ice sheets, sea-level rise and ocean response to climate change, Rob DeConto has been sought after by publications including National Geographic, the BBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post for commentary on the effect of climate change on the Earth.





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Report on Climate Change (DeConto begins at 32:00) Melting Ice, Rising Seas (Part Four) - Prof Rob DeConto, University of Massachusetts Rob DeConto PhD: Sea Level Rise from Antarctic Cliff Failure


Education (1)

University of Colorado: Ph.D.

Media Coverage (9)

Eye-opening NOAA report on rising sea levels 'a global wake-up call'



Rob Deconto, geosciences, is interviewed extensively in a story on the recent NOAA report on rising sea levels that serve as a global wake-up call. “Beyond 2050, we need to be able to adapt to the potential for much, much higher sea levels,” Deconto says. “So whatever planning we do, infrastructure that we build, it needs to be adaptable with the consideration that the sea level could be very, very high.”

rob deconto being interviewed

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Emissions Cuts Could Drop the Impact of Melting Ice on Oceans by Half

The New York Times  print


This New York Times article is part of worldwide coverage of new research led by UMass Amherst's Rob DeConto finding that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could reduce sea level rise from melting glaciers and the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets from about 10 inches to about five by 2100.

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Antarctica's ice sheet is critical to the fate of coastal cities. How much it will melt remains a big question

CNN  tv


Rob DeConto, a climate scientist and glaciologist at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is lead author of a new study showing that a tipping point for Antarctica's ice sheet likely exists somewhere in between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius of warming, but exactly where is difficult to pinpoint. "We don't know exactly where it is," Deconto said. "I'd like to hope that we're wrong and it's somewhere well above 3 degrees (Celsius)."

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Emissions Cuts Could Drop the Impact of Melting Ice on Oceans by Half

The New York Times  print


A new study led by Rob DeConto looked at Antarctica ice found that overshooting targets and reaching 3 degrees Celsius of warming — which the world is roughly on track to do, given current pledges to cut emissions — could trigger an abrupt increase in the rate of melting around 2060, and drive a rate at the end of the century that would be 10 times faster than today.

melting ice sheet

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UMass Amherst To Study Melting Greenland Ice Sheet



It was recently announced that a team of UMass scientists would embark on a research study of the melting ice sheet in Greenland. Professor Rob DeConto, Co-Director, School of Earth & Sustainability Department of Geosciences at UMass Amherst, joins us to discuss this project.

rob deconto in WWLP appearance

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Boston already has some of the nation’s worst tidal flooding — and it will get much worse, study finds

The Boston Globe  print


With some of the nation’s highest tides ever recorded, Boston has had more sunny-day flooding than nearly any other coastal community in the country — and the worst is yet to come as sea levels rise, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at UMass Amherst who helped develop the Antarctica research, called the NOAA report “sobering” and said it underscored the dangers facing Boston. “This problem isn’t going to go away,” he said

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‘There’s no scenario that stops sea level rise in this century,’ dire U.N. climate report warns

Science magazine  print


Commenting on a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released today by the United Nations, Rob DeConto, professor of geosciences, says while odds are low that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse in this century, the impacts of a collapse would be monumental.

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Climate change: Warning from 'Antarctica's last forests'

BBC  online


It's not clear how fast the glaciers of Antarctica can respond to warming. Conceivably very fast, is the answer from Professor Rob DeConto from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He runs computer models which incorporate physical processes in the ice that can result in the rapid collapse of cliffs at the front of Antarctic glaciers terminating in the ocean. "Today we are measuring sea-level rise in millimetres per year. So, a little more than 3mm per year right now," he explained.

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Today’s Earth looks a lot like it did 115,000 years ago. All we’re missing is massive sea level rise.

The Washington Post  print


"There’s no way to get tens of meters of sea level rise without getting tens of meters of sea level rise from Antarctica,” said Rob DeConto, an Antarctic expert at the University of Massachusetts. Some researchers, including DeConto, think they have found a key process — called marine ice cliff collapse — that can release a lot of sea level rise from West Antarctica in a hurry.

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Publications (1)

The Paris Climate Agreement and future sea-level rise from Antarctica


Robert M. DeConto et al


Professor DeConto describes new research he led that showed the world is on track to exceed three degrees Celsius of global warming, a scenario that would drastically accelerate the pace of sea-level rise by 2100.

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