UMass Amherst Expert Can Discuss New Evidence that Antarctic Ice Sheets Edge Closer to Breakup

UMass Amherst Expert Can Discuss New Evidence that Antarctic Ice Sheets Edge Closer to Breakup UMass Amherst Expert Can Discuss New Evidence that Antarctic Ice Sheets Edge Closer to Breakup

September 16, 20202 min read
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It is reported this week that two West Antarctic glaciers on the Amundsen Sea, the Thwaites and Pine Island, are rapidly deteriorating, according to a report based on satellite images over the last two decades. Their breakup and melting could have a major effect on global sea-level rise. International expert in Antarctic ice sheets, shelves and melting and their contribution to global sea-level rise, Rob DeConto is available to speak with reporters on these developments.


UMass Amherst geoscientist Robert DeConto is one of the world’s leading experts on climate modeling, in particular how melting polar ice sheets and shelves are expected to contribute to global sea-level rise.


DeConto has an international reputation for his research using ancient sea level records, ice sheet reconstructions and ice core data to inform models that are now used for predictions on future sea-level rise. He won the 2016 Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica, which recognized this work.


His 2003 Nature paper with long-time collaborator David Pollard of Penn State is considered a classic and has been cited nearly 750 times. It provides a key to quantitatively defining the central role of greenhouse gases in Antarctica’s long-term evolution. It also established the basic methodology for a new generation of coupled climate-ice sheet modeling over both poles, and is one of the world’s best Antarctic ice sheet computer models. Their modeling tools and techniques now being used by researchers all over the world.


In 2014, he gave the prestigious S.T. Lee Lecture in Antarctic Studies in New Zealand. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1996 and conducted postdoctoral research at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder before joining the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1999.


DeConto, along with a team of climate scientists and geologists, recently received a five-year, $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to drill through the Greenland Ice Sheet and into the bedrock below, where they will be able to evaluate how long it has been since the last ice sheet retreated from the continent.




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  • Rob DeConto
    Rob DeConto Professor and Co-Director of the School of Earth and Sustainability

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

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