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East Antarctic Marine Ice Sheet Instability (EA-MISI): exchange and disseminate knowledge on Ice-Ocean-Lithosphere Interplay - ICEOLIA new European Research Council synergy project preparation

International efforts are currently focused mainly on understanding the thinning of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which is projected to collapse by the end of 2100 under current emissions scenarios. Few projects address the response of the much larger East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) to current and future climate warming. However, ice in sectors where the EAIS is grounding below Sea levels is projected to retreat significantly by the year 2500 if no action is taken to mitigate climate change. However, given the large uncertainties in current model projections, there is an urgent need for more observational data from this sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that can better inform the models used to estimate global sea level rise so that policy makers can take timely mitigation and adaptation actions.

The EA-MISI service aims to provide a roadmap for a multi-year, international, cooperative, scientific study of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) with a particular focus on the George V Land (GVL) and Wilkes Land (WL) sectors. This sector has the potential to experience marine ice sheet instability (MISI) forced by continued warming of the Southern Ocean (IPCC AR5, Church et al., 2014). Its ice volume is equivalent to 4-6 meters of global sea level rise, but the mechanisms (forcing and feedbacks) that determine its sensitivity to global atmospheric and ocean warming are unknown due to sparse data and direct observations.

The EA-MISI service shares knowledge, promotes discussion of best practices and procedures within the consortium of partners for sharing infrastructures for new data collection, data model integration, data policy, and technology development.

EA-MISI will organize three meetings in 2023 and 2024 to produce reports that will be presented to stakeholders and international organizations. The results of EA-MISI will be the basis for signing international Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between different countries to implement coordinated actions with national, EU and extra-EU funds when available. The results of the EA-MISI meeting are relevant for the preparation of a new ERC synergy proposal (ICE – Ocean – Lithosphere Interplay in East Antarctica, ICEOLIA) led by France and Italy and involving other EU and non-EU countries. The reports from EA-MISI will also be useful for future European research calls dealing with the study of polar regions in order to reduce uncertainties in the prediction of global sea level rise.





Dr. Laura De Santis

National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics – OGS, Italy


Dr. Guilhem Barruol  

Institut des Geosciences de l’Environnement IGE – Grenoble,  UMR CNRS, France