The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets under 1.5 °C global warming

Frank Pattyn, Catherine Ritz, Edward Hanna, Xylar Asay-Davis, Rob DeConto, Gaël Durand, Lionel Favier, Xavier Fettweis, Heiko Goelzer, Nicholas R. Golledge, Peter Kuipers Munneke, Jan T.M. Lenaerts, Sophie Nowicki, Antony J. Payne, Alexander Robinson, Hélène Seroussi, Luke D. Trusel, Michiel van den Broeke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Even if anthropogenic warming were constrained to less than 2 °C above pre-industrial, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will continue to lose mass this century, with rates similar to those observed over the past decade. However, nonlinear responses cannot be excluded, which may lead to larger rates of mass loss. Furthermore, large uncertainties in future projections still remain, pertaining to knowledge gaps in atmospheric (Greenland) and oceanic (Antarctica) forcing. On millennial timescales, both ice sheets have tipping points at or slightly above the 1.5–2.0 °C threshold; for Greenland, this may lead to irreversible mass loss due to the surface mass balance–elevation feedback, whereas for Antarctica, this could result in a collapse of major drainage basins due to ice-shelf weakening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1061
Number of pages9
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets under 1.5 °C global warming'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this