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The group of Dutch researchers contends that the new estimate of the mass balance of Antarctica is as reliable as the reliability given to current atmospheric models. The only improvement that could be offered would have to come from new surface mass balance observations from poorly covered high accumulation regions in coastal Antarctica. Until then, there is little evidence to disprove their conclusion that the mass of Antarctica’s grounded ice sheet steadily grew from 1980 to 2004.
The doomsday portraits of Antarctica’s glaciers reacting to a global climate change should be blurry at best. Consensus on changes in ice sheet thickness and their causes is difficult, and therefore of limited use on either side of the global warming debate. As Monaghan et al. (2006) state, “Vigorous efforts are needed to better understand this remote but important part of the planet and its role in global climate and sea level rise.”