West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) initiative is a multidisciplinary research program designed to answer two critical, interrelated climate questions: How will the unstable West Antarctic ice sheet affect future sea level? How do rapid global climate changes occur?

The WAIS home page is designed for both the general public and for scientists who are either interested in the program or who are participants in research on the ice sheet.

For a general discussion of the various topics involved in this important research program, take a look at the WAIS Illustrated Summary. For more in-depth information, read the Science and Implementation Plan. For information about the WAIS Workshop, see the WAIS home page.

Selected Background Articles

"On Thin Ice?" (Scientific American feature article, December 2002, Vol. 287, No. 6, pp 98-105) (Subscription required)

Perspective: "Future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet" (Science, October 16, 1998)

"What is Happening to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?" (Published in Eos, Vol. 79, No. 22, June 2, 1998)


Scambos, T. (2011). Earth’s ice: Sea level, climate, and our future commitment. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists67(1), 28-40.
Fox, D. (2012). Witness to an Antarctic Meltdown. Scientific American 307, 54 - 61 Published online: 19 June 2012 | doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0712-54