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Glacial Retreat in Antarctica and Deglaciation of the Earth System (GRADES)


GRADES was designed to investigate the state and stability of the Antarctic ice sheet, and its results will contribute to a better prediction of how the WAIS contributes to sea level rise.

Throughout the project ice-sheet models will be developed and tested using newly acquired ice-sheets histories. These models will use satellite data, reconstruct ions of past states of the ice sheet and new data assimilation techniques.

This project has three components:

  • IMAGE: Inverse Modelling of Antarctica and Global Eustasy
  • TIGRIS: TargetIngs Glacial Retreat and Ice-stream Systems
  • QWAD: Quaternary West Antarctic Deglaciations

GRADES has links to other BAS programs like GEACEP, CACHE, ACES and COMPLEXITY.


  • Understand the role of ice sheet disintegration in global climate change
  • Assess what is causing the current imbalance in the WAIS
  • Search for evidence of previous periods of rapid ice loss in the WAIS
  • Determine the contribution of the WAIS to future sea level change

Data Availability

The data produced during this project are available to the academic community.

Acronyms used in the text:

  • WAIS- West Antarctic Ice Sheet
  • GEACEP- Greenhouse to ice-house: Evolution of the Antarctic Cryosphere and Palaeoenvironment
  • CACHE- Climate and Chemistry: forcings , feedbacks and phasings in the Earth System
  • ACES- Antarctic Climate and the Earth System
  • COMPLEXITY- Natural Complexity Programme