Insignificant Change in Antarctic Snowfall Since the International Geophysical Year

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Abstract

Antarctic snowfall exhibits substantial variability over a range of time scales, with consequent impacts on global sea level and the mass balance of the ice sheets. To assess how snowfall has affected the thickness of the ice sheets in Antarctica and to provide an extended perspective, we derived a 50-year time series of snowfall accumulation over the continent by combining model simulations and observations primarily from ice cores. There has been no statistically significant change in snowfall since the 1950s, indicating that Antarctic precipitation is not mitigating global sea level rise as expected, despite recent winter warming of the overlying atmosphere.

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