ESA Antarctic Ice Sheet Climate Change Initiative (AIS_cci) Project:
Essential Climate Variable’s (ECV’s) describing change in Ice Sheet mass balance are societally relevant as ice sheet mass loss contributes on average 0.59 +/- 0.20 mm/yr to the rate of global sea level rise (Shepherd et al, 2012). Both the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) are losing ice mass at accelerating rates primarily as a response to oceanic forcing (Joughin, 2012), highlighting the increasing importance of accurately measuring and quantifying ice sheet mass balance. The vast size and remote location of Earth’s Ice Sheets makes them an ideal target for EO studies as it is logistically challenging and financially expensive to collect equivalent in situ datasets. EO satellites acquire independent yet complementary data sets over the majority of the AIS which enables a variety of geophysical parameters to be measured. In 2014 the Antarctic Ice Sheet Climate Change Initiative (AIS_cci) project was launched by a consortium of European scientists lead by Professor Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds. The aim of the project is to produce Surface Elevation Change (SEC), Ice Velocity (IV), Grounding Line Location (GLL) and Gravimetry Mass Balance (GMB) products from satellite EO datasets over the Antarctic Ice Sheet.