Climate Change: Ice Sheets Melt and Changes in the Arctic

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Chapter 1 focuses on the science to understand the physical processes and projections of mass loss of the major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as of mountain and other land-based glaciers. The chapter reports on current projections of glacier mass loss due to anthropogenic climate change, and in turn how that will affect sea level. The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future as reported in chapter 2. Issues such as Arctic territorial disputes; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation, tension, or competition.

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