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The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is one of two large ice sheets in Antarcticamarker, and the largest on the entire planet. The EAIS lies between 45 o West and 168 o East longitudinally.

The EAIS is considerably larger in area and mass than the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). It is separated from the WAIS by the Transantarctic Mountainsmarker. The EAIS rests upon a large land mass, contrary to that of the WAIS, which rests on frozen water. The EAIS is also home to the thickest point on the Antarctic continent, at 15,700 ft (4,800 m). Most well known, however, is that the EAIS is home to the South Polemarker (commonly mistaken for the Magnetic South Pole.)

The East Antarctica Ranges are a group of mountain ranges situated on the EAIS. The East Antarctic two-thousanders are the 29 known peaks within these ranges whose summits reach or exceed 2000 meters above sea level.

Ice mass changes

Current international focus on global warming issues has drawn attention to the melting of the polar ice caps.According to researchers at the University of Michiganmarker, satellite radar altimeter data indicate that the EAIS interior area is actually gaining mass at a rate of 45 billion tonnes per year while a GRACE-based study found that the total Antarctic ice sheet (including WAIS, and EAIS coastal areas) is losing mass at a rate of 152 cubic kilometers (ca 139 billion tonnes) per year.Velicogna, Isabella; Wahr, John & Scott, Jim (2006-03-02), Antarctic ice sheet losing mass, says University of Colorado study, University of Colorado at Boulder, />. Retrieved on 2007-04-21

Temperature changes

Cooling in East Antarctica during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s partially offset warming of the West Antarctic ice sheet which has warmed by more than 0.1°C/decade in the last 50 years. The continent-wide average surface temperature trend of Antarctica is positive and significant at >0.05°C/decade since 1957.

Territorial claims

Many countries hold a claim on portions of Antarctica. Within EAIS, the United Kingdommarker, Francemarker, Norwaymarker, Australia, Chilemarker and Argentinamarker all claim a portion (sometimes overlapping) as their own territory.

See also

Scientific opinion on climate change


External links

E. J. Steig summary of paper on warming in West Antarctica referenced herein

Nature journal cover image depicting warming in Antarctica

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