The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is one of the most dynamic and intriguing regions on Earth. It is the last major marine ice sheet, with several of the largest and most variable outlet glaciers in the world. It has been the site of extensive research on glacier flow, ice stream shear zones, ice sheet hydrology, sub-glacial lakes, and ice shelf dynamics and history. Studies of its climate, its oceanology, and its geology routinely reach the pages of the top peer-reviewed journals in science. WAIS has been the site of two major recent ice cores, at Siple Dome and at the WAIS Divide and a third at Roosevelt Island. There are several extensive aerogeophysical mapping campaigns. It is a key study region for ice-ocean interaction, climate tele-connections, and polar climate change. Most importantly, it is one of the largest potential contributors to sea level rise in the coming centuries.
A dedicated meeting, emphasizing the broad range of connected research topics and integrated system science study is essential to maximizing the success of Antarctic glaciology research funding. No other meeting during the year (no AGU or EGU session, no symposium of IGS) combines the variety of climate, ice, geophysics, ocean, and paleoclimate study that the WAIS Workshop does. The venue both maximizes the dissemination of results to the research community, and provides a venue that stimulates new ideas and collaborations.