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Ice sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE)

Ice sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) Project Logo

The ice sheet mass balance inter-comparison exercise (IMBIE) was established in 2011 as a community effort to reconcile satellite measurements of ice sheet mass balance. IMBIE is a collaboration between scientists supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and contributes to assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IMBIE and the follow-on assessment IMBIE2 has led to improved confidence in the measurement of ice sheet mass balance and the associated global sea-level contribution. The improvements were achieved through combination of ice sheet imbalance estimates developed from the independent satellite techniques of altimetry, gravimetry and the input-output method. IMBIE (2012) and IMBIE2 (2016) have provided frameworks for assessing ice sheet mass balance, and IMBIE2 was explicitly successful in widening participation and enabling the entire scientific community to become involved. Going forwards, the planned IMBIE3 effort will focus on a more precise assessment of uncertainty, with incorporation of rigorous intercomparison and quantification of uncertainty sourced in key input, including surface mass balance and estimates of glacial isostatic adjustment.

IMBIE 2012

  • Shepherd et al., 2012 A reconciled estimate of ice sheet mass balance. Science, 338, 1183.

IMBIE 2016

  • The IMBIE Team, 2018, Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet from 1992 to 2017. Nature, 558, 219-222.
  • The IMBIE Team, 2020, Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2018. Nature, 579, 233-239.


Photo of Erik Ivins
Erik Ivins
Sea Level And Ice - Senior Scientist (Interim Employee Program)