Small perturbations in Antarctic environmental conditions can culminate in the demise of the Antarctic ice sheet's western sector. This may have happened during the last interglacial period, and could recur within the next millennium due to atmospheric warming from trace gas and CO/sub 2/ increases. In this study, we investigate the importance of sea-level, accumulation rate, and ice influx from the East Antarctic ice sheet in the re-establishment of the West Antarctic ice sheet from a thin cover using a time-dependent numerical ice-shelf model. Our results show that a precursor to the West Antarctic ice sheet can form within 3000 years. Sea-level lowering caused by ice-sheet development in the Northern Hemisphere has the greatest environmental influence. Under favorable conditions, ice grounding occurs over all parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet except up-stream of Thwaites Glacier and in the Ross Sea region.