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The suppression of Antarctic bottom water formation by melting ice shelves in Prydz Bay


Williams, GD and Herraiz-Borreguero, L and Roquet, F and Tamura, T and Ohshima, KI and Fukamachi, Y and Fraser, AD and Gao, L and Chen, H and McMahon, CR and Harcourt, R and Hindell, M, The suppression of Antarctic bottom water formation by melting ice shelves in Prydz Bay, Nature Communications, 7 Article 12577. ISSN 2041-1723 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 the author(s) Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/ncomms12577


A fourth production region for the globally important Antarctic bottom water has been attributed to dense shelf water formation in the Cape Darnley Polynya, adjoining Prydz Bay in East Antarctica. Here we show new observations from CTD-instrumented elephant seals in 20112013 that provide the first complete assessment of dense shelf water formation in Prydz Bay. After a complex evolution involving opposing contributions from three polynyas (positive) and two ice shelves (negative), dense shelf water (salinity 34.6534.7) is exported through Prydz Channel. This provides a distinct, relatively fresh contribution to Cape Darnley bottom water. Elsewhere, dense water formation is hindered by the freshwater input from the Amery and West Ice Shelves into the Prydz Bay Gyre. This study highlights the susceptibility of Antarctic bottom water to increased freshwater input from the enhanced melting of ice shelves, and ultimately the potential collapse of Antarctic bottom water formation in a warming climate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic Bottom Water, southern elephant seals, ice shelves, Prydz Bay
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Williams, GD (Mr Guy Williams)
UTAS Author:Tamura, T (Dr Takeshi Tamura)
UTAS Author:Fraser, AD (Dr Alex Fraser)
UTAS Author:Hindell, M (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:113753
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT130100692)
Web of Science® Times Cited:89
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-01-19
Last Modified:2018-03-28
Downloads:162 View Download Statistics

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