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Ocean heat drives rapid basal melt of the Totten Ice Shelf


Rintoul, SR and Silvano, A and Pena-Molino, B and van Wijk, E and Rosenberg, M and Greenbaum, JS and Blankenship, DD, Ocean heat drives rapid basal melt of the Totten Ice Shelf, Science Advances, 2, (12) Article 1601610. ISSN 2375-2548 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601610


Mass loss from the West Antarctic ice shelves and glaciers has been linked to basal melt by ocean heat flux. The Totten Ice Shelf in East Antarctica, which buttresses a marine-based ice sheet with a volume equivalent to at least 3.5 m of global sea-level rise, also experiences rapid basal melt, but the role of ocean forcing was not known because of a lack of observations near the ice shelf. Observations from the Totten calving front confirm that (0.22 0.07) 106 m3 s−1 of warm water enters the cavity through a newly discovered deep channel. The ocean heat transport into the cavity is sufficient to support the large basal melt rates inferred from glaciological observations. Change in ocean heat flux is a plausible physical mechanism to explain past and projected changes in this sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea level.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Totten Glacier, ocean-ice shelf interaction, polynya, basal melt, East Antarctic Ice Sheet
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical Oceanography
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Other Environment
Objective Field:Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Oceanography
Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
Author:Silvano, A (Mr Alessandro Silvano)
Author:Pena-Molino, B (Dr Beatriz Pena-Molino)
Author:Rosenberg, M (Mr Mark Rosenberg)
ID Code:113780
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2017-01-20
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:17 View Download Statistics

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