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Intrinsic processes drive variability in basal melting of the Totten Glacier Ice Shelf


Gwyther, DE and O'Kane, TJ and Galton-Fenzi, BK and Monselesan, DP and Greenbaum, JS, Intrinsic processes drive variability in basal melting of the Totten Glacier Ice Shelf, Nature Communications, 9, (1) Article 3141. ISSN 2041-1723 (2018) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2018 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05618-2


Over the period 20032008, the Totten Ice Shelf (TIS) was shown to be rapidly thinning, likely due to basal melting. However, a recent study using a longer time series found high interannual variability present in TIS surface elevation without any apparent trend. Here we show that low-frequency intrinsic ocean variability potentially accounts for a large fraction of the variability in the basal melting of TIS. Specifically, numerical ocean model simulations show that up to 44% of the modelled variability in basal melting in the 15 year timescale (and up to 21% in the 510 year timescale) is intrinsic, with a similar response to the full climate forcing. We identify the important role of intrinsic ocean variability in setting the observed interannual variation in TIS surface thickness and velocity. Our results further demonstrate the need to account for intrinsic ocean processes in the detection and attribution of change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctica, Totten Glacier, ice sheet, intrinsic variability
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Gwyther, DE (Dr David Gwyther)
UTAS Author:Galton-Fenzi, BK (Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi)
ID Code:127714
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2018-08-10
Last Modified:2022-08-29
Downloads:84 View Download Statistics

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