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Vulnerability of Denman Glacier to ocean heat flux revealed by profiling float observations


van Wijk, EM and Rintoul, SR and Wallace, LO and Ribeiro, N and Herraiz-Borreguero, L, Vulnerability of Denman Glacier to ocean heat flux revealed by profiling float observations, Geophysical Research Letters, 49, (18) pp. 1-9. ISSN 1944-8007 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1029/2022GL100460


Denman Glacier, which drains a marine-based sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with an ice volume equivalent to 1.5m of global sea level rise, has accelerated and undergone grounding line retreat in recent decades. A deep trough and retrograde bed slope inward of the grounding line leave this glacier prone to marine ice sheet instability. The ocean heat flux to the ice shelf cavity is a critical factor determining the susceptibility of the glacier to unstable retreat. Profiling float observations show modified Circumpolar Deep Water as warm as −0.16C reaches a deep trough extending beneath the Denman Ice Tongue. The ocean heat transport (0.770.35TW) is sufficient to drive high rates of basal melt (70.831.5Gty−1), consistent with rates inferred from glaciological observations. These results suggest the Denman Glacier is potentially at risk of unstable retreat triggered by transport of warm water to the ice shelf cavity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ARGO floats, East Antarctic ice sheet, Denman Glacier, basal melt
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:van Wijk, EM (Ms Esmee van Wijk)
UTAS Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
UTAS Author:Wallace, LO (Dr Luke Wallace)
UTAS Author:Ribeiro, N (Ms Natalia Ribeiro Santos)
UTAS Author:Herraiz-Borreguero, L (Dr Laura Herraiz-Borreguero)
ID Code:153527
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2022-09-23
Last Modified:2022-12-11

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