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Sea-ice growth and water mass modification in the Mertz Glacier Polynya, East Antarctica, during winter


Bindoff, NL and Williams, GD and Allison, I, Sea-ice growth and water mass modification in the Mertz Glacier Polynya, East Antarctica, during winter, Annals of Glaciology, 33 pp. 399-406. ISSN 0260-3055 (2001) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3189/172756401781818185


In July-September 1999, an extensive oceanographic survey (87 conductivity-, temperature- and depth-measuring stations) was conducted in the Mertz Glacier polynya over the Adélie Depression off the Antarctic coast between 145° and 150° E. We identify and describe four key water masses in this polynya: highly modified circumpolar deep water (HMCDW), winter water (WW), ice-shelf water (ISW) and high-salinity shelf water (HSSW). Combining surface velocity data (from an acoustic Doppler current-profiler) with three hydrographic sections, we found the HMCDW to be flowing westward along the shelf break (0.7 Sv), the WW and HSSW flowing eastwards underneath Mertz Glacier (2.0 Sv) and that there was a westward return flow of ISW against the continent (1.2 Sv). Using a simple box model for the exchanges of heat and fresh water between the principal water masses, we find that the polynya was primarily a latent-heat polynya with 95% of the total heat flux caused by sea-ice formation. This heat flux results from a fresh-water-equivalent sea-ice growth rate of 4.9-7.7 cm d1 and a mass exchange between HMCDW and WW of 1.45 Sv The inferred ocean heat flux is 8-14 W m2 and compares well with other indirect estimates.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
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:Bindoff, NL (Professor Nathan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Williams, GD (Mr Guy Williams)
UTAS Author:Allison, I (Dr Ian Allison)
ID Code:34708
Year Published:2001
Web of Science® Times Cited:49
Deposited By:IASOS
Deposited On:2005-07-28
Last Modified:2011-08-03

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