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Antarctic sea ice change and variability - Physical and ecological implications


Massom, RA and Stammerjohn, SE, Antarctic sea ice change and variability - Physical and ecological implications, Polar Science, 4, (2) pp. 149-186. ISSN 1873-9652 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.polar.2010.05.001


Although Antarctic sea ice is undergoing a slight increase in overall extent, major regional changes are occurring in its spatio-temporal characteristics (most notably in sea ice seasonality). Biologically significant aspects of Antarctic sea ice are evaluated, emphasising the importance of scale and thermodynamics versus dynamics. Changing sea ice coverage is having major direct and indirect though regionally-dependent effects on ecosystem structure and function, with the most dramatic known effects to date occurring in the West Antarctic Peninsula region. There is mounting evidence that loss of sea ice has affected multiple levels of the marine food web in a complex fashion and has triggered cascading effects. Impacts on primary production, Antarctic krill, fish, marine mammals and birds are assessed, and are both negative and positive. The review includes recent analysis of change/variability in polynyas and fast ice, and also highlights the significance of extreme events (which have paradoxical impacts). Possible future scenarios are investigated in the light of the predicted decline in sea ice by 2100 e.g. increased storminess/waviness, numbers of icebergs and snowfall. Our current lack of knowledge on many aspects of sea ice-related change and biological response is emphasised.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic sea-ice
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Physical geography and environmental geoscience not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Massom, RA (Dr Robert Massom)
ID Code:73336
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:203
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2011-09-26
Last Modified:2011-09-26

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