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Modeling the basal melting and marine ice accretion of the Amery Ice Shelf


Galton-Fenzi, BK and Hunter, JR and Coleman, R and Marsland, SJ and Warner, RC, Modeling the basal melting and marine ice accretion of the Amery Ice Shelf, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, (9) Article C09031. ISSN 0148-0227 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1029/2012JC008214


The basal mass balance of the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS) in East Antarctica is investigated using a numerical ocean model. The main improvements of this model over previous studies are the inclusion of frazil formation and dynamics, tides and the use of the latest estimate of the sub-ice-shelf cavity geometry. The model produces a net basal melt rate of 45.6 Gt year−1 (0.74 m ice year−1) which is in good agreement with reviewed observations. The melting at the base of the ice shelf is primarily due to interaction with High Salinity Shelf Water created from the surface sea-ice formation in winter. The temperature difference between the coldest waters created in the open ocean and the in situ freezing point of ocean water in contact with the deepest part of the AIS drives a melt rate that can exceed 30 m of ice year−1. The inclusion of frazil dynamics is shown to be important for both melting and marine ice accretion (refreezing). Frazil initially forms in the supercooled water layer adjacent to the base of the ice shelf. The net accretion of marine ice is 5.3 Gt year−1, comprised of 3.7 Gt year−1 of frazil accretion and 1.6 Gt year−1 of direct basal refreezing.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Ice-shelf/ocean interaction, ice shelf mass balance, numerical modelling, Amery Ice Shelf
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Galton-Fenzi, BK (Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi)
UTAS Author:Hunter, JR (Dr John Hunter)
UTAS Author:Coleman, R (Professor Richard Coleman)
UTAS Author:Marsland, SJ (Mr Simon Marsland)
UTAS Author:Warner, RC (Dr Roland Warner)
ID Code:79215
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:110
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2012-08-23
Last Modified:2017-10-30
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