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Simulated melt rates for the Totten and Dalton ice shelves


Gwyther, DE and Galton-Fenzi, B and Hunter, JR and Roberts, Jason, Simulated melt rates for the Totten and Dalton ice shelves, Ocean Science, 10, (3) pp. 267-279. ISSN 1812-0792 (2014) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.5194/os-10-267-2014


The Totten Glacier is rapidly losing mass. It has been suggested that this mass loss is driven by changes in oceanic forcing; however, the details of the ice–ocean interaction are unknown. Here we present results from an ice shelf–ocean model of the region that includes the Totten, Dalton and Moscow University ice shelves, based on the Regional Oceanic Modeling System for the period 1992–2007. Simulated area-averaged basal melt rates (net basal mass loss) for the Totten and Dalton ice shelves are 9.1 m ice yr−1 (44.5 Gt ice yr−1) and 10.1 m ice yr−1 (46.6 Gt ice yr−1), respectively. The melting of the ice shelves varies strongly on seasonal and interannual timescales. Basal melting (mass loss) from the Totten ice shelf spans a range of 5.7 m ice yr−1 (28 Gt ice yr−1) on interannual timescales and 3.4 m ice yr−1 (17 Gt ice yr−1) on seasonal timescales. This study links basal melt of the Totten and Dalton ice shelves to warm water intrusions across the continental shelf break and atmosphere–ocean heat exchange. Totten ice shelf melting is high when the nearby Dalton polynya interannual strength is below average, and vice versa. Melting of the Dalton ice shelf is primarily controlled by the strength of warm water intrusions across the Dalton rise and into the ice shelf cavity. During periods of strong westward coastal current flow, Dalton melt water flows directly under the Totten ice shelf further reducing melting. This is the first such modelling study of this region to provide a valuable framework for directing future observational and modelling efforts.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Totten ice shelf, Dalton ice shelf, melting, Antarctica
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, B (Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi)
UTAS Author:Hunter, JR (Dr John Hunter)
UTAS Author:Roberts, Jason (Dr Jason Roberts)
ID Code:91094
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:49
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2014-05-07
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:326 View Download Statistics

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