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Testing the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to Southern Ocean dynamics: Past changes and future implications


Fogwill, CJ and Turney, CSM and Meissner, KJ and Golledge, NR and Spence, PS and Roberts, JL and England, MH and Jones, RT and Carter, L, Testing the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to Southern Ocean dynamics: Past changes and future implications, Journal of Quaternary Science, 29, (1) pp. 91-98. ISSN 0267-8179 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1002/jqs.2683


The stability of Antarctic ice sheets and their potential contribution to sea level under projected future warming remains highly uncertain. The Last Interglacial (135 000-116 000 years ago) provides a potential analogue, with global temperatures 2°C higher and rates of sea-level rise >5.6m ka-1, leading to sea levels 6.6-9.4m higher than present. The source(s) of this sea-level rise remain fiercely debated. Here we report a series of independent model simulations exploring the effects of migrating Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHWs) on Southern Ocean circulation and Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics. We suggest that southerly shifts in winds may have significantly impacted the sub-polar gyres, inducing pervasive warming (0.2-0.8°C in the upper 1200m) adjacent to sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which due to their geometries and connectivity to the Southern Ocean are highly sensitive to ocean forcing. We conclude that the EAIS potentially made a substantial, hitherto unsuspected, contribution to interglacial sea levels, and given 21st-century projections in the Southern Annular Mode and associated SHW migration, we highlight how pervasive circum-Antarctic warming may threaten EAIS stability. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:East Antarctic Ice Sheet; Last Interglacial; Southern Annular Mode; Southern Hemisphere Westerlies; Southern Ocean
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Roberts, JL (Dr Jason Roberts)
ID Code:93946
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2014-08-25
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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