The Amundsen Continental Shelf and the Antarctic Ice Sheet
This collaborative study between Columbia University and the Southampton Oceanography Centre will investigate the dynamics of warm water intrusions under antarctic floating ice shelves. The study will focus on the Amundsen Sea and Pine Island Glacier, and will document how this water gains access to the continental shelf, transports heat into the ice shelf cavities via deep, glacially-scoured troughs, and rises beneath the ice to drive basal melting. The resulting seawater-meltwater mixtures upwell near the ice fronts, contributing to the formation of atypical coastal polynyas with strong geochemical signatures. Multidecadal freshening downstream is consistent with thinning ice shelves, which may be triggering changes inland, increasing the flow of grounded ice into the sea. This work will be carried out in combination with parallel modeling, remote sensing and data based projects, in an effort to narrow uncertainties about the response of West Antarctic Ice Sheet to climate change. Using state-of-the-art facilities and instruments, this work will enhance knowledge of water mass production and modification, and the understanding of interactions between the ocean circulation, sea floor and ice shelves. The data and findings will be reported to publicly accessible archives and submitted for publication in the scientific literature. The information obtained should prove invaluable for the development and validation of general circulation models, needed to predict the future role of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in sea level change.
AMD - DIF Record(s)
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