Phipps, SJ, Fogwill, CJ and Turney, CSM (2016) Impacts of marine instability across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet on Southern Ocean dynamics. Cryosphere, 10. 2317 -2328. ISSN 1994-0416

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Recent observations and modelling studies have demonstrated the potential for rapid and substantial retreat of large sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). This has major implications for ocean circulation and global sea level. Here we examine the effects of increasing meltwater from the Wilkes Basin, one of the major marine-based sectors of the EAIS, on Southern Ocean dynamics. Climate model simulations reveal that the meltwater flux rapidly stratifies surface waters, leading to a dramatic decrease in the rate of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) formation. The surface ocean cools but, critically, the Southern Ocean warms by more than 1 degrees C at depth. This warming is accompanied by a Southern Ocean-wide “domino effect”, whereby the warming signal propagates westward with depth. Our results suggest that melting of one sector of the EAIS could result in accelerated warming across other sectors, including the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Thus, localised melting of the EAIS could potentially destabilise the wider Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Copernicus Gesellschaft MBH at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 15:30
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2018 11:52

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