Is Antartica melting?

We have the longest existing time series, and operate three long-term observatories delivering new unique observations from the oceanic regime of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica.


By Svein Østerhus

Antarctic ice shelves play two vital roles in determining our climate: they act as vast heat exchangers, producing globally significant water masses that act as a driver for global ocean circulation (Orsi & Whitworth 2004), and they act as buttresses to the tributary ice streams, controlling the rate at which the inland ice sheet drains into the ocean (Pritchard et al., 2009)

IPCC declare in its latest report (2013): “Abrupt and irreversible ice loss from a potential instability of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to climate forcing is possible, but current evidence and understanding is insufficient to make a quantitative assessment.”

We have the longest existing time series, and operate three long-term observatories delivering new unique observations from the oceanic regime of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica. A region, which might soon experience wholesale changes (Hellmer et al., 2012) with potential dramatic consequences for the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). We will assess this threat by using our unique oceanographic observations to study processes and variations in the Ice Shelf Cavity and at the Continental Shelf Break. Future more, we aim to improve our skill to make reliable projections of ocean and ice sheet evolution in a changing climate, and contribute to optimise and validate climate models.

 


July 13, 2017, 9:49 a.m.

cp: 2017-09-26 00:15:29