Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-904
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-904
03 Apr 2024
 | 03 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Hydrography and circulation below Fimbulisen Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, from 12 years of moored observations

Julius Lauber, Tore Hattermann, Laura de Steur, Elin Darelius, and Agneta Fransson

Abstract. Future mass loss from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet represents a major uncertainty in projections of future sea level rise. Recent studies have highlighted the potential vulnerability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to atmospheric and oceanic changes, but long-term observations inside the ice shelf cavities are rare, especially in East Antarctica. Here, we present new insights from observations from three oceanic moorings below Fimbulisen Ice Shelf from 2009 to 2021. We examine the characteristics of Warm Deep Water (WDW) intrusions across a sill connecting the cavity to the open ocean, and investigate seasonal variability of the circulation and water masses inside the cavity. In autumn, solar-heated, buoyant Antarctic Surface Water (ASW) reaches below the 350 m deep central part of the ice shelf, separating colder Ice Shelf Water from the ice base and affecting the cavity circulation on seasonal timescales. At depth, the occurrence of WDW is associated with the advection of cyclonic eddies across the sill into the cavity. These eddies reach up to the ice base. The warm intrusions occur favorably from January to March and from September to November, and traces of WDW-derived meltwater close to the ice base imply an overturning of these warm intrusions inside the cavity. We suggest that both the offshore thermocline depth and interactions of the Antarctic Slope Current with the ice shelf topography over the continental slope cause this timing. Our findings provide a better understanding of the interplay between shallow ASW and deep WDW inflows for basal melting at Fimbulisen, with implications for the potential vulnerability of the ice shelf to climate change.

Julius Lauber, Tore Hattermann, Laura de Steur, Elin Darelius, and Agneta Fransson

Status: open (until 29 May 2024)

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Julius Lauber, Tore Hattermann, Laura de Steur, Elin Darelius, and Agneta Fransson
Julius Lauber, Tore Hattermann, Laura de Steur, Elin Darelius, and Agneta Fransson

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Short summary
Recent studies have highlighted the potential vulnerability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to atmospheric and oceanic changes. We present new insights from observations from three oceanic moorings below Fimbulisen Ice Shelf from 2009 to 2021. We find that relatively warm water masses reach below the ice shelf both close to the surface and at depth with implications for the basal melting of Fimbulisen.