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Antarctic iceberg distribution and dissolution from ship-based observations

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Jacka, TH and Giles, AB (2007) Antarctic iceberg distribution and dissolution from ship-based observations. Journal of Glaciology, 53 (182). pp. 341-356. ISSN 0022-1430

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Abstract

The Australian Antarctic Program’s iceberg dataset (from ship-based observations),
including information from the austral summer seasons 1984/85 to 1999/2000, is examined and used
to extend earlier studies. Using ‘snapshots’ of the iceberg population to provide an idea of the iceberg
life cycle, the distribution of icebergs between 60 and 1508 E is discussed in terms of calving regions and
ocean currents. Temporal changes are also examined. The discussion leads us to the point where we can
define an area, bounded to the north by the maximum sea-ice limit and to the south by the Antarctic
Divergence, in which icebergs are confined as they drift eastward. This allows estimation of total
dissolution, in terms of iceberg numbers and volume, within 108 longitudinal sectors and, with
knowledge of drift speeds, iceberg movement rates and freshwater input across the sector. Iceberg
dissolution rates are found to be 0.03–0.05md–1 and the total mass contribution of fresh water to the
ocean as the icebergs traverse our 308 of longitude study sector is 32 Gt. This amounts to a
contribution equivalent to precipitation of 15.5cm a–1, accounting for 2% of the total iceberg
discharge from the Antarctic ice sheet.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Glaciology
Publisher: International Glaciological Society
Page Range: pp. 341-356
ISSN: 0022-1430
Identification Number - DOI: 10.3189/002214307783258521
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:17
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:34
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