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Bathymetric control of warm ocean water access along the East Antarctic Margin


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Nitsche, FO, Porter, D, Williams, G ORCID: 0000-0003-1769-8356, Cougnon, EA ORCID: 0000-0002-8691-5935, Fraser, AD ORCID: 0000-0003-1924-0015, Correia, R and Guerrero, R 2017 , 'Bathymetric control of warm ocean water access along the East Antarctic Margin' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 44, no. 17 , 8936–8944 , doi: 10.1002/2017GL074433.

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Observed thinning of the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica has cast doubt upon the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Recent oceanographic observations at the front of the Totten Ice Shelf have confirmed the presence of modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW), which likely promotes enhanced melting. Details of how this water accesses the shelf remain uncertain. Here we present new bathymetry and autumnal oceanographic data from the outer continental shelf, north of the Totten Glacier, that show up to 0.7°C mCDW in a >100 km wide and >500 m deep depression within the shelf break. In other parts of East Antarctica, a shelf break bathymetry shallower than 400 m prevents these warmer waters from entering the shelf environment. Our observations demonstrate that detailed knowledge of the bathymetry is critical to correctly model the across-shelf exchange of warm water to the various glaciers/ice shelves of Antarctica for future sea level prediction.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Nitsche, FO and Porter, D and Williams, G and Cougnon, EA and Fraser, AD and Correia, R and Guerrero, R
Keywords: bathymetry, CDW, Totten glacier, continental shelf
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/2017GL074433
Copyright Information:

© 2017. American Geophysical Union

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