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Intrinsic processes drive variability in basal melting of the Totten Glacier Ice Shelf


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Gwyther, DE ORCID: 0000-0002-7218-2785, O'Kane, TJ, Galton-Fenzi, BK, Monselesan, DP and Greenbaum, JS 2018 , 'Intrinsic processes drive variability in basal melting of the Totten Glacier Ice Shelf' , Nature Communications, vol. 9 , pp. 1-8 , doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05618-2.

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Over the period 2003–2008, the Totten Ice Shelf (TIS) was shown to be rapidly thinning, likely due to basal melting. However, a recent study using a longer time series found high interannual variability present in TIS surface elevation without any apparent trend. Here we show that low-frequency intrinsic ocean variability potentially accounts for a large fraction of the variability in the basal melting of TIS. Specifically, numerical ocean model simulations show that up to 44% of the modelled variability in basal melting in the 1–5 year timescale (and up to 21% in the 5–10 year timescale) is intrinsic, with a similar response to the full climate forcing. We identify the important role of intrinsic ocean variability in setting the observed interannual variation in TIS surface thickness and velocity. Our results further demonstrate the need to account for intrinsic ocean processes in the detection and attribution of change.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Gwyther, DE and O'Kane, TJ and Galton-Fenzi, BK and Monselesan, DP and Greenbaum, JS
Keywords: Antarctica, Totten Glacier, ice sheet, intrinsic variability
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Communications
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2041-1723
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41467-018-05618-2
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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