Open Access Repository

Antarctic ice shelf disintegration triggered by sea ice loss and ocean swell

Massom, RA, Scambos, TA, Bennetts, LG, Reid, P, Squire, VA and Stammerjohn, SE 2018 , 'Antarctic ice shelf disintegration triggered by sea ice loss and ocean swell' , Nature, vol. 558, no. 7710 , pp. 383-389 , doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0212-1.

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Understanding the causes of recent catastrophic ice shelf disintegrations is a crucial step towards improving coupled models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and predicting its future state and contribution to sea-level rise. An overlooked climate-related causal factor is regional sea ice loss. Here we show that for the disintegration events observed (the collapse of the Larsen A and B and Wilkins ice shelves), the increased seasonal absence of a protective sea ice buffer enabled increased flexure of vulnerable outer ice shelf margins by ocean swells that probably weakened them to the point of calving. This outer-margin calving triggered wider-scale disintegration of ice shelves compromised by multiple factors in preceding years, with key prerequisites being extensive flooding and outer-margin fracturing. Wave-induced flexure is particularly effective in outermost ice shelf regions thinned by bottom crevassing. Our analysis of satellite and ocean-wave data and modelling of combined ice shelf, sea ice and wave properties highlights the need for ice sheet models to account for sea ice and ocean waves.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Massom, RA and Scambos, TA and Bennetts, LG and Reid, P and Squire, VA and Stammerjohn, SE
Keywords: Antarctic, ice shelf, disintegration, sea ice, change, ocean swell
Journal or Publication Title: Nature
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0028-0836
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41586-018-0212-1
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page
TOP