Modeling seasonal-to-decadal ocean–cryosphere interactions along the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica

Kusahara, Kazuya; Hirano, Daisuke; Fujii, Masakazu; Fraser, Alexander D.; Tamura, Takeshi; Mizobata, Kohei; Williams, Guy D.; Aoki, Shigeru

The Totten Ice Shelf (TIS) and Moscow University Ice Shelf (MUIS), along the Sabrina Coast of Wilkes Land, are the floating seaward terminuses of the second-largest freshwater reservoir in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Being a marine ice sheet, it is vulnerable to the surrounding ocean conditions. Recent comprehensive oceanographic observations, including bathymetric measurements off the Sabrina Coast, have shed light on the widespread intrusion of warm modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) onto the continental shelf and the intense ice–ocean interaction beneath the TIS. However, the spatiotemporal coverage of the observation is very limited. Here, we use an ocean–sea ice–ice shelf model with updated bathymetry to better understand the regional ocean circulations and ocean–cryosphere interactions. The model successfully captured the widespread intrusions of mCDW, local sea ice production and the ocean heat and volume transports into the TIS cavity, facilitating an examination of the overturning ocean circulation within the ice shelf cavities and the resultant basal melting. We found notable differences in the temporal variability in ice shelf basal melting across the two adjacent ice shelves of the TIS and the western part of the MUIS. Ocean heat transport by mCDW controls the low-frequency interannual-to-decadal variability in ice–ocean interactions, but the sea ice production in the Dalton Polynya strongly modifies the signals, explaining the regional difference between the two ice shelves. The formation of a summertime eastward-flowing undercurrent beneath the westward-flowing Antarctic Slope Current is found to play an important role in the seasonal delivery of ocean heat to the continental shelf.

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Kusahara, Kazuya / Hirano, Daisuke / Fujii, Masakazu / et al: Modeling seasonal-to-decadal ocean–cryosphere interactions along the Sabrina Coast, East Antarctica. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Kazuya Kusahara et al.

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