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

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posted on 2023-05-19, 20:18 authored by David Gwyther, O'Kane, TJ, Benjamin Galton-FenziBenjamin Galton-Fenzi, Monselesan, DP, Greenbaum, JS
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.

History

Publication title

Nature Communications

Volume

9

Article number

3141

Number

3141

Pagination

1-8

ISSN

2041-1723

Department/School

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Publisher

Nature Publishing Group

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes; Climate variability (excl. social impacts)