University Of Tasmania
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Regional changes in icescape impact shelf circulation and basal melting

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 13:28 authored by Eva CougnonEva Cougnon, Benjamin Galton-FenziBenjamin Galton-Fenzi, Stephen Rintoul, Benoit LegresyBenoit Legresy, Guy Williams, Alexander FraserAlexander Fraser, John HunterJohn Hunter
Ice shelf basal melt is the dominant contribution to mass loss from Antarctic ice shelves. However, the sensitivity of basal melt to changes in icescape (grounded icebergs, ice shelves and sea ice) and related ocean circulation is poorly understood. Here, we simulate the impact of the major 2010 calving event of the Mertz Glacier Tongue (MGT), East Antarctica, and related redistribution of sea ice and icebergs on the basal melt rate of the local ice shelves. We find that the position of the grounded tabular iceberg B9B controls the water masses that reach the nearby ice shelf cavities. After the calving of the MGT and the removal of B9B, warmer water is present both within the MGT cavity and on the continental shelf driving a 57% increase of the deep MGT basal melting. Major changes in icescape influence the oceanic heat flux responsible for basal ice shelf melting.


Publication title

Geophysical Research Letters










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Amer Geophysical Union

Place of publication

2000 Florida Ave Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20009

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 American Geophysical Union

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes