Ice-Front Retreat Controls on Ocean Dynamics Under Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica

M. Poinelli*, Y. Nakayama, E. Larour, M. Vizcaino, R. Riva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Iceberg A-68 separated from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July 2017 and the impact of this event on the local ocean circulation has yet to be assessed. Here, we conduct numerical simulations of ocean dynamics near and below the ice shelf pre- and post-calving. Results agree with in situ and remote observations of the area as they indicate that basal melt is primarily controlled by wintertime sea-ice formation, which in turn produces High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW). After the calving event, we simulate a 50% increase in HSSW intrusion under the ice shelf, enhancing ocean heat delivery by 30%. This results in doubling of the melt rate under Gipps Ice Rise, suggesting a positive feedback for further retreat that could destabilize the Larsen C Ice Shelf. Assessing the impact of ice-front retreat on the heat delivery under the ice is crucial to better understand ice-shelf dynamics in a warming environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GL104588
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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