Summary: Analysis of 23-year-record of ice thickness change of Larsen C Ice Shelf

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Forum for Research into Ice Shelf Processes

Forum for Research into Ice Shelf Processes

Conference Presentation Abstract - June 2017

Dr. Helen Amanda Fricker

A continuous 23-year record of ice-surface height of Larsen C Ice Shelf, incorporating ESA satellite radar altimetry
and NASA satellite and airborne laser altimetry, has a great deal of temporal variability. Our analysis indicates that the
prolonged cumulative surface lowering of 1 m experienced by Larsen C from 1994 to 2009 has now been almost
offset by a surface rising of 0.75 m over the past seven years. This ice history is consistent with previously published
work demonstrating that decadal scale changes in the atmospheric conditions over the Antarctic Peninsula can be
associated with natural climate variability. This is in contrast to many well-known climate indicators such as global
averaged temperatures and Arctic sea ice concentration that are unequivocally associated with rising greenhouse gas
concentrations. Ice shelves, interacting with the dynamic atmospheric and ocean systems, are one element of the
larger, complex climate system; as Larsen C adjusts to its new shape, we need to have a deeper understanding of all
components of this system to predict the near-term fate of this conspicuous ice shelf.