Dec 5, 2014

Multidecadal warming of Antarctic waters

by
Sunke Schmidtko, Karen J. Heywood, Andrew F. Thompson, Shigeru Aoki
,
Science
  • States that decadal trends in the properties of seawater adjacent to Antarctica are poorly known, and the mechanisms responsible for such changes are uncertain
  • States that Antarctic ice sheet mass loss is largely driven by ice shelf basal melt, which is influenced by ocean-ice interactions and has been correlated with Antarctic Continental Shelf Bottom Water (ASBW) temperature
  • Documents the spatial distribution of long-term large-scale trends in temperature, salinity, and core depth over the Antarctic continental shelf and slope
  • Finds that warming at the seabed in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas is linked to increased heat content and to a shoaling of the mid-depth temperature maximum over the continental slope, allowing warmer, saltier water greater access to the shelf in recent years
  • Finds that regions of ASBW warming are those exhibiting increased ice shelf melt