Slowdown of Shirase Glacier, East Antarctica, caused by strengthening alongshore winds

Miles, Bertie W. J., Stokes, Chris R., Jenkins, Adrian, Jordan, Jim, Jamieson, Stewart S. R. and Gudmundsson, Hilmar (2023) Slowdown of Shirase Glacier, East Antarctica, caused by strengthening alongshore winds. The Cryosphere, 17 (1). pp. 445-456. ISSN 1994-0424

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Around large parts of West Antarctica and in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica, increased wind-forced intrusions of modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) onto the continental shelf have been associated with mass loss over the last few decades. Despite considerable seasonal variability, observations in 2018 have also confirmed relatively high basal melt rates of up to 16 m a−1 underneath the Shirase ice tongue in Enderby Land, East Antarctica. These high basal melt rates are also caused by intrusions of mCDW onto the continental shelf, but the catchment of Shirase Glacier has been gaining mass, a trend often attributed to increased precipitation. Here, we document the dynamical ocean-driven slowdown, ice surface thickening and grounding line advance of Shirase Glacier in response to strengthening easterly winds that reduce mCDW inflow and decrease basal melt rates. Our findings are significant because they demonstrate that warm ice shelf cavity regimes are not universally associated with glacier acceleration and mass loss in Antarctica, and they highlight the overlooked role of the impact of easterly winds in the recent mass gain of the Shirase Glacier catchment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: Bertie W. J. Miles was also supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (ECF-2021-484). The Hersbach et al. (2018) dataset was downloaded from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) Climate Data Store. We are grateful for the DEMs provided by the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and the Polar Geospatial Center under NSF-OPP awards 1543501, 1810976, 1542736, 1559691, 1043681, 1541332, 0753663, 1548562 and 1238993 and NASA award NNX10AN61G. Computer time was provided through a Blue Waters Innovation Initiative. DEMs were produced using data from Maxar. We thank Ronja Reese for providing the ice flux buttressing response dataset. We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers, along with the editor Etienne Berthier, for providing constructive comments which led to the improvement of this paper.
Subjects: F700 Ocean Sciences
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2023 08:51
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023 09:00

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