The Amundsen Sea continental shelf is one of the remotest areas of coastal Antarctica, and was relatively unexplored until the late 1980s. Over the last two decades, however, it has increasingly become the focus of a strong interest in potential West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) sensitivity to warming. One concern is that a change in the ocean circulation and/or properties, aided by deep glacial troughs in the sea floor, could be responsible for the reported thinning ice shelves and accelerating glaciers in this sector. Oceanographic and geological interest has led to several cruises, one result of which is that there is now sufficient bathymetric data to compile a fairly detailed regional map of the Amundsen continental shelf. We have combined the available multibeam and single beam bathymetry data from this region and created a new regional bathymetric map of the Amundsen Sea continental shelf and slope. We also integrated data from the Bedmap project and the Airborne Geophysical Survey of the Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica (AGASEA) project for the surrounding land and ice-covered area. After cleaning the individual data sets we used a natural neighbor algorithm to interpolate between the existing data and create a grid at 5 km raster resolution. The most prominent regional feature is a series of separate trough systems along the inner shelf, which are aligned with present glaciers, separated by shallower ridges, and shoaling seaward. These troughs identify pathways of glacial flow during glaciations and now serve as conduits and reservoirs for warm Circumpolar Deep Water that contributes to high melting rates near ice shelf grounding lines.
AWI Organizations > Geosciences > Marine Geology and Paleontology
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > MAR2-Palaeo Climate Mechanisms and Variability
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL-MARCOPOLI
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL6-Earth climate variability since the Pliocene