It has been proposed that huge ice shelves might face less basal melting in a warmer climate due to less sea ice formation on the continental shelf and thus a reduced density gradient between ice shelf front and the cavern interior. We present the results of a 100-year simulation with BRIOS-2.2 forced with the ECHAM5-MPIOM output for the IPCC-A1B scenario. The results show that basal melting enhances for all ice shelves, but the enhancement is minor for huge ice shelves like Filchner-Ronne and Ross while the smaller ones like Fimbulisen and Getz are threatened by an up to 100% increase. Further analysis reveals that a decrease in salinity (due to a reduced sea ice cover) in parallel to slightly higher temperatures on the broad continental shelves are responsible for a mitigated response of the huge ice shelves to climate warming. In contrast, minor decreases in salinity in combination with increased near-bottom temperatures on the narrow continental shelves cause smaller ice shelves to be highly vulnerable to a warmer climate.
AWI Organizations > Climate Sciences > Climate Dynamics
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > MAR1-Decadal Variability and Global Change