Antarctic ice shelf melting in the 21st century a model study

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Hellmer, H. , Kauker, F. and Timmermann, R. (2008): Antarctic ice shelf melting in the 21st century a model study , Forum for Research into Ice Shelf Processes (FRISP), 18. - 20. Sep. 2008, Losehill, Derbyshire, U.K.. .
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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.

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