In the Amundsen Sea, warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) intrudes onto the continental shelf and flows into the ice shelf cavities of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in high basal melt rates. However, none of the high resolution global models resolving all the small ice shelves around Antarctica can reproduce a realistic CDW flow onto the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, and previous studies show simulated bottom potential temperature at the Pine Island Ice Shelf front of about −1.8 °C. In this study, using the Finite-Element Sea ice–ice shelf-Ocean Model (FESOM), we reproduce warm CDW intrusions onto the Amundsen Sea continental shelf and realistic melt rates of the ice shelves in West Antarctica. To investigate the importance of horizontal resolution, forcing, horizontal diffusivity, and the effect of grounded icebergs, eight sensitivity experiments are conducted. To simulate the CDW intrusion realistically, a horizontal resolution of about 5 km or smaller is required. The choice of forcing is also important and the cold bias in the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis over the eastern Amundsen Sea prevents warm CDW from intruding onto the continental shelf. On the other hand, the CDW intrusion is not highly sensitive to the strength of horizontal diffusion. The effect of grounded icebergs located off Bear Peninsula is minor, but may act as a buffer to an anomalously cold year.
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