On iceberg behaviour: observations, model results, and satellite data

mschodlok [ at ] awi-bremerhaven.de


The calving of icebergs from Antartic ice shelves and their subsequent drift and decay cause a significant transport of freshwater from the ice sheet into the upper ocean. A large contribution of freshwater might come from medium and small-sized icebergs with lengths in the order of one kilometer and less. While larger icebergs can be observed with satellite technology smaller ones must be tagged with buoys. Their drift and decay pattern as well as their life-time can be estimated in combination with remote sensing data.This study connects observations, model results and satellite data.Iceberg buoys were deployed in the Weddell Sea over a 5 year period (1999-2003), mainly off Neumayer Station (70°39'S, 08°15'W). Iceberg melting, wave decay and mineral dust input were parameterized in an existing iceberg drift model to improve the modeled drift in time and space, and to quantify the melt water put into and/or exported out of the Weddell Sea. Model results show a large meltwater flux in the northwestern Weddell Sea and, thus, a large input of mineral dust including iron. The analysis of the available SeaWiFS biomass data record indicate that the passage of an iceberg may have an effect on the productivity.

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Schodlok, M. , Hellmer, H. , Schwarz, J. N. and Busche, T. (2005): On iceberg behaviour: observations, model results, and satellite data , Forum for Research into Ice Shelf Processes (FRISP) Report, No. 16, pp. 19-25 .

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