From circumpolar deep water to the glacial meltwater plume on the eastern Amundsen Shelf

Yoshihiro.Nakayama [ at ]


The melting of Pine Island Ice Shelf (PIIS) has increased since the 1990 s, which may have a large impact on ice sheet dynamics, sea-level rise, and changes in water mass properties of surrounding oceans. The reason for the PIIS melting is the relatively warm (~ ∼1.2°C) Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) that penetrates into the PIIS cavity through two submarine glacial troughs located on the Amundsen Sea continental shelf. In this study, we mainly analyze the hydrographic data obtained during ANTXXVI/3 in 2010 with the focus on pathways of the intruding CDW, PIIS melt rates, and the fate of glacial meltwater. We analyze the data by dividing CTD profiles into 6 groups according to intruding CDW properties and meltwater content. From this analysis, it is seen that CDW warmer than 1.23 °C (colder than 1.23 °C) intrudes via the eastern (central) trough. The temperature is controlled by the thickness of the intruding CDW layer. The eastern trough supports a denser CDW layer than the water mass in Pine Island Trough (PIT). The eastern intrusion is modified on the way into PIT through mixing with the lighter and colder CDW from the central trough. Using ocean transport and tracer transport calculations from the ice shelf front CTD section, the estimated melt rate in 2010 is ~ ∼30myr−1, which is comparable to published values. From spatial distributions of meltwater content, meltwater flows along the bathymetry towards the west. When compared with earlier (2000) observations, a warmer and thicker CDW layer is observed in Pine Island Trough for the period 2007–2010, indicating a recent thickening of the CDW intrusion.

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DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2013.04.001

Cite as
Nakayama, Y. , Schröder, M. and Hellmer, H. H. (2013): From circumpolar deep water to the glacial meltwater plume on the eastern Amundsen Shelf , Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 77 , pp. 50-62 . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2013.04.001

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