Sensitivity of melting, freezing and marine ice beneath Larsen C Ice Shelf to changes in ocean forcing
Observations of surface lowering on Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS), Antarctica, have prompted concern about its stability. In this study, an ocean model is used to investigate the extent to which changes in ocean forcing may have influenced ice loss and the distribution of stabilising marine ice beneath LCIS. The model uses a new bathymetry, containing a southern seabed trough discovered using seismic observations. The modelled extent of marine ice, thought to stabilise LCIS, is in good agreement with observations. Experiments applying idealised ocean warming yield an increase in melting over the southern trough. This is inconsistent with lowering observed in northern LCIS, suggesting oceanic forcing is not responsible for that signal. The marine ice extent and thickness reduces significantly under ocean warming, implying a high sensitivity of LCIS stability to changes in ocean forcing. This result could have wide implications for other cold-water ice shelves around Antarctica.
Authors: Harrison, Lianne C. ORCID record for Lianne C. Harrison, Holland, Paul R. ORCID record for Paul R. Holland, Heywood, Karen J., Nicholls, Keith W. ORCID record for Keith W. Nicholls, Brisbourne, Alex M. ORCID record for Alex M. Brisbourne