Summer drivers of atmospheric variability affecting ice shelf thinning in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica
Satellite data and a 35‐year hindcast of the Amundsen Sea Embayment summer climate using the WRF model are used to understand how regional and large‐scale atmospheric variability affects thinning of ice shelves in this sector of West Antarctica by melting from above and below (linked to intrusions of warm water caused by anomalous westerlies over the continental shelf edge). El Niño episodes are associated with an increase in surface melt, but do not have a statistically significant impact on westerly winds over the continental shelf edge. The location of the Amundsen Sea Low (ASL) and the polarity of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) have negligible impact on surface melting, although a positive SAM and eastward shift of the ASL cause anomalous westerlies over the continental shelf edge. The projected future increase in El Niño episodes and positive SAM could therefore increase the risk of disintegration of West Antarctic ice shelves.
Authors: Deb, Pranab, Orr, Andrew, Bromwich, David H., Nicolas, Julien P., Turner, John, Hosking, J. Scott