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Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2019

Ocean temperature impact on ice shelf extent in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula

Xavier Crosta

Abstract

The recent thinning and retreat of Antarctic ice shelves has been attributed to both atmosphere and ocean warming. However, the lack of continuous, multi-year direct observations as well as limitations of climate and ice shelf models prevent a precise assessment on how the ocean forcing affects the fluctuations of a grounded and floating ice cap. Here we show that a +0.3–1.5 °C increase in subsurface ocean temperature (50–400 m) in the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula has driven to major collapse and recession of the regional ice shelf during both the instrumental period and the last 9000 years. Our projections following the representative concentration pathway 8.5 emission scenario from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveal a +0.3 °C subsurface ocean temperature warming within the coming decades that will undoubtedly accelerate ice shelf melting, including the southernmost sector of the eastern Antarctic Peninsula.
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Dates and versions

hal-01988366 , version 1 (21-01-2019)

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Johan Etourneau, Giovanni Sgubin, Xavier Crosta, Didier Swingedouw, Verónica Willmott, et al.. Ocean temperature impact on ice shelf extent in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. Nature Communications, 2019, 10 (1), pp.304. ⟨10.1038/s41467-018-08195-6⟩. ⟨hal-01988366⟩
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