UCL Earth Sciences

Marine ice regulates the future stability of a large Antarctic ice shelf.

9 May 2014

2014-05-09

A new study by Peter Sammonds and his collaborators at Swansea University and the British Antarctic Survey demonstrates how salty marine ice, accreted onto to the underside of the largest Antarctic Peninsular Ice Shelf, Larsen C, stabilises the ice shelf.

The collapses of the Larsen A and B ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula in 1995 and 2002 has brought into question the stability of their very much larger southern neighbour with the impact of southward-propagating climate warming in this region.

Using a validated ice-shelf model, constrained by satellite and in situ geophysical data, the team shown that Larsen C ice shelf may suffer a similar fate if it were not stabilized by warm and mechanically soft marine ice, entrained within narrow suture zones.

Publication Details: Marine ice regulates the future stability of a large Antarctic ice shelf. 2014. Bernd Kulessa, Daniela Jansen, Adrian J. Luckman, Edward C. King & Peter R. Sammonds; Nature Communications; Article number:3707 
doi:10.1038/ncomms4707