Seasonal water mass properties in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica, from seal-borne tags

Helen Mallett, Karen Heywood, Mike Fedak, Lars Boehme

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Sea level rise affects coastal communities across the world, and melting from land based glaciers and ice sheets contributes to this. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is losing mass at a rate higher than it is replenished by snowfall. This is a relatively recent change, and one suggested reason is that the ocean is providing more heat than previously to the underside of the floating ice shelves at the edge of the ice sheet.
Using observational measurements in the Amundsen Sea, the mechanisms behind this provision of heat by the ocean will be investigated. Is the water forced by wind? How do things change through the seasons? How does sea ice affect the process? What happens to the melt water? A concerted campaign to address these questions was funded as part of the NERC ISTAR programme through the Ocean2ice project.
14 elephant and Weddell seals were tagged with CTD sensors in February-March 2014 and are providing temperature and salinity profiles in the Amundsen Sea around the ice shelves. The data will be collected through the winter season 2014, but presented here are the initial results received so far. With the seal data focused on the continental shelf and slope, it is hoped to shed light on the physical processes bringing this heat to the glacier, the effect of this, the meltwater paths, and the seasonal changes in water mass properties and circulation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2014
EventChallenger Society 2014 Conference - Plymouth University, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sept 201411 Sept 2014


ConferenceChallenger Society 2014 Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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