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East Antarctic surface melting Biggest 21st century sea-level change threat?
Stefan W. Vogel

Authors

Stefan W. Vogel
Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS, 7050, Australia
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia

Alex D. Fraser
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia

Petra Heil
Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS, 7050, Australia
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia

Rob Massom
Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS, 7050, Australia
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia

Neal Young
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia

Mike Craven
Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS, 7050, Australia
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia

Abstract

Antarctica driest and coldest place on Earth. The East Antarctic Coast line in summer however provides a contrasting picture. Along the coast surface melting and an extensive network of melt water streams are the dominant features in summer. While Greenland melting is on the forefront of science and with extensive attention given to its inter-annual variability as well its impact on ice dynamics, Antarctic melting has received comparably little attention, with most of the attention coming from broad scale remote sensing applications. Direct measurements validating remote sensing applications are however scars as are estimates of surface accumulation/ablation and fate of melt water during winter. With surface melting being already widespread at the present Antarctic surface melting will only increase under 21st century warming scenarios, raising the question when the East Antarctic margin will catch up with the Antarctic Peninsula and/or Greenland.

This presentation provides a visual overview of melting along the East Antarctic Margin and discusses the potential impact of surface melting on ice dynamics, ice shelf stability and the Southern Ocean environment. In general surface melt water can have a destabilizing effect on ice shelves, while fresh water flux into the ocean impacts thermohaline circulation, sea ice production and the southern ocean ecosystem in general. Potential loss of East Antarctic ice shelves and its buttressing effect, as seen along the Antarctic Peninsula, could easily double the discharge of ice from major East Antarctic outlet glaciers, which would be enough ice to double the rate at which currently sea-level rises.

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Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

More key dates…

This page was last modified on 23 September 2013.