EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Modelling landfast sea ice and its influence on ocean-ice interactions in the area of the Totten Glacier, East Antarctica

Guillian Van Achter1, Thierry Fichefet1, Hugues Goosse1, Charles Pelletier1, Jean Sterlin1, Pierre-Vincent Huot1, Jean-François Lemieux2, Alexander Fraser3, Richard Porter-Smith3, and Konstanze Haubner4
Guillian Van Achter et al.
  • 1Université Catholique de Louvain, Earth and Life Institute, Earth and Climate, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • 2Recherche en Prévision Numérique Environnementale/Environnement et Changement Climatique Canada, Québec, Canada
  • 3Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
  • 4Université libre de Bruxelles, Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Brussels, Belgium

The Totten Glacier in East Antarctica is of major climate interest because of the large fluctuation of its grounding line and of its potential vulnerability to climate change. The ocean above the continental shelf in front of the Totten ice shelf exhibits large extents of landfast sea ice with low interannual variability. Landfast sea ice is mostly not or sole crudely represented in current climate models. These models are potentially omitting or misrepresenting important effects related to this type of sea ice, such as its influence on coastal polynya locations. Yet, the impact of the landfast sea
ice on the ocean – ice shelf interactions is poorly understood. Using a series of high-resolution, regional NEMO-LIM-based experiments including an
explicit treatment of ocean – ice shelf interactions over the years 2001-2010, we simulate a realistic landfast sea ice extent in the area of Totten Glacier
through a combination of a sea ice tensile strength parameterisation and a grounded iceberg representation. We show that the presence of landfast sea
ice impacts seriously both the location of coastal polynyas and the ocean mixed layer depth along the coast, in addition to favouring the intrusion of
mixed Circumpolar Deep Water into the ice shelf cavities. Depending on the local bathymetry and the landfast sea ice distribution, landfast sea ice affects ice shelf cavities in different ways, either by increasing the ice melt (+28% for the Moscow University ice shelf) or by reducing its seasonal cycle
(+10% in March-May for the Totten ice shelf). This highlights the importance of including an accurate landfast sea ice representation in regional and
eventually global climate models

How to cite: Van Achter, G., Fichefet, T., Goosse, H., Pelletier, C., Sterlin, J., Huot, P.-V., Lemieux, J.-F., Fraser, A., Porter-Smith, R., and Haubner, K.: Modelling landfast sea ice and its influence on ocean-ice interactions in the area of the Totten Glacier, East Antarctica, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8846,, 2021.


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