EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Simulated warm water access to the Amundsen Sea continental shelf

Alessandro Silvano1, Paul Holland2, Kaitlin Naughten2, Oana Dragomir1, Pierre Dutrieux2, Adrian Jenkins3, Yidongfang Si4, Andrew Stewart4, Beatriz Peña-Molino5,6,7, and Alberto Naveira Garabato1
Alessandro Silvano et al.
  • 1Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, UK
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • 3Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  • 4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • 5CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • 6Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • 7Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate, contributing to sea level rise. Ocean forcing is considered to be the main driver of this mass loss, associated with warm intrusions of Circumpolar Deep Water onto the continental shelf. Here we describe these intrusions, focussing on the role of the Amundsen Undercurrent. The Amundsen Undercurrent is an eastward, bottom-intensified current located at the shelf break/upper slope that transports warm Circumpolar Deep Water. This current enters the continental shelf through deep canyons that connect the shelf break with ice shelf cavities, bringing oceanic heat to the base of the ice shelves. We use a regional ocean model to introduce the forcing mechanisms of the Amundsen Undercurrent and the drivers of its temporal variability. We conclude by discussing how this variability ultimately influences melting of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea.

How to cite: Silvano, A., Holland, P., Naughten, K., Dragomir, O., Dutrieux, P., Jenkins, A., Si, Y., Stewart, A., Peña-Molino, B., and Naveira Garabato, A.: Simulated warm water access to the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3067,, 2022.