EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Can rifts alter ocean dynamics beneath ice shelves?

Mattia Poinelli1,2,3, Michael Schodlok3, Eric Larour3, Miren Vizcaino1, and Riccardo Riva1
Mattia Poinelli et al.
  • 1Delft University of Technology, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Netherlands (
  • 2University of California, Irvine
  • 3Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

The ongoing ablation of Antarctic ice shelves - to a large extent due to enhanced melting at the grounding line - is known to accelerate the outflow of upstream glaciers into the world oceans, rising the global sea level. A better understanding of ocean heat intrusion under the ice base is therefore essential to accurately estimate basal melt and the consequent impact on ice sheet dynamics. Observations also show that most ice shelves are crossed by full-thickness ice rifts. Nevertheless, their impact on ocean circulation around and below ice shelves has been largely unexplored as ocean models are commonly characterized by resolutions that are too coarse to resolve km-sized features in the ice draft. In this work, we investigate ocean circulation under rifted ice-shelves using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ocean general circulation model. We find that the rift presence modulates oceanic heat transport toward the grounding line with potential repercussion in the dynamics of the most vulnerable portions of the ice shelf.

How to cite: Poinelli, M., Schodlok, M., Larour, E., Vizcaino, M., and Riva, R.: Can rifts alter ocean dynamics beneath ice shelves?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4541,, 2023.