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

Climate variability as a major forcing of recent Antarctic ice-mass change

Matt King1,2, Kewei Lyu1,3, and Xuebin Zhang4
Matt King et al.
  • 1University of Tasmania, School of Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences, Hobart, Australia (
  • 2The Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science, University of Tasmania; Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China
  • 4CSIRO Environment; Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Antarctica has been losing ice mass for decades, but its link to large-scale modes of climate forcing is not clear. Shorter-period variability has been partly associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), but a clear connection with the dominant climate mode, the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), is yet to be found. We show that space gravimetric estimates of ice-mass variability over 2002-2021 may be substantially explained by a simple linear relation with detrended, time-integrated SAM and ENSO indices, from the whole ice sheet down to individual drainage basins. Approximately 40% of the ice-mass trend over the GRACE period can be ascribed to increasingly persistent positive SAM forcing which, since the 1940s, is likely due to anthropogenic activity. Similar attribution over 2002-2021 could connect recent ice-sheet change to human activity.

How to cite: King, M., Lyu, K., and Zhang, X.: Climate variability as a major forcing of recent Antarctic ice-mass change, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-9747,, 2023.