What determines the shape of a Pine-Island-like ice shelf?

Y. Nakayama, Toshiki Hirata, Daniel Goldberg, Chad A. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Ice shelf shape directly controls ocean heat intrusions, melting near the grounding line, and buttressing. Little is known about what determines ice-shelf shape because ice-ocean coupled simulations typically aim at projecting Antarctica's contribution to sea-level rise and they do not resolve small-scale ice-ocean interactive processes. We conduct ice-ocean coupled simulations for an idealized high-resolution, Pine-Island-like model configuration. We show that ocean melting and ice stretching caused by acceleration thin the ice shelf from the grounding line towards the ice shelf front, consistent with previous studies. In the across-flow direction, ocean melting and ice advection cancel each other out and flatten the ice shelf. More than one-third of the ice thinning from grounding line to ice front can be attributed to ocean melting at depths shallower than 500 m. Our results emphasize the importance of interactive processes between the entire ice shelf and the ocean for determining the ice shelf shape.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022GL101272
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
Early online date17 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2022


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