Ice-Ocean Interaction On Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica (Abstract)

Adrian Jenkins, C. S.M. Doake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A detailed glaciological study of Ronne Ice Shelf has been undertaken along a flowline extending from Rutford Ice Stream grounding line to the ice front. Measurements of velocity, surface elevation, ice thickness, surface temperature and accumulation rate have been made at a total of 28 sites; at 17 of these ice deformation rates are also known. Although no direct measurements of basal conditions have been made, these can be deduced from observations made at the surface. Assuming the ice shelf to be in a steady state, the basal mass balance can be calculated at points where strain-rates are known. Information on the spatial distribution of basal saline ice layers can also be obtained from radio-echo sounding data. The derived pattern of basal melting and freezing influences both the ice shelf and the underlying ocean. Vertical heat advection modifies the temperature distribution within the ice shelf, which determines its dynamic response to driving and restraining forces through the temperature-dependent ice-flow law. Using measured strain-rates and calculated temperature profiles, the restraint generated by horizontal shear stresses can be derived for points on the flowline. It is the cumulative effect of these forces which controls the discharge of grounded ice from Rutford Ice Stream. Cooling of sea-water to its pressure melting point by melting of ice at depth has two important results. The outflow of cold, dense Ice Shelf Water, produced by this mechanism, is a major source of Antarctic Bottom Water, formed as it mixes at depth with the warmer waters of the Weddell Sea (Foldvik and Gammelsrod, 1988). If the cold water is forced up to shallower depths, frazil ice will be produced as the pressure freezing point rises, resulting in basal accretion if this occurs beneath the ice shelf.</jats:p>
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341
Number of pages1
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


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