Simulated Twentieth‐Century Ocean Warming in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica

Kaitlin A. Naughten*, Paul R. Holland, Pierre Dutrieux, Satoshi Kimura, David T. Bett, Adrian Jenkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Rapid ice loss is occurring in the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This ice loss is assumed to be a long‐term response to oceanographic forcing, but ocean conditions in the Amundsen Sea are unknown prior to 1994. Here we present a modeling study of Amundsen Sea conditions from 1920 to 2013, using an ensemble of ice‐ocean simulations forced by climate model experiments. We find that during the early twentieth century, the Amundsen Sea likely experienced more sustained cool periods than at present. Warm periods become more dominant over the simulations (mean trend 0.33°C/century) causing an increase in ice shelf melting. The warming is likely driven by an eastward wind trend over the continental shelf break that is partly anthropogenically forced. Our simulations suggest that the Amundsen Sea responded to historical greenhouse gas forcing, and that future changes in emissions are also likely to affect the region.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL094566
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
Early online date28 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022


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