Ocean temperature impact on ice shelf extent in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula
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Etourneau, J., Sgubin, G., Crosta, X., Swingedouw, D., Willmott, V., Barbara, L., ... & Escutia, C. (2019). Ocean temperature impact on ice shelf extent in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. Nature communications, 10(1), 1-8.
SponsorshipJ.E. and C.E. are financially supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (CTM2014–60451-C2–1-P) co-funded by the European Union through FEDER funds. J.-H.K. was supported by the grants funded by the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI, NRF-2015M1A5A1037243 and PE19010). S.S. and J.S.S.D. are supported by the Netherlands Earth System Science Center funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education and Science (OCW). G.S. and D.S. were funded by the EMBRACE project (European Union’s FP7, Grant Number: 282672). We also acknowledge funding from the French ANR CLIMICE, ERC ICEPROXY 203441, ESF PolarClimate, HOLOCLIP 625 and FP7 Past4Future as well as the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) through a VICI grant to S.S. The HOLOCLIP Project, a joint research project of ESF PolarCLIMATE programme, is funded by national contributions from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The research leading to these results has also received support from the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7/2007–2013) under Grant Agreement No. 243908, “Past4Future, Climate change – Learning from the past climate”.
The recent thinning and retreat of Antarctic ice shelves has been attributed to both atmosphere and ocean warming. However, the lack of continuous, multi-year direct observations as well as limitations of climate and ice shelf models prevent a precise assessment on how the ocean forcing affects the fluctuations of a grounded and floating ice cap. Here we show that a +0.3–1.5 °C increase in subsurface ocean temperature (50–400 m) in the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula has driven to major collapse and recession of the regional ice shelf during both the instrumental period and the last 9000 years. Our projections following the representative concentration pathway 8.5 emission scenario from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveal a +0.3 °C subsurface ocean temperature warming within the coming decades that will undoubtedly accelerate ice shelf melting, including the southernmost sector of the eastern Antarctic Peninsula.