Articles | Volume 19, issue 6
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-19-1595-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-19-1595-2023
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22 Nov 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 22 Nov 2023

Southern Ocean warming and Antarctic ice shelf melting in conditions plausible by late 23rd century in a high-end scenario

Pierre Mathiot and Nicolas C. Jourdain

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Latest update: 21 Apr 2024
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Future climate of the Antarctic is a topic of concern to scientists and to the general public, and has implications for global sea level rise. This paper uses an ocean model driven by high-end atmospheric conditions plausible by late 23rd century to highlight what might happen to the Antarctic ice and its surrounding ocean if our emissions of CO2 continue to rise in an extreme way. The model suggests that the future Antarctic continental shelf would be more like the present day Amundsen Sea – warmer and fresher. This would lead to substantial increases in ice shelf melt rates.
Short summary
How much the Antarctic ice shelf basal melt rate can increase in response to global warming remains an open question. To achieve this, we compared an ocean simulation under present-day atmospheric condition to a one under late 23rd century atmospheric conditions. The ocean response to the perturbation includes a decrease in the production of cold dense water and an increased intrusion of warmer water onto the continental shelves. This induces a substantial increase in ice shelf basal melt rates.