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Ice-Shelf Meltwater Overturning in the Bellingshausen Sea

Ruan, Xiaozhou and Speer, Kevin G. and Thompson, Andrew F. and Schulze Chretien, Lena M. and Shoosmith, Deborah R. (2021) Ice-Shelf Meltwater Overturning in the Bellingshausen Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, 126 (5). Art. No. e2020JC016957. ISSN 2169-9275. doi:10.1029/2020jc016957.

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Hydrographic data are analyzed for the broad continental shelf of the Bellingshausen Sea, which is host to a number of rapidly thinning ice shelves. The flow of warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) onto the continental shelf is observed in the two major glacially carved troughs, the Belgica and Latady troughs. Using ship‐based measurements of potential temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, collected across several coast‐to‐coast transects over the Bellingshausen shelf in 2007, the velocity and circulation patterns are inferred based on geostrophic balance and further constrained by the tracer and mass budgets. Meltwater was observed at the surface and at intermediate depth toward the western side of the continental shelf, collocated with inferred outflows. The maximum conversion rate from the dense CDW to lighter water masses by mixing with glacial meltwater is estimated to be 0.37 ± 0.1 Sv in both depth and potential density spaces. This diapycnal overturning is comparable to previous estimates made in the neighboring Amundsen Sea, highlighting the overlooked importance of water mass modification and meltwater production associated with glacial melting in the Bellingshausen Sea.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemData
Ruan, Xiaozhou0000-0003-1240-1584
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Schulze Chretien, Lena M.0000-0002-9668-5213
Additional Information:© 2021 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 13 May 2021; Version of Record online: 13 May 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 03 May 2021; Manuscript accepted: 05 April 2021; Manuscript revised: 05 April 2021; Manuscript received: 06 November 2020. The authors thank Laurence Padman for his detailed and insightful comments that improved the presentation of the manuscript. X. Ruan and A. F. Thompson were supported by NSF OPP‐1644172. K. Speer acknowledges support from NSF OPP‐1643679 and NSF OCE‐1658479. Data Availability Statement: Data from JR165 are archived at the British Oceanography Data Center (
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Subject Keywords:Antarctica; ice‐shelf melting; meltwater; overturning
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210507-141844617
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Official Citation:Ruan, X., Speer, K. G., Thompson, A. F., Schulze Chretien, L. M., & Shoosmith, D. R. (2021). Ice‐shelf meltwater overturning in the Bellingshausen Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2020JC016957.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109014
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 May 2021 21:34
Last Modified:01 Nov 2021 08:05

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