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The Sleeping Giant: Measuring Ocean-Ice Interactions in Antarctica

Thompson, Andrew F. and Willis, Josh and Payne, Anthony (2015) The Sleeping Giant: Measuring Ocean-Ice Interactions in Antarctica. Keck Institute for Space Studies , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Global sea level rise threatens to be one of the most costly consequences of human-caused climate change. And yet, projections of sea level rise remain poorly understood and highly uncertain. The largest potential contribution to global sea level rise involves the loss of ice covering all or even a portion of Antarctica. As global atmospheric and ocean temperatures rise, physical processes related to the ocean’s circulation: (i) carry this additional heat into the deep ocean, (ii) transport it poleward via the overturning circulation and (iii) ultimately deliver the heat to the underside of floating Antarctic ice shelves. Enhanced melting that occurs due to warm ocean waters plays an important role in the loss of ice from the continent. Our understanding of the first two steps that bring heat towards Antarctica has increased substantially over the past two decades through improved measurements of air-sea interactions and interior ocean properties (e.g., Argo). Yet, the constraints on the oceanic delivery of heat to Antarctic ice shelves and its impact on melt rates remains critically under-studied. Our inability to constrain the rate of retreat of Antarctic glaciers and how the Antarctic Ice Sheet will behave in a warming climate remains the single most significant reason for the large uncertainty in sea level projections over the 21st century. This problem is the focus of the KISS study, "The Sleeping Giant: Measuring Ocean Ice Interactions in Antarctica," and stands as one of the grand challenges of climate science today.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
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Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
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Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160106-113417076
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:63422
Deposited By: Colette Connor
Deposited On:07 Jan 2016 17:18
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 09:28

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