Iceberg trajectory modeling and meltwater injection in the Southern Ocean


  • Rupert M. Gladstone,

  • Grant R. Bigg,

  • Keith W. Nicholls


This is the first large-scale modeling study of iceberg trajectories and melt rates in the Southern Ocean. An iceberg model was seeded with climatological iceberg calving rates based on a calculation of the net surface accumulation from each snow catchment area on the Antarctic continent. In most areas, modeled trajectories show good agreement with observed patterns of iceberg motion, though discrepencies in the Weddell Sea have highlighted problems in the ocean general circulation model output used to force the iceberg model. The Coriolis force is found to be important in keeping bergs entrained in the coastal current around Antarctica, and topographic features are important in causing bergs to depart from the coastal regions. The modeled geographic distribution of iceberg meltwater joining the ocean has been calculated and is found in many near-coastal regions to be comparable in magnitude to the excess of precipitation over evaporation (P-E).