Melting and freezing beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica

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Abstract

[1] We use remote-sensing data sets to evaluate the spatial distribution of melt beneath the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS). The net melt rate of 83.4 ± 24.8 Gtons/yr is 2.5–5 times lower than previous glaciological estimates, but is similar to existing oceanographic estimates. The spatial distribution, however, differs significantly from standard conceptual and numerical models in which most melt occurs along the grounding lines. Our results suggest most grounding-line melt is refrozen, while the dominant Ice Shelf Water (ISW) source is melting near the ice shelf front, probably associated with tidal action. This suggests that changes in ice shelf extent can impact ISW production rates in the Weddell Sea.

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