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Keywords:

  • Amundsen Sea;
  • heat transport;
  • basal melting

[1] Glaciers which drain the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) into the Amundsen Sea are accelerating and thinning rapidly. These observations have been attributed to the regional oceanography whereby heat contained within Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) drives the basal melting of floating glaciers. On the basis of new data we calculate that 2.8 terra-Watts (1012) of oceanic heat flow onto the continental shelf and toward the glaciers via a submarine glacial trough. This is enough to account for most of the basal melting in the entire region suggesting the ocean is supplying an excess of heat toward the Antarctic continent.