Melting and refreezing beneath Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf (East Antarctica) inferred from radar, GPS, and ice core data



[1] Ice-penetrating radar profiles across the grounding line of a small ice-rise promontory located within the Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf in the Dronning Maud Land sector of East Antarctica show downward dipping englacial radar-detected reflectors. Model results indicate that this reflector pattern is best fit by including basal melting of at least 15 cm a−1. This rate of melting is low compared with rates observed on larger ice shelves in both West and East Antarctica. Ice cores extracted from a rift system close to the ice-rise promontory show several meters of marine ice accreted beneath the shelf. These observations of low rates of basal melting, and limited distribution of accreted marine ice suggest that either Antarctic surface water may reach the ice shelf base or that circulation beneath the shelf is likely dominated by the production of high salinity shelf water rather than the incursion of circumpolar deep water, implying a weak sub-shelf circulation system here. Many of the ice shelves located along the coast of Dronning Maud Land are, like Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, characterized by frequent ice rises and promontories. Therefore, it is highly likely that these are also of shallow bathymetry and are subject to similarly weak side-shelf basal melting and refreezing.