The Totten Glacier drains over 500,000 km2 of the
Antarctic ice sheet into the ocean via a floating ice shelf. Satellite
observations have shown this glacier and ice shelf to be thinning, which
suggests increased basal melting and an ocean-driven cause. Here, I
will presentan overview of the glacial system, and, in particular, why
the Totten Glacier is important for global climate (hint: significant
sea level rise potential). I will present results from a numerical
ocean model, where the interaction from a nearby sea ice formation
region is shown to modulate the seasonal and interannual melting beneath
the Totten Glacier ice shelf. I will finish by showing some photography
from a recent icebreaker voyage to this region.
David Gwyther is an ocean modeller completing his Ph.D. at the University of Tasmania in Australia. He is currently living in Austin, Texas while on a year-long Fulbright scholarship at the University of Texas. His research foucses on investigating the links between the changing Southern Ocean and satellite-detected ice shelf thinning, through numerical ice shelf-ocean models. He has just returned from a two-month research voyage to the Totten Glacier region of East Antarctica.
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