The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has been one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, with a large decline in sea ice cover over the past few decades. In this region, the southern limit of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is adjacent to the shelf break, allowing transfer of warmer Circumpolar Deep Water onto the shelf. This transfer is known to occur in particular regions, for example where flow interacts with canyons across the shelf.
Following on from previous work carried out at CCPO, I will be using a high-resolution ocean-ice shelf-sea ice model (ROMS), forced with atmospheric reanalysis, to investigate which processes influence this transfer of warm water onto the shelf. I will also be investigating the role of ocean-atmosphere-ice interactions in determining water mass properties on the continental shelf. Ozone depletion and anthropogenic climate change are both likely to cause more positive phases of the Southern Annular Mode. This is associated with stronger westerlies, as well as a poleward shift in their mean position. This is likely to bring more warm water onto the shelf, but may also lead to increased mixing, leading to various responses beneath ice shelves ( Dinniman et al. 2012). A positive SAM phase is also associated with increased storms in the WAP region (e.g. Lubin et al. 2008; Uotila et al. 2013). One aim of this project will be to look at the influence of wind variability, as well as it's mean speed.
Model results will be validated and compared with observations available from the region.