Basal Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelves

Nature Geoscience, August 10

Between 1994 and 2018, Antarctic ice shelves (floating ice connected to the land-based Antarctic ice sheet) lost close to 3960 Gt of ice. Many ice shelves bordering Antarctica lose mass through ocean-driven melting at their base. This study builds on previous work by using higher density satellite radar measurements, enabling far more detailed observations. The most rapidly thinning ice shelves flank the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Antarctic Peninsula, followed by shelves in the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. Thinner and weaker ice shelves threaten the stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, while their loss impacts ocean circulation and thereby climate across the world.

Compiled by Amy Imedieke