Major Surface Melting over the Ross Ice Shelf Part II: Surface Energy Balance

June 1, 2021

Major Surface Melting over the Ross Ice Shelf Part II: Surface Energy Balance

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Major Surface Melting over the Ross Ice Shelf Part II: Surface Energy Balance
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A new publication by lead author Jerry Zou, and co-authors from the Polar Meteorology Research Group, including David Bromwich, Alvaro Montenegro, Sheng-Hung Wang, and Lesheng Bai, investigates surface melting over the Ross Ice Shelf, which has become more frequent in recent decades.

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The Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) in West Antarctica has experienced more frequent surface melting in the recent decades, which can result in the hydrofracturing of ice shelves and promote ice loss. This study investigates and summarizes three regional drivers for surface melting over the RIS, recurring foehn effect, direct warm air advection and cloud impacts, based on four extensive melt cases via Polar WRF simulations. The foehn effect can contribute ~ 4 ºC temperature increase, while the impact of direct warm air advection rarely impacts farther inland and rarely leads to strong melting. Also, low-level liquid clouds dominate the surface melting over the coastal and middle RIS, and clear sky conditions caused by foehn clearance control the eastern RIS and western Marie Byrd Land. With better understanding of the regional factors for the surface melting, prediction of the future stability of West Antarctic ice shelves can be improved.

Ross Ice Shelf Fig1

 

Ross Ice Shelf Fig2