Sunday, 22 January 2012
Synoptic Scale Atmospheric Forcings on Surface Melt Occurrence on West Antarctic Ice Shelves
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
With the breakup of the Larsen Ice Shelf in 2002, and seasonally upward trends in temperatures along the margins of the Antarctic continent, surface melting on Antarctic ice shelves is a growing concern. Surface melting is known to cause cracks to propagate downward from the ice shelf surface, first causing calving and ice shelf disintegration, then the subsequent acceleration of feeder glaciers, and ultimately increases in global sea level. This study isolates several typical weather patterns that are associated with surface melting on West Antarctic Ice Shelves. Surface melt occurrence was obtained via passive microwave-derived Cross-Polarized Gradient Ratio (XPGR) and was spatially correlated with frequently-occurring spatially-distinct synoptic scale weather patterns isolated by the use of self-organizing maps.