ICAS External Seminar

Presented by Karen Heywood, UEA

Oceanographic variability of the Amundsen Sea and its importance for Antarctic ice shelves

Host: Anna Hogg

Abstract: Ocean properties and currents are believed to influence the basal melting of some of Antarctica’s most vulnerable ice shelves, such as Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier. In the Amundsen Sea, warm, salty Circumpolar Deep Water crosses the continental shelf towards these glaciers.  The amount of heat entering the ice shelf cavities is believed to drive variability in melting. However until recently, little was known about the variability of the waters surrounding these ice shelves. In this talk I will describe what we have learnt from tagging marine mammals with small sensors to measure temperature and salinity throughout the winter, and from moorings deployed near ice shelves. I will discuss results from numerical models showing the overturning circulation on the Amundsen Sea continental shelf. Finally I will mention the plans for monitoring Thwaites Glacier in upcoming projects.

Bio: Karen is a professor of physical oceanography in the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UEA. She has been at UEA for 30 years following a degree in physics from Bristol and a PhD in physical oceanography from Southampton. She is particularly interested in oceanographic processes in polar- regions.  She loves new techniques and new oceanographic toys, and leads the UEA ocean glider group.

The seminar will be followed by cake and coffee in the School foyer.