Amundsen Coast, West Antarctica

An Interdisciplinary Study of Recent Ice Sheet Melt, Sea Ice Decline, and Enhanced Ocean Biological Productivity along the Amundsen Coast, West Antarctica
Funding Agency: NASA Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science Program
Collaborators: S. Das (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) and M. Evans (Wheaton College)
Funding Period: 2010-2014

While the likelihood of a complete meltdown of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) remains highly uncertain, its large size and dynamic behavior ensures that even small changes in ice sheet mass balance and ice flow will strongly affect future sea level and land-ocean freshwater fluxes. The adjacent marine cryosphere is also undergoing dramatic change, with recent shifts in Southern Ocean sea ice cover impacting ocean-atmosphere energy fluxes, ocean circulation and marine biological productivity. This project is a multi-disciplinary effort to broadly understand surface changes in the cryosphere of West Antarctica, with a targeted research project focused on recently observed change in the climatically sensitive region surrounding the Amundsen Sea sector of the WAIS. This sector is one of the most rapidly changing and least well understood of all the polar regions, where some of the fastest flowing glaciers are contributing an increasing amount of freshwater to the ocean. Our work uses an interdisciplinary approach merging remotely sensed data with ground-based observations from new chemical and physical measurements of glaciological samples. Ice coring fieldwork in West Antarctica related to this project took place in 2010 and 2011.

Resulting Publications: *Ph.D. student author, **M.S./M.A. student author, ***B.A. student author

Trusel, L. D.*, K. E. Frey, S. Das, K. B. Karnauskas, P. Kuipers Menneke, E. van Meijgaard & M. R. van den Broeke (2015), Divergent trajectories of Antarctic ice shelf surface melt under 21st century climate scenarios. Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo2563. (Cover Feature) pdf copy

Criscitiello, A. S., S. B. Das, K. B. Karnauskas, M. J. Evans, K. E. Frey, I. Joughin, E. J. Steig, J. R. McConnell & B. Medley (2014), Tropical Pacific influence on source and transport of marine aerosols to West Antarctica. Journal of Climate 27, 1343–1363, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00148.1. pdf copy

Trusel, L. D.*, K. E. Frey, S. B. Das, P. Kuipers Munneke & M. R. van den Broeke (2013), Satellite-based estimates of Antarctic surface meltwater fluxes. Geophysical Research Letters 40, doi:10.1002/2013GL058138 (6 pp.). pdf copy

Criscitiello, A. S., S. B. Das, M. J. Evans, K. E. Frey, H. Conway, I. Joughin, B. Medley & E. J. Steig (2013), Ice sheet record of recent sea-ice behavior and polynya variability in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 118, doi:10.1029/2012JC008077 (13 pp.). pdf copy

Trusel, L. D.*, K. E. Frey & S. B. Das (2012), Antarctic surface and subsurface melting dynamics: Enhanced perspectives from radar scatterometer data. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 117, F02023, doi:10.1029/2011JF002126 (15 pp.). pdf copy