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Intense atmospheric rivers can weaken ice shelf stability at the Antarctic Peninsula

Abstract : The disintegration of the ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have spurred much discussion on the various processes leading to their eventual dramatic collapse, but without a consensus on an atmospheric forcing that could connect these processes. Here, using an atmospheric river detection algorithm along with a regional climate model and satellite observations, we show that the most intense atmospheric rivers induce extremes in temperature, surface melt, sea-ice disintegration, or large swells that destabilize the ice shelves with 40% probability. This was observed during the collapses of the Larsen A and B ice shelves during the summers of 1995 and 2002 respectively. Overall, 60% of calving events from 2000-2020 were triggered by atmospheric rivers. The loss of the buttressing effect from these ice shelves leads to further continental ice loss and subsequent sea-level rise. Under future warming projections, the Larsen C ice shelf will be at-risk from the same processes.
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Contributor : Florence Aptel Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 7:18:59 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 11:54:46 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 6:06:12 PM


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Jonathan Wille, Vincent Favier, Nicolas Jourdain, Christoph Kittel, Jenny Turton, et al.. Intense atmospheric rivers can weaken ice shelf stability at the Antarctic Peninsula. Communications Earth & Environment, Springer Nature, 2022, 3 (1), pp.90. ⟨10.1038/s43247-022-00422-9⟩. ⟨hal-03651750⟩



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