Influence of tides on melting and freezing beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Keith Makinson, Paul R. Holland, Adrian Jenkins, Keith W. Nicholls, David M. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An isopycnic coordinate ocean circulation model is applied to the ocean cavity beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, investigating the role of tides on sub-ice shelf circulation and ice shelf basal mass balance. Including tidal forcing causes a significant intensification in the sub-ice shelf circulation, with an increase in melting (3-fold) and refreezing (6-fold); the net melt rate and seawater flux through the cavity approximately doubles. With tidal forcing, the spatial pattern and magnitude of basal melting and freezing generally match observations. The 0.22 m a-1 net melt rate is close to satellite-derived estimates and at the lower end of oceanographic values. The Ice Shelf Water outflow mixes with shelf waters, forming a cold (<-1.9C), dense overflow (0.83 Sv) that spills down the continental slope. These results demonstrate that tidal forcing is fundamental to both ice shelf-ocean interactions and deep-water formation in the southern Weddell Sea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL06601
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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