Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Research article
 | Highlight paper
01 Feb 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 01 Feb 2023

Slowdown of Shirase Glacier, East Antarctica, caused by strengthening alongshore winds

Bertie W. J. Miles, Chris R. Stokes, Adrian Jenkins, Jim R. Jordan, Stewart S. R. Jamieson, and G. Hilmar Gudmundsson


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Latest update: 03 Dec 2023
The study shows a rare example of the thickening of a glacier ice tongue in East Antarctica. The authors attribute the thickening to changes in wind patterns leading to a decrease in the transport of warm water reaching the glacier. The results highlight the intricate relationship between glaciers and atmosphere/ocean dynamics.
Short summary
Satellite observations have shown that the Shirase Glacier catchment in East Antarctica has been gaining mass over the past 2 decades, a trend largely attributed to increased snowfall. Our multi-decadal observations of Shirase Glacier show that ocean forcing has also contributed to some of this recent mass gain. This has been caused by strengthening easterly winds reducing the inflow of warm water underneath the Shirase ice tongue, causing the glacier to slow down and thicken.