Investigating the impact of surface melt on the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Pete Tuckett

The project

The Antarctic Ice Sheet holds enough freshwater to raise global sea level by approximately 58 metres. Predictions of the future contribution to sea level rise from ice sheets have a large uncertainty, hindering our ability to plan for future increases in sea level.

Atmospheric warming has resulted in increased melting in parts of Antarctica, and surface meltwater is widespread around the margin of the continent. Surface meltwater has the potential to influence ice dynamic processes in several ways, yet it is unknown whether melt-induced changes will accelerate, stabilize or have a negligible effect upon future ice losses.

This project will use remote sensing techniques to investigate the temporal and spatial evolution of meltwater across Antarctica, and the influence that this has on ice motion. This will improve our understanding of meltwater-ice interactions in Antarctica to reduce uncertainty in predicting sea level rise.

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Rapid accelerations of Antarctic Peninsula outlet glaciers driven by surface melt.
Peter A. Tuckett, Jeremy C. Ely, Andrew J. Sole, Stephen J. Livingstone, Benjamin J. Davison, J. Melchior van Wessem & Joshua Howard. Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 4311 (2019)

Reply to: “Impact of marine processes on flow dynamics of northern Antarctic Peninsula outlet glaciers”. Rott et al. Peter A. Tuckett, Jeremy C. Ely, Andrew J. Sole, Stephen J. Livingstone, Benjamin J. Davison & J. Melchior van Wessem. Nature Communications volume 11, Article number: 2970 (2020)


Dr Jeremy Ely

Department of Geography