January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño

Julien P. Nicolas, Andrew M. Vogelmann, Ryan C. Scott, Aaron B. Wilson, Maria P. Cadeddu, David H. Bromwich, Johannes Verlinde, Dan Lubin, Lynn M. Russell, Colin Jenkinson, Heath H. Powers, Maciej Ryczek, Gregory Stone, Jonathan D. Wille

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the past two decades the primary driver of mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been warm ocean water underneath coastal ice shelves, not a warmer atmosphere. Yet, surface melt occurs sporadically over low-lying areas of the WAIS and is not fully understood. Here we report on an episode of extensive and prolonged surface melting observed in the Ross Sea sector of the WAIS in January 2016. A comprehensive cloud and radiation experiment at the WAIS ice divide, downwind of the melt region, provided detailed insight into the physical processes at play during the event. The unusual extent and duration of the melting are linked to strong and sustained advection of warm marine air toward the area, likely favoured by the concurrent strong El Niño event. The increase in the number of extreme El Niño events projected for the twenty-first century could expose the WAIS to more frequent major melt events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15799
JournalNature communications
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2017

Fingerprint

Ice Cover
Ice
Antarctic regions
summer
ice
Oceans and Seas
Freezing
Physical Phenomena
melting
land ice
Melting
coastal water
Atmosphere
advection
Advection
Air
Radiation
oceans
sectors
Water

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Nicolas, J. P., Vogelmann, A. M., Scott, R. C., Wilson, A. B., Cadeddu, M. P., Bromwich, D. H., ... Wille, J. D. (2017). January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño. Nature communications, 8, [15799]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15799
Nicolas, Julien P. ; Vogelmann, Andrew M. ; Scott, Ryan C. ; Wilson, Aaron B. ; Cadeddu, Maria P. ; Bromwich, David H. ; Verlinde, Johannes ; Lubin, Dan ; Russell, Lynn M. ; Jenkinson, Colin ; Powers, Heath H. ; Ryczek, Maciej ; Stone, Gregory ; Wille, Jonathan D. / January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño. In: Nature communications. 2017 ; Vol. 8.
@article{108e9ed9fab44154b2082fce6ace584a,
title = "January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Ni{\~n}o",
abstract = "Over the past two decades the primary driver of mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been warm ocean water underneath coastal ice shelves, not a warmer atmosphere. Yet, surface melt occurs sporadically over low-lying areas of the WAIS and is not fully understood. Here we report on an episode of extensive and prolonged surface melting observed in the Ross Sea sector of the WAIS in January 2016. A comprehensive cloud and radiation experiment at the WAIS ice divide, downwind of the melt region, provided detailed insight into the physical processes at play during the event. The unusual extent and duration of the melting are linked to strong and sustained advection of warm marine air toward the area, likely favoured by the concurrent strong El Ni{\~n}o event. The increase in the number of extreme El Ni{\~n}o events projected for the twenty-first century could expose the WAIS to more frequent major melt events.",
author = "Nicolas, {Julien P.} and Vogelmann, {Andrew M.} and Scott, {Ryan C.} and Wilson, {Aaron B.} and Cadeddu, {Maria P.} and Bromwich, {David H.} and Johannes Verlinde and Dan Lubin and Russell, {Lynn M.} and Colin Jenkinson and Powers, {Heath H.} and Maciej Ryczek and Gregory Stone and Wille, {Jonathan D.}",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1038/ncomms15799",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
journal = "Nature Communications",
issn = "2041-1723",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

Nicolas, JP, Vogelmann, AM, Scott, RC, Wilson, AB, Cadeddu, MP, Bromwich, DH, Verlinde, J, Lubin, D, Russell, LM, Jenkinson, C, Powers, HH, Ryczek, M, Stone, G & Wille, JD 2017, 'January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño', Nature communications, vol. 8, 15799. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15799

January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño. / Nicolas, Julien P.; Vogelmann, Andrew M.; Scott, Ryan C.; Wilson, Aaron B.; Cadeddu, Maria P.; Bromwich, David H.; Verlinde, Johannes; Lubin, Dan; Russell, Lynn M.; Jenkinson, Colin; Powers, Heath H.; Ryczek, Maciej; Stone, Gregory; Wille, Jonathan D.

In: Nature communications, Vol. 8, 15799, 15.06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño

AU - Nicolas, Julien P.

AU - Vogelmann, Andrew M.

AU - Scott, Ryan C.

AU - Wilson, Aaron B.

AU - Cadeddu, Maria P.

AU - Bromwich, David H.

AU - Verlinde, Johannes

AU - Lubin, Dan

AU - Russell, Lynn M.

AU - Jenkinson, Colin

AU - Powers, Heath H.

AU - Ryczek, Maciej

AU - Stone, Gregory

AU - Wille, Jonathan D.

PY - 2017/6/15

Y1 - 2017/6/15

N2 - Over the past two decades the primary driver of mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been warm ocean water underneath coastal ice shelves, not a warmer atmosphere. Yet, surface melt occurs sporadically over low-lying areas of the WAIS and is not fully understood. Here we report on an episode of extensive and prolonged surface melting observed in the Ross Sea sector of the WAIS in January 2016. A comprehensive cloud and radiation experiment at the WAIS ice divide, downwind of the melt region, provided detailed insight into the physical processes at play during the event. The unusual extent and duration of the melting are linked to strong and sustained advection of warm marine air toward the area, likely favoured by the concurrent strong El Niño event. The increase in the number of extreme El Niño events projected for the twenty-first century could expose the WAIS to more frequent major melt events.

AB - Over the past two decades the primary driver of mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been warm ocean water underneath coastal ice shelves, not a warmer atmosphere. Yet, surface melt occurs sporadically over low-lying areas of the WAIS and is not fully understood. Here we report on an episode of extensive and prolonged surface melting observed in the Ross Sea sector of the WAIS in January 2016. A comprehensive cloud and radiation experiment at the WAIS ice divide, downwind of the melt region, provided detailed insight into the physical processes at play during the event. The unusual extent and duration of the melting are linked to strong and sustained advection of warm marine air toward the area, likely favoured by the concurrent strong El Niño event. The increase in the number of extreme El Niño events projected for the twenty-first century could expose the WAIS to more frequent major melt events.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85018374926&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85018374926&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/ncomms15799

DO - 10.1038/ncomms15799

M3 - Article

C2 - 28643801

AN - SCOPUS:85018374926

VL - 8

JO - Nature Communications

JF - Nature Communications

SN - 2041-1723

M1 - 15799

ER -

Nicolas JP, Vogelmann AM, Scott RC, Wilson AB, Cadeddu MP, Bromwich DH et al. January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño. Nature communications. 2017 Jun 15;8. 15799. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15799