Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Sources, variability and fate of freshwater in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica

Regan, Heather C., Holland, Paul R., Meredith, Michael P. and Pike, Jennifer ORCID: 2018. Sources, variability and fate of freshwater in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 133 , pp. 59-71. 10.1016/j.dsr.2018.01.005

[thumbnail of Sources variability and fate of freshwater in the Bellingshausen Sea Antarctica.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (24MB) | Preview


During the second half of the twentieth century, the Antarctic Peninsula was subjected to a rapid increase in air temperatures. This was accompanied by a reduction in sea ice extent, increased precipitation and a dramatic retreat of glaciers associated with an increase in heat flux from deep ocean water masses. Isotopic tracers have been used previously to investigate the relative importance of the different freshwater sources to the adjacent Bellingshausen Sea (BS), but the data coverage is strongly biased toward summer. Here we use a regional model to investigate the ocean's response to the observed changes in its different freshwater inputs (sea ice melt/freeze, precipitation, evaporation, iceberg/glacier melt, and ice shelf melt). The model successfully recreates BS water masses and performs well against available freshwater data. By tracing the sources and pathways of the individual components of the freshwater budget, we find that sea ice dominates seasonal changes in the total freshwater content and flux, but all sources make a comparable contribution to the annual-mean. Interannual variability is dominated by sea ice and precipitation. Decadal trends in the salinity and stratification of the ocean are investigated, and a 20-year surface freshening from 1992 to 2011 is found to be predominantly driven by decreasing autumn sea ice growth. These findings will help to elucidate the role of freshwater in driving circulation and water column structure changes in this climatically-sensitive region.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0967-0637
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 16 January 2018
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 13:58

Citation Data

Cited 9 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics