Melting of Ice Sheets under sea-water: experiments and high resolution simulations

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Antarctic ice shelves melt by turbulent transport of heat and salt to the ice face, predominantly under the influence of warmer and salty Circumpolar Deep Water entering ice shelf cavities from the surrounding Southern Ocean. The water exiting ice shelf cavities contributes to Antarctic Bottom Water, which in turn is a crucial component of the global thermohaline
circulation. Both heat and salinity play a significant role in the melting process which takes place inside a boundary layer on the ice face. Knowledge of the boundary layer, the factors governing melting of the ice, and the feedbacks between them, is needed
to predict melting rate and future rises in sea level.

We are investigating the physical processes that control these ice-ocean interactions and the resulting circulation at basin scale using laboratory experiments  and turbulence resolving simulations.

Contact: Dr. Bishakhdatta Gayen and Dr. Ross C. Kerr, Climate and Fluid Physics Group

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