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Geophysics Department Seminar - Dr. Marianne Haseloff: The Stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Date and Time: 
April 19, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Mitchell 350/372
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Geophysics Department

Speaker: Dr. Marianne Haseloff; Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Oxford

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is a marine ice sheet that rests on a bed below sea level. The stability of a marine ice sheet and its contribution to future sea level rise are controlled by the dynamics of the grounding line, where the grounded ice sheet transitions into a floating ice shelf. Recent observations suggest that Antarctic ice shelves experience widespread thinning due to contact with warming ocean waters, but quantifying the effect of these changes on marine ice sheet stability and extent remains a major challenge for both observational and modelling studies. In this talk, I show that grounding line stability of laterally confined marine ice sheets is governed by ice shelf dynamics, in particular calving front and melting conditions. I will discuss the implications of this dependence for projections of the future evolution of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.