Browse/search for people

Mr Erik Mackie

Has Antarctic ice loss altered the circulation of the Southern Ocean?

The Southern Ocean plays a key role in the carbon cycle and the global climate system, but despite its importance there remain many uncertainties about this remote and inhospitable ocean. Research has shown that the rate of ice loss from Antarctica has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, but there is currently limited knowledge about the impact of this rapid change in freshwater input on the circulation of the Southern Ocean. It is recognised that ocean dynamics can enhance ice sheet melting so potentially any change in circulation could lead to further ocean-induced melting. The aim of my research project is to use remotely sensed data from recent satellite missions such as GRACE and GOCE, combined with in-situ observations, to create a detailed mapping of the Southern Ocean’s changing circulation over the last 20 years, and then to interpret this data in relation to observed changes in the freshwater input from Antarctica.