On the Estimation of Antarctic Iceberg Melt Rate

Steve Neshyba School of Oceanography, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331

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Edward G. Josberger School of Oceanography, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331

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Abstract

Estimates of Antarctic iceberg melt rates made from field observations, iceberg distribution statistics, laboratory experiments and theoretical studies give a wide range of values. Evaluation of the errors associated with each method allows for the quantitative first-order correction for both the effect of bubbles released from the melting ice on the convective heat transfer and the effect of other forms of iceberg deterioration besides sidewall melting. The results provide a best estimate for the melt rate of 5, 17 and 55 m year−1 at a temperature elevation above the freezing point of Td = 2, 4 and 8°C, respectively. Also, the laboratory, theoretical and field observations indicate that the melt-rate dependence is proportional to Td1.6.

Abstract

Estimates of Antarctic iceberg melt rates made from field observations, iceberg distribution statistics, laboratory experiments and theoretical studies give a wide range of values. Evaluation of the errors associated with each method allows for the quantitative first-order correction for both the effect of bubbles released from the melting ice on the convective heat transfer and the effect of other forms of iceberg deterioration besides sidewall melting. The results provide a best estimate for the melt rate of 5, 17 and 55 m year−1 at a temperature elevation above the freezing point of Td = 2, 4 and 8°C, respectively. Also, the laboratory, theoretical and field observations indicate that the melt-rate dependence is proportional to Td1.6.

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