Research Project

Taking the pulse of the Ross Sea Outflow

Melt water produced by ice shelves around Antarctica influences ocean currents, temperature and salinity around the Southern Ocean and globally. The Ross Ice Shelf to the south of New Zealand is among the largest Antarctic ice shelves. Currently, our capacity to model its outflow and impact on our climate system is limited.

This project took new measurements, both from ships and from robotic gliders programmed to fly up and down through the ocean, to understand how water moves between the shallow shelf and the deeper ocean. We compared our findings to historical data and document the ways in which the Ross Sea outflow has changed over the past decade.

In doing so, we have improve how these processes are simulated in the NZ Earth System Model and contributed to more accurate predictions of New Zealand’s future climate.