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Summary of Proposal OCE3083

TitleQuantification of water mass generation in the Filchner-Ronne outflow system during Polarstern expedition PS96 (FROSN - Filchner-Ronne Outflow System Now)
Investigator Höppner, Kathrin - German Aerospace Center (DLR), German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD-LAX)
Team Member
Dr. Wesche, Christine - Alfred-Wegener Institut (AWI), Infrastructure/Administration

The Filchner-Ronne ice shelf and its vast shelf areas in front, are characterized by a transformation of dense High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) into cold Ice Shelf Water (ISW), which acts as one important source during the production of deep and bottom waters in the Weddell Sea. Besides, model results by a combined atmosphere-ice-ocean model (FESOM) suggest that the melt rates undergo dramatic changes within the next 100 years, by an alteration of the water masses involved. It is therefore essential to quantify the amount of water masses and their variation in time at the present state to evaluate further changes.The principal physics of the ice shelf-ocean interaction driving the circulation in the cavity seem to be quite well understood, although only a few measurements in front and underneath this large ice shelf are available. Due to this lack of data, an international cooperation between UK, Norway and Germany was set up in 2013, which includes extensive field campaigns on the Filchner ice shelf and ships measurements in front for the near future. The expedition PS96 (ANT-XXXI/2) of the research vessel Polarstern (led by Michael Schröder, AWI) is the second cruise in a row of 3 until 2018. In the southern summers 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 these ships cruises will be accompanied by the Filchner drilling program, which will drill 4 bore holes through the 600m to 1500m thick Filchner ice shelf to launch oceanographic instruments in the water filled cavity. The data of these instruments will be send over a period of 5 years via satellite link to AWI for interpretation.

The proposed TSX science project will support this scientific Polarstern expedition PS96 during the southern summer 2015-2016 on its way to the Weddell Sea, Antarctica (Atlantic sector southward of 60°S). The Polarstern will stay at the Weddell Sea for about 30 days. Therefore, high-resolution near real-time TSX images will be essential to support AWI scientists working onboard the vessel.

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