Chlorofluorocarbons, helium, and neon measured on water bottle samples during POLARSTERN cruise ANT-XXII/2 (ISPOL)


During Ice Station POLarstern (ISPOL; R.V. Polarstern cruise ANT XXII/2, November 2004-January 2005), hydrographic and tracer observations were obtained in the western Weddell Sea while drifting closely in front of the Larsen Ice Shelf. These observations indicate recently formed Weddell Sea Bottom Water, which contains significant contributions of glacial melt water in its upper part, and High-Salinity Shelf Water in its lower layer. The formation of this bottom water cannot be related to the known sources in the south, the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. We show that this bottom water is formed in the western Weddell Sea, most likely in interaction with the Larsen C Ice Shelf. By applying an Optimum Multiparameter Analysis (OMP) using temperature, salinity, and noble gas observations (helium isotopes and neon), we obtained mean glacial melt-water fractions of about 0.1% in the bottom water. On sections across the Weddell Gyre farther north, melt-water fractions are still on the order of 0.04%. Using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as age tracers, we deduced a mean transit time between the western source and the bottom water found on the slope toward the north (9±3 years). This transit time is larger and the inferred transport rate is small in comparison to previous findings. But accounting for a loss of the initially formed bottom water volume due to mixing and renewal of Weddell Sea Deep Water, a formation rate of 1.1±0.5 Sv in the western Weddell Sea is plausible. This implies a basal melt rate of 35±19 Gt/year or 0.35±0.19 m/year at the Larsen Ice Shelf. This bottom water is shallow enough that it could leave the Weddell Basin through the gaps in the South Scotia Ridge to supply Antarctic Bottom Water. These findings emphasize the role of the western Weddell Sea in deep- and bottom-water formation, particularly in view of changing environmental conditions due to climate variability, which might induce enhanced melting or even decay of ice shelves.

See doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.729699 for the physical oceanography.

Supplement to: Huhn, Oliver; Hellmer, Hartmut H; Rhein, Monika; Rodehacke, Christian; Roether, Wolfgang; Schodlok, Michael P; Schröder, Michael (2008): Evidence of deep- and bottom-water formation in the western Weddell Sea. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 55(8-9), 1098-1116

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Huhn, Oliver (ORCID: 0000-0003-3626-9135); Hellmer, Hartmut H (ORCID: 0000-0002-9357-9853); Rhein, Monika (ORCID: 0000-0003-1496-2828); Roether, Wolfgang; Rodehacke, Christian; Schodlok, Michael P; Schröder, Michael
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2008
Funding Reference Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 404421353; German Science Foundation, 5472008
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 2 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-57.471W, -68.269S, -36.302E, -59.910N); Weddell Sea; Scotia Sea, southwest Atlantic
Temporal Coverage Begin 2004-11-20T00:10:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2005-01-07T11:40:00Z