Internal tsunamigenesis and ocean mixing driven by glacier calving in Antarctica

Ocean mixing around Antarctica exerts key influences on glacier dynamics and ice shelf retreats, sea ice, and marine productivity, thus affecting global sea level and climate. The conventional paradigm is that this is dominated by winds, tides, and buoyancy forcing. Direct observations from the Antarctic Peninsula demonstrate that glacier calving triggers internal tsunamis, the breaking of which drives vigorous mixing. Being widespread and frequent, these internal tsunamis are at least comparable to winds, and much more important than tides, in driving regional shelf mixing. They are likely relevant everywhere that marine-terminating glaciers calve, including Greenland and across the Arctic. Calving frequency may change with higher ocean temperatures, suggesting possible shifts to internal tsunamigenesis and mixing in a warming climate.


Meredith MP, Inall ME, Brearley JA, Ehmen T, Sheen K, Munday D, Cook A, Retallick K, Van Landeghem K, Gerrish L, Annett A, Carvalho F, Jones R, Naveira Garabato A, Bull C, Wallis B, Hogg A & Scourse J

Science Advances, 8(47)
11, 23, 2022
Pages: eadd0720
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add0720