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Antarctic ice-shelf calving triggered by the Honshu (Japan) earthquake and tsunami, March 2011

  • Kelly M. Brunt (a1), Emile A. Okal (a2) and Douglas R. MacAyeal (a3)

Abstract

We use European Space Agency Envisat data to present the first observational evidence that a Northern Hemisphere tsunami triggered Antarctic ice-shelf calving more than 13 000 km away. The Honshu tsunami of 11 March 2011 traversed the Pacific Ocean in <18 hours where it impinged on the Sulzberger Ice Shelf, resulting in the calving of 125 km2 of ice from a shelf front that had previously been stable for >46 years. This event further illustrates the growing evidence of ocean-wave impact on Antarctic calving and emphasizes the teleconnection between the Antarctic ice sheet and events as far away as the Northern Hemisphere.

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References

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