March 2022

Study exposes role of sea ice in protecting Antarctic coast

Media Release: A new method for detecting and monitoring change in the exposure of the Antarctic coastline to the dynamic Southern Ocean, due to changing sea-ice distribution, could improve environmental monitoring and modelling of Antarctic ice loss and sea level rise.

For the first time, Dr Phil Reid of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Dr Rob Massom of the Australian Antarctic Division investigated ‘coastal exposure length’ – a daily measure of when and where the Antarctic coastline lacks any protective sea-ice buffer offshore.

The scientists used the long-term satellite sea-ice concentration record to determine Antarctic coastal exposure, and how it has changed over the past four decades.