Ice Scour Disturbance in Antarctic Waters

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Science  18 Jul 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5887, pp. 371
DOI: 10.1126/science.1158647

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The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, and, as a consequence, most maritime glaciers and ice shelves in the region have significantly retreated over the past few decades. We collected a multiyear data set on ice scouring frequency from Antarctica by using unique experimental markers and scuba diving surveys. We show that the annual intensity of ice scouring is negatively correlated with the duration of the winter fast ice season. Because fast ice extent and duration is currently in decline in the region after recent rapid warming, it is likely that marine benthic communities are set for even more scouring in the near future.

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