Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Geophysical Research Letters








The Ross Sea is critically important in regulating Antarctic sea ice and is biologically productive, which makes changes in the region's physical environment of global concern. We examined the effects of projected changes in atmospheric temperatures and winds on aspects of the ocean circulation likely important to primary production using a high-resolution sea ice-ocean-ice shelf model of the Ross Sea. The modeled summer sea-ice concentrations decreased by 56% by 2050 and 78% by 2100. The duration of shallow mixed layers over the continental shelf increased by 8.5 and 19.2days in 2050 and 2100, and the mean summer mixed layer depths decreased by 12 and 44%. These results suggest that the annual phytoplankton production in the future will increase and become more diatomaceous. Other components of the Ross Sea food web will likely be severely disrupted, creating significant but unpredictable impacts on the ocean's most pristine ecosystem. Key Points Ross Sea will be modified in ice-free duration and summer ice concentrations Modeled summer mixed layers decreased by 26 and 46% in 50 and 100 years The food web will undergo severe disruptions in the coming century.

Original Publication Citation

Smith, W.O., Dinniman, M.S., Hofmann, E.E., & Klinck, J.M. (2014). The effects of changing winds and temperatures on the oceanography of the Ross Sea in the 21st century. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(5), 1624-1631. doi: 10.1002/2014gl059311

Article Location