Taking the pulse of the Ross Sea Outflow

NIWA vessel Tangaroa on the ice near penguins

Melt water produced by ice shelves around Antarctica influences ocean currents, temperature and salinity around the Southern Ocean and globally. The Ross Ice Shelf to the south of New Zealand is amongst the largest Antarctic ice shelves. Currently, our capacity to model its outflow and impact on our climate system is limited.

Project Duration: July 2017 - July 2019

Project budget: $300,000 (GST excl.)

This project will take new measurements, both from ships and from robotic gliders programmed to fly up and down through the ocean, to understand how water moves between the shallow shelf and the deeper ocean. We’ll compare our findings to historical data and document the ways in which the Ross Sea outflow has changed over the past decade.

In doing so, we’ll improve how these processes are simulated in the NZ Earth System Model and contribute to more accurate predictions of New Zealand’s future climate.

Contact Project Investigator

  • Dr. Melissa Bowen, University of Auckland

School of Environment
Email: m.bowen@auckland.ac.nz
Telephone: +64-9-923-9037


Have a look at all Deep South Challenge - Funded Projects

Area of investigation in the Ross Sea Ice Shelf

Latest news and updates

Deep South Challenge tackles crucial task of understanding and adapting to climate change

On Monday 4 September, Minister for Science and Innovation Paul Goldsmith will open the inaugural Deep South Challenge symposium at the Wharewaka (Wellington waterfront), about how New Zealand can and must change in line with our changing climate.

Climate Change and Mātauranga Māori

Seven kaupapa Māori climate change projects – a first for New Zealand climate research – to be celebrated at inaugural Deep South Challenge symposium

Climate Change Engagement in Aotearoa New Zealand

A new report released by the Deep South Challenge this month recommends increasing the availability of plain-language resources about climate change in both English and te reo Māori, framing scientific information for application to practical decision making, and increasing access to climate change conversations for a wider array of end-users.