Abstract Ponds that form on sea ice can cause it to thin or break-up, which can promote calving from an adjacent ice shelf. Studies of sea ice ponds have predominantly focused on Arctic ponds formed by in situ melting/ponding. Our study documents another mechanism for the formation of sea ice ponds. Using Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 images from the 2015–16 to 2018–19 austral summers, we analyze the evolution of sea ice ponds that form adjacent to the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We find that each summer, meltwater flows from the ice shelf onto the sea ice and forms large (up to 9 km 2 ) ponds. These ponds decrease the sea ice's albedo, thinning it. We suggest the added mass of runoff causes the ice to flex, potentially promoting sea-ice instability by the ice-shelf front. As surface melting on ice shelves increases, we suggest that ice-shelf surface hydrology will have a greater effect on sea-ice stability.
Behavior of flexural gravity waves on ice shelves: Application to the Ross Ice Shelf: ICE-SHELF/OCEAN-WAVE INTERACTIONS ON RIS