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  1. Abstract The Ross Sea is known for showing the greatest sea-ice increase, as observed globally, particularly from 1979 to 2015. However, corresponding changes in sea-ice thickness and production in the Ross Sea are not known, nor how these changes have impacted water masses, carbon fluxes, biogeochemical processes and availability of micronutrients. The PIPERS project sought to address these questions during an autumn ship campaign in 2017 and two spring airborne campaigns in 2016 and 2017. PIPERS used a multidisciplinary approach of manned and autonomous platforms to study the coupled air/ice/ocean/biogeochemical interactions during autumn and related those to spring conditions. Unexpectedly, the Ross Sea experienced record low sea ice in spring 2016 and autumn 2017. The delayed ice advance in 2017 contributed to (1) increased ice production and export in coastal polynyas, (2) thinner snow and ice cover in the central pack, (3) lower sea-ice Chl- a burdens and differences in sympagic communities, (4) sustained ocean heat flux delaying ice thickening and (5) a melting, anomalously southward ice edge persisting into winter. Despite these impacts, airborne observations in spring 2017 suggest that winter ice production over the continental shelf was likely not anomalous.
  2. Mass loss from the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has increased in recent decades, suggestive of sus- tained ocean forcing or an ongoing, possibly unstable, response to a past climate anomaly. Lengthening satellite records appear to be incompatible with either process, however, revealing both periodic hiatuses in acceleration and intermittent episodes of thinning. Here we use ocean temperature, salinity, dissolved-oxygen and current measurements taken from 2000 to 2016 near the Dotson Ice Shelf to determine temporal changes in net basal melting. A decadal cycle dominates the ocean record, with melt changing by a factor of about four between cool and warm extremes via a nonlinear relationship with ocean temperature. A warm phase that peaked around 2009 coincided with ice-shelf thinning and retreat of the grounding line, which re-advanced during a post-2011 cool phase. These observations demonstrate how discontinuous ice retreat is linked with ocean variability, and that the strength and timing of decadal extremes is more influential than changes in the longer-term mean state. The non- linear response of melting to temperature change heightens the sensitivity of Amundsen Sea ice shelves to such variability, possibly explaining the vulnerability of the ice sheet in that sector, wheremore »subsurface ocean temperatures are relatively high.« less