The researchers used seismic data collected on the Ross Ice Shelf to identify signals generated by infragravity waves that originated along the Northern California and British Columbia coasts, and modeled how much stress an ice shelf suffers in response to infragravity wave impacts.
Whether increased infragravity wave frequency and energy induced by heightened storm intensity associated with climate change ultimately contribute to or trigger ice shelf collapse is an open question at this point," said Bromirski.
Bromirski, along with his colleagues, has proposed that the southbound travelling infragravity waves "may be a key mechanical agent that contributes to the production and/or expansion of the pre-existing crevasse fields on ice shelves," and that the infragravity waves also may provide the trigger necessary to initiate the collapse process.
Previous studies had found that this hum is excited by infragravity waves
, a type of ocean wave that originates in shallow water along coasts, but it was uncertain whether hum is generated primarily by infragravity waves
in the deep ocean or along coastlines.