Science.gov

Sample records for age ice sheets

  1. Exposure age and ice-sheet model constraints on Pliocene East Antarctic ice sheet dynamics.

    PubMed

    Yamane, Masako; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Obrochta, Stephen; Saito, Fuyuki; Moriwaki, Kiichi; Matsuzaki, Hiroyuki

    2015-04-24

    The Late Pliocene epoch is a potential analogue for future climate in a warming world. Here we reconstruct Plio-Pleistocene East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) variability using cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages and model simulations to better understand ice sheet behaviour under such warm conditions. New and previously published exposure ages indicate interior-thickening during the Pliocene. An ice sheet model with mid-Pliocene boundary conditions also results in interior thickening and suggests that both the Wilkes Subglacial and Aurora Basins largely melted, offsetting increased ice volume. Considering contributions from West Antarctica and Greenland, this is consistent with the most recent IPCC AR5 estimate, which indicates that the Pliocene sea level likely did not exceed +20 m on Milankovitch timescales. The inception of colder climate since ∼3 Myr has increased the sea ice cover and inhibited active moisture transport to Antarctica, resulting in reduced ice sheet thickness, at least in coastal areas.

  2. Exposure age and ice-sheet model constraints on Pliocene East Antarctic ice sheet dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Yamane, Masako; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Obrochta, Stephen; Saito, Fuyuki; Moriwaki, Kiichi; Matsuzaki, Hiroyuki

    2015-01-01

    The Late Pliocene epoch is a potential analogue for future climate in a warming world. Here we reconstruct Plio-Pleistocene East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) variability using cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages and model simulations to better understand ice sheet behaviour under such warm conditions. New and previously published exposure ages indicate interior-thickening during the Pliocene. An ice sheet model with mid-Pliocene boundary conditions also results in interior thickening and suggests that both the Wilkes Subglacial and Aurora Basins largely melted, offsetting increased ice volume. Considering contributions from West Antarctica and Greenland, this is consistent with the most recent IPCC AR5 estimate, which indicates that the Pliocene sea level likely did not exceed +20 m on Milankovitch timescales. The inception of colder climate since ∼3 Myr has increased the sea ice cover and inhibited active moisture transport to Antarctica, resulting in reduced ice sheet thickness, at least in coastal areas. PMID:25908601

  3. Radiostratigraphy and age structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Fahnestock, Mark A; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Prasad Gogineni, S; Young, S Keith; Rybarski, Susan C; Mabrey, Alexandria N; Wagman, Benjamin M; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-01-01

    Several decades of ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have observed numerous widespread internal reflections. Analysis of this radiostratigraphy has produced valuable insights into ice sheet dynamics and motivates additional mapping of these reflections. Here we present a comprehensive deep radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne deep ice-penetrating radar data collected over Greenland by The University of Kansas between 1993 and 2013. To map this radiostratigraphy efficiently, we developed new techniques for predicting reflection slope from the phase recorded by coherent radars. When integrated along track, these slope fields predict the radiostratigraphy and simplify semiautomatic reflection tracing. Core-intersecting reflections were dated using synchronized depth-age relationships for six deep ice cores. Additional reflections were dated by matching reflections between transects and by extending reflection-inferred depth-age relationships using the local effective vertical strain rate. The oldest reflections, dating to the Eemian period, are found mostly in the northern part of the ice sheet. Within the onset regions of several fast-flowing outlet glaciers and ice streams, reflections typically do not conform to the bed topography. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is also observed in a region north of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream that is not presently flowing rapidly. Dated reflections are used to generate a gridded age volume for most of the ice sheet and also to determine the depths of key climate transitions that were not observed directly. This radiostratigraphy provides a new constraint on the dynamics and history of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Key Points Phase information predicts reflection slope and simplifies reflection tracing Reflections can be dated away from ice cores using a simple ice flow model Radiostratigraphy is often disrupted near the onset of fast ice flow PMID:26213664

  4. Radiostratigraphy and age structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Fahnestock, Mark A; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Prasad Gogineni, S; Young, S Keith; Rybarski, Susan C; Mabrey, Alexandria N; Wagman, Benjamin M; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-02-01

    Several decades of ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have observed numerous widespread internal reflections. Analysis of this radiostratigraphy has produced valuable insights into ice sheet dynamics and motivates additional mapping of these reflections. Here we present a comprehensive deep radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne deep ice-penetrating radar data collected over Greenland by The University of Kansas between 1993 and 2013. To map this radiostratigraphy efficiently, we developed new techniques for predicting reflection slope from the phase recorded by coherent radars. When integrated along track, these slope fields predict the radiostratigraphy and simplify semiautomatic reflection tracing. Core-intersecting reflections were dated using synchronized depth-age relationships for six deep ice cores. Additional reflections were dated by matching reflections between transects and by extending reflection-inferred depth-age relationships using the local effective vertical strain rate. The oldest reflections, dating to the Eemian period, are found mostly in the northern part of the ice sheet. Within the onset regions of several fast-flowing outlet glaciers and ice streams, reflections typically do not conform to the bed topography. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is also observed in a region north of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream that is not presently flowing rapidly. Dated reflections are used to generate a gridded age volume for most of the ice sheet and also to determine the depths of key climate transitions that were not observed directly. This radiostratigraphy provides a new constraint on the dynamics and history of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  5. Mantle viscosity and ice-age ice sheet topography

    SciTech Connect

    Peltier, W.R.

    1996-09-06

    Ice-age paleotopography and mantle viscosity can both be inferred from observations of Earth`s response to the most recent deglaciation event of the current ice age. This procedure requires iterative application of a theoretical model of the global process of glacial isostatic adjustment. Results demonstrate that the iterative inversion procedure converges to a paleotopography that is extremely close to that from the ICE-4G model. The accompanying mantle viscosity profile is furthermore shown to reconcile the requirements of aspherical geoid anomalies related to the mantle convection process, thus resolving a fundamental issue concerning mantle rheology. The combined model also explains postglacial sea level histories for the east cost of the United States. 28 refs., 9 figs.

  6. Ice-age Ice-sheet Rheology: Constraints from the Last Glacial Maximum Form of the Laurentide Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peltier, W. Richard; Goldsby, David L.; Kohlstedt, David L.; Tarasov, Lev

    2000-01-01

    State-ot-the-art thermomechanical models of the modern Greenland ice and the ancient Laurenticle ice sheet that covered Canada at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) are not able to explain simultaneously the observed forms of these cryospheric structures when the same, anisotropy-enhanced, version of the conventional Glen flow law is employed to describe their rheology. The LGM Laurenticle ice sheet. predicted to develop in response to orbital climate forcing, is such that the ratio of its thickness to its horizontal extent is extremely large compared to the aspect ratio inferred on the basis of surface-geomorphological and solid-earth-geophysical constraints. We show that if the Glen flow law representation of the rheology is replaced with a new rheology based upon very high quality laboratory measurements of the stress-strain-rate relation, then the aspect ratios of both the modern Greenland ice sheet and the Laurenticle ice sheet, that existed at the LGM, are simultaneously explained with little or no retuning of the flow law.

  7. Ice-age simulations with a caving ice-sheet model

    SciTech Connect

    Pollard, D.

    1982-01-01

    Further extensions and results of a simple northern hemispheric ice-sheet model are described for the Quaternary ice ages. The basic model predicts ice thickness and bedrock deformation in a north-south cross section, with a prescribed snow-budget distribution shifted uniformly in space to represent the orbital perturbations. An ice calving parameterization crudely representing proglacial lakes or marine incursions can attack the ice whenever the tip drops below sea level. As in Pollard (1982a) the basic model produces a large approx. 100,000-yr response and agrees fairly well with the delta/sup 18/O deep-sea core records. Three extensions of the model are described: an alternative treatment of bedrock deformation, a more realistic ice-shelf model of ice calving, and a generalized parameterization for such features as the North Atlantic deglacial meltwater layer. Much the same ice-age simulations and agreement with the delta/sup 18/O records as with the original model are still obtained. The observed phase-correlation between the 100,000-yr cycles and eccentricity is examined. First, the model is shown to give a approx. 100,000-yr response to nearly any kind of higher-frequency forcing. Although over the last two million years the model phase is mainly controlled by the precessional modulation due to eccentricity, over just the last 600,000-yr the observed phase can also be simulated with eccentricity held constant. A definitive conclusion on the phase-control of the Quaternary ice ages is prevented by uncertainty in the deep-sea core time scales before approx. 600,000-yr B.P. In an appendix the model is applied to West Antarctica where unforced internal oscillations occur with periods of about 50,000-yr.

  8. An investigation of the astronomical theory of the ice ages using a simple climate-ice sheet model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pollard, D.

    1978-01-01

    The astronomical theory of the Quaternary ice ages is incorporated into a simple climate model for global weather; important features of the model include the albedo feedback, topography and dynamics of the ice sheets. For various parameterizations of the orbital elements, the model yields realistic assessments of the northern ice sheet. Lack of a land-sea heat capacity contrast represents one of the chief difficulties of the model.

  9. Self-consistent ice-sheet properties: ice dynamics, temperature, accumulation, delta-age and chronologies for ice cores and radar isochrones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundin, J.; Waddington, E. D.; Conway, H.

    2011-12-01

    Ice sheet behavior has not previously been modeled to force self-consistency, to determine histories of accumulation, temperature, and ice dynamics that incorporate the ice-age/gas-age offset (delta-age) and sparse depth-age measurements from ice cores. An iterative scheme is used to combine several modular components into one self-consistent model. The goal is to determine a suite of histories constrained by the depth-age data from ice cores and ice radar that are part of a physically self-consistent ice sheet. The model is tested using a synthetic data set resembling WAIS divide. Using synthetic data provides proof of concept that histories of accumulation, temperature and ice dynamics can be recovered by the self-consistent model, and that the depth-age from ice cores and ice radar can be matched. Results from synthetic data show we can recover the ice-sheet properties used to generate the data and we can improve the depth-age chronologies by interpolating with an ice-flow model where data are sparse. When this self-consistent model can be applied to field data, results will (1) improve chronologies for ice cores and radar layers, (2) determine histories of accumulation for GCM modelling, and (3) improve estimates of past ice sheet configurations, incorporating data from ice cores and ice radar.

  10. Palaeoclimate science: Pulsating ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieli, Andreas

    2017-02-01

    During the last ice age, huge numbers of icebergs were episodically discharged from an ice sheet that covered North America. Numerical modelling suggests that these events resulted from a conceptually simple feedback cycle. See Letter p.332

  11. Marine ice sheets of Pleistocene age on the East Siberian Continental Margin (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niessen, F.; Hong, J.; Hegewald, A.; Matthiessen, J. J.; Stein, R. H.; Kim, H.; Kim, S.; Jensen, L.; Jokat, W.; Nam, S.; Kang, S.

    2013-12-01

    Based on swath bathymetry, sediment echosounding, seismic profiling and sediment coring we present results of the RV "Polarstern' cruise ARK-XIII/3 (2008) and RV "Araon" cruise ARA03B (2012), which investigated an area between the Chukchi Borderland and the East Siberian Sea between 165°W and 170°E. At the southern end of the Mendeleev Ridge, close to the Chukchi and East Siberian shelves, evidence is found for the existence of Pleistocene ice sheets/ice shelves, which have grounded several times in up to 1200 m present water depth. We found mega-scale glacial lineations associated with deposition of glaciogenic wedges and debris-flow deposits indicative of sub-glacial erosion and deposition close to the former grounding lines. Glacially lineated areas are associated with large-scale erosion, accentuated by a conspicuous truncation of pre-glacial strata typically capped with mostly thin layers of diamicton draped by pelagic sediments. Our tentative age model suggests that the youngest and shallowest grounding event of an ice sheet should be within Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3. The oldest and deepest event predates MIS 6. According to our results, ice sheets of more than one km in thickness continued onto, and likely centered over, the East Siberian Shelf. They were possibly linked to previously suggested ice sheets on the Chukchi Borderland and the New Siberian Islands. We propose that the ice sheets extended northward as thick ice shelves, which grounded on the Mendeleev Ridge to an area up to 78°N within MIS 5 and/or earlier. These results have important implication for the former distribution of thick ice masses in the Arctic Ocean during the Pleistocene. They are relevant for global sea-level variations, albedo, ocean-atmosphere heat exchange, freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean at glacial terminations and the formation of submarine permafrost. The existence of km-thick Pleistocene ice sheets in the western Arctic Ocean during glacial times predating

  12. Subglacial floods beneath ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Evatt, G W; Fowler, A C; Clark, C D; Hulton, N R J

    2006-07-15

    Subglacial floods (jökulhlaups) are well documented as occurring beneath present day glaciers and ice caps. In addition, it is known that massive floods have occurred from ice-dammed lakes proximal to the Laurentide ice sheet during the last ice age, and it has been suggested that at least one such flood below the waning ice sheet was responsible for a dramatic cooling event some 8000 years ago. We propose that drainage of lakes from beneath ice sheets will generally occur in a time-periodic fashion, and that such floods can be of severe magnitude. Such hydraulic eruptions are likely to have caused severe climatic disturbances in the past, and may well do so in the future.

  13. Global ice sheet modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Hughes, T.J.; Fastook, J.L.

    1994-05-01

    The University of Maine conducted this study for Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) as part of a global climate modeling task for site characterization of the potential nuclear waste respository site at Yucca Mountain, NV. The purpose of the study was to develop a global ice sheet dynamics model that will forecast the three-dimensional configuration of global ice sheets for specific climate change scenarios. The objective of the third (final) year of the work was to produce ice sheet data for glaciation scenarios covering the next 100,000 years. This was accomplished using both the map-plane and flowband solutions of our time-dependent, finite-element gridpoint model. The theory and equations used to develop the ice sheet models are presented. Three future scenarios were simulated by the model and results are discussed.

  14. Future ice ages and the challenges related to final disposal of nuclear waste: The Greenland Ice Sheet Hydrology Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehtinen, A.; Claesson-Liljedahl, L.; Näslund, J.-O.; Ruskeeniemi, T.

    2009-04-01

    A deep geological repository for nuclear waste is designed to keep radiotoxic material separated from mankind and the environment for several hundreds of thousands of years. Within this time perspective glacial conditions are expected in high latitudes/Canada and North Europe. Climate induced changes such as the growth of ice sheets and permafrost will influence and alter the ground surface and subsurface environment, which may impact repository safety. In order to understand how climate change, particularly cooling and glaciation, might affect a repository in the long term, the use of present-day analogues helps to reduce the uncertainties and support the assumptions made in safety assessments. There are major uncertainties concerning hydrological processes related to glacial conditions. The impact of glaciations on any planned repository is a key consideration when performing safety assessments as it is one of the strongest perturbations related to climate change in the long term. The main aspects that need to be further investigated include: 1) to what extent does the meltwater produced by an ice sheet penetrates into the bedrock; 2) what is the pressure situation under an ice sheet, driving ground water flow; 3) how much oxygenated water will reach repository depth; 4) to what depth does glacial meltwater penetrate into the bedrock ; 5)what chemical composition does such water has when and if it reaches repository depth; and 6) can taliks (unfrozen ground in a permafrost area) act as concentrated discharge points of deep groundwater potentially transporting radionuclides in case of repository failure? Field data is needed in order to achieve a better and integrated understanding of the problems discussed above. Thus, research in a natural analogue site in Greenland has been planned and initiated by the Finnish (Posiva), Swedish (SKB) and Canadian (NWMO) nuclear waste management companies. The Greenland ice sheet and the Kangerlussuaq area (west Greenland

  15. Extent of the last ice sheet in northern Scotland tested with cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Phillips, W.M.; Hall, A.M.; Ballantyne, C.K.; Binnie, S.; Kubik, P.W.; Freeman, S.

    2008-01-01

    The extent of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) in northern Scotland is disputed. A restricted ice sheet model holds that at the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ca. 23-19 ka) the BIIS terminated on land in northern Scotland, leaving Buchan, Caithness and the Orkney Islands ice-free. An alternative model implies that these three areas were ice-covered at the LGM, with the BIIS extending offshore onto the adjacent shelves. We test the two models using cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating of erratic boulders and glacially eroded bedrock from the three areas. Our results indicate that the last BIIS covered all of northern Scotland during the LGM, but that widespread deglaciation of Caithness and Orkney occurred prior to rapid warming at ca. 14.5 ka. Copyright ?? 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  16. Ice sheets and nitrogen

    PubMed Central

    Wolff, Eric W.

    2013-01-01

    Snow and ice play their most important role in the nitrogen cycle as a barrier to land–atmosphere and ocean–atmosphere exchanges that would otherwise occur. The inventory of nitrogen compounds in the polar ice sheets is approximately 260 Tg N, dominated by nitrate in the much larger Antarctic ice sheet. Ice cores help to inform us about the natural variability of the nitrogen cycle at global and regional scale, and about the extent of disturbance in recent decades. Nitrous oxide concentrations have risen about 20 per cent in the last 200 years and are now almost certainly higher than at any time in the last 800 000 years. Nitrate concentrations recorded in Greenland ice rose by a factor of 2–3, particularly between the 1950s and 1980s, reflecting a major change in NOx emissions reaching the background atmosphere. Increases in ice cores drilled at lower latitudes can be used to validate or constrain regional emission inventories. Background ammonium concentrations in Greenland ice show no significant recent trend, although the record is very noisy, being dominated by spikes of input from biomass burning events. Neither nitrate nor ammonium shows significant recent trends in Antarctica, although their natural variations are of biogeochemical and atmospheric chemical interest. Finally, it has been found that photolysis of nitrate in the snowpack leads to significant re-emissions of NOx that can strongly impact the regional atmosphere in snow-covered areas. PMID:23713125

  17. Ice sheets and nitrogen.

    PubMed

    Wolff, Eric W

    2013-07-05

    Snow and ice play their most important role in the nitrogen cycle as a barrier to land-atmosphere and ocean-atmosphere exchanges that would otherwise occur. The inventory of nitrogen compounds in the polar ice sheets is approximately 260 Tg N, dominated by nitrate in the much larger Antarctic ice sheet. Ice cores help to inform us about the natural variability of the nitrogen cycle at global and regional scale, and about the extent of disturbance in recent decades. Nitrous oxide concentrations have risen about 20 per cent in the last 200 years and are now almost certainly higher than at any time in the last 800 000 years. Nitrate concentrations recorded in Greenland ice rose by a factor of 2-3, particularly between the 1950s and 1980s, reflecting a major change in NOx emissions reaching the background atmosphere. Increases in ice cores drilled at lower latitudes can be used to validate or constrain regional emission inventories. Background ammonium concentrations in Greenland ice show no significant recent trend, although the record is very noisy, being dominated by spikes of input from biomass burning events. Neither nitrate nor ammonium shows significant recent trends in Antarctica, although their natural variations are of biogeochemical and atmospheric chemical interest. Finally, it has been found that photolysis of nitrate in the snowpack leads to significant re-emissions of NOx that can strongly impact the regional atmosphere in snow-covered areas.

  18. The Physics of Ice Sheets

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bassis, J. N.

    2008-01-01

    The great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are vast deposits of frozen freshwater that contain enough to raise sea level by approximately 70 m if they were to completely melt. Because of the potentially catastrophic impact that ice sheets can have, it is important that we understand how ice sheets have responded to past climate changes and…

  19. Preliminary Cosmogenic Surface Exposure Ages on Laurentide Ice-sheet Retreat and Opening of the Eastern Lake Agassiz Outlets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leydet, D.; Carlson, A. E.; Sinclair, G.; Teller, J. T.; Breckenridge, A. J.; Caffee, M. W.; Barth, A. M.

    2015-12-01

    The chronology for the eastern outlets of glacial Lake Agassiz holds important consequences for the cause of Younger Dryas cold event during the last deglaciation. Eastward routing of Lake Agassiz runoff was originally hypothesized to have triggered the Younger Dryas. However, currently the chronology of the eastern outlets is only constrained by minimum-limiting radiocarbon ages that could suggest the eastern outlets were still ice covered at the start of the Younger Dryas at ~12.9 ka BP, requiring a different forcing of this abrupt climate event. Nevertheless, the oldest radiocarbon ages are still consistent with an ice-free eastern outlet at the start of the Younger Dryas. Here we will present preliminary 10-Be cosmogenic surface exposure ages from the North Lake, Flat Rock Lake, glacial Lake Kaministiquia, and Lake Nipigon outlets located near Thunder Bay, Ontario. These ages will date the timing of the deglaciation of the Laurentide ice sheet in the eastern outlet region of glacial Lake Agassiz. This will provide an important constraint for the hypothesized freshwater forcing of the cause of Younger Dryas cold event.

  20. Cryosphere: Warming ocean erodes ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kusahara, Kazuya

    2016-01-01

    Antarctic ice sheets are a key player in sea-level rise in a warming climate. Now an ice-sheet modelling study clearly demonstrates that an Antarctic ice sheet/shelf system in the Atlantic Ocean will be regulated by the warming of the surrounding Southern Ocean, not by marine-ice-sheet instability.

  1. Ice age terminations.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Hai; Edwards, R Lawrence; Broecker, Wallace S; Denton, George H; Kong, Xinggong; Wang, Yongjin; Zhang, Rong; Wang, Xianfeng

    2009-10-09

    230Th-dated oxygen isotope records of stalagmites from Sanbao Cave, China, characterize Asian Monsoon (AM) precipitation through the ends of the third- and fourthmost recent ice ages. As a result, AM records for the past four glacial terminations can now be precisely correlated with those from ice cores and marine sediments, establishing the timing and sequence of major events. In all four cases, observations are consistent with a classic Northern Hemisphere summer insolation intensity trigger for an initial retreat of northern ice sheets. Meltwater and icebergs entering the North Atlantic alter oceanic and atmospheric circulation and associated fluxes of heat and carbon, causing increases in atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperatures that drive the termination in the Southern Hemisphere. Increasing CO2 and summer insolation drive recession of northern ice sheets, with probable positive feedbacks between sea level and CO2.

  2. Modelling water isotopes in polar ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lhomme, Nicolas

    2005-07-01

    Concentrations of water isotopes in marine sediments and ice cores are a key indicator for estimating global and regional fluctuations of past temperatures. Interpreting these concentrations requires an understanding of the storage capacity and exchanges among the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere as well as an understanding of the dynamical behaviour of these reservoirs. The contribution of the latter remains poorly established because of the paucity of deep ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica and the difficulty of interpreting these cores. To obtain the water isotope composition of polar ice sheets and gain an understanding of their stratigraphy, I develop a tracer transport method first proposed by Clarke and Marshall (2002) and significantly improve it by introducing an interpolation technique that accounts for the particular age-depth relationship of ice sheets. I combine the tracers with numerical models of ice dynamics to predict the fine layering of polar ice masses such that it is locally validated at ice core sites, hence setting a new method to constrain reconstructions of ice sheets' climatic and dynamic histories. This framework is first applied and tested with the UBC Ice Sheet Model of Marshall and Clarke (1997). I predict the three-dimensional time-evolving stratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet and use the ice core records predicted at GRIP, Dye 3 and Camp Century to better determine the minimal ice extent during the Eemian, 127 kyr ago, when the Earth's climate was somewhat similar to the present. I suggest that 3.5--4.5 m of sea level rise could be attributed to melting in Greenland. Tracers are also applied to Antarctica with the LGGE Ice Sheet Model of Ritz et al. (2001). The three-dimensional model is compared to simple flow models at the deep ice core sites of Dome C, Vostok and Dome Fuji to test the hypotheses on depositional and dynamical conditions used for interpreting ice cores. These studies lead to a well-constrained stratigraphic

  3. Ice flow of the Antarctica Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mouginot, J.; Scheuchl, B.; Rignot, E. J.

    2011-12-01

    Ice velocity is fundamental characteristic of the dynamics of ice sheets and is essential to know for calculating the mass budget of ice sheet and for controlling ice sheet numerical models with realistic boundary conditions. Until recently, data were mostly available on a discrete basis over small areas with variable precision. Here, we report on our results of processing ice velocity from the interferometric synthetic-aperture radar data acquired by ALOS PALSAR in 2006 to 2010 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), by ENVISAT ASAR in 2007 to 2009, by RADARSAT-2 in 2009 and 2011, by RADARSAT-1 in 1997 and 2000 and by ERS-1 & -2 in 1996 in the framework of the International Polar Year 2007-2009. The result is the most comprehensive and precise high-resolution digital map of ice motion ever produced on the Antarctic continent. While important surprises are found along the coastline, it is in the interior that this map is revealing the most interesting features. The data reveal widespread, patterned, enhanced flow with tributary glaciers reaching hundreds to thousands of kilometers inland, over the entire continent. We show that the ice motion along these flow features has a strong basal slip component. This has far reaching implications for the modeling of ice sheet flow and evolution. In addition, our multi-year coverage of the coastal sectors reveal the beginning of an acceleration on Thwaites glacier and a wave of accelerated flow propagating inland rapidly on Pine Island Glacier between 2006 and 2010. This work was conducted at the Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's MEaSUREs program.

  4. Ice stream activity scaled to ice sheet volume during Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation.

    PubMed

    Stokes, C R; Margold, M; Clark, C D; Tarasov, L

    2016-02-18

    The contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea level has increased in recent decades, largely owing to the thinning and retreat of outlet glaciers and ice streams. This dynamic loss is a serious concern, with some modelling studies suggesting that the collapse of a major ice sheet could be imminent or potentially underway in West Antarctica, but others predicting a more limited response. A major problem is that observations used to initialize and calibrate models typically span only a few decades, and, at the ice-sheet scale, it is unclear how the entire drainage network of ice streams evolves over longer timescales. This represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty when predicting the contributions of ice sheets to sea-level rise. A key question is whether ice streams might increase and sustain rates of mass loss over centuries or millennia, beyond those expected for a given ocean-climate forcing. Here we reconstruct the activity of 117 ice streams that operated at various times during deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (from about 22,000 to 7,000 years ago) and show that as they activated and deactivated in different locations, their overall number decreased, they occupied a progressively smaller percentage of the ice sheet perimeter and their total discharge decreased. The underlying geology and topography clearly influenced ice stream activity, but--at the ice-sheet scale--their drainage network adjusted and was linked to changes in ice sheet volume. It is unclear whether these findings can be directly translated to modern ice sheets. However, contrary to the view that sees ice streams as unstable entities that can accelerate ice-sheet deglaciation, we conclude that ice streams exerted progressively less influence on ice sheet mass balance during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

  5. Isochronal ice sheet model: Simulate englacial tracer transport to reconstruct past climates and ice sheet volumes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Born, Andreas

    2015-04-01

    The full history of ice sheet and climate interactions is recorded in the vertical profiles of isotopic and other geochemical tracers in polar ice sheets. In addition, recent advances in radiostratigraphy uncover the englacial layering that contains information of past surface topographies and thus ice sheet volumes and sea level. Numerical simulations of these archives could afford great advances both in the interpretation of paleoclimatic tracers as well as to help improve ice sheet models themselves and future projections. However, fundamental mathematical shortcomings in existing ice sheet models subject tracers to spurious diffusion that renders such attempts unfeasible. Here, we propose a new vertical discretization for ice sheet models that eliminates numerical diffusion entirely. Vertical motion through the model mesh is avoided by mimicking the real-world ice flow as a thinning of underlying layers. Simulations of the last glacial cycle are presented that show good skill in reproducing the reconstructed profile of the oxygen isotopic ratio (δ18O) and the age scale (http://www.climate.unibe.ch/~born/ice_model.html).

  6. Glacial-interglacial 3D ice sheet modelling of Antarctica; Validation by age-isotope advection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Springer, S. R.; Padman, L.; Dinniman, M. S.

    2014-12-01

    Wintertime sea ice extent around Antarctica has shown a positive trend during at least the past decade. The maximum northward expansion of sea ice is likely to be limited by the strong ocean temperature gradients associated with fronts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The ACC is, however, very dynamically unstable, with mesoscale eddies accounting for a large fraction of the variance in surface currents and sea surface temperature (SST). We combine satellite-observed sea-ice concentration, SST, and geostrophic eddy velocities to explore the hypothesis that dynamic and thermodynamic interactions between mesoscale eddies and sea ice exert an additional influence on the location of the winter sea ice margin. Advancing sea ice develops meridional deviations at horizontal scales of ~100 km, lengthening the perimeter of the ice-covered area by 30-70%. In many cases, this "scalloping" of the ice margin can be attributed to advection by eddy velocities. The effect varies regionally, depending on the proximity of the ice edge to the ACC. From the Amundsen Sea eastward through the Drake Passage the southern limit of eddy variability coincides with the northernmost extent of sea ice, and scalloping is common. By deforming the ice margin, eddies increase the potential for ice-edge melting and destruction by Southern Ocean surface wave action, while eddy-driven ice advection modifies the mean thermodynamic exchanges responsible for mass loss from the base of the ice pack. We use observations and models to estimate sea-ice loss caused by eddy/ice interactions.

  7. Equilibrium ice sheet scaling in climate modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Verbitsky, M.Y.

    1992-03-01

    A set of simple scaling formulas related to ice sheet evolution is derived from the dynamic and thermodynamic equations for ice and is used to consider two common situations: (1) when we wish to estimate potential ice sheet characteristics given the prescribed net snow accumulation over an area; and (b) when we wish to reconstruct net snow accumulation and vertical temperature difference within the ice sheet area and volume. The scaling formulas are applied to the present day Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, as well as to some ancient ice sheets, and are used to estimate the potential global sea level change due to greenhouse warming. 23 refs.

  8. Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the last glacial maximum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weber, M.E.; Clark, P.U.; Ricken, W.; Mitrovica, J.X.; Hostetler, S.W.; Kuhn, G.

    2011-01-01

    The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood. We develop a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates that the advance to and retreat from their maximum extent was within dating uncertainties synchronous with most sectors of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Surface climate forcing of Antarctic mass balance would probably cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Our new data support teleconnections involving sea-level forcing from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and changes in North Atlantic deep-water formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines to synchronize the hemispheric ice sheets.

  9. Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the Last Glacial Maximum.

    PubMed

    Weber, Michael E; Clark, Peter U; Ricken, Werner; Mitrovica, Jerry X; Hostetler, Steven W; Kuhn, Gerhard

    2011-12-02

    The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood. We develop a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates that the advance to and retreat from their maximum extent was within dating uncertainties synchronous with most sectors of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Surface climate forcing of Antarctic mass balance would probably cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Our new data support teleconnections involving sea-level forcing from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and changes in North Atlantic deep-water formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines to synchronize the hemispheric ice sheets.

  10. Ice Sheet Retention Structures,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1983-12-01

    Protection Manual (U.S. Army water velocities that are too high to allow an ice cover Corps of Engineers 1973). A paper by Czerniak et al. to form...phenomena. Physical hydraulic model stu- dian Journal of Civil Engineering, 4: 380. dies should precede the design and installation of most Czerniak

  11. 10Be ages of glacial and meltwater features northwest of Lake Superior: a chronology of Laurentide Ice sheet deglaciation and eastward flooding from Glacial Lake Agassiz

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelly, M. A.; Fisher, T. G.; Lowell, T.; Barnett, P.; Schaefer, J. M.; Schwartz, R.

    2009-12-01

    Significant controversy exists as to the role of Laurentide Ice Sheet meltwater in causing the Younger Dryas cold event. Recently, Lowell et al. (2009) presented a radiocarbon chronology of Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation along a north-south transect located northwest of Lake Superior. These authors concluded that the presence of the Laurentide Ice Sheet precluded an eastward drainage of glacial Lake Agassiz until mid-Younger Dryas time. Here, we use 10Be surface exposure dating to examine the timing of the eastward drainage of Lake Agassiz. We present 10Be ages of moraines and erratic boulders in meltwater pathways along the same transect as Lowell et al. (2009), northwest of Lake Superior. In general, 10Be ages of glacial features are similar to, or slightly older than, basal radiocarbon ages of nearby lakes. Based on the 10Be chronology, deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in this region occurred between ~13,000 and 10,000 yr BP. We also present the first direct ages of flood deposits in bedrock channels presumably associated with the eastern drainage of Lake Agassiz. Evidence for flooding includes extensive channels incised into bedrock and enormous bedforms located north of Lake Superior. 10Be ages of two flood deposits near the Roaring River and Mundell Lake yield mean 10Be ages of ~11,700 and 11,000 yr BP, respectively. These ages indicate that occupation of the channels postdates initiation of the Younger Dryas by more than 1,000 years and are in general agreement with a basal radiocarbon age from nearby Lower Vail Lake (Teller et al., 2005). Preliminary paleohydrological estimates based on bedform clast sizes and channel geometries are velocities and discharges of 2.8-19.8 ms-1 and 4,200-30,000 m3s-1 at the Roaring River location and 2.5-17.5 ms-1 and 49,000-349,000 m3s-1 at the Mundell Lake location.

  12. Hysteresis and feedback of ice sheet response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; Takahashi, K.

    2014-12-01

    Investigating the response of ice sheets to climatic forcings in the past by climate-ice sheet modelling is important for understanding the ice sheets' change. The 100-kyr cycle of the large Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and fast termination of the glacial cycle are the prominent pattern known from paleoclimate records. We simulate the past glacial cycles with an ice sheet model, IcIES in combination with a general circulation model, MIROC, using the time series of insolation and atmospheric CO2. Feedback processes between ice sheet and atmosphere such as the ice albedo feedback, the elevation-mass balance feedback, desertification effect and stationary wave feedback are analyzed. We show that the threshold of termination of the glacial cycles can be explained by the pattern of the hysteresis of ice sheet change, i.e. multiple steady states of the ice sheets under climatic forcings. We find that slope of the upper branch of the multiple equilibria curve for Laurentide ice volumes is fundamental for the observed glacial patterns. Finally, we discuss the similarity and difference between the hysteresis structure of ice sheets variation for Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland.

  13. Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, M. E.; Clark, P. U.; Ricken, W.; Mitrovica, J. X.; Hostetler, S. W.; Kuhn, G.

    2012-04-01

    The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood because only a few findings with robust chronologies exist for Antarctic ice sheets. We developed a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic ice sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates the advance to their maximum extent at 29 -28 ka, and retreat from their maximum extent at 19 ka was nearly synchronous with Northern Hemisphere ice sheets (Weber, M.E., Clark, P. U., Ricken, W., Mitrovica, J. X., Hostetler, S. W., and Kuhn, G. (2011): Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the Last Glacial Maximum. - Science, 334, 1265-1269, doi: 10.1126:science.1209299). As for the deglaciation, modeling studies suggest a late ice-sheet retreat starting around 14 ka BP and ending around 7 ka BP with a large impact of an unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and a small impact of a stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). However, the Weddell Sea sites studied here, as well as sites from the Scotia Sea, provide evidence that specifically the EAIS responded much earlier, possibly provided a significant contribution to the last sea-level rise, and was much more dynamic than previously thought. Using the results of an atmospheric general circulation we conclude that surface climate forcing of Antarctic ice mass balance would likely cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Furthermore, our new data support teleconnections involving a sea-level fingerprint forced from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets as indicated by gravitational modeling. Also, changes in North Atlantic Deepwater formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines may have contributed to synchronizing the hemispheric ice sheets.

  14. Mass balance of polar ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Rignot, Eric; Thomas, Robert H

    2002-08-30

    Recent advances in the determination of the mass balance of polar ice sheets show that the Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass by near-coastal thinning, and that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with thickening in the west and thinning in the north, is probably thinning overall. The mass imbalance of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is likely to be small, but even its sign cannot yet be determined. Large sectors of ice in southeast Greenland, the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula are changing quite rapidly as a result of processes not yet understood.

  15. ISSM: Ice Sheet System Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larour, Eric; Schiermeier, John E.; Seroussi, Helene; Morlinghem, Mathieu

    2013-01-01

    In order to have the capability to use satellite data from its own missions to inform future sea-level rise projections, JPL needed a full-fledged ice-sheet/iceshelf flow model, capable of modeling the mass balance of Antarctica and Greenland into the near future. ISSM was developed with such a goal in mind, as a massively parallelized, multi-purpose finite-element framework dedicated to ice-sheet modeling. ISSM features unstructured meshes (Tria in 2D, and Penta in 3D) along with corresponding finite elements for both types of meshes. Each finite element can carry out diagnostic, prognostic, transient, thermal 3D, surface, and bed slope simulations. Anisotropic meshing enables adaptation of meshes to a certain metric, and the 2D Shelfy-Stream, 3D Blatter/Pattyn, and 3D Full-Stokes formulations capture the bulk of the ice-flow physics. These elements can be coupled together, based on the Arlequin method, so that on a large scale model such as Antarctica, each type of finite element is used in the most efficient manner. For each finite element referenced above, ISSM implements an adjoint. This adjoint can be used to carry out model inversions of unknown model parameters, typically ice rheology and basal drag at the ice/bedrock interface, using a metric such as the observed InSAR surface velocity. This data assimilation capability is crucial to allow spinning up of ice flow models using available satellite data. ISSM relies on the PETSc library for its vectors, matrices, and solvers. This allows ISSM to run efficiently on any parallel platform, whether shared or distrib- ISSM: Ice Sheet System Model NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California uted. It can run on the largest clusters, and is fully scalable. This allows ISSM to tackle models the size of continents. ISSM is embedded into MATLAB and Python, both open scientific platforms. This improves its outreach within the science community. It is entirely written in C/C++, which gives it flexibility in its

  16. Ice sheets promote speciation in boreal birds.

    PubMed

    Weir, Jason T; Schluter, Dolph

    2004-09-22

    The premise that Pleistocene ice ages played an important role in generating present-day species diversity has been challenged by genetic data indicating that most of the youngest terrestrial species on Earth coalesced long before major glacial advances. However, study has been biased towards faunas distributed at low latitudes that were not directly fragmented by advancing ice sheets. Using mitochondrial sequence divergence and a molecular clock, we compared the coalescence times of pairs of avian species belonging to superspecies complexes from the high-latitude boreal forest with those of sub-boreal and tropical avifaunas of the New World. Remarkably, all coalescence events in boreal superspecies date to the Pleistocene, providing direct evidence that speciation was commonly initiated during recent glacial periods. A pattern of endemism in boreal superspecies plausibly links the timing of divergence to the fragmentation of the boreal forest by ice sheets during the Mid- and Late Pleistocene. In contrast to the boreal superspecies, only 56% of sub-boreal and 46% of tropical superspecies members coalesced during the Pleistocene, suggesting that avifaunas directly fragmented by ice sheets experienced rapid rates of diversification, whereas those distributed farther south were affected to a lesser extent. One explanation for the absence of pre-Pleistocene superspecies in boreal avifaunas is that strong selection pressures operated in boreal refugia, causing superspecies members to achieve ecological differentiation at an accelerated rate.

  17. Ice sheets promote speciation in boreal birds.

    PubMed Central

    Weir, Jason T.; Schluter, Dolph

    2004-01-01

    The premise that Pleistocene ice ages played an important role in generating present-day species diversity has been challenged by genetic data indicating that most of the youngest terrestrial species on Earth coalesced long before major glacial advances. However, study has been biased towards faunas distributed at low latitudes that were not directly fragmented by advancing ice sheets. Using mitochondrial sequence divergence and a molecular clock, we compared the coalescence times of pairs of avian species belonging to superspecies complexes from the high-latitude boreal forest with those of sub-boreal and tropical avifaunas of the New World. Remarkably, all coalescence events in boreal superspecies date to the Pleistocene, providing direct evidence that speciation was commonly initiated during recent glacial periods. A pattern of endemism in boreal superspecies plausibly links the timing of divergence to the fragmentation of the boreal forest by ice sheets during the Mid- and Late Pleistocene. In contrast to the boreal superspecies, only 56% of sub-boreal and 46% of tropical superspecies members coalesced during the Pleistocene, suggesting that avifaunas directly fragmented by ice sheets experienced rapid rates of diversification, whereas those distributed farther south were affected to a lesser extent. One explanation for the absence of pre-Pleistocene superspecies in boreal avifaunas is that strong selection pressures operated in boreal refugia, causing superspecies members to achieve ecological differentiation at an accelerated rate. PMID:15347509

  18. The Elementary Marine Ice Sheet Model (EMISM)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, Frank

    2015-04-01

    Ice sheet models become more and more components of global climate system modelling instead of stand-alone features to study cryospheric processes. Full coupling of ice sheet models to atmospheric and ocean models requires a standard for ice sheet models, and more precisely for marine ice sheet models, where complex feedbacks between ice and ocean, such as marine ice sheet instability, and the atmosphere, such as the elevation-mass balance feedback, operate at different time scales. Recent model intercomparisons (e.g., SeaRISE, MISMIP) have shown that basic requirements for marine ice sheet models are still lacking and that the complexity of many ice sheet models is focused on processes that are either not well captured numerically (spatial resolution issue) or are of secondary importance compared to the essential features of marine ice sheet dynamics. Here, we propose a new and fast computing ice sheet model, devoid of most complexity, but capturing the essential feedbacks when coupled to ocean or atmospheric models. Its computational efficiency guarantees to easily tests its advantages as well as limits through ensemble modelling. EMISM (Elementary Marine Ice Sheet Model) is a vertically integrated ice sheet model based on the Shallow-Ice Approximation extended a Weertman sliding law. Although vertically integrated, thermomechanical coupling is ensured through a simplified representation of ice sheet thermodynamics based on an analytical solution of the vertical temperature profile, enhanced with strain heating. The marine boundary is represented by a parameterized flux condition similar to Pollard & Deconto (2012), based on Schoof (2007). A simplified ice shelf is added to account for buttressing of ice shelves in this parameterization. The ice sheet model is solved on a finite difference grid and special care is taken to its numerical efficiency and stability. While such model has a series of (known) deficiencies with respect to short time effects, its overall

  19. Collapse of polar ice sheets during the stage 11 interglacial.

    PubMed

    Raymo, Maureen E; Mitrovica, Jerry X

    2012-03-14

    Contentious observations of Pleistocene shoreline features on the tectonically stable islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas have suggested that sea level about 400,000 years ago was more than 20 metres higher than it is today. Geochronologic and geomorphic evidence indicates that these features formed during interglacial marine isotope stage (MIS) 11, an unusually long interval of warmth during the ice age. Previous work has advanced two divergent hypotheses for these shoreline features: first, significant melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, in addition to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Greenland Ice Sheet; or second, emplacement by a mega-tsunami during MIS 11 (ref. 4, 5). Here we show that the elevations of these features are corrected downwards by ∼10 metres when we account for post-glacial crustal subsidence of these sites over the course of the anomalously long interglacial. On the basis of this correction, we estimate that eustatic sea level rose to ∼6-13 m above the present-day value in the second half of MIS 11. This suggests that both the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed during the protracted warm period while changes in the volume of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet were relatively minor, thereby resolving the long-standing controversy over the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during MIS 11.

  20. Holocene deceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Colgan, William T; Fahnestock, Mark A; Morlighem, Mathieu; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Gogineni, S Prasad

    2016-02-05

    Recent peripheral thinning of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly offset by interior thickening and is overprinted on its poorly constrained Holocene evolution. On the basis of the ice sheet's radiostratigraphy, ice flow in its interior is slower now than the average speed over the past nine millennia. Generally higher Holocene accumulation rates relative to modern estimates can only partially explain this millennial-scale deceleration. The ice sheet's dynamic response to the decreasing proportion of softer ice from the last glacial period and the deglacial collapse of the ice bridge across Nares Strait also contributed to this pattern. Thus, recent interior thickening of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly an ongoing dynamic response to the last deglaciation that is large enough to affect interpretation of its mass balance from altimetry.

  1. Measurements of Past Ice Sheet Elevations in Interior West Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Ackert; Barclay; Borns; Calkin; Kurz; Fastook; Steig

    1999-10-08

    A lateral moraine band on Mount Waesche, a volcanic nunatak in Marie Byrd Land, provides estimates of past ice sheet surface elevations in West Antarctica. Helium-3 and chlorine-36 surface exposure ages indicate that the proximal part of the moraine, up to 45 meters above the present ice surface, was deposited about 10,000 years ago, substantially later than the maximum ice extent in the Ross Embayment. The upper distal part of the moraine may record multiple earlier ice sheet high stands. A nonequilibrium ice sheet model predicts a delay of several thousand years in maximum ice levels at Mount Waesche relative to the maximum ice extent in the Ross Sea. The glacial geologic evidence, coupled with the ice sheet model, indicates that the contribution of the Ross Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to Holocene sea level rise was only about 3 meters. These results eliminate West Antarctic ice as the principle source of the large meltwater pulse during the early Holocene.

  2. Controls on interior West Antarctic Ice Sheet Elevations: inferences from geologic constraints and ice sheet modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ackert, Robert P.; Putnam, Aaron E.; Mukhopadhyay, Sujoy; Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert M.; Kurz, Mark D.; Borns, Harold W.

    2013-04-01

    Knowledge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) response to past sea level and climate forcing is necessary to predict its response to warmer temperatures in the future. The timing and extent of past interior WAIS elevation changes provides insight to WAIS behavior and constraints for ice sheet models. Constraints prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) however, are rare. Surface exposure ages of glacial erratics near the WAIS divide at Mt. Waesche in Marie Byrd Land, and at the Ohio Range in the Transantarctic Mountains, range from ∼10 ka to >500 ka without a dependence on elevation. The probability distribution functions (PDF) of the exposure ages at both locations, are remarkably similar. During the last glaciation, maximum interior ice elevations as recorded by moraines and erratics were reached between 10 ka and 12 ka. However, most exposure ages are older than the LGM and cluster around ∼40 ka and ∼80 ka. The peak in the exposure age distributions at ∼40 ka includes ages of alpine moraine boulders at Mercer Ridge in the Ohio Range. Comparison of the PDF of exposures ages from the Ohio Range and Mt. Waesche with the temperature record from the Fuji Dome ice core indicates that the youngest peak in the exposure age distributions corresponds to the abrupt warming during the Last Glacial termination. A prominent peak in the Ohio Range PDF corresponds to the penultimate termination (stage 5e). During the intervening glacial period, there is not a consistent relationship between the peaks in the PDF at each location and temperature. A combined ice sheet/ice shelf model with forcing scaled to marine δ18O predicts that interior WAIS elevations near the ice divide have varied ∼300 m over the Last Glacial cycle. Peaks in the PDF correspond to model highstands over the last 200 ka. In the simulated elevation history, maximum ice elevations at Ohio Range (+100 m) and Mt. Waesche (+60 m) occur at ∼10 ka, in agreement with observations from these sites

  3. Ice-sheet response to oceanic forcing.

    PubMed

    Joughin, Ian; Alley, Richard B; Holland, David M

    2012-11-30

    The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice at accelerating rates, much of which is a response to oceanic forcing, especially of the floating ice shelves. Recent observations establish a clear correspondence between the increased delivery of oceanic heat to the ice-sheet margin and increased ice loss. In Antarctica, most of these processes are reasonably well understood but have not been rigorously quantified. In Greenland, an understanding of the processes by which warmer ocean temperatures drive the observed retreat remains elusive. Experiments designed to identify the relevant processes are confounded by the logistical difficulties of instrumenting ice-choked fjords with actively calving glaciers. For both ice sheets, multiple challenges remain before the fully coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere models needed for rigorous sea-level projection are available.

  4. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naish, T.; Powell, R.; Levy, R.; Wilson, G.; Scherer, R.; Talarico, F.; Krissek, L.; Niessen, F.; Pompilio, M.; Wilson, T.; Carter, L.; DeConto, R.; Huybers, P.; McKay, R.; Pollard, D.; Ross, J.; Winter, D.; Barrett, P.; Browne, G.; Cody, R.; Cowan, E.; Crampton, J.; Dunbar, G.; Dunbar, N.; Florindo, F.; Gebhardt, C.; Graham, I.; Hannah, M.; Hansaraj, D.; Harwood, D.; Helling, D.; Henrys, S.; Hinnov, L.; Kuhn, G.; Kyle, P.; Laufer, A.; Maffioli, P.; Magens, D.; Mandernack, K.; McIntosh, W.; Millan, C.; Morin, R.; Ohneiser, C.; Paulsen, T.; Persico, D.; Raine, I.; Reed, J.; Riesselman, C.; Sagnotti, L.; Schmitt, D.; Sjunneskog, C.; Strong, P.; Taviani, M.; Vogel, S.; Wilch, T.; Williams, T.

    2009-01-01

    Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch (???5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, ???40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to ???3??C warmer than today and atmospheric CO 2 concentration was as high as ???400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO2. ??2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

  5. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations.

    PubMed

    Naish, T; Powell, R; Levy, R; Wilson, G; Scherer, R; Talarico, F; Krissek, L; Niessen, F; Pompilio, M; Wilson, T; Carter, L; DeConto, R; Huybers, P; McKay, R; Pollard, D; Ross, J; Winter, D; Barrett, P; Browne, G; Cody, R; Cowan, E; Crampton, J; Dunbar, G; Dunbar, N; Florindo, F; Gebhardt, C; Graham, I; Hannah, M; Hansaraj, D; Harwood, D; Helling, D; Henrys, S; Hinnov, L; Kuhn, G; Kyle, P; Läufer, A; Maffioli, P; Magens, D; Mandernack, K; McIntosh, W; Millan, C; Morin, R; Ohneiser, C; Paulsen, T; Persico, D; Raine, I; Reed, J; Riesselman, C; Sagnotti, L; Schmitt, D; Sjunneskog, C; Strong, P; Taviani, M; Vogel, S; Wilch, T; Williams, T

    2009-03-19

    Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch ( approximately 5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, approximately 40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to approximately 3 degrees C warmer than today and atmospheric CO(2) concentration was as high as approximately 400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO(2).

  6. Ice sheet topography by satellite altimetry

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brooks, R.L.; Campbell, W.J.; Ramseier, R.O.; Stanley, H.R.; Zwally, H.J.

    1978-01-01

    The surface elevation of the southern Greenland ice sheet and surface features of the ice flow are obtained from the radar altimeter on the GEOS 3 satellite. The achieved accuracy in surface elevation is ???2 m. As changes in surface elevation are indicative of changes in ice volume, the mass balance of the present ice sheets could be determined by repetitive mapping of the surface elevation and the surface could be monitored to detect surging or significant changes in ice flow. ?? 1978 Nature Publishing Group.

  7. Ice sheets. Volume loss from Antarctic ice shelves is accelerating.

    PubMed

    Paolo, Fernando S; Fricker, Helen A; Padman, Laurie

    2015-04-17

    The floating ice shelves surrounding the Antarctic Ice Sheet restrain the grounded ice-sheet flow. Thinning of an ice shelf reduces this effect, leading to an increase in ice discharge to the ocean. Using 18 years of continuous satellite radar altimeter observations, we have computed decadal-scale changes in ice-shelf thickness around the Antarctic continent. Overall, average ice-shelf volume change accelerated from negligible loss at 25 ± 64 cubic kilometers per year for 1994-2003 to rapid loss of 310 ± 74 cubic kilometers per year for 2003-2012. West Antarctic losses increased by ~70% in the past decade, and earlier volume gain by East Antarctic ice shelves ceased. In the Amundsen and Bellingshausen regions, some ice shelves have lost up to 18% of their thickness in less than two decades.

  8. Cosmogenic 10Be ages from the Meirs and Garwood Valleys, Denton Hills, West Antarctica, suggest an absence in LGM Ice Sheet expansion.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fink, David; Joy, Kurt; Storey, Bryan

    2014-05-01

    It has been hypothesised that during interglacials, thinning of the Ross Ice Shelf allowed a more open water environment with increased local precipitation. This resulted in outlet glaciers, which drain the Transantarctic Mountains and fed by the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, advancing during moist warmer periods, apparently out of phase with colder arid dry periods. Significantly the ice core record during these warm periods also shows increased accumulation continent wide The geomorphology of the Denton Hills in the Royal Society Range, West Antarctica, is a result of Miocene fluvial incision reworked by subsequent glacial advances throughout the Quaternary. The Garwood and Miers glacial valleys drain ice across the Denton Hills into the Shelf, and should thus show maximum extent during interstadials. To understand the chronology of late Quaternary glaciations, 15 granitic boulders from terminal moraines were sampled for 10Be and 26Al cosmogenic dating. Obtaining reliable exposure ages of erratics within moraines that represent timing of deposition (i.e. glacial advances) is problematic in polar regions, where glacial activity is principally controlled by ice sheet dynamics. Recycling of previously exposed debris, uncertainty in provenance of glacially transported boulders and a lack of a post-depositional hydrologic process to remove previously exposed material from a valley system, leads to ambiguities in multiple exposure ages from a single coeval glacial landform. More importantly, cold-based ice advance can leave a landform unmodified resulting in young erratics deposited on bedrock that shows weathering and/or inconsistent age-altitude relationships. Primarily, inheritance becomes a difficulty in qualifying exposure ages from polar regions. Preliminary results from the Garwood and Miers Valleys indicate that glaciers in the Denton Hills had begun to retreat from their last maximum positions no later than 23-37 ka, and thus the local last glacial maximum

  9. Can ice sheets trigger abrupt climatic change?

    SciTech Connect

    Hughes, T.

    1996-11-01

    The discovery in recent years of abrupt climatic changes in climate proxy records from Greenland ice cores and North Atlantic sediment cores, and from other sites around the world, has diverted attention from gradual insolation changes caused by Earth`s orbital variations to more rapid processes on Earth`s surface as forcing Quaternary climatic change. In particular, forcing by ice sheets has been quantified for a major ice stream that drained the Laurentide Ice Sheet along Hudson Strait. The history of these recent discoveries leading to an interest in ice sheets is reviewed, and a case is made that ice sheets may drive abrupt climatic change that is virtually synchronous worldwide. Attention is focused on abrupt inception and termination of a Quaternary glaciation cycle, abrupt changes recorded as stadials and interstadials within the cycle, abrupt changes in ice streams that trigger stadials and interstadials, and abrupt changes in the Laurentide Ice Sheet linked to effectively simultaneous abrupt changes in its ice streams. Remaining work needed to quantify further these changes is discussed. 90 refs., 14 figs.

  10. Greenland Ice Sheet retreat during the Eemian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Berg, W. J.; Helsen, M. M.; van de Wal, R. S. W.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Oerlemans, J.

    2012-04-01

    We present a new estimate of the evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet through the Eemian (130 till 115 ky BP). This estimate is determined using the 3D 'shallow' ice sheet model ANICE and the regional climate model RACMO2/GR. The two models are time-slice coupled with an interval of 1500 years. 3D interpolated surface mass balance fields from RACMO2/GR force ANICE. Eemian and post-Eemian climate from the GCM ECHO-G drives RACMO2/GR on its lateral boundaries. These boundaries are gradually adjusted from maximum Eemian conditions to post-Eemian inception conditions, following the orbital parameters and Greenhouse gas concentrations derived from ice cores. The simulation shows a steady mass loss till the insolation conditions decline and the summer climate cools, with a typical rate of mass loss equivalent to 5 cm sea level rise per century for most of the time. Once summer start to cool the Greenland ice sheet recovers fast. The maximum ice loss is about 2 m eustatic sea level compared to present day volume and originates predominantly from southwest Greenland. Our results align with paleo-observations of Eemian ice sheet existence in South Greenland. Strong summer radiation also induces ice retreat in northern Greenland. Moreover, it agrees with preceding studies that the Greenland ice sheet had only a limited contribution to the Eemian sea level high stand. A finding of this novel approach is the impact of topographic pinpoints on the ice sheet evolution. Subglacial topography, like at 52° W 72° N (near Uummannaq), cause promontories in the ice sheet that enhances snowfall. Locations with high snowfall react less on warming than dry locations, because more melt is needed before all snow is removed, and the more efficient ice melt starts. The reduced ice depth also buttresses inland ice, limiting the ice sheet response to enhanced ablation. As a result, this topographical feature becomes the northern limit of significant ice sheet retreat, and shields the north

  11. Components of the ice age circulation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rind, D.

    1987-01-01

    The effects of ice age boundary conditions on atmospheric dynamics and regional climate patterns are investigated using four GCM simulations. Particular consideration is given to sea surface temperature-sea ice distribution, the appearance of land ice, and the increased elevation of land ice. It is observed that the ice-age sea surface temperature stabilizes the atmosphere over the oceans, increases the frequency of storm tracking through central North America, and amplifies transient eddy energy without increasing baroclinic generation. It is detected that low-elevation ice generates low pressure over eastern North America and southern Europe in winter, while increasing cloud cover and cooling the land in summer. Elevation of the ice sheets cools the land in winter, further intensifies storms off northeastern North America, induces subsidence warming downstream of the European ice sheets in summer, and increases the transient and stationary eddy energy through increased baroclinicity.

  12. Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    Stibal, Marek; Gözdereliler, Erkin; Cameron, Karen A.; Box, Jason E.; Stevens, Ian T.; Gokul, Jarishma K.; Schostag, Morten; Zarsky, Jakub D.; Edwards, Arwyn; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; Jacobsen, Carsten S.

    2015-01-01

    Measuring microbial abundance in glacier ice and identifying its controls is essential for a better understanding and quantification of biogeochemical processes in glacial ecosystems. However, cell enumeration of glacier ice samples is challenging due to typically low cell numbers and the presence of interfering mineral particles. We quantified for the first time the abundance of microbial cells in surface ice from geographically distinct sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), using three enumeration methods: epifluorescence microscopy (EFM), flow cytometry (FCM), and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). In addition, we reviewed published data on microbial abundance in glacier ice and tested the three methods on artificial ice samples of realistic cell (102–107 cells ml−1) and mineral particle (0.1–100 mg ml−1) concentrations, simulating a range of glacial ice types, from clean subsurface ice to surface ice to sediment-laden basal ice. We then used multivariate statistical analysis to identify factors responsible for the variation in microbial abundance on the ice sheet. EFM gave the most accurate and reproducible results of the tested methodologies, and was therefore selected as the most suitable technique for cell enumeration of ice containing dust. Cell numbers in surface ice samples, determined by EFM, ranged from ~ 2 × 103 to ~ 2 × 106 cells ml−1 while dust concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 2 mg ml−1. The lowest abundances were found in ice sampled from the accumulation area of the ice sheet and in samples affected by fresh snow; these samples may be considered as a reference point of the cell abundance of precipitants that are deposited on the ice sheet surface. Dust content was the most significant variable to explain the variation in the abundance data, which suggests a direct association between deposited dust particles and cells and/or by their provision of limited nutrients to microbial communities on the GrIS. PMID:25852678

  13. Holocene deceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGregor, Joseph A.; Colgan, William T.; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Morlighem, Mathieu; Catania, Ginny A.; Paden, John D.; Gogineni, S. Prasad

    2016-02-01

    Recent peripheral thinning of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly offset by interior thickening and is overprinted on its poorly constrained Holocene evolution. On the basis of the ice sheet’s radiostratigraphy, ice flow in its interior is slower now than the average speed over the past nine millennia. Generally higher Holocene accumulation rates relative to modern estimates can only partially explain this millennial-scale deceleration. The ice sheet’s dynamic response to the decreasing proportion of softer ice from the last glacial period and the deglacial collapse of the ice bridge across Nares Strait also contributed to this pattern. Thus, recent interior thickening of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly an ongoing dynamic response to the last deglaciation that is large enough to affect interpretation of its mass balance from altimetry.

  14. Models for polythermal ice sheets and glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Ian J.; Schoof, Christian

    2017-02-01

    Polythermal ice sheets and glaciers contain both cold ice and temperate ice. We present two new models to describe the temperature and water content of such ice masses, accounting for the possibility of gravity- and pressure-driven water drainage according to Darcy's law. Both models are based on the principle of energy conservation; one additionally invokes the theory of viscous compaction to calculate pore water pressure, and the other involves a modification of existing enthalpy gradient methods to include gravity-driven drainage. The models self-consistently predict the evolution of temperature in cold ice and of water content in temperate ice. Numerical solutions are described, and a number of illustrative test problems are presented, allowing comparison with existing methods. The suggested models are simple enough to be incorporated in existing ice-sheet models with little modification.

  15. Phreatomagmatic eruptions under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: potential hazard for ice sheet stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iverson, N. A.; Dunbar, N. W.; Lieb-Lappen, R.; Kim, E. J.; Golden, E. J.; Obbard, R. W.

    2014-12-01

    Volcanic tephra layers have been seen in most ice cores in Antarctica. These tephra layers are deposited almost instantaneously across wide areas of ice sheets, creating horizons that can provide "pinning points" to adjust ice time scales that may otherwise be lacking detailed chronology. A combination of traditional particle morphology characterization by SEM with new non-destructive X-ray micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT) has been used to analyze selected coarse grained tephra in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide WDC06A ice core. Micro-CT has the ability to image particles as small as 50µm in length (15µm resolution), quantifying both particle shape and size. The WDC06A contains hundreds of dusty layers of which 36 have so far been identified as primary tephra layers. Two of these tephra layers have been characterized as phreatomagmatic eruptions based on SEM imagery and are blocky and platy in nature, with rare magmatic particles. These layers are strikingly different in composition from the typical phonolitic and trachytic tephra produced from West Antarctic volcanoes. These two layers are coarser in grain size, with many particles (including feldspar crystals) exceeding 100µm in length. One tephra layer found at 3149.138m deep in the ice core is a coarse ~1mm thick basanitic tephra layer with a WDC06-7 ice core age of 45,381±2000yrs. The second layer is a ~1.3 cm thick zoned trachyandesite to trachydacite tephra found at 2569.205m deep with an ice core age 22,470±835yrs. Micro-CT analysis shows that WDC06A-3149.138 has normal grading with the largest particles at the bottom of the sample (~160μm). WDC06A-2569.205 has a bimodal distribution of particles with large particles at the top and bottom of the layer. These large particles are more spherical in shape at the base and become more irregular and finer grained higher in the layer, likely showing changes in eruption dynamics. The distinct chemistry as well as the blocky and large grain size

  16. Global ice-sheet system interlocked by sea level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Denton, George H.; Hughes, Terence J.; Karlén, Wibjörn

    1986-07-01

    Denton and Hughes (1983, Quaternary Research20, 125-144) postulated that sea level linked a global ice-sheet system with both terrestrial and grounded marine components during late Quaternary ice ages. Summer temperature changes near Northern Hemisphere melting margins initiated sea-level fluctuations that controlled marine components in both polar hemispheres. It was further proposed that variations of this ice-sheet system amplified and transmitted Milankovitch summer half-year insolation changes between 45 and 75°N into global climatic changes. New tests of this hypothesis implicate sea level as a major control of the areal extent of grounded portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, thus fitting the concept of a globally interlocked ice-sheet system. But recent atmospheric modeling results ( Manabe and Broccoli, 1985, Journal of Geophysical Research90, 2167-2190) suggest that factors other than areal changes of the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet strongly influenced Southern Hemisphere climate and terminated the last ice age simultaneously in both polar hemispheres. Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked to high-latitude oceans is the most likely candidate ( Shackleton and Pisias, 1985, Atmospheric carbon dioxide, orbital forcing, and climate. In "The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO 2: Natural Variations Archean to Present" (E. T. Sundquest and W. S. Broecker, Eds.), pp. 303-318. Geophysical Monograph 32, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.), but another potential influence was high-frequency climatic oscillations (2500 yr). It is postulated that variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide acted through an Antarctic ice shelf linked to the grounded ice sheet to produce and terminate Southern Hemisphere ice-age climate. It is further postulated that Milankovitch summer insolation combined with a warm high-frequency oscillation caused marked recession of Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet melting margins and the North Atlantic polar front about 14,000 14C yr B.P. This

  17. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff.

    PubMed

    Van Tricht, K; Lhermitte, S; Lenaerts, J T M; Gorodetskaya, I V; L'Ecuyer, T S; Noël, B; van den Broeke, M R; Turner, D D; van Lipzig, N P M

    2016-01-12

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2) W m(-2). Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the Greenland ice sheet responds to this energy through a new pathway by which clouds reduce meltwater refreezing as opposed to increasing surface melt directly, thereby accelerating bare-ice exposure and enhancing meltwater runoff. The high sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to both ice-only and liquid-bearing clouds highlights the need for accurate cloud representations in climate models, to better predict future contributions of the Greenland ice sheet to global sea level rise.

  18. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    PubMed Central

    Van Tricht, K.; Lhermitte, S.; Lenaerts, J. T. M.; Gorodetskaya, I. V.; L'Ecuyer, T. S.; Noël, B.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Turner, D. D.; van Lipzig, N. P. M.

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2) W m−2. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the Greenland ice sheet responds to this energy through a new pathway by which clouds reduce meltwater refreezing as opposed to increasing surface melt directly, thereby accelerating bare-ice exposure and enhancing meltwater runoff. The high sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to both ice-only and liquid-bearing clouds highlights the need for accurate cloud representations in climate models, to better predict future contributions of the Greenland ice sheet to global sea level rise. PMID:26756470

  19. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Tricht, Kristof; Lhermitte, Stef; Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Gorodetskaya, Irina V.; L'Ecuyer, Tristan S.; Noël, Brice; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Turner, David D.; van Lipzig, Nicole P. M.

    2016-04-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2) W m-2. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the Greenland ice sheet responds to this energy through a new pathway by which clouds reduce meltwater refreezing as opposed to increasing surface melt directly, thereby accelerating bare-ice exposure and enhancing meltwater runoff. The high sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to both ice-only and liquid-bearing clouds highlights the need for accurate cloud representations in climate models, to better predict future contributions of the Greenland ice sheet to global sea level rise.

  20. Bacteria beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Lanoil, Brian; Skidmore, Mark; Priscu, John C; Han, Sukkyun; Foo, Wilson; Vogel, Stefan W; Tulaczyk, Slawek; Engelhardt, Hermann

    2009-03-01

    Subglacial environments, particularly those that lie beneath polar ice sheets, are beginning to be recognized as an important part of Earth's biosphere. However, except for indirect indications of microbial assemblages in subglacial Lake Vostok, Antarctica, no sub-ice sheet environments have been shown to support microbial ecosystems. Here we report 16S rRNA gene and isolate diversity in sediments collected from beneath the Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctic Ice Sheet and stored for 15 months at 4 degrees C. This is the first report of microbes in samples from the sediment environment beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The cells were abundant ( approximately 10(7) cells g(-1)) but displayed low diversity (only five phylotypes), likely as a result of enrichment during storage. Isolates were cold tolerant and the 16S rRNA gene diversity was a simplified version of that found in subglacial alpine and Arctic sediments and water. Although in situ cell abundance and the extent of wet sediments beneath the Antarctic ice sheet can only be roughly extrapolated on the basis of this sample, it is clear that the subglacial ecosystem contains a significant and previously unrecognized pool of microbial cells and associated organic carbon that could potentially have significant implications for global geochemical processes.

  1. Conditions for bubble elongation in cold ice-sheet ice

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alley, R.B.; Fitzpatrick, J.J.

    1999-01-01

    Highly elongated bubbles are sometimes observed in ice-sheet ice. Elongation is favored by rapid ice deformation, and opposed by diffusive processes. We use simple models to show that vapor transport dominates diffusion except possibly very close to the melting point, and that latent-heat effects are insignificant. Elongation is favored by larger bubbles at pore close-off, but is nearly independent of bubble compression below close-off. The simple presence of highly elongated bubbles indicates only that a critical ice-strain rate has been exceeded for significant time, and provides no information on possible disruption of stratigraphic continuity by ice deformation.

  2. Paleoclimate perspectives on Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naish, Timothy

    2015-04-01

    Near- and long-term future projections of global mean sea level rise (SLR) are hampered by a lack of understanding of the potential dynamic contribution of the polar ice sheets, and in particular the Antarctic ice sheets. With the completion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Assessment Report a major challenge continues to be placing an upper bound in sea-level projections for 2100 and beyond. The so-called "deterministic" approach which sums observed- and model-projected trends in the known contributions (e.g. ice sheet and glacier surface mass balance, ocean thermal expansion and ground water storage changes) implies a "likely" upper bound of +100cm by 2080-2100. The "semi-empirical" approach which scales past observed sea-level change to mean surface temperature, and uses this relationship to scale future temperature scenarios, predicts a significantly higher upper bound of up to ~2m by 2100. The discrepancy between the two approaches may in part reflect the poorly understood contribution of ice dynamics - that is the rate of flow of ice sheets into the ocean. An ensemble of Antarctic ice sheet models produces highly divergent results for future sea-level projections, primarily because of uncertainties around the mass changes in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with some models showing increased precipitation driving a positive mass balance overall, even with loss of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Current best estimates suggest a 10-20cm dynamic ice sheet contribution by 2100 to global SLR. Of concern is that marine based ice sheets are highly sensitive to increases in ocean temperature at their margins and rapid disintegration may ensue if the ice sheets grounding lines retreat into deep sub-glacial basins. Recent studies show the highest rates of ice sheet thinning and retreat are occurring at locations around the WAIS where the surface ocean has warmed, and that some WAIS loss may now be irreversible. Geological records allow

  3. Greenland Ice Sheet Today: A daily look at surface melt of the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leslie, S. R.; Gergely, K. L.; Beitler, J.; Scambos, T. A.; Stroeve, J. C.

    2013-12-01

    An increase in the surface melt of the Greenland ice sheet in recent decades signals the waning of the ice sheet in a changing climate. The unprecedented intense surface melt of the ice sheet in 2012 prompted NASA and NSIDC to launch Greenland Ice Sheet Today, a Web site that offers daily updated satellite data and periodic scientific analysis on surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Near-real-time melt data are derived from an algorithm that estimates melt and is applied to DMSP SSMIS brightness temperatures gridded to a 25km EASE-Grid. These data are then used to generate a daily melt image, a cumulative melt days image, and a daily melt graph. Contextual background information on ice sheets as well as scientific discussions about the status of the Greenland ice sheet are posted periodically. Greenland Ice Sheet Today serves to keep a wide range of user communities informed about a crucial part of the Earth's cryosphere and here we examine the development of and reactions to the Web site.

  4. Entrainment, transport and concentration of meteorites in polar ice sheets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Drewry, D. J.

    1986-01-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets act as slow-moving conveyancing systems for material added to both their upper and lower surfaces. Because the transit time for most materials is extremely long the ice acts as a major global storage facility. The effects of horizontal and vertical motions on the flow patterns of Antarctic ice sheets are summarized. The determination of the source areas of meteorites and their transport paths is a problem of central importance since it relates not only directly to concentration mechanisms but also to the wider issues in glaciology and meteorites. The ice and snow into which a meteorite falls, and which moves with it to the concentration area, encodes information about the infall area. The principle environmental conditions being former elevation, temperature (also related to elevation), and age of the ice. This encoded information could be used to identify the infall area.

  5. Records of past ice sheet fluctuations in interior East Antarctica

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Liu, Xiaohan; Huang, Feixin; Kong, Ping; Fang, Aimin; Li, Xiaoli

    2007-01-01

    The results of a land-based multi-disciplinary study of the past ice surface elevation in the Grove Mountains of interior East Antarctica support a dynamic evolution of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Moraine boulders of sedimentary rocks and spore pollen assemblage imply a significant shrinkage of the EAIS, with its margin retreating south of the Grove Mountains (~450 km south of recent coast line) before the middle Pliocene. The exposure ages indicate that the ice sheet subsequently re-advanced, with the ice surface rising locally at least 450 m higher than today. It then went back down constantly from before 2.3 Ma to 1.6 Ma. The glacial topography and existence of soil show that the ice surface fluctuation continued since the early Quaternary, but with highest levels never exceeding ~100 m higher than today.

  6. Growth of Greenland ice sheet - Interpretation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay

    1989-01-01

    An observed 0.23 m/year thickening of the Greenland ice sheet indicates a 25 percent to 45 percent excess ice accumulation over the amount required to balance the outward ice flow. The implied global sea-level depletion is 0.2 to 0.4 mm/year, depending on whether the thickening is only recent (5 to 10 years) or longer term (less than 100 years). If there is a similar imbalance in the northern 60 percent of the ice-sheet area, the depletion is 0.35 to 0.7 mm/year. Increasing ice thickness suggests that the precipitation is higher than the long-term average; higher precipitation may be a characteristic of warmer climates in polar regions.

  7. Ice sheets on plastically-yielding beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Ian

    2016-11-01

    Many fast flowing regions of ice sheets are underlain by a layer of water-saturated sediments, or till. The rheology of the till has been the subject of some controversy, with laboratory tests suggesting almost perfectly plastic behaviour (stress independent of strain rate), but many models adopting a pseudo-viscous description. In this work, we consider the behaviour of glaciers underlain by a plastic bed. The ice is treated as a viscous gravity current, on a bed that allows unconstrained slip above a critical yield stress. This simplified description allows rapid sliding, and aims to investigate 'worst-case' scenarios of possible ice-sheet disintegration. The plastic bed results in an approximate ice-sheet geometry that is primarily controlled by force balance, whilst ice velocity is determined from mass conservation (rather than the other way around, as standard models would hold). The stability of various states is considered, and particular attention is given to the pace at which transitions between unstable states can occur. Finally, we observe that the strength of basal tills depends strongly on pore pressure, and combine the model with a description of subglacial hydrology. Implications for the present-day ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will be discussed. Funding: ERC Marie Curie FP7 Career Integration Grant.

  8. Active volcanism beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet and implications for ice-sheet stability

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blankenship, D.D.; Bell, R.E.; Hodge, S.M.; Brozena, J.M.; Behrendt, John C.; Finn, C.A.

    1993-01-01

    IT is widely understood that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) would cause a global sea level rise of 6 m, yet there continues to be considerable debate about the detailed response of this ice sheet to climate change1-3. Because its bed is grounded well below sea level, the stability of the WAIS may depend on geologically controlled conditions at the base which are independent of climate. In particular, heat supplied to the base of the ice sheet could increase basal melting and thereby trigger ice streaming, by providing the water for a lubricating basal layer of till on which ice streams are thought to slide4,5. Ice streams act to protect the reservoir of slowly moving inland ice from exposure to oceanic degradation, thus enhancing ice-sheet stability. Here we present aerogeophysical evidence for active volcanism and associated elevated heat flow beneath the WAIS near the critical region where ice streaming begins. If this heat flow is indeed controlling ice-stream formation, then penetration of ocean waters inland of the thin hot crust of the active portion of the West Antarctic rift system could lead to the disappearance of ice streams, and possibly trigger a collapse of the inland ice reservoir.

  9. Ice Thicknesses and Driving Stresses of Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. J.; Saba, J.; Giovinetto, M.

    1999-01-01

    Surface elevations from satellite radar altimetry (Geosat, Seasat, and ERS-1) and bedrock topography from airborne radar sounding (Simon Ekholm's Danish compilation) are combined to derive maps of the driving stresses in the Greenland ice sheet. The stress vector, tau = rho g h sin(alpha), is calculated using surface slope vectors, alpha, from surface elevations and ice thicknesses, h, from the difference between surface and basal elevations. Since the 5-km scale of the surface slope is only about 2 times the ice thickness, the stress maps show spatial variations indicative of longitudinal stress gradients associated with topographic undulations. Values of alpha generally vary from near zero at the ice divides to maxima values around 120 kpa, returning to near zero in a narrow band at the edges. The distribution of alpha's peaks at 60 kpa with an approximate sigma of +/- 20 kpa. Areas of very low alpha near the origin of the northeast ice stream may indicate small sub-glacial lakes. The profile of alpha, down the ice stream from near the ice divide, increases to a maximum of about 120 kpa near the margin, which is characteristic of East Antarctic outlet glaciers and in contrast to West Antarctic ice streams where alpha has maximum values 400 to 500 km inland from the grounding lines. Overall distributions of alpha values are compared with those for the Antarctic ice sheet and the Mars Northern ice cap.

  10. Leakage of the Greenland Ice Sheet through accelerated ice flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E.

    2005-12-01

    A map of coastal velocities of the Greenland ice sheet was produced from Radarsat-1 acquired during the background mission of 2000 and combined with radio echo sounding data to estimate the ice discharge from the ice sheet. On individual glaciers, ice discharge was compared with snow input from the interior and melt above the flux gate to determine the glacier mass balance. Time series of velocities on several glaciers at different latitudes reveal seasonal fluctuations of only 7-8 percent so that winter velocities are only 2 percent less than the yearly mean. The results show the northern Greenland glaciers to be close to balance yet losing mass. No change in ice flow is detected on Petermann, 79north and Zachariae Isstrom in 2000-2004. East Greenland glaciers are in balance and flowing steadily north of Kangerdlussuaq, but Kangerdlussuaq, Helheim and all the southeastern glaciers are thinning dramatically. All these glaciers accelerated, Kangerdlussuaq in 2000, Helheim prior to 2004, and southeast Greenland glaciers accelerated 10 to 50 percent in 2000-2004. Glacier acceleration is generally brutal, probably once the glacier reached a threshold, and sustained. In the northwest, most glaciers are largely out of balance. Jakobshavn accelerated significantly in 2002, and glaciers in its immediate vicinity accelerated more than 50 percent in 2000-2004. Less is known about southwest Greenland glaciers due to a lack of ice thickness data but the glaciers have accelerated there as well and are likely to be strongly out of balance despite thickening of the interior. Overall, I estimate the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet to be about -80 +/-10 cubic km of ice per year in 2000 and -110 +/-15 cubic km of ice per year in 2004, i.e. more negative than based on partial altimetry surveys of the outlet glaciers. As climate continues to warm, more glaciers will accelerate, and the mass balance will become increasingly negative, regardless of the evolution of the ice sheet

  11. Holocene accumulation and ice flow near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koutnik, Michelle R.; Fudge, T. J.; Conway, Howard; Waddington, Edwin D.; Neumann, Thomas A.; Cuffey, Kurt M.; Buizert, Christo; Taylor, Kendrick C.

    2016-05-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Core (WDC) provided a high-resolution climate record from near the Ross-Amundsen Divide in Central West Antarctica. In addition, radar-detected internal layers in the vicinity of the WDC site have been dated directly from the ice core to provide spatial variations in the age structure of the region. Using these two data sets together, we first infer a high-resolution Holocene accumulation-rate history from 9.2 kyr of the ice-core timescale and then confirm that this climate history is consistent with internal layers upstream of the core site. Even though the WDC was drilled only 24 km from the modern ice divide, advection of ice from upstream must be taken into account. We evaluate histories of accumulation rate by using a flowband model to generate internal layers that we compare to observed layers. Results show that the centennially averaged accumulation rate was over 20% lower than modern at 9.2 kyr before present (B.P.), increased by 40% from 9.2 to 2.3 kyr B.P., and decreased by at least 10% over the past 2 kyr B.P. to the modern values; these Holocene accumulation-rate changes in Central West Antarctica are larger than changes inferred from East Antarctic ice-core records. Despite significant changes in accumulation rate, throughout the Holocene the regional accumulation pattern has likely remained similar to today, and the ice-divide position has likely remained on average within 5 km of its modern position. Continent-scale ice-sheet models used for reconstructions of West Antarctic ice volume should incorporate this accumulation history.

  12. Ice age paleotopography

    SciTech Connect

    Peltier, W.R. )

    1994-07-08

    A gravitationally self-consistent theory of postglacial relative sea level change is used to infer the variation of surface ice and water cover since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The results show that LGM ice volume was approximately 35 percent lower than suggested by the CLIMAP reconstruction and the maximum heights of the main Laurentian and Fennoscandian ice complexes are inferred to have been commensurately lower with respect to sea level. Use of these Ice Age boundary conditions in atmospheric general circulation models will yield climates that differ significantly from those previously inferred on the basis of the CLIMAP data set.

  13. Ice sheet systems and sea level change.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E. J.

    2015-12-01

    Modern views of ice sheets provided by satellites, airborne surveys, in situ data and paleoclimate records while transformative of glaciology have not fundamentally changed concerns about ice sheet stability and collapse that emerged in the 1970's. Motivated by the desire to learn more about ice sheets using new technologies, we stumbled on an unexplored field of science and witnessed surprising changes before realizing that most were coming too fast, soon and large. Ice sheets are integrant part of the Earth system; they interact vigorously with the atmosphere and the oceans, yet most of this interaction is not part of current global climate models. Since we have never witnessed the collapse of a marine ice sheet, observations and exploration remain critical sentinels. At present, these observations suggest that Antarctica and Greenland have been launched into a path of multi-meter sea level rise caused by rapid climate warming. While the current loss of ice sheet mass to the ocean remains a trickle, every mm of sea level change will take centuries of climate reversal to get back, several major marine-terminating sectors have been pushed out of equilibrium, and ice shelves are irremediably being lost. As glaciers retreat from their salty, warm, oceanic margins, they will melt away and retreat slower, but concerns remain about sea level change from vastly marine-based sectors: 2-m sea level equivalent in Greenland and 23-m in Antarctica. Significant changes affect 2/4 marine-based sectors in Greenland - Jakobshavn Isb. and the northeast stream - with Petermann Gl. not far behind. Major changes have affected the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica since the 1980s. Smaller yet significant changes affect the marine-based Wilkes Land sector of East Antarctica, a reminder that not all marine-based ice is in West Antarctica. Major advances in reducing uncertainties in sea level projections will require massive, interdisciplinary efforts that are not currently in place

  14. Measuring Ice Sheet Height with ICESat-2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walsh, K.; Smith, B.; Neumann, T.; Hancock, D.

    2015-12-01

    ICESat-2 is NASA's next-generation laser altimeter, designed to measure changes in ice sheet height and sea ice freeboard. Over the ice sheets, it will use a continuous repeat-track pointing strategy to ensure that it accurately measures elevation changes along a set of reference tracks. Over most of the area of Earth's ice sheets, ICESat-2 will provide coverage with a track-to-track spacing better than ~3 km. The onboard ATLAS instrument will use a photon-counting approach to provide a global geolocated photon point cloud, which is then converted into surface-specific elevation data sets. In this presentation, we will outline our strategy for taking the low-level photon point cloud and turning it into measurements posted at 20 m along-track for a set of pre-defined reference points by (1) selecting groups of photon events (PEs) around each along-track point, (2) refining the initial PE selection by fitting selected PEs with an along-track segment model and eliminating outliers to the model, (3) applying histogram-based corrections to the surface height based on the residuals to the along-track segment model, (4) calculate error estimates based on estimates of relative contributions of signal and noise PEs to the observed PE count, and (5) determining the final location and surface height of the along-track segment. These measurements are then corrected for short-scale (100-200 m) across-track surface topography around the reference points to develop a time series of land ice heights. The resulting data products will allow us to measure ice sheet elevation change with a point-for-point accuracy of a few centimeters over Earth's ice sheets.

  15. Monitoring ice sheet behavior from space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bindschadler, Robert

    1998-02-01

    Satellite remote sensing has revolutionized ice sheet research. A variety of instruments sensitive to different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum take what the human eye detects as a flat, white desert and provide data sets rich in scientific information. Image-based maps of ice sheets are becoming commonplace and have become an integral component of field work. More than a pretty picture, the digital character of the satellite data from these instruments has become fundamental to the production of elevation, motion, accumulation, and reflectance data sets. Visible imagery shows the scientist a wealth of features that offer clues to the history and current behavior of the ice sheet. Radar and microwave imagery provide information from beneath the surface and have been used to estimate snow accumulation rates. Interferometry principles have recently been applied to measure surface topography and ice motion with unparalleled precision. Nonimaging instruments also keep a watchful eye, monitoring the ice sheet for indications of growth or shrinkage. Further expansion of the uses of satellite data is anticipated in the future.

  16. Bedforms of the Keewatin Ice Sheet, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aylsworth, J. M.; Shilts, W. W.

    1989-05-01

    By compiling glacial bedforms on a map that covers most of one sector of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, it is possible to make some suggestions about their genesis based largely on spatial relationships. It can be concluded that drumlins and ribbed moraine form at the base of actively flowing ice under similar dynamic conditions. For either landform to exist, however, there must have been enough sediment available in the base of the glacier to leave or form a feature large enough to be recognizable. The presence or absence of sufficient load is related to the geology of the glacier bed and has little to do with regionally changing dynamics of the ice-water system. Likewise, given sufficient load, it is evident that whether drumlins formed or whether ribbed moraine formed in a certain area is a function of the physical nature of the load which is, again, related to geology of the source outcrops. Whether the physical characteristics come into play after the sediment has been released from the ice and is being reshaped by basal drag, streamlining, etc., or whether the nature of the load while entrained changes the behaviour of the basal part of the ice is unclear. Physical characteristics of the basal sediment load have apparently promoted internal thrusting of coherent slabs of entrained debris and ice to form ribbed moraine on melting, whereas drumlins may reflect moulding of plastic subglacial debris or erosional streamlining of both the unconsolidated glacial substrate and bedrock. The observation that many eskers cross drumlin fields at nearly right angles to their orientation suggests that conditions producing streamlining and those pertaining to subglacial drainage are separated in time and circumstance. The general occurrence of drumlins and eskers throughout the sediment-rich portions of the Keewatin Ice Sheet, from Zone 1 to its edge, is difficult to reconcile with the restriction and intimate association of these forms with ribbed moraine almost exclusively in

  17. The Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (RISCO)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morin, P.; Howat, I. M.; Ahn, Y.; Porter, C.; McFadden, E. M.

    2010-12-01

    The recent expansion of observational capacity from space has revealed dramatic, rapid changes in the Earth’s ice cover. These discoveries have fundamentally altered how scientists view ice-sheet change. Instead of just slow changes in snow accumulation and melting over centuries or millennia, important changes can occur in sudden events lasting only months, weeks, or even a single day. Our understanding of these short time- and space-scale processes, which hold important implications for future global sea level rise, has been impeded by the low temporal and spatial resolution, delayed sensor tasking, incomplete coverage, inaccessibility and/or high cost of data available to investigators. New cross-agency partnerships and data access policies provide the opportunity to dramatically improve the resolution of ice sheet observations by an order of magnitude, from timescales of months and distances of 10’s of meters, to days and meters or less. Advances in image processing technology also enable application of currently under-utilized datasets. The infrastructure for systematically gathering, processing, analyzing and distributing these data does not currently exist. Here we present the development of a multi-institutional, multi-platform observatory for rapid ice change with the ultimate objective of helping to elucidate the relevant timescales and processes of ice sheet dynamics and response to climate change. The Rapid Ice Sheet Observatory (RISCO) gathers observations of short time- and space-scale Cryosphere events and makes them easily accessible to investigators, media and general public. As opposed to existing data centers, which are structured to archive and distribute diverse types of raw data to end users with the specialized software and skills to analyze them, RISCO focuses on three types of geo-referenced raster (image) data products in a format immediately viewable with commonly available software. These three products are (1) sequences of images

  18. Characteristics of basal ice and subglacial water at Dome Fuji, Antarctica ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Motoyama, H.; Uemura, R.; Hirabayashi, M.; Miyake, T.; Kuramoto, T.; Tanaka, Y.; Dome Fuji Ice Core Project, M.

    2008-12-01

    (Introduction): The second deep ice coring project at Dome Fuji, Antarctica reached a depth of 3035.22 m during the austral summer season in 2006/2007. The recovered ice cores contain records of global environmental changes going back about 720,000 years. (Estimation of basal ice melt): The borehole measurement was carried out on January 2nd in 2007 when the temperature disturbance in the borehole calmed down by the rest of drilling for 2 days. Temperature measurement was performed after 0 C thermometer test was done in the ground. The temperature sensor of pt100 installed in the skate-like anti-torque was used. We did not have the enough time until the temperature of thermometer was matched with the temperature of ice sheet. Some error was included in ice temperature data. The resistance of pt100 sensor was converted to temperature in the borehole measurement machine. But we used only two electrical lines for pt100 sensor. Rate of heat flow in the ice sheet was calculated using the vertical temperature gradient of the ice sheet and rate of heat conductivity of ice. The deepest part of heat flux using temperatures at 3000m and 3030m was about 45mW/m2. We assumed that this value was the heat flux from the bedrock in the ice sheet. Heat flux to the bedrock surface in the ground was assumed 54.6mW/m2 adopted by ice sheet model (P. Huybrechts, 2006). Then the heat flux for basal ice melt was about 10mW/m2. This value was equaled to melting of 1.1mm of ice thickness per year. On the other hand, the annual layer thickness under 2500m was not changed so much and its average was 1.3mm of ice thickness. So the annual layer thickness and melting rate of basal ice was the same in ordering way. Or ice equivalent in annual layer is melting every year. The age of the deepest part of ice core is guessed at 720,000 years old and the ice older than basal ice has melted away. (The state of basal ice): When the ice core drilling depth passed 3031.44m, amount of ice chip more abundant

  19. Holocene thinning of the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Vinther, B M; Buchardt, S L; Clausen, H B; Dahl-Jensen, D; Johnsen, S J; Fisher, D A; Koerner, R M; Raynaud, D; Lipenkov, V; Andersen, K K; Blunier, T; Rasmussen, S O; Steffensen, J P; Svensson, A M

    2009-09-17

    On entering an era of global warming, the stability of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) is an important concern, especially in the light of new evidence of rapidly changing flow and melt conditions at the GIS margins. Studying the response of the GIS to past climatic change may help to advance our understanding of GIS dynamics. The previous interpretation of evidence from stable isotopes (delta(18)O) in water from GIS ice cores was that Holocene climate variability on the GIS differed spatially and that a consistent Holocene climate optimum-the unusually warm period from about 9,000 to 6,000 years ago found in many northern-latitude palaeoclimate records-did not exist. Here we extract both the Greenland Holocene temperature history and the evolution of GIS surface elevation at four GIS locations. We achieve this by comparing delta(18)O from GIS ice cores with delta(18)O from ice cores from small marginal icecaps. Contrary to the earlier interpretation of delta(18)O evidence from ice cores, our new temperature history reveals a pronounced Holocene climatic optimum in Greenland coinciding with maximum thinning near the GIS margins. Our delta(18)O-based results are corroborated by the air content of ice cores, a proxy for surface elevation. State-of-the-art ice sheet models are generally found to be underestimating the extent and changes in GIS elevation and area; our findings may help to improve the ability of models to reproduce the GIS response to Holocene climate.

  20. Preservation of landforms under ice sheets and ice caps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kleman, Johan

    1994-02-01

    This article addresses the question of whether or not distinct glacial and non-glacial landforms can survive beneath ice sheets and ice caps with little or no morphological alteration. A review of recent work documents the existence of pre-last stadial landforms and landscapes in areas covered by the Fennoscandian and Laurentide ice sheets. A substantial number of independent works indicate that landforms such as eskers, drainage channels and boulder fields have escaped destruction despite complete ice overriding during several tens of millenia. Full preservation of former ground surfaces or delicate landforms probably is linked to areas where the ice-sheet base was continuously frozen to its bed. Larger "robust" landforms, such as large drumlins, appear to have been preserved even under wet-based conditions. In glaciated areas, patches preserved under dry (cold)-based conditions provide important windows towards the past, showing landscapes that were destroyed in surrounding areas affected by wet-based and eroding ice. Some consequences for the research fields of non-glacial geomorphology, archaeology and botany include the possibility of subglacial museums and refugia. A time/ space model describes geomorphological access to information from older events in glaciated areas.

  1. Satellite remote sensing for ice sheet research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, R. H.; omplexity of the land cover and land use p; omplexity of the land cover and land use p

    1985-01-01

    Potential research applications of satellite data over the terrestrial ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are assessed and actions required to ensure acquisition of relevant data and appropriate processing to a form suitable for research purposes are recommended. Relevant data include high-resolution visible and SAR imagery, infrared, passive-microwave and scatterometer measurements, and surface topography information from laser and radar altimeters.

  2. Dynamics of ice ages on Mars.

    PubMed

    Schorghofer, Norbert

    2007-09-13

    Unlike Earth, where astronomical climate forcing is comparatively small, Mars experiences dramatic changes in incident sunlight that are capable of redistributing ice on a global scale. The geographic extent of the subsurface ice found poleward of approximately +/-60 degrees latitude on both hemispheres of Mars coincides with the areas where ice is stable. However, the tilt of Mars' rotation axis (obliquity) changed considerably in the past several million years. Earlier work has shown that regions of ice stability, which are defined by temperature and atmospheric humidity, differed in the recent past from today's, and subsurface ice is expected to retreat quickly when unstable. Here I explain how the subsurface ice sheets could have evolved to the state in which we see them today. Simulations of the retreat and growth of ground ice as a result of sublimation loss and recharge reveal forty major ice ages over the past five million years. Today, this gives rise to pore ice at mid-latitudes and a three-layered depth distribution in the high latitudes of, from top to bottom, a dry layer, pore ice, and a massive ice sheet. Combined, these layers provide enough ice to be compatible with existing neutron and gamma-ray measurements.

  3. How ice age climate got the shakes

    SciTech Connect

    Kerr, R.A.

    1993-05-14

    Records in Greenland ice, ocean mud, and ancient corals are revealing abrupt climate shifts during the last ice age. The climate at the end of the last ice age apparently jumped from cold to warmer conditions, jumped back to cold, and then jumped into the present warm weather conditions. The mechanism for this erratic behavior is unknown, but appears to be an interaction of North Atlantic ocean currents and the ice sheets themselves. Warm water from the tropics would evaporate and become more saline and dense as it moved north. The colder, denser water would then sink and flow back to the tropics. The melting of ice caused by the warm water would decrease the salinity of the North Atlantic current, the water would not sink, the return current would be shut down, and the waters surrounding the ice sheets would become colder, slowing melting of the sheets. The cycle could be started again by collapse of the ice sheets from their internal heat. There may be other switches that could cause sudden climate change, as may be evidenced by links between changes in the Pacific and a decade of erratic weather in North America. Researcher would like to identify these switches to prevent them from being activated by human activity.

  4. connecting the dots between Greenland ice sheet surface melting and ice flow dynamics (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Box, J. E.; Colgan, W. T.; Fettweis, X.; Phillips, T. P.; Stober, M.

    2013-12-01

    This presentation is of a 'unified theory' in glaciology that first identifies surface albedo as a key factor explaining total ice sheet mass balance and then surveys a mechanistic self-reinforcing interaction between melt water and ice flow dynamics. The theory is applied in a near-real time total Greenland mass balance retrieval based on surface albedo, a powerful integrator of the competing effects of accumulation and ablation. New snowfall reduces sunlight absorption and increases meltwater retention. Melting amplifies absorbed sunlight through thermal metamorphism and bare ice expansion in space and time. By ';following the melt'; we reveal mechanisms linking existing science into a unified theory. Increasing meltwater softens the ice sheet in three ways: 1.) sensible heating given the water temperature exceeds that of the ice sheet interior; 2.) Some infiltrating water refreezes, transferring latent heat to the ice; 3.) Friction from water turbulence heats the ice. It has been shown that for a point on the ice sheet, basal lubrication increases ice flow speed to a time when an efficient sub-glacial drainage network develops that reduces this effect. Yet, with an increasing melt duration the point where the ice sheet glides on a wet bed increases inland to a larger area. This effect draws down the ice surface elevation, contributing to the ';elevation feedback'. In a perpetual warming scenario, the elevation feedback ultimately leads to ice sheet loss reversible only through much slower ice sheet growth in an ice age environment. As the inland ice sheet accelerates, the horizontal extension pulls cracks and crevasses open, trapping more sunlight, amplifying the effect of melt accelerated ice. As the bare ice area increases, the direct sun-exposed crevassed and infiltration area increases further allowing the ice warming process to occur more broadly. Considering hydrofracture [a.k.a. hydrofracking]; surface meltwater fills cracks, attacking the ice integrity

  5. Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ullman, David J.; Carlson, Anders E.; Hostetler, Steven W.; Clark, Peter U.; Cuzzone, Joshua; Milne, Glenn A.; Winsor, Kelsey; Caffee, Marc

    2016-11-01

    Despite elevated summer insolation forcing during the early Holocene, global ice sheets retained nearly half of their volume from the Last Glacial Maximum, as indicated by deglacial records of global mean sea level (GMSL). Partitioning the GMSL rise among potential sources requires accurate dating of ice-sheet extent to estimate ice-sheet volume. Here, we date the final retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet with 10Be surface exposure ages for the Labrador Dome, the largest of the remnant Laurentide ice domes during the Holocene. We show that the Labrador Dome deposited moraines during North Atlantic cold events at ∼10.3 ka, 9.3 ka and 8.2 ka, suggesting that these regional climate events helped stabilize the retreating Labrador Dome in the early Holocene. After Hudson Bay became seasonally ice free at ∼8.2 ka, the majority of Laurentide ice-sheet melted abruptly within a few centuries. We demonstrate through high-resolution regional climate model simulations that the thermal properties of a seasonally ice-free Hudson Bay would have increased Laurentide ice-sheet ablation and thus contributed to the subsequent rapid Labrador Dome retreat. Finally, our new 10Be chronology indicates full Laurentide ice-sheet had completely deglaciated by 6.7 ± 0.4 ka, which re quires that Antarctic ice sheets contributed 3.6-6.5 m to GMSL rise since 6.3-7.1 ka.

  6. Rapid Access Ice Drill: A New Tool for Exploration of the Deep Antarctic Ice Sheets and Subglacial Geology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodge, J. W.; Severinghaus, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    The Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) will penetrate the Antarctic ice sheets in order to core through deep ice, the glacial bed, and into bedrock below. This new technology will provide a critical first look at the interface between major ice caps and their subglacial geology. Currently in construction, RAID is a mobile drilling system capable of making several long boreholes in a single field season in Antarctica. RAID is interdisciplinary and will allow access to polar paleoclimate records in ice >1 Ma, direct observation at the base of the ice sheets, and recovery of rock cores from the ice-covered East Antarctic craton. RAID uses a diamond rock-coring system as in mineral exploration. Threaded drill-pipe with hardened metal bits will cut through ice using reverse circulation of Estisol for pressure-compensation, maintenance of temperature, and removal of ice cuttings. Near the bottom of the ice sheet, a wireline bottom-hole assembly will enable diamond coring of ice, the glacial bed, and bedrock below. Once complete, boreholes will be kept open with fluid, capped, and made available for future down-hole measurement of thermal gradient, heat flow, ice chronology, and ice deformation. RAID will also sample for extremophile microorganisms. RAID is designed to penetrate up to 3,300 meters of ice and take sample cores in less than 200 hours. This rapid performance will allow completion of a borehole in about 10 days before moving to the next drilling site. RAID is unique because it can provide fast borehole access through thick ice; take short ice cores for paleoclimate study; sample the glacial bed to determine ice-flow conditions; take cores of subglacial bedrock for age dating and crustal history; and create boreholes for use as an observatory in the ice sheets. Together, the rapid drilling capability and mobility of the drilling system, along with ice-penetrating imaging methods, will provide a unique 3D picture of the interior Antarctic ice sheets.

  7. Irregular oscillations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macayeal, Douglas R.

    1993-01-01

    Model simulations of the West Antarctic ice sheet suggest that sporadic, perhaps chaotic, collapse (complete mobilization) of the ice sheet occurred throughout the past one million years. The irregular behavior is due to the slow equilibration time of the distribution of basal till, which lubricates ice-sheet motion. This nonlinear response means that predictions of future collapse of the ice sheet in response to global warming must take into account its past history, and in particular, whether the present basal till distribution predisposes the ice sheet towards rapid change.

  8. The Importance of History for Predicting the Future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2008-12-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) initiative began in 1990, following on earlier studies of the 'Siple Coast' ice streams and the Ross Ice Shelf. The past nearly two decades of field and satellite research of the West Antarctic ice sheet have produced an astounding number of discoveries, not the least of which is the variability of the West Antarctic ice sheet on time scales from seconds (yes, seconds!) to many millennia. The shorter-time-scale variations, such as the recent acceleration and thinning of glaciers draining into the Amundsen Sea, have illustrated serious weaknesses in what were once regarded as excellent models of ice sheet dynamics. Repairing this modeling capability requires understanding and incorporating external and internal processes previously regarded as less important. Ice-sheet history remains the best means to test, tune and validate numerical models of ice sheets. Cenozoic-age behavior may seem too ancient to matter to a centennial-time-scale focus on the future, but it is precisely through a long history, that the variety of more extreme ice sheet configurations can be extracted. Such upper or lower bound estimates have served the WAIS community well over the years to help justify research needed to assess the probability of dramatic behavior. Now, with the necessity of model revisions central to the WAIS effort, time histories of ice sheet behavior over both short and long time scales will return to a position of extreme importance.

  9. Potential Climatic Effects on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R. A.

    1984-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet covers an area of 1,720,000 sq. km and contains approximately 2,600,000 cu km of ice. Most of the ice sheet receives an excess of snow accumulation over the amount of ice lost to wind, meltwater run-off or other ablative processes. The majority of mass loss occurs at the margin of the ice sheet as either surface melt, which flows into the sea or calving of icebergs from the tongues of outlet glaciers. Many estimates of these processes were published. An average of five published estimates is summarized. If these estimates are correct, then the Greenland Ice Sheet is in approximate equilibrium and contributes 490 cu km/a of fresh water to the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Climate effects, ice sheet flow, and application of remote sensing to tracking of the ice sheet are discussed.

  10. Uncertainty in Ice Crystal Orientation Distributions in Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hay, Michael; Waddington, Edwin

    2016-04-01

    Crystal-orientation fabrics in polar ice sheets have a strong influence on ice flow due to the plastic anisotropy of ice. Crystal orientations evolve primarily in response to applied strain, but are also affected by temperature, impurities, interactions with neighbors, and other factors. While the evolution of each ice crystal is physically deterministic, in limited samples, such as those from ice-core thin sections, measured samples are stochastic due to sampling error. Even in continuum representations from models, crystal orientation distribution functions (ODFs) can be treated as stochastic due to uncertainties in how they developed. Here, we present results on the statistics of crystal orientation fabrics. We show a first-order estimate of the sampling distribution of fabric eigenvalues and fabric eigenvectors from ice-core thin sections. We also analyze uncertainty in electron backscatter diffraction measurements. In addition to sampling error, the strain histories of fabrics are generally poorly constrained, and may have varied in unknown ways through time. Nearby layers in ice sheets can also experience different strain histories due to inherent variabilities such as transient flow, or differences in impurities. This means that the continuum ODF itself can be treated as stochastic, because it depends on an effectively-stochastic unknown strain-history. To explore this, we analyze the effects of strain and vorticity variability on the evolution of the continuum ice-crystal ODF. We recast Jeffery's equation for the evolution of the ODF as a stochastic differential equation, with vorticity and strain perturbed by Gaussian processes. From this, we run a Monte-Carlo ensemble to determine likely bounds of true continuum ODF variability in response to random perturbations of strain and vorticity.

  11. Statistical Variability of Ice Crystal Orientations in Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hay, M.; Waddington, E. D.

    2015-12-01

    Crystal-orientation fabrics in polar ice sheets have a strong influence on ice flow due to the plastic anisotropy of ice. Crystal orientations evolve primarily in response to applied strain, but are also affected by temperature, impurities, interactions with neighbors, and other factors. While the evolution of each ice crystal is physically deterministic, in limited samples, such as those from ice-core thin sections, measured samples are stochastic due to sampling error. Even in continuum representations from models, crystal ODFs can be treated as stochastic due to uncertainties in how they developed. Here, we present results on the statistics of crystal orientation fabrics. We show a first-order estimate of the sampling distribution of fabric eigenvalues and fabric eigenvectors from ice-core thin sections. In addition, the strain histories of fabrics are generally poorly constrained, and may have varied in unknown ways through time. Nearby layers in ice sheets can also experience different strain histories due to inherent variabilities such as transient flow, or differences in impurities. This means that the continuum ODF itself can be treated as stochastic, because it depends on an effectively-stochastic unknown strain-history. To explore this, we analyze the effects of strain and vorticity variability on the evolution of the continuum ice-crystal ODF. We recast Jeffery's equation for the evolution of the ODF as a stochastic differential equation, with vorticity and strain perturbed by Gaussian processes. From this, we run a Monte-Carlo ensemble to determine likely bounds of true continuum ODF variability in response to random perturbations of strain and vorticity.

  12. Greenland Ice Sheet glacier motion and ice loss: New understanding of ice sheet behavior through remote sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, T. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Scambos, T.; Joughin, I.

    2015-12-01

    Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet makes up roughly a third of current sea level rise, also generating substantial local and regional freshwater fluxes. Containing more than 6 meters of sea level rise equivalent in ice, Greenland has the potential to contribute much more to rising ocean levels and freshening water in the future. Understanding the dynamics of the ice sheet, particularly the behavior of fast flowing coastal outlet glaciers, is critical to improving predictions of future ice sheet change and associated impacts. Combining velocity, glacier ice front, sea ice, and ice sheet surface melt data, we made several important advances in characterizing and understanding seasonal glacier behavior and the processes driving change: 1) seasonal velocity patterns fall into at least 3 distinct patterns, 2) these seasonal velocity patterns likely indicate differences in glacier responsiveness to ocean versus subglacial hydrologic processes, and 3) in some regions seasonal versus multi-year velocity changes appear most strongly influenced by different environmental factors. Further progress was previously hampered by limits in measurement resolution across space and time. To address this challenge, we are creating a new - and continuously growing - ice velocity dataset from Landsat 8 imagery. This data stream supports comprehensive global measurements of ice flow, providing a leap in our understanding of ice sheet motion across space and time. We offer a high-level discussion of our research findings and an introduction to the new Landsat 8-enabled data stream. Our results and measurement capabilities deliver critical new knowledge about ice sheet behavior and interaction with ocean and climate factors. These advances, in turn, have important implications for other elements of Earth system research, including climate, oceanography, and biology.

  13. Flow-pattern evolution of the last British Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Anna L. C.; Clark, Chris D.; Jordan, Colm J.

    2014-04-01

    We present a 10-stage reconstruction of the evolution in ice-flow patterns of the last British Ice Sheet from build-up to demise derived from geomorphological evidence. 100 flowsets identified in the subglacial bedform record (drumlins, mega-scale glacial lineations, and ribbed moraine) are combined with ancillary evidence (erratic-transport paths, absolute dates and a semi-independently reconstructed retreat pattern) to define flow patterns, ice divides and ice-sheet margins during build-up, maximum glaciation and retreat. Overprinting and cross-cutting of landform assemblages are used to define the relative chronology of flow patterns and a tentative absolute chronology is presented based on a collation of available dates for ice advance and retreat. The ice-flow configuration of the last British Ice Sheet was not static. Some ice divides were remarkably stable, persisting through multiple stages of the ice-sheet evolution, whereas others were transient features existing for a short time and/or shifting in position 10s km. The 10 reconstructed stages of ice-sheet geometry capture two main modes of operation; first as an integrated ice sheet with a broadly N-S orientated ice divide, and second as a multi-domed ice sheet orientated parallel with the shelf edge. A thick integrated ice sheet developed as ice expanded out of source areas in Scotland to envelop southerly ice caps in northern England and Wales, and connect with the Irish Ice Sheet to the west and the Scandinavian Ice Sheet across the North Sea. Following break-up of ice over the North Sea, ice streaming probably drove mass loss and ice-sheet thinning to create a more complex divide structure, where ice-flow patterns were largely controlled by the form of the underlying topography. Ice surface lowering occurred before separation of, and retreat to, multiple ice centres centred over high ground. We consider this 10-stage reconstruction of the evolution in ice-sheet configuration to be the simplest palaeo

  14. Ice Sheet System Model as Educational Entertainment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perez, G.

    2013-12-01

    Understanding the importance of polar ice sheets and their role in the evolution of Sea Level Rise (SLR), as well as Climate Change, is of paramount importance for policy makers as well as the public and schools at large. For example, polar ice sheets and glaciers currently account for 1/3 of the SLR signal, a ratio that will increase in the near to long-term future, which has tremendous societal ramifications. Consequently, it is important to increase awareness about our changing planet. In our increasingly digital society, mobile and web applications are burgeoning venues for such outreach. The Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) is a software that was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/CalTech/NASA, in collaboration with University of California Irvine (UCI), with the goal of better understanding the evolution of polar ice sheets. It is a state-of-the-art framework, which relies on higher-end cluster-computing to address some of the aforementioned challenges. In addition, it is a flexible framework that can be deployed on any hardware; in particular, on mobile platforms such as Android or iOS smart phones. Here, we look at how the ISSM development team managed to port their model to these platforms, what the implications are for improving how scientists disseminate their results, and how a broader audience may familiarize themselves with running complex climate models in simplified scenarios which are highly educational and entertaining in content. We also look at the future plans toward a web portal fully integrated with mobile technologies to deliver the best content to the public, and to provide educational plans/lessons that can be used in grades K-12 as well as collegiate under-graduate and graduate programs.

  15. Volcano-ice age link discounted

    SciTech Connect

    Kerr, R.A.

    1996-05-10

    Speculation that huge volcanic eruptions may have caused an immediate `volcanic winter` that devastated early humans and accelerated a slide into the Ice Age. However, further information from the Greenland ice sheet about the Toba errumption on the island of Sumatra 70,000 years ago, seems to indicate that such volcanic actions wasn`t a major climatic catalyst. This article discusses the evidence and further possibilities.

  16. Greenland ice sheet mass balance: a review.

    PubMed

    Khan, Shfaqat A; Aschwanden, Andy; Bjørk, Anders A; Wahr, John; Kjeldsen, Kristian K; Kjær, Kurt H

    2015-04-01

    Over the past quarter of a century the Arctic has warmed more than any other region on Earth, causing a profound impact on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to the rise in global sea level. The loss of ice can be partitioned into processes related to surface mass balance and to ice discharge, which are forced by internal or external (atmospheric/oceanic/basal) fluctuations. Regardless of the measurement method, observations over the last two decades show an increase in ice loss rate, associated with speeding up of glaciers and enhanced melting. However, both ice discharge and melt-induced mass losses exhibit rapid short-term fluctuations that, when extrapolated into the future, could yield erroneous long-term trends. In this paper we review the GrIS mass loss over more than a century by combining satellite altimetry, airborne altimetry, interferometry, aerial photographs and gravimetry data sets together with modelling studies. We revisit the mass loss of different sectors and show that they manifest quite different sensitivities to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. In addition, we discuss recent progress in constructing coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere models required to project realistic future sea-level changes.

  17. West antarctic ice sheet collapse: Chimera or clear danger

    SciTech Connect

    Alley, R.B. ); MacAyeal, D.R. )

    1993-01-01

    The specter of a west antarctic collapse has been with us for 25 years. Recently, certain official assessments concerned primarily with the future response to projected global warming have concluded that Antarctica will not cause much sea-level rise within the planning horizon of a century or so. At the same time startling new results on ice sheet (in)stability have been emerging, pointing to less stability then previously believed. Some recent results are reviewed briefly: Heinrich layers in the North Atlantic show basally lubricated surges of the Laurentide ice sheet; the west antarctic ice sheet collapsed recently; the modern west antarctic ice sheet is changing rapidly locally; the bed of ice stream B is exceptionally well lubricated by water and water-saturated soft sediments; the modern ice sheet is thinning slowly on average; a model west antarctic ice sheet undergoes rapid collapses long after forcing and probably related to penetration of warmth to the bed. 23 refs.

  18. Extraction of Ice Sheet Layers from Two Intersected Radar Echograms Near Neem Ice Core in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiong, S.; Muller, J.-P.

    2016-06-01

    Accumulation of snow and ice over time result in ice sheet layers. These can be remotely sensed where there is a contrast in electromagnetic properties, which reflect variations of the ice density, acidity and fabric orientation. Internal ice layers are assumed to be isochronous, deep beneath the ice surface, and parallel to the direction of ice flow. The distribution of internal layers is related to ice sheet dynamics, such as the basal melt rate, basal elevation variation and changes in ice flow mode, which are important parameters to model the ice sheet. Radar echo sounder is an effective instrument used to study the sedimentology of the Earth and planets. Ice Penetrating Radar (IPR) is specific kind of radar echo sounder, which extends studies of ice sheets from surface to subsurface to deep internal ice sheets depending on the frequency utilised. In this study, we examine a study site where folded ice occurs in the internal ice sheet south of the North Greenland Eemian ice drilling (NEEM) station, where two intersected radar echograms acquired by the Multi-channel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS) employed in the NASA's Operation IceBridge (OIB) mission imaged this folded ice. We propose a slice processing flow based on a Radon Transform to trace and extract these two sets of curved ice sheet layers, which can then be viewed in 3-D, demonstrating the 3-D structure of the ice folds.

  19. Determining Greenland Ice Sheet Accumulation Rates from Radar Remote Sensing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.

    2001-01-01

    An important component of NASA's Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) is a mass balance investigation of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The mass balance is calculated by taking the difference between the snow accumulation and the ice discharge of the ice sheet. Uncertainties in this calculation include the snow accumulation rate, which has traditionally been determined by interpolating data from ice core samples taken throughout the ice sheet. The sparse data associated with ice cores, coupled with the high spatial and temporal resolution provided by remote sensing, have motivated scientists to investigate relationships between accumulation rate and microwave observations.

  20. An ice sheet model validation framework for the Greenland ice sheet

    DOE PAGES

    Price, Stephen F.; Hoffman, Matthew J.; Bonin, Jennifer A.; ...

    2017-01-17

    We propose a new ice sheet model validation framework the Cryospheric Model Comparison Tool (CMCT) that takes advantage of ice sheet altimetry and gravimetry observations collected over the past several decades and is applied here to modeling of the Greenland ice sheet. We use realistic simulations performed with the Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM) along with two idealized, non-dynamic models to demonstrate the framework and its use. Dynamic simulations with CISM are forced from 1991 to 2013 using combinations of reanalysis-based surface mass balance and observations of outlet glacier flux change. We propose and demonstrate qualitative and quanti- tative metricsmore » for use in evaluating the different model simulations against the observations. We find 10 that the altimetry observations used here are largely ambiguous in terms of their ability to distinguish one simulation from another. Based on basin- and whole-ice-sheet scale metrics, the model initial condition as well as output from idealized and dynamic models all provide an equally reasonable representation of the ice sheet surface (mean elevation differences of <1 m). This is likely due to their short period of record, biases inherent to digital elevation models used for model initial conditions, and biases resulting from firn dynamics, which are not explicitly accounted for in the models or observations. On the other hand, we find that the gravimetry observations used here are able to unambiguously distinguish between simulations of varying complexity, and along with the CMCT, can provide a quantitative score for assessing a particular model and/or simulation. The new framework demonstrates that our proposed metrics can distinguish relatively better from relatively worse simulations and that dynamic ice sheet models, when appropriately initialized and forced with the right boundary conditions, demonstrate predictive skill with respect to observed dynamic changes occurring on Greenland over the past few

  1. An ice sheet model validation framework for the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, Stephen F.; Hoffman, Matthew J.; Bonin, Jennifer A.; Howat, Ian M.; Neumann, Thomas; Saba, Jack; Tezaur, Irina; Guerber, Jeffrey; Chambers, Don P.; Evans, Katherine J.; Kennedy, Joseph H.; Lenaerts, Jan; Lipscomb, William H.; Perego, Mauro; Salinger, Andrew G.; Tuminaro, Raymond S.; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Nowicki, Sophie M. J.

    2017-01-01

    We propose a new ice sheet model validation framework - the Cryospheric Model Comparison Tool (CmCt) - that takes advantage of ice sheet altimetry and gravimetry observations collected over the past several decades and is applied here to modeling of the Greenland ice sheet. We use realistic simulations performed with the Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM) along with two idealized, non-dynamic models to demonstrate the framework and its use. Dynamic simulations with CISM are forced from 1991 to 2013, using combinations of reanalysis-based surface mass balance and observations of outlet glacier flux change. We propose and demonstrate qualitative and quantitative metrics for use in evaluating the different model simulations against the observations. We find that the altimetry observations used here are largely ambiguous in terms of their ability to distinguish one simulation from another. Based on basin-scale and whole-ice-sheet-scale metrics, we find that simulations using both idealized conceptual models and dynamic, numerical models provide an equally reasonable representation of the ice sheet surface (mean elevation differences of < 1 m). This is likely due to their short period of record, biases inherent to digital elevation models used for model initial conditions, and biases resulting from firn dynamics, which are not explicitly accounted for in the models or observations. On the other hand, we find that the gravimetry observations used here are able to unambiguously distinguish between simulations of varying complexity, and along with the CmCt, can provide a quantitative score for assessing a particular model and/or simulation. The new framework demonstrates that our proposed metrics can distinguish relatively better from relatively worse simulations and that dynamic ice sheet models, when appropriately initialized and forced with the right boundary conditions, demonstrate a predictive skill with respect to observed dynamic changes that have occurred on

  2. How and when to terminate the Pleistocene ice ages?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; Kawamura, K.; Takahashi, K.; Raymo, M. E.; Okuno, J.; Blatter, H.

    2015-12-01

    Climate change with wax and wane of large Northern Hemisphere ice sheet occurred in the past 800 thousand years characterized by 100 thousand year cycle with a large amplitude of sawtooth pattern, following a transition from a period of 40 thousand years cycle with small amplitude of ice sheet change at about 1 million years ago. Although the importance of insolation as the ultimate driver is now appreciated, the mechanism what determines timing and strength of terminations are far from clearly understood. Here we show, using comprehensive climate and ice-sheet models, that insolation and internal feedbacks between the climate, the ice sheets and the lithosphere-asthenosphere system explain the 100,000-year periodicity. The responses of equilibrium states of ice sheets to summer insolation show hysteresis, with the shape and position of the hysteresis loop playing a key part in determining the periodicities of glacial cycles. The hysteresis loop of the North American ice sheet is such that after inception of the ice sheet, its mass balance remains mostly positive through several precession cycles, whose amplitudes decrease towards an eccentricity minimum. The larger the ice sheet grows and extends towards lower latitudes, the smaller is the insolation required to make the mass balance negative. Therefore, once a large ice sheet is established, a moderate increase in insolation is sufficient to trigger a negative mass balance, leading to an almost complete retreat of the ice sheet within several thousand years. We discuss further the mechanism which determine the timing of ice age terminations by examining the role of astronomical forcing and change of atmospheric carbon dioxide contents through sensitivity experiments and comparison of several ice age cycles with different settings of astronomical forcings.

  3. Ice_Sheets_CCI: Essential Climate Variables for the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forsberg, R.; Sørensen, L. S.; Khan, A.; Aas, C.; Evansberget, D.; Adalsteinsdottir, G.; Mottram, R.; Andersen, S. B.; Ahlstrøm, A.; Dall, J.; Kusk, A.; Merryman, J.; Hvidberg, C.; Khvorostovsky, K.; Nagler, T.; Rott, H.; Scharrer, M.; Shepard, A.; Ticconi, F.; Engdahl, M.

    2012-04-01

    As part of the ESA Climate Change Initiative (www.esa-cci.org) a long-term project "ice_sheets_cci" started January 1, 2012, in addition to the existing 11 projects already generating Essential Climate Variables (ECV) for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). The "ice_sheets_cci" goal is to generate a consistent, long-term and timely set of key climate parameters for the Greenland ice sheet, to maximize the impact of European satellite data on climate research, from missions such as ERS, Envisat and the future Sentinel satellites. The climate parameters to be provided, at first in a research context, and in the longer perspective by a routine production system, would be grids of Greenland ice sheet elevation changes from radar altimetry, ice velocity from repeat-pass SAR data, as well as time series of marine-terminating glacier calving front locations and grounding lines for floating-front glaciers. The ice_sheets_cci project will involve a broad interaction of the relevant cryosphere and climate communities, first through user consultations and specifications, and later in 2012 optional participation in "best" algorithm selection activities, where prototype climate parameter variables for selected regions and time frames will be produced and validated using an objective set of criteria ("Round-Robin intercomparison"). This comparative algorithm selection activity will be completely open, and we invite all interested scientific groups with relevant experience to participate. The results of the "Round Robin" exercise will form the algorithmic basis for the future ECV production system. First prototype results will be generated and validated by early 2014. The poster will show the planned outline of the project and some early prototype results.

  4. Where is the evidence of past collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutowski, G.

    2015-12-01

    Sea level rise estimates from the Last Interglacial period suggest collapse of part of the Antarctic ice sheet. However, there is no direct evidence of this from the ice sheet itself. Englacial layers in ice sheets, sampled directly by ice core drilling and indirectly by ice-penetrating radar, reveal a significant amount about glacial change over time and may contain a signature of the last ice sheet collapse. We hypothesize there is evidence of ice sheet instability where the observed englacial record deviates from that expected for a steady state WAIS simulated using ice sheet models. However, discrepancies between modeled steady state and observed englacial layer geometry are confounded by uncertainties in model boundary conditions, observed layer ages, and model parameters. To know where the signal of collapse may be best preserved, we must account for the affect of these uncertainties on layer geometry. We present several tests quantifying the sensitivity of simulated layer geometry to changes in model boundary conditions. We look to areas where englacial geometry has low sensitivity to uncertain boundary conditions to provide the largest signal of ice sheet instability. Where simulated layer geometry is responding strongly to uncertain boundary conditions, we are unlikely to be able to discern a signal of past deglaciation. In the latter case, uncertainty in layer geometry may overwhelm the signal of past ice sheet collapse. We perform the simulations using the Variational Glacier Simulator (VarGlaS), an ice sheet model with the capacity to model the age of englacial isochrones (Figure 1). We use the latest boundary conditions for geothermal flux, basal topography, and surface mass balance to simulate the steady state behavior of englacial layers in the Thwaites Glacier catchment and the Marie Byrd Land dome. Ensembles of model runs sample the uncertainty in each of the boundary conditions, creating a distribution of simulated englacial layers which accounts

  5. Reconstructing the last Newfoundland Ice Sheet,Canada.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McHenry, Maureen; Dunlop, Paul

    2015-04-01

    The Newfoundland Ice Sheet which formed part of the North American Ice Sheet Complex was situated on the margins of the northwest Atlantic Ocean during the Wisconsinan glaciation (~80ka BP to 10ka BP). This complex consisted of the Laurentide, the Cordilleran and Innuitian Ice Sheets, the Canadian Maritime Provinces Ice Cover and the Newfoundland Ice Sheet (NIS). Although all were confluent at the last glacial maximum, the NIS is known to have supported independent ice centres with advances from the Laurentide Ice Sheet being restricted to Newfoundland's northern and western margins. Given its distinctive position, it is likely the evolution of the NIS through the last glacial cycle was influenced by a number of external and internal drivers including configuration changes in the Laurentide Ice Sheet, ice stream initiation and shutdown, changes in oceanic circulation and fluctuating sea levels and climate signals from the wider Amphi-North Atlantic. As such Newfoundland is a key location for investigating ice sheet response to a number of internal and external forcing mechanisms during glacial cycles. An established technique for reconstructing former ice sheet behaviour is the mapping and spatial analysis of glacial landforms. This provides a valuable record of former ice sheet extent and behaviour through time as well as ice sheet retreat during deglaciation. Here we present new mapping based on our interpretation of SPOT satellite imagery and Digital Elevation Models of the entire Island of Newfoundland as well as swath bathymetric imagery from several locations offshore. Our new database consisting of ~150,000 individually mapped subglacial bedforms that includes drumlins, crag and tails, glacially moulded bedrock lineations and ribbed moraines significantly increases the known landform record in this region. The new database shows Newfoundland has a complex palimpsest landscape that records multiple ice sheet events across the island. Here we report our

  6. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing.

    PubMed

    Tedstone, Andrew J; Nienow, Peter W; Sole, Andrew J; Mair, Douglas W F; Cowton, Thomas R; Bartholomew, Ian D; King, Matt A

    2013-12-03

    Changes to the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet can be forced by various mechanisms including surface-melt-induced ice acceleration and oceanic forcing of marine-terminating glaciers. We use observations of ice motion to examine the surface melt-induced dynamic response of a land-terminating outlet glacier in southwest Greenland to the exceptional melting observed in 2012. During summer, meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet surface accesses the ice sheet bed, lubricating basal motion and resulting in periods of faster ice flow. However, the net impact of varying meltwater volumes upon seasonal and annual ice flow, and thus sea level rise, remains unclear. We show that two extreme melt events (98.6% of the Greenland ice sheet surface experienced melting on July 12, the most significant melt event since 1889, and 79.2% on July 29) and summer ice sheet runoff ~3.9 σ above the 1958-2011 mean resulted in enhanced summer ice motion relative to the average melt year of 2009. However, despite record summer melting, subsequent reduced winter ice motion resulted in 6% less net annual ice motion in 2012 than in 2009. Our findings suggest that surface melt-induced acceleration of land-terminating regions of the ice sheet will remain insignificant even under extreme melting scenarios.

  7. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing

    PubMed Central

    Tedstone, Andrew J.; Nienow, Peter W.; Sole, Andrew J.; Mair, Douglas W. F.; Cowton, Thomas R.; Bartholomew, Ian D.; King, Matt A.

    2013-01-01

    Changes to the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet can be forced by various mechanisms including surface-melt–induced ice acceleration and oceanic forcing of marine-terminating glaciers. We use observations of ice motion to examine the surface melt–induced dynamic response of a land-terminating outlet glacier in southwest Greenland to the exceptional melting observed in 2012. During summer, meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet surface accesses the ice sheet bed, lubricating basal motion and resulting in periods of faster ice flow. However, the net impact of varying meltwater volumes upon seasonal and annual ice flow, and thus sea level rise, remains unclear. We show that two extreme melt events (98.6% of the Greenland ice sheet surface experienced melting on July 12, the most significant melt event since 1889, and 79.2% on July 29) and summer ice sheet runoff ∼3.9σ above the 1958–2011 mean resulted in enhanced summer ice motion relative to the average melt year of 2009. However, despite record summer melting, subsequent reduced winter ice motion resulted in 6% less net annual ice motion in 2012 than in 2009. Our findings suggest that surface melt–induced acceleration of land-terminating regions of the ice sheet will remain insignificant even under extreme melting scenarios. PMID:24248343

  8. The Svalbard-Barents Sea ice-sheet - Historical, current and future perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingólfsson, Ólafur; Landvik, Jon Y.

    2013-03-01

    The history of research on the Late Quaternary Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet mirrors the developments of ideas and the shifts of paradigms in glacial theory over the past 150 years. Since the onset of scientific research there in the early 19th Century, Svalbard has been a natural laboratory where ideas and concepts have been tested, and played an important (but rarely acknowledged) role in the break-through of the Ice Age theory in the 1870's. The history of how the scientific perception of the Svalbard-Barents sea ice sheet developed in the mid-20th Century also tells a story of how a combination of fairly scattered and often contradictory observational data, and through both deductive and inductive reasoning, could outline a major ice sheet that had left but few tangible fingerprints. Since the 1980's, with increased terrestrial stratigraphical data, ever more marine geological evidence and better chronological control of glacial events, our perception of the Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet has changed. The first reconstructions depicted it as a static, concentric, single-domed ice sheet, with ice flowing from an ice divide over the central northern Barents Sea that expanded and declined in response to large-scale, Late Quaternary climate fluctuations, and which was more or less in tune with other major Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. We now increasingly perceive it as a very dynamic, multidomed ice sheet, controlled by climate fluctuations, relative sea-level change, as well as subglacial topography, substrate properties and basal temperature. In this respect, the Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet will increasingly hold the key for understanding the dynamics and processes of how marine-based ice sheets build-up and decay.

  9. Growth of Greenland ice sheet - Measurement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Bindschadler, Robert A.; Marsh, James G.; Brenner, Anita C.; Major, Judy A.

    1989-01-01

    Measurements of ice-sheet elevation change by satellite altimetry show that the Greenland surface elevation south of 72 deg north latitude is increasing. The vertical velocity of the surface is 0.20 + or - 0.06 meters/year from measured changes in surface elevations at 5906 intersections between Geosat paths in 1985 and Seasat in 1978, and 0.28 + or - 0.02 meters/year from 256,694 intersections of Geosat paths during a 548-day period of 1985 to 1986.

  10. Ice core evidence for extensive melting of the greenland ice sheet in the last interglacial.

    PubMed

    Koerner, R M

    1989-05-26

    Evidence from ice at the bottom of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic Islands and Camp Century and Dye-3 in Greenland suggests that the Greenland ice sheet melted extensively or completely during the last interglacial period more than 100 ka (thousand years ago), in contrast to earlier interpretations. The presence of dirt particles in the basal ice has previously been thought to indicate that the base of the ice sheets had melted and that the evidence for the time of original growth of these ice masses had been destroyed. However, the particles most likely blew onto the ice when the dimensions of the ice caps and ice sheets were much smaller. Ice texture, gas content, and other evidence also suggest that the basal ice at each drill site is superimposed ice, a type of ice typical of the early growth stages of an ice cap or ice sheet. If the present-day ice masses began their growth during the last interglacial, the ice sheet from the earlier (Illinoian) glacial period must have competely or largely melted during the early part of the same interglacial period. If such melting did occur, the 6-meter higher-than-present sea level during the Sangamon cannot be attributed to disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, as has been suggested.

  11. Question of Ages of Cenozoic Volcanic Centers Inferred Beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in the West Antarctic Rift System (WR) from Coincident Aeromagnetic and Radar Ice Sounding Surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behrendt, J. C.; Finn, C. A.; Blankenship, D. D.

    2007-12-01

    The recently acquired radar ice sounding surveys (Holt, et al., 2006) extending the 1990s Central West Antarctica (CWA) aerogeophysical survey to the Amundsen and Bellingshausen sea coasts allows us to revise a thought experiment reported by Behrendt et al., 1991 from very limited bed elevation data. Were the ice of the WAIS flowing through the WR to be compressed to the density of crustal rock, almost all of the area beneath the WAIS would be at or above sea level, much >1 km elevation. There are only about 10-20% of the very deep areas (such as the Bentley subglacial trench and the Byrd Subglacial Basin) filled with 3-4-km thick ice that would be well below sea level. The age of the 5-7-km high rift shoulder bounding the asymmetric WR from northern Victoria Land through the Horlick Mountains (where it diverges from the Transantarctic Mountains) to the Ellsworth Mountains has been reported as old as Cretaceous. Volcanic exposures associated with the West Antarctic rift system in the present WAIS area extend at least to 34 Ma and the West Antarctic ice sheet has flowed through the rift possibly as far back in time as 25 Ma. Active volcanism has been reported for the WR at only a few widely scattered locations, so speculations about present volcanic activity beneath the WAIS are quite uncertain, and it is probably quite rare. The Central West Antarctic aeromagnetic and radar ice sounding survey carried out in the 1990s revealed about 1000 "volcanic centers" characterized by 100-1000 nT shallow source magnetic anomalies, at least 400 of which have associated bed topography. About 80% of these show relief <200 m and have been interpreted as smoothed off as they were erupted (injected) into the moving WAIS. Several kilometer-thick highly magnetic sources are required to fit these anomalies requiring high remanent magnetizations in the present field direction. We interpreted these sources as subvolcanic intrusions which must be younger than about 100 Ma because the

  12. Ice sheets play important role in climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Peter U.; MacAyeal, Douglas R.; Andrews, John T.; Bartlein, Patrick J.

    Ice sheets once were viewed as passive elements in the climate system enslaved to orbitally generated variations in solar radiation. Today, modeling results and new geologic records suggest that ice sheets actively participated in late-Pleistocene climate change, amplifying or driving significant variability at millennial as well as orbital timescales. Although large changes in global ice volume were ultimately caused by orbital variations (the Milankovitch hypothesis), once in existence, the former ice sheets behaved dynamically and strongly influenced regional and perhaps even global climate by altering atmospheric and oceanic circulation and temperature.Experiments with General Circulation Models (GCMs) yielded the first inklings of ice sheets' climatic significance. Manabe and Broccoli [1985], for example, found that the topographic and albedo effects of ice sheets alone explain much of the Northern Hemisphere cooling identified in paleoclimatic records of the last glacial maximum (˜21 ka).

  13. ISMIP6: Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nowicki, S.

    2015-01-01

    ISMIP6 (Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6) targets the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and the Future Sea Level Grand Challenges of the WCRP (World Climate Research Program). Primary goal is to provide future sea level contribution from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, along with associated uncertainty. Secondary goal is to investigate feedback due to dynamic ice sheet models. Experiment design uses and augment the existing CMIP6 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6) DECK (Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Characterization of Klima) experiments. Additonal MIP (Model Intercomparison Project)- specific experiments will be designed for ISM (Ice Sheet Model). Effort builds on the Ice2sea, SeaRISE (Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution) and COMBINE (Comprehensive Modelling of the Earth System for Better Climate Prediction and Projection) efforts.

  14. Role of Stationary wave feedback in shaping the glacial ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe-Ouchi, A.; Takahashi, K.; Saito, F.; Blatter, H.

    2015-12-01

    The large northern hemisphere ice sheets significantly affected the atmospheric circulation and in return, their evolution and geographical pattern is influenced by the changed atmospheric circulation. In this work, we suggest that the atmospheric stationary planetary wave feedback leads to the contrasting asymmetrical evolution of ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere during the glacial cycles. Model results suggest that the stationary wave induced by the glacial ice sheet topography suppresses the cooling of the land in the central Asia and prevents the ice sheet growth of the east-southern part of the Fennoscandian ice sheet and enables its faster retreat at the ice age termination. Because of the smaller eccentricity during the last 120 ka compared to the penultimate glacial during 230 to 130 ka, the Laurentide ice sheet grew to a larger size at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) than the Penultimate Glacial Maximum (PGM). This, in turn, resulted in the Fennoscandian ice sheet to be smaller in LGM than PGM through the stationary wave feedback mechanism.

  15. Mars Ice Age, Simulated

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    December 17, 2003

    This simulated view shows Mars as it might have appeared during the height of a possible ice age in geologically recent time.

    Of all Solar System planets, Mars has the climate most like that of Earth. Both are sensitive to small changes in orbit and tilt. During a period about 2.1 million to 400,000 years ago, increased tilt of Mars' rotational axis caused increased solar heating at the poles. A new study using observations from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey orbiters concludes that this polar warming caused mobilization of water vapor and dust into the atmosphere, and buildup of a surface deposit of ice and dust down to about 30 degrees latitude in both hemispheres. That is the equivalent of the southern Unites States or Saudi Arabia on Earth. Mars has been in an interglacial period characterized by less axial tilt for about the last 300,000 years. The ice-rich surface deposit has been degrading in the latitude zone of 30 degrees to 60 degrees as water-ice returns to the poles.

    In this illustration prepared for the December 18, 2003, cover of the journal Nature, the simulated surface deposit is superposed on a topography map based on altitude measurements by Global Surveyor and images from NASA's Viking orbiters of the 1970s.

    Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the NASA Office of Space Science, Washington.

  16. The last deglaciation of the southeastern sector of the Scandinavian ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Rinterknecht, V R; Clark, P U; Raisbeck, G M; Yiou, F; Bitinas, A; Brook, E J; Marks, L; Zelcs, V; Lunkka, J-P; Pavlovskaya, I E; Piotrowski, J A; Raukas, A

    2006-03-10

    The Scandinavian Ice Sheet (SIS) was an important component of the global ice sheet system during the last glaciation, but the timing of its growth to or retreat from its maximum extent remains poorly known. We used 115 cosmogenic beryllium-10 ages and 70 radiocarbon ages to constrain the timing of three substantial ice-margin fluctuations of the SIS between 25,000 and 12,000 years before the present. The age of initial deglaciation indicates that the SIS may have contributed to an abrupt rise in global sea level. Subsequent ice-margin fluctuations identify opposite mass-balance responses to North Atlantic climate change, indicating differing ice-sheet sensitivities to mean climate state.

  17. Ice-sheet mass balance and climate change.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Edward; Navarro, Francisco J; Pattyn, Frank; Domingues, Catia M; Fettweis, Xavier; Ivins, Erik R; Nicholls, Robert J; Ritz, Catherine; Smith, Ben; Tulaczyk, Slawek; Whitehouse, Pippa L; Zwally, H Jay

    2013-06-06

    Since the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, new observations of ice-sheet mass balance and improved computer simulations of ice-sheet response to continuing climate change have been published. Whereas Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing pace, current Antarctic ice loss is likely to be less than some recently published estimates. It remains unclear whether East Antarctica has been gaining or losing ice mass over the past 20 years, and uncertainties in ice-mass change for West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula remain large. We discuss the past six years of progress and examine the key problems that remain.

  18. Modeling the fracture of ice sheets on parallel computers.

    SciTech Connect

    Waisman, Haim; Bell, Robin; Keyes, David; Boman, Erik Gunnar; Tuminaro, Raymond Stephen

    2010-03-01

    The objective of this project is to investigate the complex fracture of ice and understand its role within larger ice sheet simulations and global climate change. At the present time, ice fracture is not explicitly considered within ice sheet models due in part to large computational costs associated with the accurate modeling of this complex phenomena. However, fracture not only plays an extremely important role in regional behavior but also influences ice dynamics over much larger zones in ways that are currently not well understood. Dramatic illustrations of fracture-induced phenomena most notably include the recent collapse of ice shelves in Antarctica (e.g. partial collapse of the Wilkins shelf in March of 2008 and the diminishing extent of the Larsen B shelf from 1998 to 2002). Other fracture examples include ice calving (fracture of icebergs) which is presently approximated in simplistic ways within ice sheet models, and the draining of supraglacial lakes through a complex network of cracks, a so called ice sheet plumbing system, that is believed to cause accelerated ice sheet flows due essentially to lubrication of the contact surface with the ground. These dramatic changes are emblematic of the ongoing change in the Earth's polar regions and highlight the important role of fracturing ice. To model ice fracture, a simulation capability will be designed centered around extended finite elements and solved by specialized multigrid methods on parallel computers. In addition, appropriate dynamic load balancing techniques will be employed to ensure an approximate equal amount of work for each processor.

  19. Luminescence Chronology for the Formation of Glacial Lake Calgary, Southern Alberta, Canada: Age Constraints for the Initiation of the Late Pleistocene Retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet from its Western Margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munyikwa, K.; Rittenour, T. M.

    2014-12-01

    Glacial Lake Calgary in southern Alberta, Canada, was a Late Pleistocene proglacial lake that formed along the southwest margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS), dammed by the retreating ice sheet margin. Attempts to constrain the age of the lake using radiocarbon methods have been hampered by the lack of datable organic material. In an effort to apply an alternative chronometer, this study uses two optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating approaches to date fine grained sand and silt that were deposited in the lake during its existence. OSL dating determines the depositional ages of sediments by measuring the energy from ionizing radiation that is stored in mineral grains such as quartz and feldspar. Dividing the stored energy, also referred to as the paleodose, by the rate at which the dose accumulated, allows an age to be ascertained. In one method applied in this study, the paleodose stored in the feldspar component of the sediment is determined using normalized infrared stimulated luminescence signals acquired using a portable OSL reader. In the second method, blue optically stimulated luminescence signals obtained from quartz separates from the sediment by employing a regular OSL reader and standard protocols are used to determine the paleodose. After correcting the feldspar data for anomalous fading, the age results from the two dating approaches are compared. The ages signify a time period by which the LIS had retreated from the study area and, hence, serve as constraints for the initiation of the retreat of the ice sheet from its western limit. Advantages and limitations of the dating methods are briefly discussed. Constraining the chronology of the retreat of the LIS from western Canada allows for a better understanding of the driving forces behind ice sheet retreat. Secondly, assigning a temporal scale to the postglacial evolution of the environment of the region permits a better insight into the dynamics of the physical and biological

  20. History of the Greenland Ice Sheet: paleoclimatic insights

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alley, Richard B.; Andrews, John T.; Brigham-Grette, J.; Clarke, G.K.C.; Cuffey, Kurt M.; Fitzpatrick, J.J.; Funder, S.; Marshall, S.J.; Miller, G.H.; Mitrovica, J.X.; Muhs, D.R.; Otto-Bliesner, B. L.; Polyak, L.; White, J.W.C.

    2010-01-01

    Paleoclimatic records show that the GreenlandIce Sheet consistently has lost mass in response to warming, and grown in response to cooling. Such changes have occurred even at times of slow or zero sea-level change, so changing sea level cannot have been the cause of at least some of the ice-sheet changes. In contrast, there are no documented major ice-sheet changes that occurred independent of temperature changes. Moreover, snowfall has increased when the climate warmed, but the ice sheet lost mass nonetheless; increased accumulation in the ice sheet's center has not been sufficient to counteract increased melting and flow near the edges. Most documented forcings and ice-sheet responses spanned periods of several thousand years, but limited data also show rapid response to rapid forcings. In particular, regions near the ice margin have responded within decades. However, major changes of central regions of the ice sheet are thought to require centuries to millennia. The paleoclimatic record does not yet strongly constrain how rapidly a major shrinkage or nearly complete loss of the ice sheet could occur. The evidence suggests nearly total ice-sheet loss may result from warming of more than a few degrees above mean 20th century values, but this threshold is poorly defined (perhaps as little as 2 °C or more than 7 °C). Paleoclimatic records are sufficiently sketchy that the ice sheet may have grown temporarily in response to warming, or changes may have been induced by factors other than temperature, without having been recorded.

  1. West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative. Volume 2: Discipline Reviews

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, Robert A. (Editor)

    1991-01-01

    Seven discipline review papers are presented on the state of the knowledge of West Antarctica and opinions on how that knowledge must be increased to predict the future behavior of this ice sheet and to assess its potential to collapse, rapidly raising the global sea level. These are the goals of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative (WAIS).

  2. Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ullman, David J.; Carlson, Anders E.; Hostetler, Steven W.; Clark, Peter U.; Cuzzone, Joshua; Milne, Glenn A.; Winsor, Kelsey; Caffee, Marc A.

    2016-01-01

    Despite elevated summer insolation forcing during the early Holocene, global ice sheets retained nearly half of their volume from the Last Glacial Maximum, as indicated by deglacial records of global mean sea level (GMSL). Partitioning the GMSL rise among potential sources requires accurate dating of ice-sheet extent to estimate ice-sheet volume. Here, we date the final retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet with 10Be surface exposure ages for the Labrador Dome, the largest of the remnant Laurentide ice domes during the Holocene. We show that the Labrador Dome deposited moraines during North Atlantic cold events at ∼10.3 ka, 9.3 ka and 8.2 ka, suggesting that these regional climate events helped stabilize the retreating Labrador Dome in the early Holocene. After Hudson Bay became seasonally ice free at ∼8.2 ka, the majority of Laurentide ice-sheet melted abruptly within a few centuries. We demonstrate through high-resolution regional climate model simulations that the thermal properties of a seasonally ice-free Hudson Bay would have increased Laurentide ice-sheet ablation and thus contributed to the subsequent rapid Labrador Dome retreat. Finally, our new 10Be chronology indicates full Laurentide ice-sheet had completely deglaciated by 6.7 ± 0.4 ka, which re quires that Antarctic ice sheets contributed 3.6–6.5 m to GMSL rise since 6.3–7.1 ka.

  3. Stationary Waves of the Ice Age Climate.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, Kerry H.; Held, Isaac M.

    1988-08-01

    A linearized, steady state, primitive equation model is used to simulate the climatological zonal asymmetries (stationary eddies) in the wind and temperature fields of the 18 000 YBP climate during winter. We compare these results with the eddies simulated in the ice age experiments of Broccoli and Manabe, who used CLIMAP boundary conditions and reduced atmospheric CO2 in an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) coupled with a static mixed layer ocean model. The agreement between the models is good, indicating that the linear model can be used to evaluate the relative influences of orography, diabatic heating, and transient eddy heat and momentum transports in generating stationary waves. We find that orographic forcing dominates in the ice age climate. The mechanical influence of the continental ice sheets on the atmosphere is responsible for most of the changes between the present day and ice age stationary eddies. This concept of the ice age climate is complicated by the sensitivity of the stationary eddies to the large increase in the magnitude of the zonal mean meridional temperature gradient simulated in the ice age GCM.

  4. Rapid Holocene thinning of an East Antarctic outlet glacier driven by marine ice sheet instability

    PubMed Central

    Jones, R. S.; Mackintosh, A. N.; Norton, K. P.; Golledge, N. R.; Fogwill, C. J.; Kubik, P. W.; Christl, M.; Greenwood, S. L.

    2015-01-01

    Outlet glaciers grounded on a bed that deepens inland and extends below sea level are potentially vulnerable to ‘marine ice sheet instability'. This instability, which may lead to runaway ice loss, has been simulated in models, but its consequences have not been directly observed in geological records. Here we provide new surface-exposure ages from an outlet of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that reveal rapid glacier thinning occurred approximately 7,000 years ago, in the absence of large environmental changes. Glacier thinning persisted for more than two and a half centuries, resulting in hundreds of metres of ice loss. Numerical simulations indicate that ice surface drawdown accelerated when the otherwise steadily retreating glacier encountered a bedrock trough. Together, the geological reconstruction and numerical simulations suggest that centennial-scale glacier thinning arose from unstable grounding line retreat. Capturing these instability processes in ice sheet models is important for predicting Antarctica's future contribution to sea level change. PMID:26608558

  5. Rapid Holocene thinning of an East Antarctic outlet glacier driven by marine ice sheet instability.

    PubMed

    Jones, R S; Mackintosh, A N; Norton, K P; Golledge, N R; Fogwill, C J; Kubik, P W; Christl, M; Greenwood, S L

    2015-11-26

    Outlet glaciers grounded on a bed that deepens inland and extends below sea level are potentially vulnerable to 'marine ice sheet instability'. This instability, which may lead to runaway ice loss, has been simulated in models, but its consequences have not been directly observed in geological records. Here we provide new surface-exposure ages from an outlet of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that reveal rapid glacier thinning occurred approximately 7,000 years ago, in the absence of large environmental changes. Glacier thinning persisted for more than two and a half centuries, resulting in hundreds of metres of ice loss. Numerical simulations indicate that ice surface drawdown accelerated when the otherwise steadily retreating glacier encountered a bedrock trough. Together, the geological reconstruction and numerical simulations suggest that centennial-scale glacier thinning arose from unstable grounding line retreat. Capturing these instability processes in ice sheet models is important for predicting Antarctica's future contribution to sea level change.

  6. Understanding Recent Mass Balance Changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    vanderVeen, Cornelius

    2003-01-01

    The ultimate goal of this project is to better understand the current transfer of mass between the Greenland Ice Sheet, the world's oceans and the atmosphere, and to identify processes controlling the rate of this transfer, to be able to predict with greater confidence future contributions to global sea level rise. During the first year of this project, we focused on establishing longer-term records of change of selected outlet glaciers, reevaluation of mass input to the ice sheet and analysis of climate records derived from ice cores, and modeling meltwater production and runoff from the margins of the ice sheet.

  7. Monitoring southwest Greenland's ice sheet melt with ambient seismic noise.

    PubMed

    Mordret, Aurélien; Mikesell, T Dylan; Harig, Christopher; Lipovsky, Bradley P; Prieto, Germán A

    2016-05-01

    The Greenland ice sheet presently accounts for ~70% of global ice sheet mass loss. Because this mass loss is associated with sea-level rise at a rate of 0.7 mm/year, the development of improved monitoring techniques to observe ongoing changes in ice sheet mass balance is of paramount concern. Spaceborne mass balance techniques are commonly used; however, they are inadequate for many purposes because of their low spatial and/or temporal resolution. We demonstrate that small variations in seismic wave speed in Earth's crust, as measured with the correlation of seismic noise, may be used to infer seasonal ice sheet mass balance. Seasonal loading and unloading of glacial mass induces strain in the crust, and these strains then result in seismic velocity changes due to poroelastic processes. Our method provides a new and independent way of monitoring (in near real time) ice sheet mass balance, yielding new constraints on ice sheet evolution and its contribution to global sea-level changes. An increased number of seismic stations in the vicinity of ice sheets will enhance our ability to create detailed space-time records of ice mass variations.

  8. Marine Ice Sheet Instability in the Former British-Irish Ice Sheet Linked to Rising Boreal Summer Insolation From 23 ka.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Small, D.

    2015-12-01

    Recent work has shown that marine sectors of the remaining ice sheets could exhibit rapid deglaciation linked to potential changes in oceanic forcing factors. Our ability to identify potential causes of marine ice sheet instability is limited by the scarcity of suitable analogues from the palaeo-record where evidence of rapid deglaciation can be linked to changes in the various potential forcing factors. Of the former Pleistocene ice sheets, the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) provides a useful analogue with large amounts of previous work providing detailed contextual information. Its western margin was marine terminating and drained by numerous fast flowing ice streams while its position next to a major surficial artery of the Atlantic Meridionial Overturning Circulation (AMOC) rendered it potentially sensitive to small climatic perturbations. Here we present new cosmogenic exposure ages that constrain the collapse of a marine sector of the former British and Irish Ice Sheet to ca. 20 ka. By comparing our new terrestrial dating constraints to proximal marine sediment records, including a new δ18ONps record, we are able to untangle the possible forcing mechanisms of this instability. The collapse occurs during an interval of generally cold surface conditions without significant large-scale oceanic reorganization. Increased calving driven by an increase in surface melt provides an alternative potential mechanism to link marine ice sheet instability to an increase in summer air temperature driven by rising boreal insolation after 23 ka suggesting potential hypersensitivity to small forcings with implications for understanding the vulnerability of marine sectors of remaining ice sheets.

  9. The Eurasian Ice Sheet and the deglaciation of western Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svendsen, John Inge; Mangerud, Jan; Briner, Jason; Hughes, Anna L. C.; Lohne, Øystein S.; Goehring, Brent M.; Gyllencreutz, Richard

    2013-04-01

    New time-slice reconstructions of the Eurasian Ice Sheet limits reveal that the timing of both the maximum ice sheet extent and the subsequent retreat were spatially variable. This variability most likely reflects regional contrasts in geographic setting, internal ice sheet dynamics and the forcing mechanisms. Here we report fresh results from an ongoing field campaign in southern Norway. The inferred ice sheet history is based on a number of radiocarbon dates from various geological contexts as well cosmogenic nuclide (CN) dating of glacially transported boulders. We discuss the ice-recession along the western flank of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and until the final deglaciation of the fjords. One important conclusion is that the ice stream that occupied the Norwegian Trough, and that was active during the LGM, broke up extremely rapid at around 20 ka leaving the islands Utsira and Karmøy permanently ice free. The adjacent areas of the Norwegian mainland remained ice covered for another 4 thousand years until about 16 ka when the ice margin along the coast gradually started to retreat eastwards. However, this second stage of ice sheet retreat was interrupted by several re-advances. The largest advance probably peaked at the very end of the Younger Dryas stadial (11.6 ka) forming a system of prominent end moraines along the coast. The outlet glaciers that filled the main fjord troughs during this event started to break up very rapidly by means of calving at the onset of the Holocene warming, evidently a climatic response. The main fjords became totally ice free not later than 500 years into the Holocene, and a thousand years later the remaining part of the ice sheet was gone. It is calculated that the melting during the early Holocene (11.6-10.0 ka) was more than ten times faster than at Greenland today.

  10. Self-inhibiting growth of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langen, P. L.; Solgaard, A. M.; Hvidberg, C. S.

    2012-04-01

    The build-up of the Greenland Ice Sheet from ice free conditions is studied in an ice sheet model (ISM) driven by fields from an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM). Experiments where the two are coupled offline are performed and augmented by one where an intermediate ice sheet configuration, taken as a snap shot during the regrowth in the ISM, is coupled back to the GCM. It is found that several open questions regarding reversibility or irreversibility of a disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet may be reconciled with these experiments. Running the ISM with GCM fields corresponding to a present day ice sheet configuration leads to regrowth, while considerations of the GCM's snow accumulation in an ice free run point to irreversibility. Forcing the ISM with the GCM fields corresponding to the ice free state leads to extensive regrowth which, however, is halted when an intermediate recoupling step is included. This inhibition of further growth is believed to be due to a Föhn effect of moist air parcels being lifted over the intermediate ice sheet and arriving in the Greenland interior with high temperatures.

  11. Antarctic marine ice sheet retreat in the Ross Sea during the early Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mckay, R. M.; Golledge, N.; Naish, T.; Maas, S.; Levy, R. H.; Kuhn, G.; Lee, J. I.; Dunbar, G. B.

    2015-12-01

    Geological constraints on the timing of the retreat of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) Antarctic Ice Sheets provide critical insights into the processes controlling marine-based ice sheet stability. The over-deepened, seaward shallowing bathymetry of Antarctica's continental shelves is ideally configured to promote past, and potentially future, marine ice-sheet instability. The retreat history of the LGM ice sheet in the Ross Sea region is primarily constrained by C-14 ages on coastal beach ridges and relict penguin colonies along the Transantarctic Mountain front in the Western Ross Sea. Although these terrestrial sites offer more reliable dates than imprecise C-14 chronologies derived from bulk marine sediments, they may reflect retreat of local piedmont glaciers derived from East Antarctic outlet glaciers rather than representing the timing of retreat of the ice sheet in the central Ross Embayment. We present a sedimentary facies succession and foraminifera-based C-14 chronology from a core collected beneath the Ross Ice Shelf via a hot water drill access hole used for the ANDRILL Coulman High site survey. The site is to the east of Ross Island and distal from the coast, and yields a minimum age for glacial retreat that is approximately 1000 yrs earlier than suggested by coastal records along the nearby Victoria Land coast. We examine the implications of this constraint on the timing of ice sheet retreat in the context of model simulations and new multi-beam bathymetry data acquired in the Western Ross Sea. On the basis of these data we hypothesize that marine-based ice sheet retreat was triggered by oceanic forcings along most of the Pacific Ocean coastline of Antarctica simultaneously, but continued retreat in the Ross Sea occurred primarily as a consequence of marine ice sheet instability.

  12. Considering thermal-viscous collapse of the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Colgan, William; Sommers, Aleah; Rajaram, Harihar; Abdalati, Waleed; Frahm, Joel

    2015-07-01

    We explore potential changes in Greenland ice sheet form and flow associated with increasing ice temperatures and relaxing effective ice viscosities. We define "thermal-viscous collapse" as a transition from the polythermal ice sheet temperature distribution characteristic of the Holocene to temperate ice at the pressure melting point and associated lower viscosities. The conceptual model of thermal-viscous collapse we present is dependent on: (1) sufficient energy available in future meltwater runoff, (2) routing of meltwater to the bed of the ice sheet interior, and (3) efficient energy transfer from meltwater to the ice. Although we do not attempt to constrain the probability of thermal-viscous collapse, it appears thermodynamically plausible to warm the deepest 15% of the ice sheet, where the majority of deformational shear occurs, to the pressure melting point within four centuries. First-order numerical modeling of an end-member scenario, in which prescribed ice temperatures are warmed at an imposed rate of 0.05 K/a, infers a decrease in ice sheet volume of 5 ± 2% within five centuries of initiating collapse. This is equivalent to a cumulative sea-level rise contribution of 33 ± 18 cm. The vast majority of the sea-level rise contribution associated with thermal-viscous collapse, however, would likely be realized over subsequent millennia.

  13. Impact of bedrock description on modeling ice sheet dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Durand, G.; Gagliardini, O.; Favier, L.; Zwinger, T.; le Meur, E.

    2011-10-01

    Recent glaciological surveys have revealed a significant increase of ice discharge from polar ice caps into the ocean. In parallel, ice flow models have been greatly improved to better reproduce current changes and forecast the future behavior of ice sheets. For these models, surface topography and bedrock elevation are crucial input parameters that largely control the dynamics and the ensuing overall mass balance of the ice sheet. For obvious reasons of inaccessibility, only sparse and uneven bedrock elevation data is available. This raw data is processed to produce Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) on a regular 5 km grid. These DEMs are used to constrain the basal boundary conditions of all ice sheet models. Here, by using a full-Stokes finite element code, we examine the sensitivity of an ice flow model to the accuracy of the bedrock description. In the context of short-term ice sheet forecast, we show that in coastal regions, the bedrock elevation should be known at a resolution of the order of one kilometer. Conversely, a crude description of the bedrock in the interior of the continent does not affect modeling of the ice outflow into the ocean. These findings clearly indicate that coastal regions should be prioritized during future geophysical surveys. They also indicate that a paradigm shift is required to change the current design of DEMs describing the bedrock below the ice sheets: they must give users the opportunity to incorporate high-resolution bedrock elevation data in regions of interest.

  14. Swath Measurements of Ice Sheet Bottom Topography and Radar Reflectivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freeman, A.; Gogineni, P. S.; Jezek, K. C.; Rodriguez, E.; Wu, X.

    2009-12-01

    Ice sheet thickness is a fundamental measurement for understanding the dynamics of large ice sheets (terrestrial or extraterrestrial). Radar is the primary tool used to measure ice thickness but a major challenge is accurately measuring the arrival time of the basal echo in the presence of surface clutter, which may arise from processes such as wind driven deposition and erosion or crevassing. Essentially, the basal echo strength, which is weak because of attenuation through the ice, becomes comparable to the surface scattering signal even though the coincident surface return comes from a large, off-nadir angle. During the past 4 years, we explored three surface clutter rejection techniques and applied them to data collected with 150/450 MHz radars operated from aircraft over the Greenland Ice Sheet. We also investigated how the techniques could be used to go beyond nadir sounding of ice sheets and, when operated used with broad-beam antennas, could successfully acquire 3-dimensional intensity images of the ice sheet base. In this paper, we describe experiments to image the ice sheet base using: synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferogram filtering; SAR tomography; and beam steering. For the case of a broad beam antenna array, we show that interferograms filtering provides the highest quality topographic data from both the left and right sides of the aircraft but only under optimal conditions. We show that a beam-steering/radar tomography hybrid algorithm provides the most robust topography and also yields an intensity map. We provide example topographies for the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet and suggest how the approach could be used for future sounding of extraterrestrial ice. The research described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 3-d radar image of the base of the ice sheet. Scene is an orthorectified mosaic located just

  15. Modeling the Fracture of Ice Sheets on Parallel Computers

    SciTech Connect

    Waisman, Haim; Tuminaro, Ray

    2013-10-10

    The objective of this project was to investigate the complex fracture of ice and understand its role within larger ice sheet simulations and global climate change. This objective was achieved by developing novel physics based models for ice, novel numerical tools to enable the modeling of the physics and by collaboration with the ice community experts. At the present time, ice fracture is not explicitly considered within ice sheet models due in part to large computational costs associated with the accurate modeling of this complex phenomena. However, fracture not only plays an extremely important role in regional behavior but also influences ice dynamics over much larger zones in ways that are currently not well understood. To this end, our research findings through this project offers significant advancement to the field and closes a large gap of knowledge in understanding and modeling the fracture of ice sheets in the polar regions. Thus, we believe that our objective has been achieved and our research accomplishments are significant. This is corroborated through a set of published papers, posters and presentations at technical conferences in the field. In particular significant progress has been made in the mechanics of ice, fracture of ice sheets and ice shelves in polar regions and sophisticated numerical methods that enable the solution of the physics in an efficient way.

  16. Recent ice sheet mass change observations from GRACE mascon solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luthcke, S. B.; Zwally, H. J.; Rowlands, D. D.; Abdalati, W.; Nerem, R. S.; Ray, R. D.; Lemoine, F.; Chinn, D.

    2006-12-01

    On multi-decadal time scales or longer, the most important processes affecting sea level are those associated with the mass balance over the Earth's ice sheets. The vulnerability of the cryosphere to climate change along with the difficulty in acquiring uniform in situ observations in these inhospitable regions, makes the problem of understanding ice sheet mass trends a high Earth science research priority at NASA. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has acquired ultra-precise inter-satellite ranging data since 2002. These data provide new opportunities to observe and understand ice mass changes at unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. In order to improve upon the ice mass trend observations obtained from GRACE, we have employed unique data analysis approaches to obtain high resolution local mass change (mascon solutions) from GRACE inter-satellite observations alone. We have applied our mascon solution technique to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets estimating surface mass change for irregularly shaped regions defined by the ice sheet drainage basins and further sub-divided by elevation. We estimate the surface mass change of each ice sheet drainage basin sub-divided by elevation at 10-day resolution. We have computed multi-year time series of surface mass change for each ice sheet drainage basin. These mascon solutions provide unprecedented observations of the seasonal and inter-annual evolution of ice-sheet mass flux. In this presentation we discuss our analysis techniques and the details of our ice sheet mascon solutions, as well as compare these results with mass change observations derived from NASA's ICESat mission.

  17. Evidence for a former large ice sheet in the Orville Coast- Ronne Ice Shelf area, Antarctica.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carrara, P.

    1981-01-01

    The Orville Coast area of the Antarctic Peninsula was extensively glacierized in the past. Striations, polished rock surfaces, and erratics on nunatak summits indicate that this area was covered by a broad regional ice sheet whose grounded ice margin was on the continental shelf, in the present-day Ronne Ice Shelf area. If the glacial history of Antarctica has been controlled by eustatic sea-level changes, the destruction of this ice sheet would have been contemporaneous with that of the Ross Sea ice sheet due to the world-wide rise of eustatic sea-level at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. -Author

  18. Laurentide ice-sheet instability during the last deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ullman, David J.; Carlson, Anders E.; Anslow, Faron S.; Legrande, Allegra N.; Licciardi, Joseph M.

    2015-07-01

    Changes in the amount of summer incoming solar radiation (insolation) reaching the Northern Hemisphere are the underlying pacemaker of glacial cycles. However, not all rises in boreal summer insolation over the past 800,000 years resulted in deglaciation to present-day ice volumes, suggesting that there may be a climatic threshold for the disappearance of land-based ice. Here we assess the surface mass balance stability of the Laurentide ice sheet--the largest glacial ice mass in the Northern Hemisphere--during the last deglaciation (24,000 to 9,000 years ago). We run a surface energy balance model with climate data from simulations with a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model for key time slices during the last deglaciation. We find that the surface mass balance of the Laurentide ice sheet was positive throughout much of the deglaciation, and suggest that dynamic discharge was mainly responsible for mass loss during this time. Total surface mass balance became negative only in the early Holocene, indicating the transition to a new state where ice loss occurred primarily by surface ablation. We conclude that the Laurentide ice sheet remained a viable ice sheet before the Holocene and began to fully deglaciate only once summer temperatures and radiative forcing over the ice sheet increased by 6-7 °C and 16-20 W m-2, respectively, relative to full glacial conditions.

  19. Permafrost-ice-sheet interactions during the Quaternary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willeit, Matteo; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2016-04-01

    Permafrost influences a number of processes which are relevant for local and global climate. For example, it is well known that permafrost plays an important role in global carbon and methane cycles. Less is known about the interaction between permafrost and ice sheets. We recently included a permafrost module in the Earth system model CLIMBER-2 to explore the coupled Northern Hemisphere (NH) permafrost-ice-sheet evolution during the Quaternary. The model has been shown to perform generally well at reproducing present-day permafrost extent and thickness. Modelled permafrost extent at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) agrees well with reconstructions and previous modeling estimates. In a previous study we showed that over the last glacial cycle permafrost has a relatively modest impact on simulated NH ice sheet volume except at LGM, when including permafrost increases ice volume by about 15 m sea level equivalent in our model. This is explained by a delayed melting of the ice base from below by the geothermal heat flux when the ice sheet sits on a porous sediment layer and permafrost has to be melted first. Permafrost affects ice sheet dynamics only when ice extends over areas covered by thick sediments, which is the case at LGM. In transient model simulations of the "40 kyr world" of the early Pleistocene we show that when all continents are covered by a thick sediment layer the response of ice volume to the obliquity component of orbital forcing is enhanced while the response to precession is dampened. We therefore argue that permafrost could have played a role for ice sheet evolution when all continents were covered by a thick sediment layer, as was likely the case in the early Pleistocene before the sediment layer was gradually eroded by expanding ice sheets over parts of northern Canada and Scandinavia.

  20. Reconstructing the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet during the last deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keisling, Benjamin; DeConto, Robert

    2016-04-01

    Today, some outlet glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) are rapidly retreating and may mobilize large volumes of interior ice in the coming centuries. The last period that saw such dramatic, sustained retreat of the GrIS was the last deglaciation, when the ice sheet retreated from its Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) extent. Previous studies have used relative sea level observations to constrain changes in ice thickness and retreat timing during the deglaciation (e.g. Fleming and Lambert 2004, Simpson et al. 2009, Lecavalier et al. 2014). Here we build on these studies by isolating the drivers of ice-sheet retreat, and their spatial and temporal dynamics, during this period. Inclusion of ice-cliff failure and hydrofracturing parameterizations in our model has resulted in a better fit to paleodata for the Antarctic ice sheet, but this modeling approach has not been applied to the GrIS. Here we use a three-dimensional hybrid SSA/SIA ice-sheet model (Pollard et al. 2015) at 10km resolution over Greenland to simulate the last deglaciation. Boundary conditions for the last glacial maximum produce an LGM ice sheet with 3.81 meters sea level equivalent (m s.l.e.) of additional ice. The LGM ice sheet advances to the shelf-break in west, south, and east Greenland with an expansive ice shelf extending across Davis Strait. Applying modern atmospheric and oceanic forcing to the LGM ice sheet yields 1.25 and 1.09 m s.l.e. of melt, respectively, and 1.72 m s.l.e. for both. Ocean warming initially results in a higher rate and magnitude of retreat, but increased surface evaporation over open water results in additional accumulation that offsets losses in 10 kyr simulations. Here, we test the sensitivity of the magnitude of deglacial ice-sheet retreat to uncertainty in bedrock elevation and basal slding coefficients, the applied climate forcing, and the mass balance scheme (positive degree-day or energy balance). We also implement a deglacial climate forcing based on recently

  1. Sensitivity of the Ice Sheet System Model to direct surface mass balance forcing over the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlegel, N. J.; Seroussi, H. L.; Morlighem, M.; Larour, E. Y.; Box, J. E.

    2011-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet, which extends south of the Arctic Circle, is vulnerable to temperature perturbations in the Northern Hemisphere, and its complete retreat would raise global sea level by about 7 meters. Models of the ice sheet's past behavior suggest that Greenland's severe retreat was largely responsible for sea-level rise during the last interglacial period. A clear understanding of exactly how the ice sheet responded to past climate change requires a high-degree of spatial resolution, especially within the ice sheet's large drainage basins, as they contain outlets capable of high-velocity flow. The newly developed Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) is a finite-element model capable of simulating transient ice flow on an anisotropic mesh. The adaptable mesh can be refined to higher resolutions in the areas of enhanced ice flow. These features offer a distinct advantage over previous models of the Greenland Ice Sheet, specifically in terms of modeling fast-flowing outlet glaciers. With use of established ISSM capabilities, we examined the sensitivity of Greenland's outlet glaciers to the new Arctic System Reanalysis (ASR) reconstruction of yearly surface mass balance forcing of the last 150 years. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Modeling, Analysis and Prediction (MAP) Program.

  2. Basal Dynamics and Internal Structure of Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolovick, Michael J.

    The internal structure of ice sheets reflects the history of flow and deformation experienced by the ice mass. Flow and deformation are controlled by processes occurring within the ice mass and at its boundaries, including surface accumulation or ablation, ice rheology, basal topography, basal sliding, and basal melting or freezing. The internal structure and basal environment of ice sheets is studied with ice-penetrating radar. Recently, radar observations in Greenland and Antarctica have imaged large englacial structures rising from near the bed that deform the overlying stratigraphy into anticlines, synclines, and overturned folds. The mechanisms that may produce these structures include basal freeze-on, travelling slippery patches at the ice base, and rheological contrasts within the ice column. In this thesis, I explore the setting and mechanisms that produce large basal stratigraphic structures inside ice sheets. First, I use radar data to map subglacial hydrologic networks that deliver meltwater uphill towards freeze-on structures in East Antarctica. Next, I use a thermomechanical flowline model to demonstrate that trains of alternating slippery and sticky patches can form underneath ice sheets and travel downstream over time. The disturbances to the ice flow field produced by these travelling patches produce stratigraphic folds resembling the observations. I then examine the overturned folds produced by a single travelling sticky patch using a kinematic flowline model. This model is used to interpret stratigraphic measurements in terms of the dynamic properties of basal slip. Finally, I use a simple local one-dimensional model to estimate the thickness of basal freeze-on that can be produced based on the supply of available meltwater, the thermal boundary conditions, ice sheet geometry, and the ice flow regime.

  3. Iceberg Armadas and Pliocene Antarctic Ice Sheet Retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolan, A. M.; Hill, D. J.; van de Flierdt, T.; Cook, C.; Haywood, A. M.

    2011-12-01

    Evidence for the state of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Pliocene is sparse, difficult to interpret and often contradictory. Recent provenance measurements from ice-rafted debris (IRD) at ODP Site 1165 in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica suggests major iceberg release events along the East Antarctic coast during the warmer periods of the late Miocene and early Pliocene (Williams et al., 2010). While this data provides unprecedented geographical information on ice sheet variability under warmer climatic conditions, the exact nature of the ice sheet dynamics they represent and the cause of these 'iceberg armadas' remains unclear. The early warm Pliocene IRD record is dominated by local icebergs. In contrast, the middle to late Pliocene is characterized by high percentages of IRD from the Aurora Subglacial Basin. The relatively short duration of some of these events suggests dynamic changes in the ice sheet - ocean system. Furthermore, new data from IODP Leg 318 cores from just off the Wilkes Subglacial Basin indicate markedly different iceberg calving and ice sheet conditions compared to today. Here we present an integrated Pliocene climate, ice sheet and iceberg modelling approach to simulate the conditions under which these East Antarctic iceberg armadas could have occurred. Three plausible scenarios for their production are explored. Firstly, that it is part of the normal operation of East Antarctica under Pliocene climatic conditions, perhaps akin to Laurentide Ice Sheet sourced Heinrich events during the last glacial period. Secondly, that it is part of the orbital sensitivity of the ice sheet during the Pliocene, and thirdly that marine collapses in the Aurora and Wilkes subglacial basins of East Antarctica could trigger major iceberg releases. Results from our models show that the different sources of Pliocene IRD from around Antarctica require different climatic conditions and ice sheet configurations. This supports variability and dynamic behaviour in the

  4. Ice sheets viewed from the ocean: the contribution of marine science to understanding modern and past ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Ó Cofaigh, Colm

    2012-12-13

    Over the last two decades, marine science, aided by technological advances in sediment coring, geophysical imaging and remotely operated submersibles, has played a major role in the investigation of contemporary and former ice sheets. Notable advances have been achieved with respect to reconstructing the extent and flow dynamics of the large polar ice sheets and their mid-latitude counterparts during the Quaternary from marine geophysical and geological records of landforms and sediments on glacier-influenced continental margins. Investigations of the deep-sea ice-rafted debris record have demonstrated that catastrophic collapse of large (10(5)-10(6) km(2)) ice-sheet drainage basins occurred on millennial and shorter time scales and had a major influence on oceanography. In the last few years, increasing emphasis has been placed on understanding physical processes at the ice-ocean interface, particularly at the grounding line, and on determining how these processes affect ice-sheet stability. This remains a major challenge, however, owing to the logistical constraints imposed by working in ice-infested polar waters and ice-shelf cavities. Furthermore, despite advances in reconstructing the Quaternary history of mid- and high-latitude ice sheets, major unanswered questions remain regarding West Antarctic ice-sheet stability, and the long-term offshore history of the East Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets remains poorly constrained. While these are major research frontiers in glaciology, and ones in which marine science has a pivotal role to play, realizing such future advances will require an integrated collaborative approach between oceanographers, glaciologists, marine geologists and numerical modellers.

  5. Radar attenuation and temperature within the Greenland Ice Sheet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Li, Jilu; Paden, John D; Catania, Ginny A; Clow, Gary D.; Fahnestock, Mark A; Gogineni, Prasad S.; Grimm, Robert E.; Morlighem, Mathieu; Nandi, Soumyaroop; Seroussi, Helene; Stillman, David E

    2015-01-01

    The flow of ice is temperature-dependent, but direct measurements of englacial temperature are sparse. The dielectric attenuation of radio waves through ice is also temperature-dependent, and radar sounding of ice sheets is sensitive to this attenuation. Here we estimate depth-averaged radar-attenuation rates within the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne radar-sounding data and its associated radiostratigraphy. Using existing empirical relationships between temperature, chemistry, and radar attenuation, we then infer the depth-averaged englacial temperature. The dated radiostratigraphy permits a correction for the confounding effect of spatially varying ice chemistry. Where radar transects intersect boreholes, radar-inferred temperature is consistently higher than that measured directly. We attribute this discrepancy to the poorly recognized frequency dependence of the radar-attenuation rate and correct for this effect empirically, resulting in a robust relationship between radar-inferred and borehole-measured depth-averaged temperature. Radar-inferred englacial temperature is often lower than modern surface temperature and that of a steady state ice-sheet model, particularly in southern Greenland. This pattern suggests that past changes in surface boundary conditions (temperature and accumulation rate) affect the ice sheet's present temperature structure over a much larger area than previously recognized. This radar-inferred temperature structure provides a new constraint for thermomechanical models of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  6. Ice sheet topography from retracked ERS-1 altimetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Brenner, Anita C.; Dimarzio, John; Seiss, Timothy

    1994-01-01

    An objective of the ERS-1 radar altimeter is to measure the surface topography of the polar ice sheets to a precision on the order of a meter. ERS-1 Waveform Altimeter Product (WAP) data was corrected for several processing errors. A range correction from the WAP waveforms, using the multiparameter retracking algorithm to account for range tracking limitations inherent to radar altimetry, was derived. From crossover analysis, the resulting precision is shown to be about 2.1 m in ocean mode and 2.2 m in ice mode. A topography map, produced with 23 days of corrected data, shows details of the western part of west Antarctic ice sheet and part of the Ross ice shelf including ice divides, ice stream boundaries, and ice shelf grounding lines.

  7. Mass Balance Changes and Ice Dynamics of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets from Laser Altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babonis, G. S.; Csatho, B.; Schenk, T.

    2016-06-01

    During the past few decades the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have lost ice at accelerating rates, caused by increasing surface temperature. The melting of the two big ice sheets has a big impact on global sea level rise. If the ice sheets would melt down entirely, the sea level would rise more than 60 m. Even a much smaller rise would cause dramatic damage along coastal regions. In this paper we report about a major upgrade of surface elevation changes derived from laser altimetry data, acquired by NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite mission (ICESat) and airborne laser campaigns, such as Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS). For detecting changes in ice sheet elevations we have developed the Surface Elevation Reconstruction And Change detection (SERAC) method. It computes elevation changes of small surface patches by keeping the surface shape constant and considering the absolute values as surface elevations. We report about important upgrades of earlier results, for example the inclusion of local ice caps and the temporal extension from 1993 to 2014 for the Greenland Ice Sheet and for a comprehensive reconstruction of ice thickness and mass changes for the Antarctic Ice Sheets.

  8. Evidence for an extensive Antarctic Ice Sheet by 37 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter, Andrew; Riley, Teal; Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Rittner, Martin

    2016-04-01

    We present observational evidence that both the East and West Antarctic ice sheets had expanded to the coast by 37 Ma, predating, by at least 3 Myr, a major drop in atmospheric CO2 at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary widely considered responsible for Antarctic Ice Sheet expansion. Our evidence comes from the provenance (geochronology, thermochronometry, mineralogy) of iceberg-rafted debris identified in Late Eocene marine sediments from (ODP) Leg 113 Site 696 in the NW Weddell Sea. The existence of an significant Antarctic Ice Sheet in a Late Eocene high pCO2 world calls into question the role of atmospheric CO2 concentrations as the dominant mechanism for ice sheet expansion and whether topography and ocean circulation only play a secondary role.

  9. Sturgis and Tekonsha ice advances: Evidence for thin ice sheets in southern Michigan

    SciTech Connect

    Straw, W.T.; Kehew, A.E.; Passero, R.N. . Dept. of Geology)

    1993-03-01

    Advance of an ice sheet through the Saginaw Lowland to the position of Sturgis, in St. Joseph County, Michigan initially produced the Sturgis Moraine and adjacent outwash apron. As this ice sheet down wasted, meltwater impounded by it overtopped ice divides to form meltwater streams that cut canyons in the ice and underlying glacial sediments. Continued wasting was attended by formation of supraglacial streams that developed waterfalls as they eroded headward. Complete melting of the ice revealed a subglacial topography marked by drumlins, many of which are irregular, attesting to formation near the attenuated margin of the ice sheet. Prior to complete wasting of this stagnant ice mass, ice of the Lake Michigan Lobe advanced from the west-northwest to form the Tekonsha Moraine. Exposed only where this relatively thin ice sheet advanced onto a highland in east-central Kalamazoo County, the southwestern extension of this moraine was buried by outwash from ice that formed the very prominent Kalamazoo Moraine. That the Tekonsha ice sheet stagnated and wasted in place is revealed by two prominent elongate kames, several escarpments, lake and wetland basins produced by melting of ice masses buried by glacial outwash, and sequential filling of the lowland produced by melting of this ice sheet by a series of alluvial fans. The sequence of fan emplacement is indicated by marginal relationships of the fans and the number and size of depressions formed by melting of relic blocks of ice. The first-formed Dry Prairie fan is marked by numerous large depressions while the Prairie Ronde, the last formed fan exhibits only small widely spaced depressions formed by melting of the last vestiges of this ice sheet.

  10. Seasonal Greenland Ice Sheet ice flow variations in regions of differing bed and surface topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sole, A. J.; Livingstone, S. J.; Rippin, D. M.; Hill, J.; McMillan, M.; Quincey, D. J.

    2015-12-01

    The contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) to future sea-level rise is uncertain. Observations reveal the important role of basal water in controlling ice-flow to the ice sheet margin. In Greenland, drainage of large volumes of surface meltwater to the ice sheet bed through moulins and hydrofracture beneath surface lakes dominates the subglacial hydrological system and provides an efficient means of moving mass and heat through the ice sheet. Ice surface and bed topography influence where meltwater can access the bed, and the nature of its subsequent flow beneath the ice. However, no systematic investigation into the influence of topographic variability on Greenland hydrology and dynamics exists. Thus, physical processes controlling storage and drainage of surface and basal meltwater, and the way these affect ice flow are not comprehensively understood. This presents a critical obstacle in efforts to predict the future evolution of the GrIS. Here we present high-resolution satellite mapping of the ice-surface drainage network (e.g. lakes, channels and moulins) and measurements of seasonal variations in ice flow in south west Greenland. The region is comprised of three distinct subglacial terrains which vary in terms of the amplitude and wavelength and thus the degree to which basal topography is reflected in the ice sheet surface. We find that the distribution of surface hydrological features is related to the transfer of bed topography to the ice sheet surface. For example, in areas of thinner ice and high bed relief, moulins occur more frequently and are more uniformly dispersed, indicating a more distributed influx of surface-derived meltwater to the ice sheet bed. We investigate the implications of such spatial variations in surface hydrology on seasonal ice flow rates.

  11. Uncertainty Quantification for Large-Scale Ice Sheet Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Ghattas, Omar

    2016-02-05

    This report summarizes our work to develop advanced forward and inverse solvers and uncertainty quantification capabilities for a nonlinear 3D full Stokes continental-scale ice sheet flow model. The components include: (1) forward solver: a new state-of-the-art parallel adaptive scalable high-order-accurate mass-conservative Newton-based 3D nonlinear full Stokes ice sheet flow simulator; (2) inverse solver: a new adjoint-based inexact Newton method for solution of deterministic inverse problems governed by the above 3D nonlinear full Stokes ice flow model; and (3) uncertainty quantification: a novel Hessian-based Bayesian method for quantifying uncertainties in the inverse ice sheet flow solution and propagating them forward into predictions of quantities of interest such as ice mass flux to the ocean.

  12. Subglacial lake drainage detected beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    PubMed Central

    Palmer, Steven; McMillan, Malcolm; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-01-01

    The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise has accelerated in recent decades. Subglacial lake drainage events can induce an ice sheet dynamic response—a process that has been observed in Antarctica, but not yet in Greenland, where the presence of subglacial lakes has only recently been discovered. Here we investigate the water flow paths from a subglacial lake, which drained beneath the Greenland ice sheet in 2011. Our observations suggest that the lake was fed by surface meltwater flowing down a nearby moulin, and that the draining water reached the ice margin via a subglacial tunnel. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar-derived measurements of ice surface motion acquired in 1995 suggest that a similar event may have occurred 16 years earlier, and we propose that, as the climate warms, increasing volumes of surface meltwater routed to the bed will cause such events to become more common in the future. PMID:26450175

  13. Subglacial lake drainage detected beneath the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Palmer, Steven; McMillan, Malcolm; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-10-09

    The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise has accelerated in recent decades. Subglacial lake drainage events can induce an ice sheet dynamic response--a process that has been observed in Antarctica, but not yet in Greenland, where the presence of subglacial lakes has only recently been discovered. Here we investigate the water flow paths from a subglacial lake, which drained beneath the Greenland ice sheet in 2011. Our observations suggest that the lake was fed by surface meltwater flowing down a nearby moulin, and that the draining water reached the ice margin via a subglacial tunnel. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar-derived measurements of ice surface motion acquired in 1995 suggest that a similar event may have occurred 16 years earlier, and we propose that, as the climate warms, increasing volumes of surface meltwater routed to the bed will cause such events to become more common in the future.

  14. Solar radiation management geoengineering and the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Applegate, P. J.; Keller, K.

    2014-12-01

    Several authors have suggested that technologies for modifying the Earth's climate should be developed so that they can be deployed if a climate emergency seems imminent. These technologies are generally called geoengineering, or climate engineering. Solar radiation management is perhaps the most commonly discussed geoengineering technique. It involves lofting reflective particles into the upper atmosphere, in imitation of explosive volcanic eruptions that produce measurable cooling at the Earth's surface. Given that geoengineering is intended to reduce surface air temperatures, some authors suggest that it could be used to prevent sea level rise from ice sheet mass loss. The Greenland Ice Sheet is an obvious target for geoengineering-based efforts to avoid sea level rise, because it is large and vulnerable to surface air temperature increases. To evaluate this possibility, we use a three-dimensional, shallow-ice sheet model (SICOPOLIS; sicopolis.greveweb.net) to examine the ability of geoengineering to reduce sea level contributions from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Although this model is highly simplified, its speed of execution allows us to investigate many different potential geoengineering scenarios, covering tens of thousands of model years (excluding spinup). We examine stylized geoengineering scenarios, including both aggressive, sustained geoengineering and more moderate efforts. We comment on the implications of our model results for the ability of geoengineering to reduce future ice sheet-driven sea level change, and how our results might change if our experiments were repeated with a more sophisticated ice sheet model.

  15. Climatic Drivers of Past Antarctic Ice Sheet Evolution Add Nonlinearly

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tigchelaar, M.; Timmermann, A.; Pollard, D.; Friedrich, T.; Heinemann, M.

    2015-12-01

    The Antarctic ice sheet has varied substantially in shape and volume in the past, with evidence for strong regional differences in evolution history. Recent observations of change in the Antarctic environment indicate that different regions respond differently to ongoing changes in global climate -- over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet strong increases in sub-shelf melt rates indicate a sensitivity to changes in ocean temperature and circulation, while in East Antarctica the mass balance is increasingly positive due to an increase in accumulation in response to rising temperatures. Modeling the long term evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet can help address questions about its regional sensitivity to external forcing. We have conducted experiments with an established ice sheet model over the last eight glacial cycles using spatially and temporally varying climate forcing from an EMIC. These simulations indicate a glacial-interglacial amplitude of ~11m SLE. Using a series of sensitivity experiments we address the dominant climatic forcing of this evolution. While sea level changes are the main driver of grounding line movement, they alone are not sufficient to explain the full glacial amplitude. Local insolation changes contribute to the initiation of terminations, while accumulation and sub-shelf melt changes feed back positively and negatively respectively onto the ice sheet evolution. This implies that climatic drivers add nonlinearly and the full spectrum of climate forcing needs to be considered when evaluating the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice sheet to past and future climate change.

  16. Self-inhibiting growth of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langen, P. L.; Solgaard, A. M.; Hvidberg, C. S.

    2012-06-01

    The build-up of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from ice-free conditions is studied in an ice sheet model (ISM) driven by fields from an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) to demonstrate the importance of coupling between the two components. Experiments where the two are coupled off-line are augmented by one where an intermediate ice sheet configuration is coupled back to the GCM. Forcing the ISM with GCM fields corresponding to the ice-free state leads to extensive regrowth which, however, is halted when the intermediate recoupling step is included. This inhibition of further growth is due to a Föhn effect of moist air parcels being lifted over the intermediate ice sheet and arriving in the low-lying Greenland interior with high temperatures. This demonstrates that two-way coupling between the atmosphere and the ice sheet is essential for understanding the dynamics and that large scale conditions cooler than those of today may be necessary for the GrIS to regrow to the present volume.

  17. Sensitivity of Pliocene ice sheets to orbital forcing

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolan, A.M.; Haywood, A.M.; Hill, D.J.; Dowsett, H.J.; Hunter, S.J.; Lunt, D.J.; Pickering, S.J.

    2011-01-01

    The stability of the Earth's major ice sheets is a critical uncertainty in predictions of future climate and sea level change. One method of investigating the behaviour of the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets in a warmer-than-modern climate is to look back at past warm periods of Earth history, for example the Pliocene. This paper presents climate and ice sheet modelling results for the mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP; 3.3 to 3.0 million years ago), which has been identified as a key interval for understanding warmer-than-modern climates (Jansen et al., 2007). Using boundary conditions supplied by the United States Geological Survey PRISM Group (Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping), the Hadley Centre coupled ocean–atmosphere climate model (HadCM3) and the British Antarctic Survey Ice Sheet Model (BASISM), we show large reductions in the Greenland and East Antarctic Ice Sheets (GrIS and EAIS) compared to modern in standard mPWP experiments. We also present the first results illustrating the variability of the ice sheets due to realistic orbital forcing during the mid-Pliocene. While GrIS volumes are lower than modern under even the most extreme (cold) mid-Pliocene orbit (losing at least 35% of its ice mass), the EAIS can both grow and shrink, losing up to 20% or gaining up to 10% of its present-day volume. The changes in ice sheet volume incurred by altering orbital forcing alone means that global sea level can vary by more than 25 m during the mid-Pliocene. However, we have also shown that the response of the ice sheets to mPWP orbital hemispheric forcing can be in anti-phase, whereby the greatest reductions in EAIS volume are concurrent with the smallest reductions of the GrIS. If this anti-phase relationship is in operation throughout the mPWP, then the total eustatic sea level response would be dampened compared to the ice sheet fluctuations that are theoretically possible. This suggests that maximum eustatic sea level rise does not

  18. Reconstruction of changes in the Weddell Sea sector of the Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Bentley, Michael J.; Stolldorf, Travis D.; Hein, Andrew S.; Kuhn, Gerhard; Graham, Alastair G. C.; Fogwill, Christopher J.; Kristoffersen, Yngve; Smith, James. A.; Anderson, John B.; Larter, Robert D.; Melles, Martin; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Mulvaney, Robert; Sugden, David E.

    2014-09-01

    The Weddell Sea sector is one of the main formation sites for Antarctic Bottom Water and an outlet for about one fifth of Antarctica's continental ice volume. Over the last few decades, studies on glacial-geological records in this sector have provided conflicting reconstructions of changes in ice-sheet extent and ice-sheet thickness since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM at ca 23-19 calibrated kiloyears before present, cal ka BP). Terrestrial geomorphological records and exposure ages obtained from rocks in the hinterland of the Weddell Sea, ice-sheet thickness constraints from ice cores and some radiocarbon dates on offshore sediments were interpreted to indicate no significant ice thickening and locally restricted grounding-line advance at the LGM. Other marine geological and geophysical studies concluded that subglacial bedforms mapped on the Weddell Sea continental shelf, subglacial deposits and sediments over-compacted by overriding ice recovered in cores, and the few available radiocarbon ages from marine sediments are consistent with major ice-sheet advance at the LGM. Reflecting the geological interpretations, different ice-sheet models have reconstructed conflicting LGM ice-sheet configurations for the Weddell Sea sector. Consequently, the estimated contributions of ice-sheet build-up in the Weddell Sea sector to the LGM sea-level low-stand of ˜130 m vary considerably. In this paper, we summarise and review the geological records of past ice-sheet margins and past ice-sheet elevations in the Weddell Sea sector. We compile marine and terrestrial chronological data constraining former ice-sheet size, thereby highlighting different levels of certainty, and present two alternative scenarios of the LGM ice-sheet configuration, including time-slice reconstructions for post-LGM grounding-line retreat. Moreover, we discuss consistencies and possible reasons for inconsistencies between the various reconstructions and propose objectives for future research. The aim

  19. Ice-sheet dynamics through the Quaternary on the mid-Norwegian continental margin inferred from 3D seismic data.

    PubMed

    Montelli, A; Dowdeswell, J A; Ottesen, D; Johansen, S E

    2017-02-01

    Reconstructing the evolution of ice sheets is critical to our understanding of the global environmental system, but most detailed palaeo-glaciological reconstructions have hitherto focused on the very recent history of ice sheets. Here, we present a three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the changing nature of ice-sheet derived sedimentary architecture through the Quaternary Ice Age of almost 3 Ma. An extensive geophysical record documents a marine-terminating, calving Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) margin present periodically on the mid-Norwegian shelf since the beginning of the Quaternary. Spatial and temporal variability of the FIS is illustrated by the gradual development of fast-flowing ice streams and associated intensification of focused glacial erosion and sedimentation since that time. Buried subglacial landforms reveal a complex and dynamic ice sheet, with converging palaeo-ice streams and several flow-switching events that may reflect major changes in topography and basal thermal regime. Lack of major subglacial meltwater channels suggests a largely distributed drainage system beneath the marine-terminating part of the FIS. This palaeo-environmental examination of the FIS provides a useful framework for ice-sheet modelling and shows that fragmentary preservation of buried surfaces and variability of ice-sheet dynamics should be taken into account when reconstructing glacial history from spatially limited datasets.

  20. Cryosphere Science Outreach using the Ice Sheet System Model and a Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, D. L. C.; Halkides, D. J.; Larour, E. Y.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the role of Cryosphere Science within the larger context of Sea Level Rise is both a technical and educational challenge that needs to be addressed if the public at large is to trulyunderstand the implications and consequences of Climate Change. Within this context, we propose a new approach in which scientific tools are used directly inside a mobile/website platform geared towards Education/Outreach. Here, we apply this approach by using the Ice Sheet System Model, a state of the art Cryosphere model developed at NASA, and integrated within a Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory, with the goal is to outreach Cryospherescience to K-12 and College level students. The approach mixes laboratory experiments, interactive classes/lessons on a website, and a simplified interface to a full-fledged instance of ISSM to validate the classes/lessons. This novel approach leverages new insights from the Outreach/Educational community and the interest of new generations in web based technologies and simulation tools, all of it delivered in a seamlessly integrated web platform. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory undera contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Science Program.

  1. SPICE: Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McMillan, Malcolm; Shepherd, Andrew; Roca, Monica; Escorihuela, Maria Jose; Thibaut, Pierre; Remy, Frederique; Escola, Roger; Benveniste, Jerome; Ambrozio, Americo; Restano, Marco

    2016-04-01

    Since the launch of ERS-1 in 1991, polar-orbiting satellite radar altimeters have provided a near continuous record of ice sheet elevation change, yielding estimates of ice sheet mass imbalance at the scale of individual ice sheet basins. One of the principle challenges associated with radar altimetry comes from the relatively large ground footprint of conventional pulse-limited radars, which limits their capacity to make reliable measurements in areas of complex topographic terrain. In recent years, progress has been made towards improving ground resolution, through the implementation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or Delay-Doppler, techniques. In 2010, the launch of CryoSat heralded the start of a new era of SAR altimetry, although full SAR coverage of the polar ice sheets will only be achieved with the launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite in January 2016. Because of the heritage of SAR altimetry provided by CryoSat, current SAR altimeter processing techniques have to some extent been optimized and evaluated for water and sea ice surfaces. This leaves several outstanding issues related to the development and evaluation of SAR altimetry for ice sheets, including improvements to SAR processing algorithms and SAR altimetry waveform retracking procedures. Here we will outline SPICE (Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets), a 2 year project which began in September 2015 and is funded by ESA's SEOM (Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions) programme. This project aims to contribute to the development and understanding of ice sheet SAR altimetry through the emulation of Sentinel-3 data from dedicated CryoSat SAR acquisitions made at several sites in Antarctica. More specifically, the project aims to (1) evaluate and improve the current Delay-Doppler processing and SAR waveform retracking algorithms, (2) evaluate higher level SAR altimeter data, and (3) investigate radar wave interaction with the snowpack. We will provide a broad overview of

  2. Deciphering the evolution of the last Eurasian ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Anna; Gyllencreutz, Richard; Mangerud, Jan; Svendsen, John Inge

    2016-04-01

    Glacial geologists need ice sheet-scale chronological reconstructions of former ice extent to set individual records in a wider context and compare interpretations of ice sheet response to records of past environmental changes. Ice sheet modellers require empirical reconstructions on size and volume of past ice sheets that are fully documented, specified in time and include uncertainty estimates for model validation or constraints. Motivated by these demands, in 2005 we started a project (Database of the Eurasian Deglaciation, DATED) to compile and archive all published dates relevant to constraining the build-up and retreat of the last Eurasian ice sheets, including the British-Irish, Scandinavian and Svalbard-Barents-Kara Seas ice sheets (BIIS, SIS and SBKIS respectively). Over 5000 dates were assessed for reliability and used together with published ice-sheet margin positions to reconstruct time-slice maps of the ice sheets' extent, with uncertainty bounds, every 1000 years between 25-10 kyr ago and at four additional periods back to 40 kyr ago. Ten years after the idea for a database was conceived, the first version of results (DATED-1) has now been released (Hughes et al. 2016). We observe that: i) both the BIIS and SBKIS achieve maximum extent, and commence retreat earlier than the larger SIS; ii) the eastern terrestrial margin of the SIS reached its maximum extent up to 7000 years later than the westernmost marine margin; iii) the combined maximum ice volume (~24 m sea-level equivalent) was reached c. 21 ka; iv) large uncertainties exist; predominantly across marine sectors (e.g. the timing of coalescence and separation of the SIS and BKIS) but also in well-studied areas due to conflicting yet equally robust data. In just three years since the DATED-1 census (1 January 2013), the volume of new information (from both dates and mapped glacial geomorphology) has grown significantly (~1000 new dates). Here, we present the DATED-1 results in the context of the

  3. Recent ice ages on Mars.

    PubMed

    Head, James W; Mustard, John F; Kreslavsky, Mikhail A; Milliken, Ralph E; Marchant, David R

    2003-12-18

    A key pacemaker of ice ages on the Earth is climatic forcing due to variations in planetary orbital parameters. Recent Mars exploration has revealed dusty, water-ice-rich mantling deposits that are layered, metres thick and latitude dependent, occurring in both hemispheres from mid-latitudes to the poles. Here we show evidence that these deposits formed during a geologically recent ice age that occurred from about 2.1 to 0.4 Myr ago. The deposits were emplaced symmetrically down to latitudes of approximately 30 degrees--equivalent to Saudi Arabia and the southern United States on the Earth--in response to the changing stability of water ice and dust during variations in obliquity (the angle between Mars' pole of rotation and the ecliptic plane) reaching 30-35 degrees. Mars is at present in an 'interglacial' period, and the ice-rich deposits are undergoing reworking, degradation and retreat in response to the current instability of near-surface ice. Unlike the Earth, martian ice ages are characterized by warmer polar climates and enhanced equatorward transport of atmospheric water and dust to produce widespread smooth deposits down to mid-latitudes.

  4. The future of ice sheets and sea ice: between reversible retreat and unstoppable loss.

    PubMed

    Notz, Dirk

    2009-12-08

    We discuss the existence of cryospheric "tipping points" in the Earth's climate system. Such critical thresholds have been suggested to exist for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice and the retreat of ice sheets: Once these ice masses have shrunk below an anticipated critical extent, the ice-albedo feedback might lead to the irreversible and unstoppable loss of the remaining ice. We here give an overview of our current understanding of such threshold behavior. By using conceptual arguments, we review the recent findings that such a tipping point probably does not exist for the loss of Arctic summer sea ice. Hence, in a cooler climate, sea ice could recover rapidly from the loss it has experienced in recent years. In addition, we discuss why this recent rapid retreat of Arctic summer sea ice might largely be a consequence of a slow shift in ice-thickness distribution, which will lead to strongly increased year-to-year variability of the Arctic summer sea-ice extent. This variability will render seasonal forecasts of the Arctic summer sea-ice extent increasingly difficult. We also discuss why, in contrast to Arctic summer sea ice, a tipping point is more likely to exist for the loss of the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic ice sheet.

  5. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, B.; Dolan, A. M.; Bernales, J.; Gasson, E.; Goelzer, H.; Golledge, N. R.; Sutter, J.; Huybrechts, P.; Lohmann, G.; Rogozhina, I.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; van de Wal, R. S. W.

    2015-05-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The late Pliocene warm period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of six existing numerical ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of five sensitivity experiments. We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. The six ice-sheet models simulate a comparable present-day ice sheet, considering the models are set up with their own parameter settings. For the Pliocene, the results demonstrate the difficulty of all six models used here to simulate a significant retreat or re-advance of the East Antarctic ice grounding line, which is thought to have happened during the Pliocene for the Wilkes and Aurora basins. The specific sea-level contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet at this point cannot be conclusively determined, whereas improved grounding line physics could be essential for a correct representation of the migration of the grounding-line of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene.

  6. Commitments to future retreat of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, Robert; Pollard, David

    2016-04-01

    The agreement reached at the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change is aimed at limiting future increases in global mean temperature below 2°C. Here, we use a continental ice sheet/shelf model with new treatments of meltwater-enhanced calving (hydrofracturing) and marine terminating ice-cliffs, to explore future commitments to sea-level rise given limits of global mean warming between 1 and 3°C. In this case, ice-sheet model physics are calibrated against past ice-sheet response to temperatures warmer than today. The ice-sheet model is coupled to highly resolved atmosphere and ocean-model components, with imposed limits on future warming designed to mimic the idealized limits discussed at COP21. Both the short and long-term potential rise in global mean sea level are discussed in light of the range of allowances agreed in Paris. We also explore the sensitivity of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to plausible ranges of atmospheric versus ocean warming consistent with global mean temperatures between 1 and 3°C; and the resulting long-term commitments to sea-level rise over the coming centuries and millennia.

  7. Greenland Ice Sheet: High-Elevation Balance and Peripheral Thinning.

    PubMed

    Krabill; Abdalati; Frederick; Manizade; Martin; Sonntag; Swift; Thomas; Wright; Yungel

    2000-07-21

    Aircraft laser-altimeter surveys over northern Greenland in 1994 and 1999 have been coupled with previously reported data from southern Greenland to analyze the recent mass-balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Above 2000 meters elevation, the ice sheet is in balance on average but has some regions of local thickening or thinning. Thinning predominates at lower elevations, with rates exceeding 1 meter per year close to the coast. Interpolation of our results between flight lines indicates a net loss of about 51 cubic kilometers of ice per year from the entire ice sheet, sufficient to raise sea level by 0.13 millimeter per year-approximately 7% of the observed rise.

  8. Troughs on Martian Ice Sheets: Analysis of Their Closure and Mass Balance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fountain, A.; Kargel, J.; Lewis, K.; MacAyeal, D.; Pfeffer, T.; Zwally, J.

    2000-01-01

    At the Copenhagen workshop on Martian polar processes, Ralf Greve commented that the flow regime surrounding scarps and troughs of the Martian polar ice sheets cannot be modeled using traditional "plan view" ice-sheet models. Such models are inadequate because they typically use reduced equations that embody certain simplifications applicable only to terrestrial ice sheets where the upper ice sheet surface is smooth. In response to this suggestion, we have constructed a 2-dimensional, time dependent "side view" (two spatial dimensions: one horizontal, one vertical) model of scarp closure that is designed to overcome the difficulties described by Greve. The purpose of the model is to evaluate the scales of stress variation and styles of flow closure so as to estimate errors that may be encountered by "plan view" models. We show that there may be avenues whereby the complications associated with scarp closure can be overcome in "plan view" models through appropriate parameterizations of 3-dimensional effects. Following this, we apply the flow model to simulate the evolution of a typical scarp on the North Polar Cap of Mars. Our simulations investigate: (a) the role of "radiation trapping" (see our companion abstract) in creating and maintaining "spiral-like" scarps on the ice sheet, (b) the consequences of different flowlaws and ice compositions on scarp evolution and, in particular, scarp age, and (c) the role of dust and debris in scarp evolution.

  9. Sea-level feedback lowers projections of future Antarctic Ice-Sheet mass loss.

    PubMed

    Gomez, Natalya; Pollard, David; Holland, David

    2015-11-10

    The stability of marine sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) in a warming climate has been identified as the largest source of uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise. Sea-level fall near the grounding line of a retreating marine ice sheet has a stabilizing influence on the ice sheets, and previous studies have established the importance of this feedback on ice age AIS evolution. Here we use a coupled ice sheet-sea-level model to investigate the impact of the feedback mechanism on future AIS retreat over centennial and millennial timescales for a range of emission scenarios. We show that the combination of bedrock uplift and sea-surface drop associated with ice-sheet retreat significantly reduces AIS mass loss relative to a simulation without these effects included. Sensitivity analyses show that the stabilization tends to be greatest for lower emission scenarios and Earth models characterized by a thin elastic lithosphere and low-viscosity upper mantle, as is the case for West Antarctica.

  10. Drainage beneath ice sheets: groundwater-channel coupling, and the origin of esker systems from former ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boulton, G. S.; Hagdorn, M.; Maillot, P. B.; Zatsepin, S.

    2009-04-01

    The nature of the drainage system beneath ice sheets is crucial to their dynamic behaviour but remains problematic. An experimentally based theory of coupling between groundwater and major channel systems is applied to the esker systems in the area occupied the last ice sheet in Europe, which we regard as a fossil imprint of major longitudinal drainage channels. We conclude that the large-scale distribution and spacing of major eskers is consistent with the theory of groundwater control, in which esker spacing is partly controlled by the transmissivity of the bed. It is concluded that esker patterns reflect the large-scale organisation of the subglacial drainage pattern in which channel development is coupled to groundwater flow and to the ice sheet's dynamic regime. The theory is then used to deduce: basal meltwater recharge rates and their spatial variability from esker spacing in an area in which the ice sheet was actively streaming during its final retreat; patterns of palaeo-groundwater flow and head distribution; and the seasonally varying magnitude of discharge from stream tunnels at the retreating ice sheet margin. Major channel/esker systems appear to have been stable at least over several hundred of years during the retreat of the ice sheet, although major dynamic events are demonstrably associated with major shifts in the hydraulic regime. Modelling suggests: that glaciation can stimulate deep groundwater circulation cells that are spatially linked to channel locations, with groundwater flow predominantly transverse to ice flow; that the circulation pattern has the potential to create large-scale anomalies in groundwater chemistry; and that the spacing of channels will change through the glacial cycle, influencing water pressures in stream tunnels, subglacial hydraulic gradients and effective pressure. If the latter is reduced sufficiently, it could trigger enhanced bed deformation, thus coupling drainage to ice sheet movement. It suggests the

  11. Determining Greenland Ice Sheet Accumulation Rates from Radar Remote Sensing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.

    2002-01-01

    An important component of NASA's Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) is a mass balance investigation of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The mass balance is calculated by taking the difference between the areally Integrated snow accumulation and the net ice discharge of the ice sheet. Uncertainties in this calculation Include the snow accumulation rate, which has traditionally been determined by interpolating data from ice core samples taken from isolated spots across the ice sheet. The sparse data associated with ice cores juxtaposed against the high spatial and temporal resolution provided by remote sensing , has motivated scientists to investigate relationships between accumulation rate and microwave observations as an option for obtaining spatially contiguous estimates. The objective of this PARCA continuation proposal was to complete an estimate of surface accumulation rate on the Greenland Ice Sheet derived from C-band radar backscatter data compiled in the ERS-1 SAR mosaic of data acquired during, September-November, 1992. An empirical equation, based on elevation and latitude, is used to determine the mean annual temperature. We examine the influence of accumulation rate, and mean annual temperature on C-band radar backscatter using a forward model, which incorporates snow metamorphosis and radar backscatter components. Our model is run over a range of accumulation and temperature conditions. Based on the model results, we generate a look-up table, which uniquely maps the measured radar backscatter, and mean annual temperature to accumulation rate. Our results compare favorably with in situ accumulation rate measurements falling within our study area.

  12. Unusual radar echoes from the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Vanzyl, J. J.; Ostro, S. J.; Jezek, K. C.

    1993-01-01

    In June 1991, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory airborne synthetic-aperture radar (AIRSAR) instrument collected the first calibrated data set of multifrequency, polarimetric, radar observations of the Greenland ice sheet. At the time of the AIRSAR overflight, ground teams recorded the snow and firn (old snow) stratigraphy, grain size, density, and temperature at ice camps in three of the four snow zones identified by glaciologists to characterize four different degrees of summer melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The four snow zones are: (1) the dry-snow zone, at high elevation, where melting rarely occurs; (2) the percolation zone, where summer melting generates water that percolates down through the cold, porous, dry snow and then refreezes in place to form massive layers and pipes of solid ice; (3) the soaked-snow zone where melting saturates the snow with liquid water and forms standing lakes; and (4) the ablation zone, at the lowest elevations, where melting is vigorous enough to remove the seasonal snow cover and ablate the glacier ice. There is interest in mapping the spatial extent and temporal variability of these different snow zones repeatedly by using remote sensing techniques. The objectives of the 1991 experiment were to study changes in radar scattering properties across the different melting zones of the Greenland ice sheet, and relate the radar properties of the ice sheet to the snow and firn physical properties via relevant scattering mechanisms. Here, we present an analysis of the unusual radar echoes measured from the percolation zone.

  13. Greenland Ice Sheet flow response to runoff variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, Laura A.; Behn, Mark D.; Das, Sarah B.; Joughin, Ian; Noël, Brice P. Y.; Broeke, Michiel R.; Herring, Thomas

    2016-11-01

    We use observations of ice sheet surface motion from a Global Positioning System network operating from 2006 to 2014 around North Lake in west Greenland to investigate the dynamical response of the Greenland Ice Sheet's ablation area to interannual variability in surface melting. We find no statistically significant relationship between runoff season characteristics and ice flow velocities within a given year or season. Over the 7 year time series, annual velocities at North Lake decrease at an average rate of -0.9 ± 1.1 m yr-2, consistent with the negative trend in annual velocities observed in neighboring regions over recent decades. We find that net runoff integrated over several preceding years has a negative correlation with annual velocities, similar to findings from the two other available decadal records of ice velocity in western Greenland. However, we argue that this correlation is not necessarily evidence for a direct hydrologic mechanism acting on the timescale of multiple years but could be a statistical construct. Finally, we stress that neither the decadal slowdown trend nor the negative correlation between velocity and integrated runoff is predicted by current ice-sheet models, underscoring that these models do not yet capture all the relevant feedbacks between runoff and ice dynamics needed to predict long-term trends in ice sheet flow.

  14. Revising the Limit of the NW Laurentide Ice Sheet: extensive glaciation in NE Beringia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furze, Mark; England, John; Doupé, Jonathan

    2010-05-01

    For the past half-century, reconstructions of North American ice cover during the Last Glacial Maximum have shown ice-free land distal to the Laurentide Ice Sheet, primarily on Melville and Banks islands in the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Both islands reputedly preserve at the surface multiple Laurentide till sheets, together with associated marine and lacustrine deposits, recording as many as three pre-Late Wisconsinan glaciations. The northwest corner of Banks Island was purportedly never glaciated and is trimmed by the oldest and most extensive glaciation (Banks Glaciation) considered to be of Matuyama age (>780 ka BP). The view that the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago remained largely ice-free during the Late Wisconsinan, serving as the NE extremity of Beringia, is reinforced by a recent report of two woolly mammoth fragments collected on Banks and Melville islands, both dated to ~22 ka BP. Well developed periglacial features present, in particular on Banks Island, have also been considered to record a long interval of ice-free conditions throughout the LGM. As a result of eight years of widespread fieldwork as part of the Canadian NSERC Northern Research Chair Programme (held by John England, University of Alberta) across the adjacent coastlines of Banks and Melville islands, a fundamental revision of this model is proposed including new dating of glacial and marine landforms and sediments. On Dundas Peninsula, southern Melville Island, AMS radiocarbon dates on ice-transported marine molluscs within the most extensive Laurentide till yield ages of 25-49 ka BP, spanning Marine Isotope Stage 3. Laurentide ice that crossed Dundas Peninsula (300 m asl) coalesced with Melville Island ice occupying Liddon Gulf and continued to advance westward through M'Clure Strait depositing granite erratics at ≥235 m asl that require grounded ice in M'Clure Strait, as do streamlined bedforms on the channel floor. Forty dates on shells collected from associated

  15. Ice Sheet Oscillations During the Last Deglaciation in Western Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lohne, O. S.; Mangerud, J.; Svendsen, J.; Gyllencreutz, R.

    2009-12-01

    About 25-26ka cal BP, the Scandinavian Ice Sheet merged with the British Ice Sheet on the continental shelf in the northern part of the North Sea (Sejrup et al., 2009). The Norwegian Channel, that hosted a major ice stream, became finally deglaciated at around 18.5ka cal BP. The deglaciation of western Norway started first in the south and not later than 17-16 ka cal BP, the Jæren region was partly ice-free (Knudsen, 2006). The early deglaciation history in the Hardangerfjord-Bergen area was characterized by some rapid ice-margin oscillations. The extent and timing of the ice front variations are not well constrained, but probably they occurred sometime between 16-14.5ka cal BP. A main difficulty with the exact timing is the radiocarbon plateau around 12.3 ka 14C BP. Subsequently, during the Allerød, the ice sheet withdrew more than 50 km from the coastline, until it again started to re-advance. The recorded sea-level response of this re-advance indicates that the re-growth of the ice sheet started in the mid-Allerød, approximately at 13.6ka cal BP (Lohne et al., 2007), and it seems clear that the resulting ice sheet advance continued until the very end of the Younger Dryas when the prominent Herdla-Halsnøy Moraine was formed. In the 500-800 m deep Hardangerfjord the re-advance stopped at a bedrock threshold where the Halsnøy Moraine subsequently formed. As appear from the sediment stratigraphy in a lake basin on Halsnøy the advancing ice-margin reached the island slightly before the Vedde Ash fall (c. 12.1ka cal BP). The ice-front then halted on the bedrock sill, but stratigraphic evidence indicates that the fjord-glacier continued to grow in thickness. Marginal moraines from Halsnøy can be traced up to a level of about 1000 m a.s.l., 40 km further inland, reflecting a massive buildup of the ice sheet. The advancing ice-sheet reached its maximum position, both in the Bergen and Hardangerfjorden area, late in the YD. A more precise dating by radiocarbon is

  16. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shepherd, A.; Ivins, E. R.

    2015-12-01

    Fluctuations in the mass of ice stored in Antarctica and Greenland are of considerable societal importance. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-Comparison Exercise (IMBIE) is a joint-initiative of ESA and NASA aimed at producing a single estimate of the global sea level contribution to polar ice sheet losses. Within IMBIE, estimates of ice sheet mass balance are developed from a variety of satellite geodetic techniques using a common spatial and temporal reference frame and a common appreciation of the contributions due to external signals. The project brings together the laboratories and space agencies that have been instrumental in developing independent estimates of ice sheet mass balance to date. In its first phase, IMBIE involved 27 science teams, and delivered a first community assessment of ice sheet mass imbalance to replace 40 individual estimates. The project established that (i) there is good agreement between the three main satellite-based techniques for estimating ice sheet mass balance, (ii) combining satellite data sets leads to significant improvement in certainty, (iii) the polar ice sheets contributed 11 ± 4 mm to global sea levels between 1992 and 2012, and (iv) that combined ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland have increased over time, rising from 10% of the global trend in the early 1990's to 30% in the late 2000's. Demand for an updated assessment has grown, and there are now new satellite missions, new geophysical corrections, new techniques, and new teams producing data. The period of overlap between independent satellite techniques has increased from 5 to 12 years, and the full period of satellite data over which an assessment can be performed has increased from 19 to 40 years. It is also clear that multiple satellite techniques are required to confidently separate mass changes associated with snowfall and ice dynamical imbalance - information that is of critical importance for climate modelling. This presentation outlines the approach

  17. A continuum mixture model of ice stream thermomechanics in the Laurentide Ice Sheet 1. Theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, Shawn J.; Clarke, Garry K. C.

    1997-01-01

    We employ a continuum mixture framework to incorporate ice streams in a three-dimensional thermomechanical model of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The ice mass is composed of a binary mixture of sheet ice, which deforms by viscous creep, and stream ice, which flows by sliding and/or sediment deformation at the bed. Dynamic and thermal evolutions are solved for each component in the mixture, with coupling rules to govern transfer between flow regimes. We describe two different transfer mechanisms: (1) creep exchange, the nourishment of ice streams by viscous creep inflow from the surrounding ice sheet, and (2) bed exchange, the activation, growth, and deactivation of ice streams, perpetrated by transfers of bed area between flow constituents. This paper develops the underlying mixture theory. We express the governing equations for mass, momentum, and energy balance in a form suitable for direct incorporation in existing numerical models of ice thermomechanics. A companion paper in this issue explores mixture and ice stream behavior in applications with the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

  18. Global warming and the growth of ice sheets

    SciTech Connect

    Ledley, T.S.; Chu, S.

    1994-01-01

    Recent research has suggested that warmer conditions, that may result from increased levels of CO{sub 2} in the atmosphere, may induce the growth of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets through the impact of warmer temperature on the water carrying capacity of the atmosphere and thus on precipitation. In this study we examine this possibility using a coupled energy balance climate-thermodynamic sea ice model. Results indicate that if summer ice albedo is high enough, and there is some mechanism for initially maintaining ice through the summer season, then it may be possible to have ice sheet growth under the conditions of CO{sub 2} induced warming. 30 refs., 5 figs., 2 tabs.

  19. Improving Surface Mass Balance Over Ice Sheets and Snow Depth on Sea Ice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koenig, Lora Suzanne; Box, Jason; Kurtz, Nathan

    2013-01-01

    Surface mass balance (SMB) over ice sheets and snow on sea ice (SOSI) are important components of the cryosphere. Large knowledge gaps remain in scientists' abilities to monitor SMB and SOSI, including insufficient measurements and difficulties with satellite retrievals. On ice sheets, snow accumulation is the sole mass gain to SMB, and meltwater runoff can be the dominant single loss factor in extremely warm years such as 2012. SOSI affects the growth and melt cycle of the Earth's polar sea ice cover. The summer of 2012 saw the largest satellite-recorded melt area over the Greenland ice sheet and the smallest satellite-recorded Arctic sea ice extent, making this meeting both timely and relevant.

  20. Sensitivity and initialisation of a moving mesh ice sheet model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonan, Bertrand; Baines, Michael J.; Nichols, Nancy K.; Partridge, Dale

    2014-05-01

    One of the most important issues in marine ice sheet modelling is tracking accurately the evolution of the snout and the grounding line. Here we present a moving mesh method that is well-suited to tracking moving phenomena accurately. We study the behaviour of the method for a flow line version using the Shallow Ice Approximation. The solution procedure uses the conservation of mass fractions to define a deformation velocity that generates movement of the support of the ice. The ice thickness is recovered using the conservation principle. In order to initialise the moving mesh model, we apply advanced inverse data assimilation techniques to the system. We develop particularly an Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) approach in this context. EnKF is an efficient Monte-Carlo method based on Gaussian assumptions. Contrary to variational methods, it does not require the development of the adjoint of the model. The data assimilation procedure treats both the mesh point positions and the ice sheet thickness as unknown state variables and updates both of these at each assimilation step. The advantage of the ensemble approach is that it enables the sensitivity of the system to be understood and, more importantly, provides information on the correlations between the variables, in particular between the grid and the ice thickness. We demonstrate the success of the technique for noisy, infrequent, partial measurements of ice thickness, both with and without noisy measurements of the terminus position. The moving mesh and EnKF methods can be extended to coupled models of grounded ice sheets and floating ice shelves. The covariances between the states of the system at the grounding line derived by the method will provide valuable information on the coupled system. The techniques presented here can also be extended to include the estimation of parameters, such as the basal sliding coefficient and the bedrock topography, and to two dimensional ice sheets.

  1. Geological and geomorphological insights into Antarctic ice sheet evolution.

    PubMed

    Sugden, David E; Bentley, Michael J; O Cofaigh, Colm

    2006-07-15

    Technical advances in the study of ice-free parts of Antarctica can provide quantitative records that are useful for constraining and refining models of ice sheet evolution and behaviour. Such records improve our understanding of system trajectory, influence the questions we ask about system stability and help to define the ice-sheet processes that are relevant on different time-scales. Here, we illustrate the contribution of cosmogenic isotope analysis of exposed bedrock surfaces and marine geophysical surveying to the understanding of Antarctic ice sheet evolution on a range of time-scales. In the Dry Valleys of East Antarctica, 3He dating of subglacial flood deposits that are now exposed on mountain summits provide evidence of an expanded and thicker Mid-Miocene ice sheet. The survival of surface boulders for approximately 14Myr, the oldest yet measured, demonstrates exceptionally low rates of subsequent erosion and points to the persistence and stability of the dry polar desert climate since that time. Increasingly, there are constraints on West Antarctic ice sheet fluctuations during Quaternary glacial cycles. In the Sarnoff Mountains of Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica, 10Be and 26Al cosmogenic isotope analysis of glacial erratics and bedrock reveal steady thinning of the ice sheet from 10400 years ago to the present, probably as a result of grounding line retreat. In the Antarctic Peninsula, offshore analysis reveals an extensive ice sheet at the last glacial maximum. Based on radiocarbon dating, deglaciation began by 17000cal yr BP and was complete by 9500cal yr BP. Deglaciation of the west and east sides of the Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet occurred at different times and rates, but was largely complete by the Early Holocene. At that time ice shelves were less extensive on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula than they are today. The message from the past is that individual glacier drainage basins in Antarctica respond in different and distinctive

  2. Assessing the predictability of a coupled climate-ice sheet model system for the response of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adalgeirsdottir, G.; Stendel, M.; Bueler, E.; Christensen, J. H.; Drews, M.; Mottram, R.

    2009-04-01

    The wild card for reliable sea level rise prediction is the contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet. There is an urgent need to determine the predictability of models that simulate the response of Greenland Ice Sheet to rising temperatures and the amount of freshwater flux that can be expected into the ocean. Modelling efforts have been limited by poorly known boundary and initial conditions, low resolution and lack of presentation of fast flowing ice streams. We address these limitations by building a model system consisting of a high resolution regional climate model (HIRHAM4), that has been run for the period 1950-2080 at 25 km, and Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM), which simulates spatially and temporally varying ice streams by combining the solutions of the Shallow Shelf and Shallow Ice Approximations. The surface mass balance is simulated with a positive-degree-day method. The important and poorly constrained model component is the past climate forcing, which serves the purpose of initializing the model by simulating the present ice sheet and observed rate of mass changes. Simulated gradients of mass loss due to warming trends of past decade and prediction for the future are presented as well as estimated sensitivities due to the various model component uncertainties.

  3. Are longitudinal ice-surface structures on the Antarctic Ice Sheet indicators of long-term ice-flow configuration?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glasser, N. F.; Jennings, S. J. A.; Hambrey, M. J.; Hubbard, B.

    2014-07-01

    Continent-wide mapping of longitudinal ice-surface structures on the Antarctic Ice Sheet reveals that they originate in the interior of the ice sheet and are arranged in arborescent networks fed by multiple tributaries. Longitudinal ice-surface structures can be traced continuously down-ice for distances of up to 1200 km. They are co-located with fast-flowing glaciers and ice streams that are dominated by basal sliding rates above tens of m yr-1 and are strongly guided by subglacial topography. Longitudinal ice-surface structures dominate regions of converging flow, where ice flow is subject to non-coaxial strain and simple shear. Associating these structures with the AIS' surface velocity field reveals (i) ice residence times of ~ 2500 to 18 500 years, and (ii) undeformed flow-line sets for all major flow units analysed except the Kamb Ice Stream and the Institute and Möller Ice Stream areas. Although it is unclear how long it takes for these features to form and decay, we infer that the major ice-flow and ice-velocity configuration of the ice sheet may have remained largely unchanged for several thousand years, and possibly even since the end of the last glacial cycle. This conclusion has implications for our understanding of the long-term landscape evolution of Antarctica, including large-scale patterns of glacial erosion and deposition.

  4. Ice Velocity Measurements From The First Sentinel-1a Full Antarctic Ice Sheet Campaign

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hogg, A. E.; Shepherd, A.; Gourmelen, N.; Nagler, T.

    2015-12-01

    We present an overview of ice velocity measurements produced from data acquired during the first Sentinel-1 full Antarctic ice sheet campaign. Satellite observations acquired over the past 25 years have shown marked ice velocity speed up on individual Antarctic ice streams, with ice velocity increases of over 42% observed on Pine Island Glacier. In Antarctica, areas of ice velocity speed up are dynamically unstable and comprise the largest component of ice sheet sea level rise contribution. However, despite a clear long term trend for increasing ice velocity in many regions, speed up has not been constant through time and multiple years with no significant change have also been observed. It is necessary to make present day measurements of ice velocity to provide an independent means of measuring ice mass loss from the most rapidly changing ice sheet regions. However the spatiotemporal coverage of historical ice velocity measurements has been limited by a paucity of suitable data over the full Antarctic ice sheet and to date, parts of east Antarctica have been observed only a few times during the last 25 years. We present 12 months of ice velocity measurements on 10 key Antarctic ice streams, produced from the normalised cross-correlation of real-valued intensity features in Interferometric Wide Swath (IW) mode Sentinel-1a data. A time series of ice velocity measurements produced from short 12-day repeat Sentinel-1a data over Pine Island Glacier shows that in 2014 and 2015 the ice surface speed has remained constant at ~4 km/year. A Sentinel-1a ice velocity map of the Antarctic Peninsula demonstrates that good quality measurements can be obtained along the full length of the Peninsula using Sentinel-1a. TOPS mode SAR Interferometry (InSAR) results shows that interferometric coherence can be preserved over the 12-day repeat period on stable slower flowing ice covered terrain, however on fast flowing ice streams such as Totten Glacier in East Antarctica and Pine

  5. Pleistocene marine ice sheets and ice shelves at the East Siberian continental margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niessen, Frank; Kuk Hong, Jong; Hegewald, Anne; Matthiessen, Jens; Stein, Rüdiger; Kim, Sookwan; Jensen, Laura; Jokat, Wilfried; Nam, Seung Il

    2014-05-01

    RV "Polarstern" cruise ARK-XIII/3 (2008) and RV "Araon" cruise ARA03B (2012) investigated an area in the Arctic Ocean located between the Chukchi Borderland and the East Siberian Sea (between 165°W and 170°E). Based on swath bathymetry, sediment echosounding, seismic profiling and sediment coring we present evidence that the western Arctic Ocean had a glaciated continental margin during several glacial periods of the Pleistocene (Niessen et al. 2013). At the southern end of the Mendeleev Ridge and on the Chukchi and East Siberian continental slopes ice sheets and ice shelves grounded in up to 1200 m present water depth. We found mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL) associated with deposition of glaciogenic wedges and debris-flow deposits indicative of sub-glacial erosion and deposition close to the former grounding lines. Glacially lineated areas are associated with large-scale erosion, capped with diamicton and draped by, in places, several metres of pelagic sediments. On the Arlis Plateau, a detailed bathymetric map exhibits several generations of MSGL, which we interpret as relicts of different Pleistocene glaciations. Traces of former grounding line positions suggest that an ice shelf of approximately 900 m in thickness has spread across the Southern Mendeleev Ridge in a north-easterly direction. According to our results, ice sheets of more than one km in thickness continued onto, and likely centered over, the East Siberian Shelf. A preliminary age model suggests that the youngest and shallowest grounding event of an ice sheet should be within Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 and clearly predates the Last Glacial Maximum. The oldest and deepest event predates MIS 6. The youngest grounding event on the Arlis Plateau is tentatively dated to have occurred during MIS 4. These results have important implication for the former distribution of thick ice masses in the Arctic Ocean during the Pleistocene. They are relevant for albedo, ocean-atmosphere heat exchange

  6. Greenland ice sheet melting during the last interglacial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langebroek, Petra M.; Nisancioglu, Kerim H.

    2016-04-01

    During the last interglacial period (LIG) peak temperatures over Greenland were several degrees warmer than today. The Greenland ice sheet (GIS) retreated causing a global sea-level rise in the order of several meters. Large uncertainties still exist in the exact amount of melt and on the source location of this melt. Here we examine the GIS response to LIG temperature and precipitation patterns using the SICOPOLIS ice sheet model. The LIG climate was simulated by forcing the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) with the appropriate greenhouse gases and orbital settings. The resulting LIG ice volume evolution strongly depends on the chosen value of uncertain model parameters for the ice sheet (e.g. basal sliding parameter, PDD factors, and atmospheric temperature lapse rate). We reduce the uncertainty by evaluating an ensemble of model results against present-day observations of ice sheet size, elevation and stability, together with paleo information from deep ice cores. We find a maximum GIS reduction equivalent to 0.8 to 2.2m of global sea-level rise. In this model set-up most of the melting occurs in southwestern Greenland.

  7. CLIVAR Exchanges No. 62: Sea Level Rise, Ocean/Ice Shelf Interactions and Ice Sheets

    SciTech Connect

    Pirani, Anna; Danabasoglu, Gokhan; Griffies, Stephen; Marsland, Simon

    2013-08-01

    This special issue of CLIVAR Exchanges is devoted to presenting a selection of the science contributed by both speakers and poster presenters at the CLIVAR Workshop on Sea Level Rise, Ocean/Ice Shelf Interactions and Ice Sheets at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart, Australia, on 18-20 February 2013. The workshop brought together leading international scientists and early-career researchers from the ocean, ice-sheet, ice-shelf, and sea-level rise modelling and observational communities to explore the state-of-science and emerging pathways for development of the next generation of coupled climate models.

  8. Enhanced ice sheet growth in Eurasia owing to adjacent ice-dammed lakes.

    PubMed

    Krinner, G; Mangerud, J; Jakobsson, M; Crucifix, M; Ritz, C; Svendsen, J I

    2004-01-29

    Large proglacial lakes cool regional summer climate because of their large heat capacity, and have been shown to modify precipitation through mesoscale atmospheric feedbacks, as in the case of Lake Agassiz. Several large ice-dammed lakes, with a combined area twice that of the Caspian Sea, were formed in northern Eurasia about 90,000 years ago, during the last glacial period when an ice sheet centred over the Barents and Kara seas blocked the large northbound Russian rivers. Here we present high-resolution simulations with an atmospheric general circulation model that explicitly simulates the surface mass balance of the ice sheet. We show that the main influence of the Eurasian proglacial lakes was a significant reduction of ice sheet melting at the southern margin of the Barents-Kara ice sheet through strong regional summer cooling over large parts of Russia. In our simulations, the summer melt reduction clearly outweighs lake-induced decreases in moisture and hence snowfall, such as has been reported earlier for Lake Agassiz. We conclude that the summer cooling mechanism from proglacial lakes accelerated ice sheet growth and delayed ice sheet decay in Eurasia and probably also in North America.

  9. An ice sheet model of reduced complexity for paleoclimate studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neff, Basil; Born, Andreas; Stocker, Thomas F.

    2016-04-01

    IceBern2D is a vertically integrated ice sheet model to investigate the ice distribution on long timescales under different climatic conditions. It is forced by simulated fields of surface temperature and precipitation of the Last Glacial Maximum and present-day climate from a comprehensive climate model. This constant forcing is adjusted to changes in ice elevation. Due to its reduced complexity and computational efficiency, the model is well suited for extensive sensitivity studies and ensemble simulations on extensive temporal and spatial scales. It shows good quantitative agreement with standardized benchmarks on an artificial domain (EISMINT). Present-day and Last Glacial Maximum ice distributions in the Northern Hemisphere are also simulated with good agreement. Glacial ice volume in Eurasia is underestimated due to the lack of ice shelves in our model. The efficiency of the model is utilized by running an ensemble of 400 simulations with perturbed model parameters and two different estimates of the climate at the Last Glacial Maximum. The sensitivity to the imposed climate boundary conditions and the positive degree-day factor β, i.e., the surface mass balance, outweighs the influence of parameters that disturb the flow of ice. This justifies the use of simplified dynamics as a means to achieve computational efficiency for simulations that cover several glacial cycles. Hysteresis simulations over 5 million years illustrate the stability of the simulated ice sheets to variations in surface air temperature.

  10. Using the level set method to track ice sheet boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindsey, D. S.; Dupont, T. K.

    2009-12-01

    Simulating ice-sheet volume changes requires tracking the interface of ice and its surrounding media, e.g. water, air, and sediment or rock. This can be challenging when using a fixed, or Eulerian, grid and allowing the interface to move via kinematic boundary conditions. For example, the interface may fall between grid points at a given point in time, making the application of boundary conditions less than straightforward. The level set method of Osher and Sethian (1988) offers an alternative approach, wherein a continuous level set function evolves within the domain via the combined kinematics of ice and its encompassing materials. The methods true strength lies in tracking the interface of two materials through time. Pralong and Funk (2004) applied this method to the movement of a glacier’s ice/air interface, offering a glimpse of the potential of this method for glaciology. Here we perform a simple preliminary test of the method for a two-dimensional (flow-line) model of an ice shelf, comparing the results to analytic approximations of the movement of both the ice/air interface and the ice front. Future experiments will incorporate grounded ice and include basal and lateral-shear stresses. The ultimate goal of this work is provide a practical approach for two and three-dimensional ice-sheet models to naturally track their moving boundaries.

  11. Greenland Ice sheet mass balance from satellite and airborne altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, S. A.; Bevis, M. G.; Wahr, J. M.; Wouters, B.; Sasgen, I.; van Dam, T. M.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Hanna, E.; Huybrechts, P.; Kjaer, K.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Bjork, A. A.; Kjeldsen, K. K.

    2013-12-01

    Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is dominated by loss in the marginal areas. Dynamic induced ice loss and its associated ice surface lowering is often largest close to the glacier calving front and may vary from rates of tens of meters per years to a few meters per year over relatively short distances. Hence, high spatial resolution data are required to accurately estimate volume changes. Here, we estimate ice volume change rate of the Greenland ice sheet using data from Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser altimeter during 2003-2009 and CryoSat-2 data during 2010-2012. To improve the volume change estimate we supplement the ICESat and CryoSat data with altimeter surveys from NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) during 2003-2012 and NASA's Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) during 2007-2012. The Airborne data are mainly concentrated along the ice margin and therefore significantly improve the estimate of the total volume change. Furthermore, we divide the GrIS into six major drainage basins and provide volume loss estimates during 2003-2006, 2006-2009 and 2009-2012 for each basin and separate between melt induced and dynamic ice loss. In order to separate dynamic ice loss from melt processes, we use SMB values from the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2) and SMB values from a positive degree day runoff retention model (Janssens & Huybrechts 2000, Hanna et al. 2011 JGR, updated for this study). Our results show increasing SMB ice loss over the last decade, while dynamic ice loss increased during 2003-2009, but has since been decreasing. Finally, we assess the estimated mass loss using GPS observations from stations located along the edge of the GrIS and measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite gravity mission. Hanna, E., et al. (2011), Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance 1870 to 2010 based on Twentieth Century Reanalysis, and links with global climate forcing, J. Geophys. Res

  12. Modelling the Laurentide Ice Sheet using improved ice margin chronologies and glacio-isostatic observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gowan, Evan; Tregoning, Paul; Purcell, Anthony; Lambeck, Kurt

    2013-04-01

    Creating models of the Laurentide ice sheet is challenging, due to the deficiency of chronological constraints and the uneven spatial resolution of data to determine the evolution of the glacio-isostatic response after deglaciation. Previous models relied on uncalibrated radiocarbon constrained margins that proved to have deficiencies in recent studies. Additionally, many recent Laurentide ice sheet models have been developed by incorporating climatic parameters that are poorly resolved for the late glacial period. We present a new ice sheet model by an iterative process of changing basal shear stress values and ice sheet margin location. A particular focus of this study is to determine the thickness and extent of the western Laurentide ice sheet, where there were few well dated observations of glacio-isostatic motion until recently. The volume of an ice sheet during long periods depends mostly on basal shear stress and margin position, which are the main parameters that we vary to fit our model to glacio-isostatic observations. We build our ice model using the assumption of perfectly plastic, steady-state conditions, with variable basal shear stress. Basal shear stress values depend on the surficial geology underlying the ice, and are at a minimum in offshore regions that have soft, deformable sediments, and at a maximum in areas with exposed crystalline bedrock. This approach may not capture dynamic and short lived features of the ice sheet, such as ice streams and stagnant ice, but gives an approximation of average conditions to produce ice volumes that fit geophysical observations. We adjust the margin location when the shear stress conditions alone cannot account for the observed glacio-isostatic response. The constraints on the response include relative sea level benchmarks, sea level highstand positions and proglacial lakes. We repeat the analysis using different rheological profiles to determine the dependence the Earth model has on the estimation of ice

  13. SPICE: Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benveniste, Jérôme; Escolà, Roger; Roca, Mònica; Ambrózio, Américo; Restano, Marco; McMillan, Malcolm; Escorihuela, Maria Jose; Shepherd, Andrew; Thibaut, Pierre; Remy, Frederique

    2016-07-01

    Since the launch of ERS-1 in 1991, polar-orbiting satellite radar altimeters have provided a near continuous record of ice sheet elevation change, yielding estimates of ice sheet mass imbalance at the scale of individual ice sheet basins. One of the principle challenges associated with radar altimetry comes from the relatively large ground footprint of conventional pulse-limited radars, which limits their capacity to make reliable measurements in areas of complex topographic terrain. In recent years, progress has been made towards improving ground resolution, through the implementation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or Delay-Doppler, techniques. In 2010, the launch of CryoSat-2 by the European Space Agency heralded the start of a new era of SAR altimetry, although full SAR coverage of the polar ice sheets will only be achieved with the launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite in February 2016. Because of the heritage of SAR altimetry provided by CryoSat-2, current SAR altimeter processing techniques have been optimized and evaluated for water and sea ice surfaces. This leaves several outstanding issues related to the development and evaluation of SAR altimetry for ice sheets, including improvements to SAR processing algorithms and SAR altimetry waveform retracking procedures. Here we will present interim results from SPICE (Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets), a 2 year project that focuses on the expected performance of Sentinel-3 SAR altimetry over the Polar ice sheets. The project, which began in September 2015 and is funded by ESA's SEOM (Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions) programme, aims to contribute to the development and understanding of ice sheet SAR altimetry through the emulation of Sentinel-3 data from dedicated CryoSat SAR acquisitions made at several sites in Antarctica and Greenland. More specifically, the project aims to (1) evaluate and improve the current Delay-Doppler processing and SAR waveform retracking

  14. Application of GRACE to the Evaluation of an Ice Flow Model of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlegel, N.; Wiese, D. N.; Watkins, M. M.; Larour, E. Y.; Box, J. E.; Fettweis, X.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Morlighem, M.; Boening, C.; Seroussi, H. L.

    2014-12-01

    Quantifying Greenland's future contribution to sea level rise is a challenging task and requires accurate estimates of ice flow sensitivity to climate change. Transient ice flow models are promising tools for estimating future ice sheet behavior. However, confidence in these types of future projections is low, especially because evaluation of model historical runs is so challenging due to the scarcity of continental-wide data for validation. For more than a decade, NASA's GRACE has continuously acquired time-variable measurements of the Earth's gravity field and has provided unprecedented surveillance of mass balance of the ice sheets, offering an opportunity for ice sheet model evaluation. Here, we take advantage of a new high-resolution (~300 km) monthly mascon solution for the purpose of mass balance comparison with an independent, historical ice flow model simulation using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). The comparison highlights which regions of the ice sheet differ most from GRACE. Investigation of regional differences in trends and seasonal amplitudes between simulations forced with three different Regional Climate Model (RCM)-based estimates of surface mass balance (SMB) allows us to make conclusions about the relative contributions of various error sources in the model hindcast. This study constitutes the first regional comparison of GRACE data and an ice sheet model. Conclusions will aid in the improvement of RCM SMB estimates as well as ice sheet simulation estimates of present and future rates of sea level rise. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Program and President's and Director's Fund Program.

  15. Holocene Fluctuations of North Ice Cap, a Proxy for Climate Conditions along the Northwestern Margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelly, M. A.; Osterberg, E. C.; Lasher, G. E.; Farnsworth, L. B.; Howley, J. A.; Axford, Y.; Zimmerman, S. R. H.

    2015-12-01

    North Ice Cap (~76.9°N, 68°W, summit elevation 1322 m asl), a small, independent ice cap in northwestern Greenland, is located within ~25 km of the Greenland Ice Sheet margin and Harald Molkte Bræ outlet glacier. We present geochronological, geomorphic and sedimentological data constraining the Holocene extents of North Ice Cap and suggest that its past fluctuations can be used as a proxy for climate conditions along the northwestern margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Prior work by Goldthwait (1960) used glacial geomorphology and radiocarbon ages of subfossil plants emerging along shear planes in the ice cap margin to suggest that that North Ice Cap was not present during the early Holocene and nucleated in the middle to late Holocene time, with the onset of colder conditions. Subfossil plants emerging at shear planes in the North Ice Cap margin yield radiocarbon ages of ~4.8-5.9 cal kyr BP (Goldthwait, 1960) and ~AD 1000-1350 (950-600 cal yr BP), indicating times when the ice cap was smaller than at present. In situ subfossil plants exposed by recent ice cap retreat date to ~AD 1500-1840 (450-110 cal yr BP) and indicate small fluctuations of the ice cap margin. 10Be ages of an unweathered, lichen-free drift <100 m from the present North Ice Cap margin range from ~500 to 8000 yrs ago. We suggest that the drift was deposited during the last ~500 yrs and that the older 10Be ages are influenced by 10Be inherited from a prior period of exposure. We also infer ice cap fluctuations using geochemical data from a Holocene-long sediment core from Deltasø, a downstream lake that currently receives meltwater from North Ice Cap. The recent recession of the North Ice Cap margin influenced a catastrophic drainage of a large proglacial lake, Søndre Snesø, that our field team documented in August 2012. To our knowledge, this is the first significant lowering of Søndre Snesø in historical time.

  16. A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance.

    PubMed

    Shepherd, Andrew; Ivins, Erik R; A, Geruo; Barletta, Valentina R; Bentley, Mike J; Bettadpur, Srinivas; Briggs, Kate H; Bromwich, David H; Forsberg, René; Galin, Natalia; Horwath, Martin; Jacobs, Stan; Joughin, Ian; King, Matt A; Lenaerts, Jan T M; Li, Jilu; Ligtenberg, Stefan R M; Luckman, Adrian; Luthcke, Scott B; McMillan, Malcolm; Meister, Rakia; Milne, Glenn; Mouginot, Jeremie; Muir, Alan; Nicolas, Julien P; Paden, John; Payne, Antony J; Pritchard, Hamish; Rignot, Eric; Rott, Helmut; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Scambos, Ted A; Scheuchl, Bernd; Schrama, Ernst J O; Smith, Ben; Sundal, Aud V; van Angelen, Jan H; van de Berg, Willem J; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Vaughan, David G; Velicogna, Isabella; Wahr, John; Whitehouse, Pippa L; Wingham, Duncan J; Yi, Donghui; Young, Duncan; Zwally, H Jay

    2012-11-30

    We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth's polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods--especially in Greenland and West Antarctica--and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by -142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, -65 ± 26, and -20 ± 14 gigatonnes year(-1), respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year(-1) to the rate of global sea-level rise.

  17. Younger Dryas interval and outflow from the Laurentide ice sheet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, T.C.; Walker, J.C.G.; Rea, David K.; Lewis, C.F.M.; Shane, L.C.K.; Smith, A.J.

    2000-01-01

    A boxmodel of the Great Lakes is used to estimate meltwater flow into the North Atlantic between 8000 and 14,000 calendar years B.P. Controls on the model include the oxygen isotopic composition of meltwaters and lake waters as measured in the shells of ostracodes. Outflow rates are highest when oxygen isotopic values of the lake waters are most negative, denoting a maximum glacial meltwater component. Flow rates reach maximum values before the onset of the Younger Dryas and after it ends. These maxima appear to be correlative with the major meltwater pulses MWP 1A and 1B. Although the resumption of North Atlantic Deep Water formation may be tied to the reduction in ice sheet melting, neither the onset nor the end of the Younger Dryas, as recorded in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2) records, appear tied to maxima in meltwater outflow from the Laurentide ice sheet. Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.

  18. High export of dissolved silica from the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meire, L.; Meire, P.; Struyf, E.; Krawczyk, D. W.; Arendt, K. E.; Yde, J. C.; Juul Pedersen, T.; Hopwood, M. J.; Rysgaard, S.; Meysman, F. J. R.

    2016-09-01

    Silica is an essential element for marine life and plays a key role in the biogeochemistry of the ocean. Glacial activity stimulates rock weathering, generating dissolved silica that is exported to coastal areas along with meltwater. The magnitude of the dissolved silica export from large glacial areas such as the Greenland Ice Sheet is presently poorly quantified and not accounted for in global budgets. Here we present data from two fjord systems adjacent to the Greenland Ice Sheet which reveal a large export of dissolved silica by glacial meltwater relative to other macronutrients. Upscaled to the entire Greenland Ice Sheet, the export of dissolved silica equals 22 ± 10 Gmol Si yr-1. When the silicate-rich meltwater mixes with upwelled deep water, either inside or outside Greenland's fjords, primary production takes place at increased silicate to nitrate ratios. This likely stimulates the growth of diatoms relative to other phytoplankton groups.

  19. A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shepherd, Andrew; Ivins, Erik R.; Geruo, A.; Barletta, Valentia R.; Bentley, Mike J.; Bettadpur, Srinivas; Briggs, Kate H.; Bromwich, David H.; Forsberg, Rene; Galin, Natalia; Horwath, Martin; Jacobs, Stan; Joughin, Ian; King, Matt A.; Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Li, Jilu; Ligtenberg, Stefan R. M.; Luckman, Adrian; Luthcke, Scott B.; McMillan, Malcolm; Meister, Rakia; Milne, Glenn; Mouginot, Jeremie; Muir, Alan; Nicolas,Julien P.; Paden, John; Payne, Antony J.; Pritchard, Hamish; Rignot, Eric; Rott, Helmut; Sorensen, Louise Sandberg; Scambos, Ted A.; Yi, Dohngui; Zwally, H. Jay

    2012-01-01

    We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth's polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods-especially in Greenland and West Antarctica-and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by -142 plus or minus 49, +14 plus or minus 43, -65 plus or minus 26, and -20 plus or minus 14 gigatonnes year(sup -1), respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 plus or minus 0.20 millimeter year(sup -1) to the rate of global sea-level rise.

  20. Miocene to recent ice elevation variations from the interior of the West Antarctic ice sheet: Constraints from geologic observations, cosmogenic nuclides and ice sheet modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mukhopadhyay, Sujoy; Ackert, Robert P.; Pope, Allen E.; Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert M.

    2012-07-01

    Observations of long-term West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) behavior can be used to test and constrain dynamic ice sheet models. Long-term observational constraints are however, rare. Here we present the first constraints on long-term (Miocene-Holocene) WAIS elevation from the interior of the ice sheet near the WAIS divide. We use geologic observations and measurements of cosmogenic 21Ne and 10Be in bedrock surfaces to constrain WAIS elevation variations to <160 m above the present-day ice levels since 7 Ma, and <110 m above present-day ice levels since 5.4 Ma. The cosmogenic nuclide data indicate that bedrock surfaces 35 m above the present-day ice levels had near continuous exposure over the past 3.5 Ma, requiring average interior WAIS elevations to have been similar to, or lower than present, since the beginning of the Pliocene warm period. We use a continental ice sheet model to simulate the history of ice cover at our sampling sites and thereby compute the expected concentration of the cosmogenic nuclides. The ice sheet model indicates that during the past 5 Ma interior WAIS elevations of >65 m above present-day ice levels at the Ohio Range occur only rarely during brief ice sheet highstands, consistent with the observed cosmogenic nuclide data. Furthermore, the model's prediction that highstand elevations have increased on average since the Pliocene is in good agreement with the cosmogenic nuclide data that indicate the highest ice elevation over the past 5 Ma was reached during the highstand at 11 ka. Since the simulated cosmogenic nuclide concentrations derived from the model's ice elevation history are in good agreement with our measurements, we suggest that the model's prediction of more frequent collapsed-WAIS states and smaller WAIS volumes during the Pliocene are also correct.

  1. Pliocene retreat of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheet margins (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deconto, R. M.; Pollard, D.

    2013-12-01

    The middle Pliocene epoch (~3 million years ago) is often considered an analogue for future global climatic conditions, because global mean temperatures were comparable to projections of future climate at the end of this century. Importantly, some estimates of mid-Pliocene sea level are >20 m higher than today, implying the potential for significant retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), in addition to the loss of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets (WAIS). Here, we use a hybrid ice sheet-shelf model with freely migrating grounding lines coupled to a high-resolution regional climate model to test the potential for both West and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat during the warm Pliocene and in long-term future scenarios with elevated CO2. In these simulations we apply new treatments of i) ice shelf calving (accounting for the effects of divergent ice flow and surface melt water on crevassing), ii) ice-cliff mechanics at the grounding line, iii) improved sub-glacial bathymetry using BEDMAP2, and iv) a range of plausible ocean warming scenarios based on offline ocean modeling. In warm Pliocene simulations, the combination of improved bathymetric detail and more physically based model treatments of floating and grounded calving fronts substantially increases the rates and magnitudes of ice sheet retreat into over-deepened subglacial basins in both in West and East Antarctica. These new results imply the EAIS margin did indeed contribute to elevated (and orbitally paced) Pliocene sea levels, with Antarctica contributing up to ~20m equivalent sea level during the warmest intervals. In long-term (10^3-4-yr) future simulations using the same model physics, we find these new mechanisms produce a much more sensitive and vulnerable ice sheet than previously considered, with the potential for substantial future retreat of both WAIS and parts of the East Antarctic margin in response to the combined effects of increased surface melt on ice shelf surfaces and

  2. Response of the Antarctic ice sheet to ocean forcing using the POPSICLES coupled ice sheet-ocean model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, D. F.; Asay-Davis, X.; Price, S. F.; Cornford, S. L.; Maltrud, M. E.; Ng, E. G.; Collins, W.

    2014-12-01

    We present the response of the continental Antarctic ice sheet to sub-shelf-melt forcing derived from POPSICLES simulation results covering the full Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Southern Ocean spanning the period 1990 to 2010. Simulations are performed at 0.1 degree (~5 km) ocean resolution and ice sheet resolution as fine as 500 m using adaptive mesh refinement. A comparison of fully-coupled and comparable standalone ice-sheet model results demonstrates the importance of two-way coupling between the ice sheet and the ocean. The POPSICLES model couples the POP2x ocean model, a modified version of the Parallel Ocean Program (Smith and Gent, 2002), and the BISICLES ice-sheet model (Cornford et al., 2012). BISICLES makes use of adaptive mesh refinement to fully resolve dynamically-important regions like grounding lines and employs a momentum balance similar to the vertically-integrated formulation of Schoof and Hindmarsh (2009). Results of BISICLES simulations have compared favorably to comparable simulations with a Stokes momentum balance in both idealized tests like MISMIP3D (Pattyn et al., 2013) and realistic configurations (Favier et al. 2014). POP2x includes sub-ice-shelf circulation using partial top cells (Losch, 2008) and boundary layer physics following Holland and Jenkins (1999), Jenkins (2001), and Jenkins et al. (2010). Standalone POP2x output compares well with standard ice-ocean test cases (e.g., ISOMIP; Losch, 2008) and other continental-scale simulations and melt-rate observations (Kimura et al., 2013; Rignot et al., 2013). A companion presentation, "Present-day circum-Antarctic simulations using the POPSICLES coupled land ice-ocean model" in session C027 describes the ocean-model perspective of this work, while we focus on the response of the ice sheet and on details of the model. The figure shows the BISICLES-computed vertically-integrated ice velocity field about 1 month into a 20-year coupled Antarctic run. Groundling lines are shown in green.

  3. Ice-sheet modelling accelerated by graphics cards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brædstrup, Christian Fredborg; Damsgaard, Anders; Egholm, David Lundbek

    2014-11-01

    Studies of glaciers and ice sheets have increased the demand for high performance numerical ice flow models over the past decades. When exploring the highly non-linear dynamics of fast flowing glaciers and ice streams, or when coupling multiple flow processes for ice, water, and sediment, researchers are often forced to use super-computing clusters. As an alternative to conventional high-performance computing hardware, the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) is capable of massively parallel computing while retaining a compact design and low cost. In this study, we present a strategy for accelerating a higher-order ice flow model using a GPU. By applying the newest GPU hardware, we achieve up to 180× speedup compared to a similar but serial CPU implementation. Our results suggest that GPU acceleration is a competitive option for ice-flow modelling when compared to CPU-optimised algorithms parallelised by the OpenMP or Message Passing Interface (MPI) protocols.

  4. A Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics Model for Ice Sheet and Ice Shelf Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Pan, Wenxiao; Tartakovsky, Alexandre M.; Monaghan, Joseph J.

    2012-02-08

    Mathematical modeling of ice sheets is complicated by the non-linearity of the governing equations and boundary conditions. Standard grid-based methods require complex front tracking techniques and have limited capability to handle large material deformations and abrupt changes in bottom topography. As a consequence, numerical methods are usually restricted to shallow ice sheet and ice shelf approximations. We propose a new smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) model for coupled ice sheet and ice shelf dynamics. SPH is a fully Lagrangian particle method. It is highly scalable and its Lagrangian nature and meshless discretization are well suited to the simulation of free surface flows, large material deformation, and material fragmentation. In this paper SPH is used to study ice sheet/ice shelf behavior, and the dynamics of the grounding line. The steady state position of the grounding line obtained from the SPH simulations is in good agreement with laboratory observations for a wide range of simulated bedrock slopes, and density ratios similar to those of ice and sea water. The numerical accuracy of the SPH algorithm is further verified by simulating the plane shear flow of two immiscible fluids and the propagation of a highly viscous blob of fluid along a horizontal surface. In the experiment, the ice was represented with a viscous newtonian fluid. For consistency, in the described SPH model the ice is also modeled as a viscous newtonian fluid. Typically, ice sheets are modeled as a non-Newtonian fluid, accounting for the changes in the mechanical properties of ice. Implementation of a non-Newtonian rheology in the SPH model is the subject of our ongoing research.

  5. Modelling water flow under glaciers and ice sheets

    PubMed Central

    Flowers, Gwenn E.

    2015-01-01

    Recent observations of dynamic water systems beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have sparked renewed interest in modelling subglacial drainage. The foundations of today's models were laid decades ago, inspired by measurements from mountain glaciers, discovery of the modern ice streams and the study of landscapes evacuated by former ice sheets. Models have progressed from strict adherence to the principles of groundwater flow, to the incorporation of flow ‘elements’ specific to the subglacial environment, to sophisticated two-dimensional representations of interacting distributed and channelized drainage. Although presently in a state of rapid development, subglacial drainage models, when coupled to models of ice flow, are now able to reproduce many of the canonical phenomena that characterize this coupled system. Model calibration remains generally out of reach, whereas widespread application of these models to large problems and real geometries awaits the next level of development. PMID:27547082

  6. Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet at High Elevations.

    PubMed

    Thomas; Akins; Csatho; Fahnestock; Gogineni; Kim; Sonntag

    2000-07-21

    Comparison of ice discharge from higher elevation areas of the entire Greenland Ice Sheet with total snow accumulation gives estimates of ice thickening rates over the past few decades. On average, the region has been in balance, but with thickening of 21 centimeters per year in the southwest and thinning of 30 centimeters per year in the southeast. The north of the ice sheet shows less variability, with average thickening of 2 centimeters per year in the northeast and thinning of about 5 centimeters per year in the northwest. These results agree well with those from repeated altimeter surveys, except in the extreme south, where we find substantially higher rates of both thickening and thinning.

  7. The New ICE Age

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickman, Randy; Willis, Mike

    2005-07-01

    Recent advances in the application of pulsed power to the study of dynamic material response have been made on the Sandia Z accelerator. Smoothly increasing multi-megabar pressure loads have been achieved allowing quasi-isentropes for these materials to be inferred. A significant amount of material research does not, however, require such intense pressure loading. In response to this, Sandia National Laboratories is constructing a facility that will house a compact Isentropic Compression Experiment (ICE) pulsed power driver capable of producing currents of ˜ 4 Ma, and subsequent pressure loads on 4 samples up to ˜1 Mbar to provide a more cost effective, easily accessed machine for dynamic material studies. Additionally, a single stage air gun will be available to support the pulser as well as for standard, low velocity EOS experiments. Instrumentation will include conventional VISAR with ultra low VPF capability, spatially resolved VISAR, flash X-rays, and sample temperature control. Discussion of facility capabilities and preliminary data will be presented. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-ACO4-94AL85000.

  8. Impact of Continental Ice Sheet Topography on the Pacific ITCZ During the Last Glacial Period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, S.; Chiang, J. C.; Chang, P.

    2011-12-01

    The Tropical Pacific underwent profound climate change during the Pleistocene ice age variations, marked by cooler sea surface temperature (SST) and changes in hydrological cycle. Studies have shown that the meridional position of the marine Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is sensitive to SST gradient changes, and models have demonstrated the Pacific ITCZ shift in response to surface albedo changes and high-latitude Atlantic SST cooling in a glacial climate. However, the tropical Pacific climate response to a full range Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) forcing has yet to be systematically explored. This modeling study investigates the impacts of changes in continental ice sheet topography on the position of Pacific ITCZ in a glacial climate. Simulations using an AGCM coupled to a reduced-gravity ocean where the LGM ice sheet was successively increased from zero thickness to 100% suggest that continental ice sheet growth can lead to significant changes in the tropical Pacific climate, including a reduction in the zonal SST gradient, a southward shift of the ITCZ, and a strengthening (weakening) of the mean-annual northern (southern) hemisphere Hadley circulation. We find a progressive southward displacement of the tropical Pacific rain belt in response to the topographic effect of northern hemisphere continental ice sheets growth, a mechanism distinctly different from the cooling influence by the ice sheet albedo on the ITCZ that had been previously discussed in the literature. Our results suggest that ice-sheet topographic forcing had a significant impact on the tropical Pacific coupled ocean-atmosphere climate during glacial-interglacial cycles.

  9. Discussing Progress in Understanding Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herraiz Borreguero, Laura; Mottram, Ruth; Cvijanovic, Ivana

    2010-11-01

    Advanced Climate Dynamics Course 2010: Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions; Lyngen, Norway, 8-19 June 2010; Sea level rise is one of many expected consequences of climate change, with accompanying complex social and economic challenges. Major uncertainties in sea level rise projections relate to the response of ice sheets to sea level rise and the key role that interactions with the ocean may play. Recognizing that probably no comprehensive curriculum currently exists at any single university that covers this novel and interdisciplinary subject, the Advanced Climate Dynamics Courses (ACDC) team brought together a group of 40 international students, postdocs, and lecturers from diverse backgrounds to provide an overview and discussion of state-of-the-art research into ocean-ice sheet interactions and to propose research priorities for the next decade. Among the key issues addressed were small-scale processes near the Antarctic ice shelves and Greenland outlet glaciers. These are fast changing components in the climate system, often related to large-scale forcings (atmospheric teleconnections and oceanic circulation). Progress in understanding and modeling is hampered by the range of scales involved, the lack of observations, and the difficulties in constraining, initializing, and providing adequate boundary conditions for ice sheet and ocean models.

  10. Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Rignot, Eric; Kanagaratnam, Pannir

    2006-02-17

    Using satellite radar interferometry observations of Greenland, we detected widespread glacier acceleration below 66 degrees north between 1996 and 2000, which rapidly expanded to 70 degrees north in 2005. Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year. As more glaciers accelerate farther north, the contribution of Greenland to sea-level rise will continue to increase.

  11. Glaciology and the Ice Age.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carozzi, Albert V.

    1984-01-01

    Discusses: (1) the beginning of glaciology; (2) origin of erratic boulders, meteorites, volcanic explosions, floods, and drift; (3) ice age hypothesis in Europe and the United States; (4) development of glacial theory; (5) and a unified explanation of glacial events. A bibliography of classical research on glaciology is included. (BC)

  12. Diachronous retreat of the Greenland ice sheet during the last deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinclair, G.; Carlson, A. E.; Mix, A. C.; Lecavalier, B. S.; Milne, G.; Mathias, A.; Buizert, C.; DeConto, R.

    2016-08-01

    The last deglaciation is the most recent interval of large-scale climate change that drove the Greenland ice sheet from continental shelf to within its present extent. Here, we use a database of 645 published 10Be ages from Greenland to document the spatial and temporal patterns of retreat of the Greenland ice sheet during the last deglaciation. Following initial retreat of its marine margins, most land-based deglaciation occurred in Greenland following the end of the Younger Dryas cold period (12.9-11.7 ka). However, deglaciation in east Greenland peaked significantly earlier (13.0-11.5 ka) than that in south Greenland (11.0-10 ka) or west Greenland (10.5-7.0 ka). The terrestrial deglaciation of east and south Greenland coincide with adjacent ocean warming. 14C ages and a recent ice-sheet model reconstruction do not capture this progression of terrestrial deglacial ages from east to west Greenland, showing deglaciation occurring later than observed in 10Be ages. This model-data misfit likely reflects the absence of realistic ice-ocean interactions. We suggest that oceanic changes may have played an important role in driving the spatial-temporal ice-retreat pattern evident in the 10Be data.

  13. Ross Sea paleo-ice sheet drainage and deglacial history during and since the LGM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, John B.; Conway, Howard; Bart, Philip J.; Witus, Alexandra E.; Greenwood, Sarah L.; McKay, Robert M.; Hall, Brenda L.; Ackert, Robert P.; Licht, Kathy; Jakobsson, Martin; Stone, John O.

    2014-09-01

    Onshore and offshore studies show that an expanded, grounded ice sheet occupied the Ross Sea Embayment during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Results from studies of till provenance and the orientation of geomorphic features on the continental shelf show that more than half of the grounded ice sheet consisted of East Antarctic ice flowing through Transantarctic Mountain (TAM) outlet glaciers; the remainder came from West Antarctica. Terrestrial data indicate little or no thickening in the upper catchment regions in both West and East Antarctica during the LGM. In contrast, evidence from the mouths of the southern and central TAM outlet glaciers indicate surface elevations between 1000 m and 1100 m (above present-day sea level). Farther north along the western margin of the Ross Ice Sheet, surface elevations reached 720 m on Ross Island, and 400 m at Terra Nova Bay. Evidence from Marie Byrd Land at the eastern margin of the ice sheet indicates that the elevation near the present-day grounding line was more than 800 m asl, while at Siple Dome in the central Ross Embayment, the surface elevation was about 950 m asl. Farther north, evidence that the ice sheet was grounded on the middle and the outer continental shelf during the LGM implies that surface elevations had to be at least 100 m above the LGM sea level. The apparent low surface profile and implied low basal shear stress in the central and eastern embayment suggests that although the ice streams may have slowed during the LGM, they remained active. Ice-sheet retreat from the western Ross Embayment during the Holocene is constrained by marine and terrestrial data. Ages from marine sediments suggest that the grounding line had retreated from its LGM outer shelf location only a few tens of kilometer to a location south of Coulman Island by ˜13 ka BP. The ice sheet margin was located in the vicinity of the Drygalski Ice Tongue by ˜11 ka BP, just north of Ross Island by ˜7.8 ka BP, and near Hatherton Glacier by

  14. Moisture supply for northern ice-sheet growth during the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hebbeln, Dierk; Dokken, Trond; Andersen, Espen S.; Hald, Morten; Elverhøi, Anders

    1994-08-01

    DURING the last ice age, the Barents Sea ice sheet began to grow 22 kyr ago1, only 8 kyr before it began to disintegrate2. This implies that the ice must have grown very rapidly from the coast to the edge of the continental shelf. Such rapid growth of a large ice sheet requires significant amounts of moisture3, but the origin of this moisture has been unclear, particularly as the CLIMAP climate reconstruction suggests4,5 that the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian (GIN) seas were perennially ice-covered during this period. Here we present data from deep-sea sediment cores from the Fram Strait, which suggest that relatively warm water from the North Atlantic Ocean was advected into the GIN seas in two short-term events (27-22.5 and 19.5-14.5 kyr ago). We suggest that the resulting seasonally ice-free waters were an important regional moisture source for the Barents Sea ice sheet, and that the GIN seas played a much more active role in climate during the last glaciation than has previously been supposed.

  15. Analysis and retracking of continental ice sheet radar altimeter waveforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Martin, T. V.; Brenner, A. C.; Zwally, H. J.; Bindschadler, R. A.

    1983-01-01

    The Seasat-1 radar altimeter data set acquired over both the Antarctic and Greenland continental ice sheets is analyzed to obtain corrected ranges to the ice surface. The radar altimeter functional response over the continental ice sheets is considerably more complex than over the oceans. Causal factors identified in this complicated response include sloping surfaces, undulating ice surfaces with characteristic wavelengths on the same spatial scale as the altimeter beam-limited footprint, off-track reflections, and dynamic lag of the altimeter tracking circuit. Retracking methods using the altimeter return pulse waveforms give range corrections that are typically several meters. The entire set of Seasat-1 altimetry over the continental ice sheets is being retracked by fitting a multi-parameter function to each waveform. Many waveforms have double ramps indicating near-normal reflections from two distinct portions of the ice surface within the altimeter beam. Two independent range measurements differing by less than 25 m are obtained from retracking the double-ramp waveforms.

  16. Seasonal ice flow patterns as indicators of subglacial hydrology on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, T. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Scambos, T.; Joughin, I.; van den Broeke, M.; Klinger, M. J.

    2015-12-01

    Improvements in satellite coverage of the Greenland Ice Sheet have supported a substantial increase in the spatial and temporal resolution of surface velocity measurements. Previously, with seasonal TerraSAR-X satellite measurements of marine-terminating glaciers across the western and southeastern coasts, we identified three dominant and distinct seasonal velocity patterns. Two patterns likely indicate differences in the development of the subglacial hydrologic system, one suggesting development of efficient subglacial drainage during the summer melt season and the other without. Using this framework, we are now taking advantage of a new velocity record we created from Landsat 8 OLI imagery, which allows for better sampling across space and time, to examine local and regional variations in ice sheet surface velocity. Readily measurable, ice velocity holds strong potential as a proxy for understanding changes in subglacial hydrology, which is much more difficult to observe. We investigate seasonal velocity behavior from glacier termini toward the ice sheet interior and among separate glacier systems across the Greenland Ice Sheet as a way to understand changes in ice motion and ice sheet hydrology.

  17. The role of ice shelves in the Holocene evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernales, Jorge; Rogozhina, Irina; Thomas, Maik

    2014-05-01

    Using the continental-scale ice sheet-shelf model SICOPOLIS (Greve, 1997 [1]; Sato and Greve, 2012 [2]), we assess the influence of ice shelves on the Holocene evolution and present-day geometry of the Antarctic ice sheet. We have designed a series of paleoclimate simulations driven by a time-evolved climate forcing that couples the surface temperature record from the Vostok ice core with precipitation pattern using an empirical relation of Dahl-Jensen et al., (1998) [3]. Our numerical experiments show that the geometry of ice shelves is determined by the evolution of climate and ocean conditions over time scales of 15 to 25 kyr. This implies that the initial configuration of ice shelves at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, about 21 kyr before present) has a significant effect on the modelled Early Holocene volume of ice shelves (up to 20%) that gradually diminishes to a negligible level for the present-day ice shelf configuration. Thus, the present-day geometry of the Antarctic ice shelves can be attained even if an ice-shelf-free initial condition is chosen at the LGM. However, the grounded ice volume, thickness and dynamic states are found to be sensitive to the ice shelf dynamics over a longer history spanning several tens of thousands of years. A presence of extensive marine ice at the LGM, supported by sediment core reconstructions (e.g. Naish et al., 2009 [4]), has a clear buttressing effect on the grounded ice that remains significant over a period of 30 to 50 kyr. If ice-shelf-free conditions are prescribed at the LGM, the modelled Early Holocene and present-day grounded ice volumes are underestimated by up to 10%, as opposed to simulations incorporating ice shelf dynamics over longer periods. The use of ice-shelf-free LGM conditions thus results in 50 to over 200 meters thinner ice sheet across much of East Antarctica. References [1] Greve, R. (1997). Application of a polythermal three-dimensional ice sheet model to the Greenland ice sheet: response to

  18. Climate Data Records (CDRs) for Ice Motion and Ice Age

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tschudi, M. A.; Fowler, C.; Maslanik, J. A.; Stroeve, J. C.

    2011-12-01

    Climate Data Records (CDRs) for remotely-sensed Arctic sea ice motion and sea ice age are under development by our group at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The ice motion product, archived at NSIDC, has a considerable history of use, while sea ice age is a relatively new product. Our technique to estimate sea ice motion utilizes images from SSM/I, as well as SMMR and the series of AVHRR sensors to estimate the daily motion of ice parcels. This method is augmented by incorporating ice motion observations from the network of drifting buoys deployed as part of the International Arctic Buoy Program. Our technique to calculate ice age relies on following the actual age of the ice for each ice parcel, categorizing the parcel as first-year ice, second-year, ice, etc. based on how many summer melt seasons the ice parcel survives. Both of these research-grade products have been interpolated onto 25x25 km grid points spanning the entire Arctic Ocean using the Equal-Area Scalable Earth (EASE) grid. Datasets generated from this program have shown that the Arctic ice cover has experienced a significant (> 70%) decline in multiyear ice over the last 20 years, leaving a younger ice cover in 2011. By comparing ice age derived by the Lagrangian tracking method to ice thickness estimated by Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) data, it is observed that ice age is linearly related to ice thickness, up to an age of 10 years. Therefore, the shift in dominance of multiyear ice to first-year ice relates to a significant thinning of the ice. This thinning is estimated to correspond to a 40% reduction in ice volume in the last 20 years. An ancillary dataset (APP-X) produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison has been combined with the ice motion product to monitor the properties of the sea ice parcels tracked by the ice motion product. This dataset includes ice surface and 2-meter air temperature, albedo, downwelling shortwave

  19. Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, H D; Ligtenberg, S R M; Fricker, H A; Vaughan, D G; van den Broeke, M R; Padman, L

    2012-04-25

    Accurate prediction of global sea-level rise requires that we understand the cause of recent, widespread and intensifying glacier acceleration along Antarctic ice-sheet coastal margins. Atmospheric and oceanic forcing have the potential to reduce the thickness and extent of floating ice shelves, potentially limiting their ability to buttress the flow of grounded tributary glaciers. Indeed, recent ice-shelf collapse led to retreat and acceleration of several glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula. But the extent and magnitude of ice-shelf thickness change, the underlying causes of such change, and its link to glacier flow rate are so poorly understood that its future impact on the ice sheets cannot yet be predicted. Here we use satellite laser altimetry and modelling of the surface firn layer to reveal the circum-Antarctic pattern of ice-shelf thinning through increased basal melt. We deduce that this increased melt is the primary control of Antarctic ice-sheet loss, through a reduction in buttressing of the adjacent ice sheet leading to accelerated glacier flow. The highest thinning rates occur where warm water at depth can access thick ice shelves via submarine troughs crossing the continental shelf. Wind forcing could explain the dominant patterns of both basal melting and the surface melting and collapse of Antarctic ice shelves, through ocean upwelling in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas, and atmospheric warming on the Antarctic Peninsula. This implies that climate forcing through changing winds influences Antarctic ice-sheet mass balance, and hence global sea level, on annual to decadal timescales.

  20. Ice Sheet Monitoring Using Latest Generation SAR Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scheuchl, B.; Mouginot, J.; Rignot, E. J.; Li, X.

    2015-12-01

    Remote sensing is a crucial component to gain insight in the worlds ice sheets and glaciers. Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar data have proven to be a key resource to monitor the great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. International efforts undertaken during the last International Polar Year resulted in the collection of vast amounts of data to generate the first continent-wide ice velocity map of Antarctica, a series of full velocity maps of Greenland, and time series data in key regions. The Antarctic grounding line was also mapped at unprecedented accuracy using InSAR. The end of several SAR missions since 2010 has posed a significant challenge in the effort to provide ongoing data acquisitions. New generation missions show potential to not only fill the data gap, but to make the collection of ice sheet data part of the ongoing acquisition scenarios, therefore ensuring data continuity. New modes, like the TOPSAR mode used for Sentinel-1A, provide new opportunities but also pose processing challenges, particularly if the entire area monitored is in motion. Several future missions are in various stages of development, thus further adding to the suite of sensors potentially available to collect data in Polar Regions going forward. The NASA-ISRO L-and S-band mission, planned for launch in 2020, will be a pure science mission with an open data policy, thus again changing the data availability and data access situation for the better. In international collaboration through the Polar Space Task Group, space agencies coordinate their science acquisitions in Polar Regions. With broad input from the larger ice sheet science community, we have worked closely with space agencies to define science requirements and to develop acquisition scenarios that maximize science value for ice sheets. Here we highlight the collaboration effort, summarize the input of the ice sheet science community to the Polar Space Task Group, and present the acquisition plans that resulted

  1. Ice-sheet influences on global Monsoon systems (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Timmermann, A.; Elison Timm, O.; Friedrich, T.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Menviel, L.; Tigchelaar, M.

    2013-12-01

    The waxing and waning of the northern Hemisphere ice-sheets on orbital and millennial timescales and corresponding changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation played an essential role in modulating monsoon systems globally. Here we review the mechanisms by which changes in ice-sheet orography, global sea-level and freshwater input into the North Atlantic can influence global wind patterns and tropical moisture convergence. Our analysis is based on a series of transient model simulations conducted with the newly developed 3-dimensional coupled ice-sheet-climate model iLOVE. Forced by orbital and greenhouse gas concentrations over the past 80 ka, this model realistically simulates the evolution of Northern Hemisphere ice volume. It is demonstrated that orbital-scale changes in ice-sheet orography influence the South American and African Monsoons, but leave Asian Monsoon systems relatively unaltered. On millennial timescales the situation is very different. Freshwater forcing from calving ice-sheets causes variations of the thermohaline circulation, North Atlantic sea surface temperatures and global wind patterns. Using an earth system model hindcast for the period 30-50 ka in combination with high-resolution hydroclimate proxies, we demonstrate that this mechanism can explain for the bulk of MIS3 global Monsoon variability on millennial-timescales. In addition to these remote influences, rainfall intensity in the dominant Monsoon regions is also modulated by precessional forcing and corresponding shifts of the meridional surface temperature gradients. This presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of gaps in our understanding of how orbital forcing affected Monsoons and Intertropical Convergence Zones during the Pleistocene.

  2. Surface Drifters Track the Fate of Greenland Ice Sheet Meltwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hauri, Claudine; Truffer, Martin; Winsor, Peter; Lennert, Kunuk

    2014-07-01

    Understanding the fate and influence of glacial meltwater in heavily ice-covered fjord systems has proven difficult because previous measurement platforms were con­strained to deeper water to keep instrumentation safe from drifting icebergs. Now, using novel, satellite-tracked devices that can with­ stand multiple collisions with ice blocks (see Figure 1) without incurring much damage, scientists have obtained new and detailed data about the role of Greenland Ice Sheet meltwater and its trajectories through God­thåbsfjord in western Greenland.

  3. Glaciers and ice sheets as a biome.

    PubMed

    Anesio, Alexandre M; Laybourn-Parry, Johanna

    2012-04-01

    The tundra is the coldest biome described in typical geography and biology textbooks. Within the cryosphere, there are large expanses of ice in the Antarctic, Arctic and alpine regions that are not regarded as being part of any biome. During the summer, there is significant melt on the surface of glaciers, ice caps and ice shelves, at which point microbial communities become active and play an important role in the cycling of carbon and other elements within the cryosphere. In this review, we suggest that it is time to recognise the cryosphere as one of the biomes of Earth. The cryospheric biome encompasses extreme environments and is typified by truncated food webs dominated by viruses, bacteria, protozoa and algae with distinct biogeographical structures.

  4. Smoothed particle hydrodynamics non-Newtonian model for ice-sheet and ice-shelf dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Pan, W.; Tartakovsky, A. M.; Monaghan, J. J.

    2013-06-01

    Mathematical modeling of ice sheets is complicated by the non-linearity of the governing equations and boundary conditions. Standard grid-based methods require complex front tracking techniques and have limited capability to handle large material deformations and abrupt changes in bottom topography. As a consequence, numerical methods are usually restricted to shallow ice sheet and ice shelf approximations. We propose a new smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) non-Newtonian model for coupled ice sheet and ice shelf dynamics. SPH, a fully Lagrangian particle method, is highly scalable and its Lagrangian nature and meshless discretization are well suited to the simulation of free surface flows, large material deformation, and material fragmentation. In this paper, SPH is used to study 3D ice sheet/ice shelf behavior, and the dynamics of the grounding line. The steady state position of the grounding line obtained from SPH simulations is in good agreement with laboratory observations for a wide range of simulated bedrock slopes, and density ratios, similar to those of ice and sea water. The numerical accuracy of the SPH algorithm is verif;ed by simulating Poiseuille flow, plane shear flow with free surface and the propagation of a blob of ice along a horizontal surface. In the laboratory experiment, the ice was represented with a viscous Newtonian fluid. In the present work, however, the ice is modeled as both viscous Newtonian fluid and non-Newtonian fluid, such that the effect of non-Newtonian rheology on the dynamics of grounding line was examined. The non-Newtonian constitutive relation is prescribed to be Glen’s law for the creep of polycrystalline ice. A V-shaped bedrock ramp is further introduced to model the real geometry of bedrock slope.

  5. Moulin distribution and formation on the southwest Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, V. W.; Smith, L. C.; Gleason, C. J.; Yang, K.; Poinar, K.; Joughin, I.; Pitcher, L. H.

    2015-12-01

    River moulins represent a significant connection between surface meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet and subglacial drainage networks, where increased meltwater can enhance ice sliding dynamics. In this study, a new high-resolution moulin map is created from WorldView-1/2 imagery acquired during the 2012 record melt year for a 12,500 km2 area near Russell Glacier in southwest Greenland. A total of 1,236 moulins are mapped and categorized as being located: in crevasse fields, along a single ice fracture, within drained lake basins, or having no visible formation mechanism. We find the presence of moulins up to 1787 m elevation, with 11% of moulins found above 1600 m elevation: higher than previously mapped moulins and where glaciological theory suggests few moulins should form. Our study observes moulins in both extensional and compressional ice flow regimes (28% of moulins are found in areas of high extensional strain rate >0.005 yr-1), suggesting that strain rates are not a strong indicator of the likelihood for moulin formation. Overall, moulin density tends to increase with higher bed elevation, thinner ice, lower surface slope, higher velocity, and higher strain rate. In sum, moulins are most common in crevassed, thinner ice near the ice sheet edge, but significant quantities also develop at high elevations. This indicates that future inland expansion of melting may create hydrologic connections between the surface and the bed at higher elevations than previously thought.

  6. Modelling the marine advance of the last Cordilleran ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seguinot, Julien; Rogozhina, Irina

    2014-05-01

    Marine advance of the last Cordilleran ice sheet onto the north-eastern Pacific continental shelf may have caused rapid fluctuations of sea level and potentially impacted upon human migration into North America. However the position of the former ice front was critically controlled by a process that remains poorly understood: glacier calving. Geomorphological reconstructions show that part of the presently oceanic areas were ice-covered, allowing for downstream formation of the well-studied Puget and Juan de Fuca lobes. Here we use a numerical glacier model (PISM) to reconstruct the former marine front of the Cordilleran ice sheet and its impact on upstream ice dynamics. Our simulations show that the use of a thickness-based calving law leads to a strong deficit of marine ice cover in the areas where existing reconstructions suggest its advance. In contrast, a physically-based parametrization of glacier calving using the main components of the strain rate tensor (eigencalving; A. Levermann, T. Albrecht, R. Winkelmann, M. A. Martin, M. Haseloff, and I. Joughin, The Cryosphere, 6, 273-286, 2012) reproduces the geomorphologically inferred ice extent.

  7. Late pleistocene ice age scenarios based on observational evidence

    SciTech Connect

    DeBlonde, G. ); Peltier, W.R. )

    1993-04-01

    Ice age scenarios for the last glacial interglacial cycle, based on observations of Boyle and Keigwin concerning the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation and of Barnola et al. concerning atmospheric CO[sub 2] variations derived from the Vostok ice cores, are herein analyzed. Northern Hemisphere continental ice sheets are simulated with an energy balance model (EBM) that is asynchronously coupled to vertically integrated ice sheets models based on the Glen flow law. The EBM includes both a realistic land-sea distribution and temperature-albedo feedback and is driven with orbital variations of effective solar insolation. With the addition of atmospheric CO[sub 2] and ocean heat flux variations, but not in their absence, a complete collapse is obtained for the Eurasian ice sheet but not for the North American ice sheet. We therefore suggest that further feedback mechanisms, perhaps involving more accurate modeling of the dynamics of the mostly marine-based Laurentide complex appears necessary to explain termination I. 96 refs., 12 figs., 2 tabs.

  8. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the Late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, Bas; Dolan, Aisling; Bernales, Jorge; Gasson, Edward; Goelzer, Heiko; Golledge, Nick; Sutter, Johannes; Huybrechts, Phillipe; Lohmann, Gerrit; Rogozhina, Irina; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Saito, Fuyuki; van de Wal, Roderik

    2015-04-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The Late-Pliocene warm period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of six existing numerical ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of four sensitivity experiments. Ice-sheet model forcing fields are taken from the HadCM3 atmosphere-ocean climate model runs for the pre-industrial and the Pliocene. We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. The six ice-sheet models simulate a comparable present-day ice sheet, although the models are setup with their own parameter settings. For the Pliocene simulations using the Bedmap1 bedrock topography, some models show a small retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet, which is thought to have happened during the Pliocene for the Wilkes and Aurora basins. This can be ascribed to either the surface mass balance, as the HadCM3 Pliocene climate shows a significant increase over the Wilkes and Aurora basin, or the initial bedrock topography. For the latter, our simulations with the recently

  9. On the impact of buttressing on numerical ice sheet models.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cornford, Stephen; Martin, Daniel; Lee, Victoria; Payne, Antony; Ng, Esmond

    2016-04-01

    Idealized problems with little or no lateral variation are frequently used to study numerical ice sheet models that are then applied to realistic problems that have substantial lateral stresses. Given that the strong lateral variation can, for example, result in a stable grounding line on retrograde slope - an impossible result otherwise - it seems unwise to assume that any conclusion drawn from an unbuttressed flow-line geometry can be extrapolated to the general case. We will present results from two problems which do involve significant lateral stresses, the idealized MISMIP+ tests and 1000-year simulations of the entire Antarctic ice sheet, both resolved to sub-kilometre spatial resolution with the BISICLES ice sheet model. We will consider some numerical issues - for example, whether sub-grid friction schemes are as useful as they appear to be in flow-line problems. We will also consider the impact of the Coulomb limited basal traction law proposed by Tsai (2015), which results in flow-line marine ice streams that are more sensitive to climate perturbations than with the usual Weertman law: to what extent does that hold true in buttressed ice streams?

  10. Effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimada, R.; Takeuchi, N.; Aoki, T.

    2012-12-01

    Greenland ice sheet holds approximately 10% of the fresh water on earth. If it melts all, sea level rises about 7.2meter. It is reported that mass of Greenland ice sheet is decreasing with temperature rising of climate change. Melting of the coastal area is particularly noticeable. It is established that 4 to 23% of the sea level rising from 1993 to 2005 is caused by the melting of Greenland ice sheet. In 2010, amount of melting per year became the largest than the past. However many climate models aren't able to simulate the recent melting of snow and ice in the Arctic including Greenland. One of the possible causes is albedo reduction of snow and ice surface by light absorbing snow impurities such as black carbon and dust and by glacial microorganisms. But there are few researches for effect of glacial microorganism in wide area. So it is important to clarify the impact of glacial microorganisms in wide area. The purpose of this study is to clarify the effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change using satellite images of visible, near infrared and thermal infrared wavelength range and observation carried out in northwestern Greenland. We use MODIS Land Surface Temperature Product as ice sheet surface temperature. It estimates land surface temperature based on split window method using thermal infrared bands. MODIS data is bound to cover the whole of Greenland, and calculated the ratio of the temperature change per year. Analysis period is from December 2002 to November 2010. Results of calculating Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change using the MODIS data, our analysis shows that it is upward trend in the whole region. We find a striking upward trend in northern and western part of Greenland. The rate is 0.33±0.03 degree Celsius per a year from 47.5°W to 49°W. While in the coastal area from 49°W to 50.7°W, the rate is 0.26±0.06 degree Celsius per a year. This large upward trend area is the same area as dark region

  11. Radar measurements of melt zones on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.; Gogineni, Prasad; Shanableh, M.

    1994-01-01

    Surface-based microwave radar measurements were performed at a location on the western flank of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Here, firn metamorphasis is dominated by seasonal melt, which leads to marked contrasts in the vertical structure of winter and summer firn. This snow regime is also one of the brightest radar targets on Earth with an average backscatter coefficient of 0 dB at 5.3 GHz and an incidence angle of 25 deg. By combining detailed observations of firn physical properties with ranging radar measurements we find that the glaciological mechanism associated with this strong electromagnetic response is summer ice lens formation within the previous winter's snow pack. This observation has important implications for monitoring and understanding changes in ice sheet volume using spaceborne microwave sensors.

  12. Holocene Antarctic's coastal environment, ice sheet, and sea levels explored

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodwin, I.; Berkman, P.; Hjort, C.; Hirakawa, K.

    Efforts are in the works to resolve a several-decade-long debate over the size and extent of the Antarctic ice sheet and its role in sea levels during the last glacial cycle. Researchers also want to find out more about the nature of environmental changes around the Antarctic coast throughout the Holocene, the sensitivity of the ice sheet to warm periods, and the significance of pre-Holocene marine fossils there.Scientists concerned with these issues presented their research priorities last fall at an Antarctic ice margin evolution (ANTIME) workshop, “Circum-Antarctic Coastal Environmental Variability and Sea Level History During the Late Quaternary.” These workshop participants included coastal and glacial geomorphologists, geochemists, and paleoecologists.

  13. Concentrated englacial shear over rigid basal ice, West Antarctica: implications for modelling and ice sheet flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ross, Neil; Siegert, Martin

    2014-05-01

    Basal freeze-on, deformation and ice crystal fabric re-organisation have been invoked to explain thick, massive englacial units observed in the lower ice column of both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Whilst recognised as having very different rheological properties to overlying meteoric ice, studies assessing the impact of these basal units on the large-scale flow of an ice sheet have so far been limited. We report the discovery of a previously unknown, extensive (100 km long, more than 25 km wide, and up to 1 km thick) englacial unit of near-basal ice beneath the onset zone of the Institute Ice Stream, West Antarctica. Using radio-echo sounding observations, we describe the form and physical characteristics of this englacial unit, and its impact on the stratigraphy and internal deformation of the overlying ice. The lower englacial unit, characterised by a highly-deformed to massive structure, is inferred to be rheologically distinct from the overlying ice column. The overlying ice contains a series of englacial 'whirlwind' features, which are traceable and exhibit longitudinal continuity between flow-orthogonal radar lines. In our data, these whirlwinds are the representation of englacial layer buckling, and therefore provide robust evidence for enhanced ice flow. The interface between the primary ice units is sharp and abrupt, and at a macro-scale is characterised by a series of high-amplitude long-wavelength undulations. Immediately above this interface, whirlwind features are deformed and display evidence for flow-orthogonal horizontal shear, consistent with the deformation of the overlying ice across the basal ice unit. This phenomenon is not a local process, it is observed above the entirety of the currently mapped extent of the basal ice, nor is it dependent on flight orientation, the direction of shear is consistent regardless of flight orientation. These findings have clear significance for our understanding and ability to realistically model ice

  14. Latest Word on Retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2000-01-01

    The West Antarctic ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is estimated to have been three times its present volume and to have extended close to the edge of the continental shelf Holocene retreat of this ice sheet in the Ross Sea began between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago. This history implies an average contribution of this ice sheet to sea level of 0.9 mm/a. Evidence of dateable past grounding line positions in the Ross sector are broadly consistent with a linear retreat model. However, inferred rates of retreat for some of these grounding line positions are not consistent with a linear retreat model. More rapid retreat approximately 7600 years ago and possible near-stability in the Ross Sea sector at present suggest a slow rate of initial retreat followed by a more rapid-than-average retreat during the late Holocene, returning to a near-zero rate of retreat currently. This model is also consistent with the mid-Holocene high stand observations of eustatic sea level. Recent compilation of Antarctic bed elevations (BEDMAP) illustrates that the LGM and present grounding lines occur in the shallowest waters, further supporting the model of a middle phase of rapid retreat bracketed by an older and a more recent phase of modest retreat. Extension of these hypotheses into the future make subsequent behavior of the West Antarctic ice sheet more difficult to predict but suggest that if it loses its hold on the present shallow bed, the final retreat of the ice sheet could be very rapid.

  15. Subglacial roughness of the former Barents Sea ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gudlaugsson, E.; Humbert, A.; Winsborrow, M.; Andreassen, K.

    2013-12-01

    The roughness of a glacier bed has high importance for the estimation of the sliding velocity and can also provide valuable insights into the dynamics and history of ice sheets, depending on scale. Measurement of basal properties in present-day ice sheets is restricted to ground-penetrating radar and seismics, with surveys retrieving relatively coarse data sets. Deglaciated areas, like the Barents Sea, can be surveyed by shipborne 2-D and 3-D seismics and multibeam sonar and provide the possibility of studying the basal roughness of former ice sheets and ice streams with high resolution. Here, for the first time, we quantify the subglacial roughness of the former Barents Sea ice sheet by estimating the spectral roughness of the basal topography. We also make deductions about the past flow directions by investigating how the roughness varies along a 2-D line as the orientation of the line changes. Lastly, we investigate how the estimated basal roughness is affected by the resolution of the basal topography data set by comparing the spectral roughness along a cross section using various sampling intervals. We find that the roughness typically varies on a similar scale as for other previously marine-inundated areas in West Antarctica, with subglacial troughs having very low roughness, consistent with fast ice flow and high rates of basal erosion. The resolution of the data set seems to be of minor importance when comparing roughness indices calculated with a fixed profile length. A strong dependence on track orientation is shown for all wavelengths, with profiles having higher roughness across former flow directions than along them.

  16. How might the North American ice sheet influence the Northwestern Eurasian climate?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beghin, P.; Charbit, S.; Kageyama, M.; Dumas, C.; Ritz, C.

    2015-01-01

    During the last glacial period (∼21 000 years ago), two continental-scale ice sheets covered the Canada and northern Europe. It is now widely acknowledged that these past ice sheets exerted a strong influence on climate by causing changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulations. In turn, these changes may have impacted the development of the ice sheets themselves through a combination of different feedback mechanisms. The present study is designed to investigate the potential impact of the North American ice sheet on the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Eurasian ice sheet through simulated changes in the past glacial atmospheric circulation. Using the LMDz5 atmospheric circulation model, we carried out twelve experiments run under constant Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) conditions for insolation, greenhouse gases and ocean. In the all experiments, the Eurasian ice sheet is removed. The twelve experiments differ in the North American ice-sheet topography, ranging from a white and flat (present-day topography) ice sheet to a full-size LGM ice sheet. This experimental design allows to disentangle the albedo and the topographic impacts of the North American ice sheet onto the climate. The results are compared to our baseline experiment where both the North American and the Eurasian ice sheets have been removed. In summer, we show that the only albedo effect of the American ice sheet modifies the pattern of planetary waves with respect to the no-ice sheet case, causing a cooling of the Eurasian region. By contrast, the atmospheric circulation changes induced by the topography of the North American ice sheet imply summer warming in Northwestern Eurasia. In winter, the Scandinavian and the Barents-Kara regions respond differently to the albedo effect: in response to atmospheric circulation changes, Scandinavia is warmed up and precipitation is more abundant whereas Barents-Kara area is cooled down, decreasing convection process and thus leading to less precipitation. The

  17. Reconstruction of late Wisconsinan Ice Sheet and sea-level implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, John B.

    1993-01-01

    The Ross Sea exhibits north-south oriented troughs associated with modern ice streams and outlet glaciers. Seismic reflection profiles across the troughs show evidence that they were glacially eroded. Seismic records show morphologic features interpreted as till tongues, morainal banks, and possibly glacial deltas formed near the grounding line of the former marine ice sheet. Piston cores from the continental shelf penetrated diamictons whose origin and age is problematic. Detailed petrographic analyses of the minerals and rocks comprising these diamictons were conducted to determine subglacial versus glacial marine origin, and to reconstruct the glacial setting of the Ross Sea during the most recent glacial maximum. The most detailed work, conducted in the western Ross Sea, shows that diamictons do occur in distinct petrologic provinces. This is consistent with deposition from the basal debris zone of either an ice sheet or an ice shelf. Overcompaction, in conjunction with the widespread nature of these deposits, favors deposition from marine ice sheets; ice shelves are believed to deposit their basal debris close to the grounding lines. Other results from the investigation are briefly discussed.

  18. Ice sheet topography by satellite altimetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brooks, R. L.; Campbell, W. J.; Ramseier, R. O.; Stanley, H. R.; Zwally, H. J.

    1978-01-01

    The measured time between the transmission and rzturn of 13.9 GHz radar pulses from the GEOS 3 satellite (at a mean altitude of 844.5 km and an inclination of 114 deg 52 min) is used to determine the thickness of the Greenland ice cap, with an accuracy in surface elevation on the order of 2 m. Attention is given to changes in ice thickness as an indicator of climatic change in general, and change in mean sea level in particular. Each elevation data point obtained by the satellite represents an average along 0.67 km of ground track, and three-dimensional maps are presented to illustrate the data.

  19. Estimation of ice sheet attenuation by using radar sounder and ice core data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ilisei, Ana-Maria; Li, Jilu; Gogineni, Sivaprasad; Bruzzone, Lorenzo

    2016-10-01

    Due to their great impact on the environment and society, the study of the ice sheets has become a major concern of the scientific community. In particular, the estimation of the ice attenuation is crucial since it enables a more precise characterization of the ice and basal conditions. Although such problem has been often addressed in the literature, the assessment of the ice attenuation is subject to several hypotheses and uncertainties, resulting in a wide range of possible interpretations of the properties of the ice. In this paper, we propose a method for constraining the ice attenuation profiles in the vicinity of an ice core by jointly using coincident radar sounder (RS) data (radargrams) and dielectric profile (DEP) data. Radargrams contain measurements of radar reflected power from ice subsurface dielectric discontinuities (layers) on wide areas. DEP data contain ice dielectric permittivity measurements collected at an ice core. The method relies on the detection of ice layers in the radargrams, the estimation of their depth and reflectivity from the DEP data, and the use of the radar equation for the estimation of ice attenuation through the whole ice column and locally at each layer position. The method has been applied to RS and DEP data acquired at the NEEM core site in Greenland. Experimental results confirm the effectiveness of the proposed method.

  20. Geologic controls on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anandakrishnan, Sridhar

    1993-01-01

    The stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is intertwined with its geologic history. The sub-ice geology and the possibility of active rifting and associated elevated heat-flux and volcanism might be determining factors in ice-sheet behavior. Seismic monitoring of natural events at the base of Ice Stream C reveals the presence of a young sedimentary basin beneath the ice stream. The sediments are presumed to be of glacio-marine origin, similar to those beneath Ice Stream B and in the Ross Sea. The young sediments are approximately 1/2 km thick at UpC camp, but thin abruptly southward to 100 m or less. We hypothesize the presence of a fault with a throw of 400 m to account for this (though we have not directly detected the fault), rather than invoking unrealistic basement dips. To extend these studies to critical inland regions, we suggest an expanded explosive-source seismic survey of the Byrd Subglacial Basin to determine the extent and character of the hypothesized rift basin. High-resolution seismic monitoring will detect layering in the sedimentary column, as well as possibly imaging faults directly.

  1. Sub-Kilometer Scale Basal Roughness of the Siple Coast Ice Streams, West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, D. A.; Blankenship, D. D.; Peters, M. E.

    2006-12-01

    The anastomosing series of dynamic, basally lubricated ice streams found on the Siple Coast of West Antarctica play an important role in regulating the mass balance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Geological controls on lubrication, elucidated by gravity, magnetics and seismic data, have proven important in understanding the evolution of these features. An additional indicator of basal properties, the basal roughness of ice sheets, may be an indicator of crustal geology and glacial modification, as well as a controlling parameter on ice dynamics and subglacial hydrology. For the Siple Coast ice streams, Fourier analysis of > 5 kilometer morphology (Siegert et al. 2004) revealed a correlation between ice streams and low bed roughness. Coherent high resolution data allows analysis of along track roughness at tens of meters resolution (Peters et al. 2005), however these data are limited in coverage. We extend roughness estimates into to the hundreds-of-meters length scale, using both frequency domain and autocorrelation methods, using incoherent 60 MHz radio echo sounding data collected between 1991 and 1996 on a five kilometer grid. The data cover the Bentley Subglacial Trench, Bindschadler Ice Stream, Siple Dome and the onset region of Kamb Ice Stream. SAR-processed coherent sounding data collected in 2001 are used to confirm these methods. We test for confinement of ice stream rapid basal motion to distinct morphological provinces; assess the hypothesis that marine sediments blanket much of interior of the basal WAIS; and look for correlation between ice flow and textural anisotropy.

  2. Changes in ice dynamics and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Rignot, Eric

    2006-07-15

    The concept that the Antarctic ice sheet changes with eternal slowness has been challenged by recent observations from satellites. Pronounced regional warming in the Antarctic Peninsula triggered ice shelf collapse, which led to a 10-fold increase in glacier flow and rapid ice sheet retreat. This chain of events illustrated the vulnerability of ice shelves to climate warming and their buffering role on the mass balance of Antarctica. In West Antarctica, the Pine Island Bay sector is draining far more ice into the ocean than is stored upstream from snow accumulation. This sector could raise sea level by 1m and trigger widespread retreat of ice in West Antarctica. Pine Island Glacier accelerated 38% since 1975, and most of the speed up took place over the last decade. Its neighbour Thwaites Glacier is widening up and may double its width when its weakened eastern ice shelf breaks up. Widespread acceleration in this sector may be caused by glacier ungrounding from ice shelf melting by an ocean that has recently warmed by 0.3 degrees C. In contrast, glaciers buffered from oceanic change by large ice shelves have only small contributions to sea level. In East Antarctica, many glaciers are close to a state of mass balance, but sectors grounded well below sea level, such as Cook Ice Shelf, Ninnis/Mertz, Frost and Totten glaciers, are thinning and losing mass. Hence, East Antarctica is not immune to changes.

  3. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the Late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, B.; Dolan, A. M.; Bernales, J.; Gasson, E.; Goelzer, H.; Golledge, N. R.; Sutter, J.; Huybrechts, P.; Lohmann, G.; Rogozhina, I.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; van de Wal, R. S. W.

    2014-11-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The Late-Pliocene warm period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of six existing numerical ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of four sensitivity experiments. Ice-sheet model forcing fields are taken from the HadCM3 atmosphere-ocean climate model runs for the pre-industrial and the Pliocene. We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. The six ice-sheet models simulate a comparable present-day ice sheet, although the models are setup with their own parameter settings. For the Pliocene simulations using the Bedmap1 bedrock topography, some models show a small retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet, which is thought to have happened during the Pliocene for the Wilkes and Aurora basins. This can be ascribed to either the surface mass balance, as the HadCM3 Pliocene climate shows a significant increase over the Wilkes and Aurora basin, or the initial bedrock topography. For the latter, our simulations with the recently

  4. Modeling of Firn Compaction for Estimating Ice-Sheet Mass Change from Observed Ice-Sheet Elevation Change

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Li, Jun; Zwally, H. Jay

    2011-01-01

    Changes in ice-sheet surface elevation are caused by a combination of ice-dynamic imbalance, ablation, temporal variations in accumulation rate, firn compaction and underlying bedrock motion. Thus, deriving the rate of ice-sheet mass change from measured surface elevation change requires information on the rate of firn compaction and bedrock motion, which do not involve changes in mass, and requires an appropriate firn density to associate with elevation changes induced by recent accumulation rate variability. We use a 25 year record of surface temperature and a parameterization for accumulation change as a function of temperature to drive a firn compaction model. We apply this formulation to ICESat measurements of surface elevation change at three locations on the Greenland ice sheet in order to separate the accumulation-driven changes from the ice-dynamic/ablation-driven changes, and thus to derive the corresponding mass change. Our calculated densities for the accumulation-driven changes range from 410 to 610 kg/cu m, which along with 900 kg/cu m for the dynamic/ablation-driven changes gives average densities ranging from 680 to 790 kg/cu m. We show that using an average (or "effective") density to convert elevation change to mass change is not valid where the accumulation and the dynamic elevation changes are of opposite sign.

  5. Full-depth englacial vertical ice sheet velocities measured using phase-sensitive radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kingslake, Jonathan; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.; Adalgeirsdóttir, Gusfinna; Conway, Howard; Corr, Hugh F. J.; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien; Martín, Carlos; King, Edward C.; Mulvaney, Robert; Pritchard, Hamish D.

    2014-12-01

    We describe a geophysical technique to measure englacial vertical velocities through to the beds of ice sheets without the need for borehole drilling. Using a ground-based phase-sensitive radio echo sounder (pRES) during seven Antarctic field seasons, we measure the temporal changes in the position of englacial reflectors within ice divides up to 900 m thick on Berkner Island, Roosevelt Island, Fletcher Promontory, and Adelaide Island. Recorded changes in reflector positions yield "full-depth" profiles of vertical ice velocity that we use to examine spatial variations in ice flow near the divides. We interpret these variations by comparing them to the results of a full-Stokes simulation of ice divide flow, qualitatively validating the model and demonstrating that we are directly detecting an ice-dynamical phenomenon called the Raymond Effect. Using pRES, englacial vertical ice velocities can be measured in higher spatial resolution than is possible using instruments installed within the ice. We discuss how these measurements could be used with inverse methods to measure ice rheology and to improve ice core dating by incorporating pRES-measured vertical velocities into age modeling.

  6. ICESHEET 1.0: a program to produce paleo-ice sheet reconstructions with minimal assumptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gowan, Evan J.; Tregoning, Paul; Purcell, Anthony; Lea, James; Fransner, Oscar J.; Noormets, Riko; Dowdeswell, J. A.

    2016-05-01

    We describe a program that produces paleo-ice sheet reconstructions using an assumption of steady-state, perfectly plastic ice flow behaviour. It incorporates three input parameters: ice margin, basal shear stress and basal topography. Though it is unlikely that paleo-ice sheets were ever in complete steady-state conditions, this method can produce an ice sheet without relying on complicated and unconstrained parameters such as climate and ice dynamics. This makes it advantageous to use in glacial-isostatic adjustment ice sheet modelling, which are often used as input parameters in global climate modelling simulations. We test this program by applying it to the modern Greenland Ice Sheet and Last Glacial Maximum Barents Sea Ice Sheet and demonstrate the optimal parameters that balance computational time and accuracy.

  7. Sedimentary record of ice divide migration and ice streams in the Keewatin core region of the Laurentide Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hodder, Tyler J.; Ross, Martin; Menzies, John

    2016-06-01

    The Aberdeen Lake region of central mainland Nunavut is a former core region of the Laurentide Ice Sheet that is characterized by streamlined glacial landforms classified into multiple crosscutting flow sets and near continuous till blanket. The presence of widespread till near the centre of the Keewatin Ice Dome raises questions about its origin. Detailed drillcore logging revealed a complex stratigraphy consisting of at least 6 till units, variably preserved across the study area. Till provenance analysis indicates deposition by near opposite-trending ice flow phases, interpreted as evidence of reconfiguration of the Keewatin Ice Divide. At the surface, large north-northwesterly aligned landforms are present across the study area. The till stratigraphy within these landforms indicates the same NNW ice flow phase is responsible for considerable till production. This ice flow phase is also correlated to a long regional dispersal train of erratics toward the Gulf of Boothia. The production of an extensive, thick (~ 12 m), till sheet during the NNW-trending ice flow phase occurred far from the ice margin at a time of extensive ice cover of mainland Nunavut, likely from an east-west oriented ice divide. A deglacial westerly trending ice flow phase formed small drumlins atop the larger NNW streamlined till ridges and deposited a surficial till unit that is too thin to mask the NNW flow set across the study area. It is proposed that the Boothia paleo-ice stream catchment area propagated deep into the Laurentide Ice Sheet and contributed to significant till production in this core region of the Keewatin Sector prior to the westerly ice flow shift. The apparent relationship between till thickness and the size of the associated or correlated drumlins, flow sets, and dispersal trains indicates complex erosion/deposition interplay is involved in the formation of streamlined subglacial landforms.

  8. Radiocarbon chronology of the last deglaciation in the Baffin Bay reveals asynchronous melting of Arctic and Laurentide ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Rebecca; Kucera, Michal; Vogt, Christoph; Wacker, Lukas

    2016-04-01

    The transition from the last ice age into the Holocene interglacial was characterised by rapid retreat of North American ice sheets, discharging large quantities of meltwater into the Labrador Sea. Whereas the meltwater chronology of the Laurentide Ice Sheet is well documented, the deglacial history of the American Arctic ice sheets (Inuit Ice sheet and northern Greenland Ice Sheet) draining into the Labrador Sea via the Baffin Bay is less well constrained. Here we present the first high-resolution radiocarbon-dated deglacial records from the Canadian and Greenland margins of the central Baffin Bay. Sedimentological and geochemical data confirm the presence during Termination I of two events of enhanced delivery of detrital carbonate (Baffin Bay Detrital Carbonate Events) dated to 14.2-13.7 ka BP and 12.7-11 ka BP. The events are synchronous across the Baffin Bay and their mineralogical signature indicates a common source of detrital carbonate from the Canadian Arctic, with a synchronous clastic source proximal to Greenland. The events postdate Heinrich layers and their onset is not linked to Greenland temperature change. This indicates that the deglaciation of American Arctic ice sheets and associated meltwater discharge were decoupled from the dominant North Atlantic climate mode.

  9. Moulin density controls drainage development beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banwell, Alison; Hewitt, Ian; Willis, Ian; Arnold, Neil

    2016-12-01

    Uncertainty remains about how the surface hydrology of the Greenland ice sheet influences its subglacial drainage system, affecting basal water pressures and ice velocities, particularly over intraseasonal and interseasonal timescales. Here we apply a high spatial (200 m) and temporal (1 h) resolution subglacial hydrological model to a marginal (extending 25 km inland), land-terminating, 200 km2 domain in the Paakitsoq region, West Greenland. The model is based on that by Hewitt (2013) but adapted for use with both real topographic boundary conditions and calibrated modeled water inputs. The inputs consist of moulin hydrographs, calculated by a surface routing and lake-filling/draining model, which is forced with distributed runoff from a surface energy-balance model. Results suggest that the areal density of lake-bottom moulins and their timing of opening during the melt season strongly affects subglacial drainage system development. A higher moulin density causes an earlier onset of subglacial channelization (i.e., water transport through channels rather than the distributed sheet), which becomes relatively widespread across the bed, whereas a lower moulin density results in a later onset of channelization that becomes less widespread across the bed. In turn, moulin density has a strong control on spatial and temporal variations in subglacial water pressures, which will influence basal sliding rates, and thus ice motion. The density of active surface-to-bed connections should be considered alongside surface melt intensity and extent in future predictions of the ice sheet's dynamics.

  10. Evidence from Ice-Rafted Debris and Sediment Provenance for a Dynamic East Antarctic Ice Sheet During the Mid-Miocene Climate Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, T.; Pierce, E. L.; van de Flierdt, T.; Hemming, S. R.; Cook, C. P.; Passchier, S.; Sangiorgi, F.; Bijl, P.

    2015-12-01

    The Antarctic ice sheets underwent a major expansion during the Mid-Miocene Climate Transition, around 14 Ma, lowering eustatic sea level by perhaps 50m, based on evidence from benthic oxygen isotope records and sea level indicators. However, direct evidence of changes in the ice sheet is limited to sites in or close to the Transantarctic Mountains. Here we present evidence for ice sheet change from two widely separated sites offshore of East Antarctica, IODP Site U1356, Wilkes Land, and ODP Site 1165, Prydz Bay. Between 14.1 and 13.8 Ma at these sites, episodic pulses of ice-rafted debris (IRD), including dropstones, were deposited in concentrations exceeding those in the rest of the Miocene. These repeated pulses of IRD-bearing icebergs indicate large and repeated advances and retreats of the ice sheet during the course of the transition to a larger and relatively more stable ice sheet. We conducted provenance analyses on the mid-Miocene IRD and sediments. At Site U1356, 40Ar/39Ar ages of ice-rafted hornblende grains show that a major ice drainage was situated along the inland part of the Mertz Shear Zone and its southward extension along the west side of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, while Nd isotope data from the terrigenous fine fraction show that the ice margin periodically expanded from high ground well into the Wilkes Subglacial Basin during periods of ice growth. At Site 1165, 40Ar/39Ar on dropstones indicate provenance from both the Lambert Glacier region and the part of Wilkes Land that contains the Aurora Subglacial Basin. The two sites provide a direct record of repeated collapse and re-growth of ice in at least two of East Antarctica's main drainage basins during the mid-Miocene climate transition. We will set our ice-rafted debris and provenance evidence for cryosphere change in the context of mid-Miocene climate records.

  11. Potential Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat driven by hydrofracturing and ice cliff failure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert M.; Alley, Richard B.

    2015-02-01

    Geological data indicate that global mean sea level has fluctuated on 103 to 106 yr time scales during the last ∼25 million years, at times reaching 20 m or more above modern. If correct, this implies substantial variations in the size of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). However, most climate and ice sheet models have not been able to simulate significant EAIS retreat from continental size, given that atmospheric CO2 levels were relatively low throughout this period. Here, we use a continental ice sheet model to show that mechanisms based on recent observations and analysis have the potential to resolve this model-data conflict. In response to atmospheric and ocean temperatures typical of past warm periods, floating ice shelves may be drastically reduced or removed completely by increased oceanic melting, and by hydrofracturing due to surface melt draining into crevasses. Ice at deep grounding lines may be weakened by hydrofracturing and reduced buttressing, and may fail structurally if stresses exceed the ice yield strength, producing rapid retreat. Incorporating these mechanisms in our ice-sheet model accelerates the expected collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to decadal time scales, and also causes retreat into major East Antarctic subglacial basins, producing ∼17 m global sea-level rise within a few thousand years. The mechanisms are highly parameterized and should be tested by further process studies. But if accurate, they offer one explanation for past sea-level high stands, and suggest that Antarctica may be more vulnerable to warm climates than in most previous studies.

  12. Tectonics and ice sheet dynamics of West Antarctic margins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gohl, Karsten

    2010-05-01

    An understanding of the glacial history of the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) and Pine Island Bay (PIB) is essential for proposing models on the future development of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This requires an understanding of the tectonic history and knowledge of tectonic features such as lineaments, ridges, sills and basins, because basement morphology and inherited erosional features control the flow direction of ice-sheets and the influx of Circum-Polar Deep Water (CDW). This is an attempt to reconstruct the tectonic history with the aim to search for basement features and crustal boundaries which may be correlated to the flow and dynamics of the ice-sheet. The Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica is in a prominent location for a series of tectonic and magmatic events from Paleozoic to Cenozoic times. Seismic, magnetic and gravity data from the embayment and PIB reveal the crustal thickness and significant tectonic features. NE-SW trending magnetic and gravity anomalies and the thin crust indicate a former rift zone which was active during or in the run-up to the breakup process between Chatham Rise and West Antarctica before or at 90 Ma. NW-SE trending gravity and magnetic anomalies, following a prolongation of Peacock Sound, indicate the extensional southern boundary to the Bellingshausen Plate which was active between 79 and 61 Ma. It is likely that the prominent Pine Island Trough follows a structural boundary between the crustal blocks of Ellsworth Land and Marie Byrd Land. Data are shown from the ASE and PIB which can be interpreted in context with the reconstruction of the ice advance and retreat history in this area. Differences in the behaviour of the ice-sheet are shown to exist for the western and eastern parts of PIB due to basement structures affecting the inflow of CDW.

  13. Late-Holocene Fluctuations of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Insights from a south Greenland threshold lake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinclair, G.; Carlson, A. E.; Reilly, B.

    2015-12-01

    Several centennial-scale climate fluctuations during the late-Holocene make it an ideal test case for examining the effects of climate change on sea level at societally-relevant timescales. Across much of the Arctic, glaciers and ice sheets reached their maximum late-Holocene extent during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400-1900 C.E.), approximately coincident with the global temperature minima observed during this time. However, ongoing work suggests the south Greenland Ice Sheet (sGrIS) may have behaved differently during the late-Holocene, with several outlet glaciers retreating, rather than advancing, during the LIA, possibly due to regional warming in the region different from the Arctic trend. The Qassimiut lobe, a low-lying piedmont-like extension of the sGrIS, may be especially sensitive to late-Holocene climate changes. Geomorphic evidence outboard of Naujaat Sermia, an outlet glacier draining the Qassimiut lobe, suggests three distinct periods of land exposure. We hypothesize these occurred during the last deglacial period, after an advance from near or behind the present margin during the Neoglacial, and during warming following the Little Ice Age in the last 1-2 centuries. Here, we present data from threshold lake cores immediately outboard of the presumed Neoglacial moraine. A sharp contact divides glacial sands and silts from organic gyttja, indicating glacial retreat from the moraine and subsequent meltwater diversion. The contact is accompanied by several geochemical changes, including increased Fe/Ti ratios, increased Br, and decreased Si and K, indicating a switch from more clastic to organic sedimentation. Radiocarbon ages from eight macrofossils immediately above this contact are calibrated to 1350-1950 C.E., suggesting the ice sheet may have retreated from its late-Holocene maximum during the Little Ice Age, but the wide range in ages suggests reworking of organic material may be significant in this region.

  14. Recent Changes in Arctic Glaciers, Ice Caps, and the Greenland Ice Sheet: Cold Facts About Warm Ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdalati, W.

    2005-12-01

    One of the major manifestations of Arctic change can be observed in the state of balance of Arctic glaciers and ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet. These ice masses are estimated to contain nearly 3 million cubic kilometers of ice, which is more than six times greater than all the water stored in the Earth's lakes, rivers, and snow combined and is the equivalent of over 7 meters of sea level. Most of these ice masses have been shrinking in recent in years, but their mass balance is highly variable on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. On the Greenland ice sheet most of the coastal regions have thinned substantially as melt has increased and some of its outlet glaciers have accelerated. Near the equilibrium line in West Greenland, we have seen evidence of summer acceleration that is linked to surface meltwater production, suggesting a relatively rapid response mechanism of the ice sheet change to a warming climate. At the same time, however, the vast interior regions of the Greenland ice sheet have shown little change or slight growth, as accumulation in these areas may have increased. Throughout much of the rest of the Arctic, many glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking in the past few decades, and in Canada and Alaska, the rate of ice loss seems to have accelerated during the late 1990s. These recent observations offer only a snapshot in time of the long-term behavior, but they are providing crucial information about the current state of ice mass balance and the mechanisms that control it in one of the most climatically sensitive regions on Earth. As we continue to learn more through a combination of remote sensing observations, in situ measurements and improved modeling capabilities, it is important that we coordinate and integrate these approaches effectively in order to predict future changes and their impact on sea level, freshwater discharge, and ocean circulation.

  15. Supraglacial bacterial community structures vary across the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Cameron, Karen A; Stibal, Marek; Zarsky, Jakub D; Gözdereliler, Erkin; Schostag, Morten; Jacobsen, Carsten S

    2016-02-01

    The composition and spatial variability of microbial communities that reside within the extensive (>200 000 km(2)) biologically active area encompassing the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is hypothesized to be variable. We examined bacterial communities from cryoconite debris and surface ice across the GrIS, using sequence analysis and quantitative PCR of 16S rRNA genes from co-extracted DNA and RNA. Communities were found to differ across the ice sheet, with 82.8% of the total calculated variation attributed to spatial distribution on a scale of tens of kilometers separation. Amplicons related to Sphingobacteriaceae, Pseudanabaenaceae and WPS-2 accounted for the greatest portion of calculated dissimilarities. The bacterial communities of ice and cryoconite were moderately similar (global R = 0.360, P = 0.002) and the sampled surface type (ice versus cryoconite) did not contribute heavily towards community dissimilarities (2.3% of total variability calculated). The majority of dissimilarities found between cryoconite 16S rRNA gene amplicons from DNA and RNA was calculated to be the result of changes in three taxa, Pseudanabaenaceae, Sphingobacteriaceae and WPS-2, which together contributed towards 80.8 ± 12.6% of dissimilarities between samples. Bacterial communities across the GrIS are spatially variable active communities that are likely influenced by localized biological inputs and physicochemical conditions.

  16. Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Li, Jun; Robbins, John; Saba, Jack L.; Yi, Donghui; Brenner, Anita; Bromwich, David

    2012-01-01

    During 2003 to 2008, the mass gain of the Antarctic ice sheet from snow accumulation exceeded the mass loss from ice discharge by 49 Gt/yr (2.5% of input), as derived from ICESat laser measurements of elevation change. The net gain (86 Gt/yr) over the West Antarctic (WA) and East Antarctic ice sheets (WA and EA) is essentially unchanged from revised results for 1992 to 2001 from ERS radar altimetry. Imbalances in individual drainage systems (DS) are large (-68% to +103% of input), as are temporal changes (-39% to +44%). The recent 90 Gt/yr loss from three DS (Pine Island, Thwaites-Smith, and Marie-Bryd Coast) of WA exceeds the earlier 61 Gt/yr loss, consistent with reports of accelerating ice flow and dynamic thinning. Similarly, the recent 24 Gt/yr loss from three DS in the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is consistent with glacier accelerations following breakup of the Larsen B and other ice shelves. In contrast, net increases in the five other DS of WA and AP and three of the 16 DS in East Antarctica (EA) exceed the increased losses. Alternate interpretations of the mass changes driven by accumulation variations are given using results from atmospheric-model re-analysis and a parameterization based on 5% change in accumulation per degree of observed surface temperature change. A slow increase in snowfall with climate waRMing, consistent with model predictions, may be offsetting increased dynamic losses.

  17. A microbial ecosystem beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Christner, Brent C; Priscu, John C; Achberger, Amanda M; Barbante, Carlo; Carter, Sasha P; Christianson, Knut; Michaud, Alexander B; Mikucki, Jill A; Mitchell, Andrew C; Skidmore, Mark L; Vick-Majors, Trista J

    2014-08-21

    Liquid water has been known to occur beneath the Antarctic ice sheet for more than 40 years, but only recently have these subglacial aqueous environments been recognized as microbial ecosystems that may influence biogeochemical transformations on a global scale. Here we present the first geomicrobiological description of water and surficial sediments obtained from direct sampling of a subglacial Antarctic lake. Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) lies beneath approximately 800 m of ice on the lower portion of the Whillans Ice Stream (WIS) in West Antarctica and is part of an extensive and evolving subglacial drainage network. The water column of SLW contained metabolically active microorganisms and was derived primarily from glacial ice melt with solute sources from lithogenic weathering and a minor seawater component. Heterotrophic and autotrophic production data together with small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and biogeochemical data indicate that SLW is a chemosynthetically driven ecosystem inhabited by a diverse assemblage of bacteria and archaea. Our results confirm that aquatic environments beneath the Antarctic ice sheet support viable microbial ecosystems, corroborating previous reports suggesting that they contain globally relevant pools of carbon and microbes that can mobilize elements from the lithosphere and influence Southern Ocean geochemical and biological systems.

  18. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the Late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, Bas; Dolan, Aisling M.; Hill, Daniel J.; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.

    2014-05-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The Late-Pliocene Warm Period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.29 to 2.97 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates, with a global annual mean surface-air temperature warming of 1.76 °C. Although Pliocene ice locations and surface extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from Greenland and West and, possibly, East Antarctica based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of the ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of sensitivity experiments. Ice-sheet model forcing fields are taken from the PlioMIP results incorporating multiple coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCM). We show that ice-sheet models simulate a present-day ice sheet which is comparable to the observations, and find no systematic biases introduced when using different GCM forcing relative to observational climate forcing. This project includes multiple ice-sheet models forced with multiple climate model output, from which a comprehensive assessment can be made as to the uncertainties of ice-sheet extent on Antarctica. These results may eventually serve as a new constraint on the extent of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Late-Pliocene Warm Period

  19. Ice-sheet acceleration driven by melt supply variability.

    PubMed

    Schoof, Christian

    2010-12-09

    Increased ice velocities in Greenland are contributing significantly to eustatic sea level rise. Faster ice flow has been associated with ice-ocean interactions in water-terminating outlet glaciers and with increased surface meltwater supply to the ice-sheet bed inland. Observed correlations between surface melt and ice acceleration have raised the possibility of a positive feedback in which surface melting and accelerated dynamic thinning reinforce one another, suggesting that overall warming could lead to accelerated mass loss. Here I show that it is not simply mean surface melt but an increase in water input variability that drives faster ice flow. Glacier sliding responds to melt indirectly through changes in basal water pressure, with observations showing that water under glaciers drains through channels at low pressure or through interconnected cavities at high pressure. Using a model that captures the dynamic switching between channel and cavity drainage modes, I show that channelization and glacier deceleration rather than acceleration occur above a critical rate of water flow. Higher rates of steady water supply can therefore suppress rather than enhance dynamic thinning, indicating that the melt/dynamic thinning feedback is not universally operational. Short-term increases in water input are, however, accommodated by the drainage system through temporary spikes in water pressure. It is these spikes that lead to ice acceleration, which is therefore driven by strong diurnal melt cycles and an increase in rain and surface lake drainage events rather than an increase in mean melt supply.

  20. The diatom record from beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the global proxy perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scherer, Reed P.

    1993-01-01

    Recent glaciological evaluation and modeling of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) support the possibility that the WAIS disintegrated during one or more Pleistocene interglacial period(s). The magnitude of sea level and oxygen isotope variation during certain late-Pleistocene interglacial periods is also consistent with the possibility of major retreat of the WAIS. Although oxygen isotopes from deep-sea sediments provide the best available proxy record for global ice volume (despite the ambiguities in the record), the source of ice volume changes must be hypothesized. Based on the intensity of interglacial isotopic shifts recorded in Southern Ocean marine sedimentary records, stage 11 (400,000 years ago) is the strongest candidate for WAIS collapse, but the records for stages 9, 7, and 5.5 are all consistent with the possibility of multiple late-Pleistocene collapses. Seismic reflection studies through the WAIS have revealed thick successions of strata with seismic characteristics comparable to upper Tertiary marine sediments. Small samples of glacial diamictons from beneath the ice sheet have been collected via hot-water drilled access holes. These sediments include mixed diatom assemblages of varying ages. Late-Miocene diatoms dominate many samples, probably reflecting marine deposition in West Antarctic basins prior to development of a dominantly glacial phase in West Antarctica. In addition to late-Miocene diatoms, samples from Upstream B (1988/89) contain rare post-Miocene diatoms, many of which imply deposition in the West Antarctic interior during one or more Pleistocene deglaciation periods. Age-diagnostic fossils in glacial sediments beneath ice sheets provide relatively coarse chronostratigraphic control, but they do contain direct evidence of regional deglaciation. Thus, sub-glacial till samples provide the evidence regarding the source of ice sheet variability seen in well-dated proxy records. Combined, these independent data sets can

  1. Recent Changes in High-Latitude Glaciers, Ice Caps, and Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdalati, W.

    2004-12-01

    The mass balance of high-latitude glaciers and ice sheets is highly variable on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, but through a combination of remote sensing and in situ measurements, some significant changes have been observed in recent years. On the Greenland ice sheet most of the coastal regions have thinned substantially as melt has increased and some of its outlet glaciers have accelerated. Near the equilibrium line in West Greenland, we have seen evidence of summer acceleration that is linked to surface meltwater production, suggesting a relatively rapid response mechanism between the ice sheet and a warming climate. Throughout much of the rest of the Arctic, glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking in recent decades, with increased mass losses during the 1990s in parts of Canada and Alaska. The picture is more complicated in the southern hemisphere, where Antarctic ice is growing in some areas, shrinking dramatically in others, and is essentially in balance elsewhere. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) shows thinning along its northern margin, particularly in the glaciers that flow into the Amundsen Sea. The western portions of the WAIS, however, show thickening, but in the aggregate the mass loss is believed to exceed the gain. Changes in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are small, but we don't know at this point whether it is growing or shrinking. On the Antarctic Peninsula, the rapid disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf has resulted in acceleration and thinning of a small number of glaciers that once fed the ice shelf. This behavior raises questions about relatively near-term consequences of climate change and the Antarctic Ice Sheet's contribution to sea level rise. These recent observations offer only a snapshot in time of their long-term behavior, but they are providing crucial information about the current state of ice mass balance and the mechanisms that control it. As we continue to learn more through a combination of remote sensing

  2. Last Glacial Maximum cirque glaciation in Ireland and implications for reconstructions of the Irish Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barth, Aaron M.; Clark, Peter U.; Clark, Jorie; McCabe, A. Marshall; Caffee, Marc

    2016-06-01

    Reconstructions of the extent and height of the Irish Ice Sheet (IIS) during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼19-26 ka) are widely debated, in large part due to limited age constraints on former ice margins and due to uncertainties in the origin of the trimlines. A key area is southwestern Ireland, where various LGM reconstructions range from complete coverage by a contiguous IIS that extends to the continental shelf edge to a separate, more restricted southern-sourced Kerry-Cork Ice Cap (KCIC). We present new 10Be surface exposure ages from two moraines in a cirque basin in the Macgillycuddy's Reeks that provide a unique and unequivocal constraint on ice thickness for this region. Nine 10Be ages from an outer moraine yield a mean age of 24.5 ± 1.4 ka while six ages from an inner moraine yield a mean age of 20.4 ± 1.2 ka. These ages show that the northern flanks of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks were not covered by the IIS or a KCIC since at least 24.5 ± 1.4 ka. If there was more extensive ice coverage over the Macgillycuddy's Reeks during the LGM, it occurred prior to our oldest ages.

  3. A dynamic early East Antarctic Ice Sheet suggested by ice-covered fjord landscapes.

    PubMed

    Young, Duncan A; Wright, Andrew P; Roberts, Jason L; Warner, Roland C; Young, Neal W; Greenbaum, Jamin S; Schroeder, Dustin M; Holt, John W; Sugden, David E; Blankenship, Donald D; van Ommen, Tas D; Siegert, Martin J

    2011-06-02

    The first Cenozoic ice sheets initiated in Antarctica from the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains and other highlands as a result of rapid global cooling ∼34 million years ago. In the subsequent 20 million years, at a time of declining atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and an evolving Antarctic circumpolar current, sedimentary sequence interpretation and numerical modelling suggest that cyclical periods of ice-sheet expansion to the continental margin, followed by retreat to the subglacial highlands, occurred up to thirty times. These fluctuations were paced by orbital changes and were a major influence on global sea levels. Ice-sheet models show that the nature of such oscillations is critically dependent on the pattern and extent of Antarctic topographic lowlands. Here we show that the basal topography of the Aurora Subglacial Basin of East Antarctica, at present overlain by 2-4.5 km of ice, is characterized by a series of well-defined topographic channels within a mountain block landscape. The identification of this fjord landscape, based on new data from ice-penetrating radar, provides an improved understanding of the topography of the Aurora Subglacial Basin and its surroundings, and reveals a complex surface sculpted by a succession of ice-sheet configurations substantially different from today's. At different stages during its fluctuations, the edge of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet lay pinned along the margins of the Aurora Subglacial Basin, the upland boundaries of which are currently above sea level and the deepest parts of which are more than 1 km below sea level. Although the timing of the channel incision remains uncertain, our results suggest that the fjord landscape was carved by at least two iceflow regimes of different scales and directions, each of which would have over-deepened existing topographic depressions, reversing valley floor slopes.

  4. Were West Antarctic Ice Sheet grounding events in the Ross Sea a consequence of East Antarctic Ice Sheet expansion during the middle Miocene?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bart, Philip J.

    2003-11-01

    Seismic correlation of glacial unconformities from the Ross Sea outer continental shelf to chronostratigraphic control at DSDP sites 272 and 273 indicates that at least two West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) expansions occurred during the early part of the middle Miocene (i.e. well before completion of continental-scale expansion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) inferred from δ 18O and eustatic shifts). Therefore, if the volume of the EAIS was indeed relatively low, and if the Ross Sea age model is valid, then these WAIS expansions/contractions were not a direct consequence of EAIS expansion over the Transantarctic Mountains onto West Antarctica. An in-situ development of the WAIS during the middle Miocene suggests that either West Antarctic land elevations were above sea level and/or that air and water temperatures were sufficiently cold to support a marine-based ice sheet. Additional chronostratigraphic and lithologic data are needed from Antarctic margins to test these speculations.

  5. Projecting Antarctic ice discharge using response functions from SeaRISE ice-sheet models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levermann, A.; Winkelmann, R.; Nowicki, S.; Fastook, J. L.; Frieler, K.; Greve, R.; Hellmer, H. H.; Martin, M. A.; Meinshausen, M.; Mengel, M.; Payne, A. J.; Pollard, D.; Sato, T.; Timmermann, R.; Wang, W. L.; Bindschadler, R. A.

    2014-08-01

    The largest uncertainty in projections of future sea-level change results from the potentially changing dynamical ice discharge from Antarctica. Basal ice-shelf melting induced by a warming ocean has been identified as a major cause for additional ice flow across the grounding line. Here we attempt to estimate the uncertainty range of future ice discharge from Antarctica by combining uncertainty in the climatic forcing, the oceanic response and the ice-sheet model response. The uncertainty in the global mean temperature increase is obtained from historically constrained emulations with the MAGICC-6.0 (Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse gas Induced Climate Change) model. The oceanic forcing is derived from scaling of the subsurface with the atmospheric warming from 19 comprehensive climate models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP-5) and two ocean models from the EU-project Ice2Sea. The dynamic ice-sheet response is derived from linear response functions for basal ice-shelf melting for four different Antarctic drainage regions using experiments from the Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution (SeaRISE) intercomparison project with five different Antarctic ice-sheet models. The resulting uncertainty range for the historic Antarctic contribution to global sea-level rise from 1992 to 2011 agrees with the observed contribution for this period if we use the three ice-sheet models with an explicit representation of ice-shelf dynamics and account for the time-delayed warming of the oceanic subsurface compared to the surface air temperature. The median of the additional ice loss for the 21st century is computed to 0.07 m (66% range: 0.02-0.14 m; 90% range: 0.0-0.23 m) of global sea-level equivalent for the low-emission RCP-2.6 (Representative Concentration Pathway) scenario and 0.09 m (66% range: 0.04-0.21 m; 90% range: 0.01-0.37 m) for the strongest RCP-8.5. Assuming no time delay between the atmospheric warming and the oceanic subsurface, these

  6. The Last Interglacial History of the Antarctic Ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, Sarah; Siddall, Mark; Milne, Glenn A.; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie; Wolff, Eric; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.

    2014-05-01

    In this paper we present a summary of the work which was conducted as part of the 'PAST4FUTURE -WP4.1: Sea Level and Ice sheets' project. The overall aim of this study was to understand the response of the Antarctic Ice sheet (AIS) to climate forcing during the Last interglacial (LIG) and its contribution to the observed higher than present sea level during this period. The study involved the application and development of a novel technique which combined East Antarctic stable isotope ice core data with the output from a Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) model [Bradley et al., 2012]. We investigated if the stable isotope ice core data are sensitive to detecting isostatically driven changes in the surface elevation driven by changes in the ice-loading history of the AIS and if so, could we address some key questions relating to the LIG history of the AIS. Although it is believed that the West Antarctic Ice sheet (WAIS) reduced in size during the LIG compared to the Holocene, major uncertainties and unknowns remain unresolved: Did the WAIS collapse? What would the contribution of such a collapse be the higher than present LIG eustatic sea level (ESL)? We will show that a simulated collapse of the WAIS does not generate a significant elevation driven signal at the EAIS LIG ice core sites, and as such, these ice core records cannot be used to assess WAIS stability over this period. However, we will present 'treasure maps' [Bradley et al., 2012] to identify regions of the AIS where results from geological studies and/or new paleoclimate data may be sensitive to detecting a WAIS collapse. These maps can act as a useful tool for the wider science community/field scientists as a guide to highlight sites suitable to constrain the evolution of the WAIS during the LIG. Studies have proposed that the surface temperature across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) was significantly warmer, 2-5°C during the LIG compared to present [Lang and Wolff, 2011]. These higher

  7. Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat

    PubMed Central

    Scherer, Reed P.; DeConto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Alley, Richard B.

    2016-01-01

    Marine diatoms in tillites along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) have been used to suggest a diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) during Pliocene warm periods. Updated ice-sheet modelling shows significant Pliocene EAIS retreat, creating marine embayments into the Wilkes and Aurora basins that were conducive to high diatom productivity and rapid accumulation of diatomaceous sediments. Here we show that subsequent isostatic uplift exposed accumulated unconsolidated marine deposits to wind erosion. We report new atmospheric modelling utilizing Pliocene climate and derived Antarctic landscapes indicating that prevailing mid-altitude winds transported diatoms towards the TAMs, dominantly from extensive emerged coastal deposits of the Aurora Basin. This result unifies leading ideas from competing sides of a contentious debate about the origin of the diatoms in the TAMs and their link to EAIS history, supporting the view that parts of the EAIS are vulnerable to relatively modest warming, with possible implications for future sea-level rise. PMID:27649516

  8. Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scherer, Reed P.; Deconto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Alley, Richard B.

    2016-09-01

    Marine diatoms in tillites along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) have been used to suggest a diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) during Pliocene warm periods. Updated ice-sheet modelling shows significant Pliocene EAIS retreat, creating marine embayments into the Wilkes and Aurora basins that were conducive to high diatom productivity and rapid accumulation of diatomaceous sediments. Here we show that subsequent isostatic uplift exposed accumulated unconsolidated marine deposits to wind erosion. We report new atmospheric modelling utilizing Pliocene climate and derived Antarctic landscapes indicating that prevailing mid-altitude winds transported diatoms towards the TAMs, dominantly from extensive emerged coastal deposits of the Aurora Basin. This result unifies leading ideas from competing sides of a contentious debate about the origin of the diatoms in the TAMs and their link to EAIS history, supporting the view that parts of the EAIS are vulnerable to relatively modest warming, with possible implications for future sea-level rise.

  9. Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat.

    PubMed

    Scherer, Reed P; DeConto, Robert M; Pollard, David; Alley, Richard B

    2016-09-20

    Marine diatoms in tillites along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) have been used to suggest a diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) during Pliocene warm periods. Updated ice-sheet modelling shows significant Pliocene EAIS retreat, creating marine embayments into the Wilkes and Aurora basins that were conducive to high diatom productivity and rapid accumulation of diatomaceous sediments. Here we show that subsequent isostatic uplift exposed accumulated unconsolidated marine deposits to wind erosion. We report new atmospheric modelling utilizing Pliocene climate and derived Antarctic landscapes indicating that prevailing mid-altitude winds transported diatoms towards the TAMs, dominantly from extensive emerged coastal deposits of the Aurora Basin. This result unifies leading ideas from competing sides of a contentious debate about the origin of the diatoms in the TAMs and their link to EAIS history, supporting the view that parts of the EAIS are vulnerable to relatively modest warming, with possible implications for future sea-level rise.

  10. An ice-sheet-wide framework for englacial attenuation from ice-penetrating radar data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jordan, T. M.; Bamber, J. L.; Williams, C. N.; Paden, J. D.; Siegert, M. J.; Huybrechts, P.; Gagliardini, O.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.

    2016-07-01

    Radar inference of the bulk properties of glacier beds, most notably identifying basal melting, is, in general, derived from the basal reflection coefficient. On the scale of an ice sheet, unambiguous determination of basal reflection is primarily limited by uncertainty in the englacial attenuation of the radio wave, which is an Arrhenius function of temperature. Existing bed-returned power algorithms for deriving attenuation assume that the attenuation rate is regionally constant, which is not feasible at an ice-sheet-wide scale. Here we introduce a new semi-empirical framework for deriving englacial attenuation, and, to demonstrate its efficacy, we apply it to the Greenland Ice Sheet. A central feature is the use of a prior Arrhenius temperature model to estimate the spatial variation in englacial attenuation as a first guess input for the radar algorithm. We demonstrate regions of solution convergence for two input temperature fields and for independently analysed field campaigns. The coverage achieved is a trade-off with uncertainty and we propose that the algorithm can be "tuned" for discrimination of basal melt (attenuation loss uncertainty ˜ 5 dB). This is supported by our physically realistic ( ˜ 20 dB) range for the basal reflection coefficient. Finally, we show that the attenuation solution can be used to predict the temperature bias of thermomechanical ice sheet models and is in agreement with known model temperature biases at the Dye 3 ice core.

  11. How might the North American ice sheet influence the northwestern Eurasian climate?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beghin, P.; Charbit, S.; Dumas, C.; Kageyama, M.; Ritz, C.

    2015-10-01

    It is now widely acknowledged that past Northern Hemisphere ice sheets covering Canada and northern Europe at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) exerted a strong influence on climate by causing changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulations. In turn, these changes may have impacted the development of the ice sheets themselves through a combination of different feedback mechanisms. The present study is designed to investigate the potential impact of the North American ice sheet on the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Eurasian ice sheet driven by simulated changes in the past glacial atmospheric circulation. Using the LMDZ5 atmospheric circulation model, we carried out 12 experiments under constant LGM conditions for insolation, greenhouse gases and ocean. In these experiments, the Eurasian ice sheet is removed. The 12 experiments differ in the North American ice-sheet topography, ranging from a white and flat (present-day topography) ice sheet to a full-size LGM ice sheet. This experimental design allows the albedo and the topographic impacts of the North American ice sheet onto the climate to be disentangled. The results are compared to our baseline experiment where both the North American and the Eurasian ice sheets have been removed. In summer, the sole albedo effect of the American ice sheet modifies the pattern of planetary waves with respect to the no-ice-sheet case, resulting in a cooling of the northwestern Eurasian region. By contrast, the atmospheric circulation changes induced by the topography of the North American ice sheet lead to a strong decrease of this cooling. In winter, the Scandinavian and the Barents-Kara regions respond differently to the American ice-sheet albedo effect: in response to atmospheric circulation changes, Scandinavia becomes warmer and total precipitation is more abundant, whereas the Barents-Kara area becomes cooler with a decrease of convective processes, causing a decrease of total precipitation. The gradual increase of the

  12. Supraglacial fluvial landscape evolution on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karlstrom, L.; Yang, K.

    2015-12-01

    In the ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet, melting during the summer drives drainage development in which flow is routed downslope through a network of supgraglacial streams and lakes until it is sequestered by the englacial system or flows off of the glacier. This supraglacial drainage network sets the efficacy by which melt water is transport into the glacier and thus has important implications for coupling between ice sheet sliding and surface melt. Thermal erosion in supraglacial streams is rapid compared to other fluvial environments, raising the possibility that supraglacial topographic evolution is to some extent set by local fluvial incision rather than by underlying bedrock or iceflow. We study a series of supraglacial drainage basins on top of the West Greenland Ice Sheet between 1000-1500 m elevation using a combination of high-resolution images, and concurrent (2 m resolution) DEMs constructed from World View Imagery. Although large-scale topography correlates well with underlying bedrock topography, spectral filtering of the surface also reveals broad, low relief valleys that suggest fluvial modification at all elevations. We extract several hundred supraglacial stream longitudinal profiles per drainage basin, finding many channel segments that are clearly out of equilibrium but also numerous concave up channel segments that are not well correlated with underlying bedrock. These concave up segments have a similar power law exponent, suggesting similarities to equilibrium bedrock and alluvial rivers (although the exponent is different in this setting). We develop a stream-power model to predict equilibrium longitudinal profiles where erosion is due to melting driving by viscous dissipation of heat within streams. We speculate that fluvial erosion driven by viscous dissipation is in part responsible for shaping the Greenland Ice Sheet ablation zone annually, superimposed on long wavelength bedrock control of surface topography and basins.

  13. The First Annual West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Science Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, Robert A. (Editor)

    1993-01-01

    A compilation of abstracts presented at the workshop are presented. The goal was to answer the question, what is the future behavior and potential for rapid collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)? The workshop was organized into four sessions corresponding to the four objectives identified as necessary to reach the WAIS workshop goal: history, current behavior, internal dynamics, and environmental interactions. Presentations were organized by their relevance to each objective, rather than by discipline.

  14. Ku/Ka band observations over polar ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thibaut, Pierre; Lasne, Yannick; Guillot, Amandine; Picot, Nicolas; Rémy, Frédérique

    2015-04-01

    For the first time, comparisons between Ku and Ka altimeter measurements are possible thanks to the new AltiKa instrument embarked onboard the Saral mission launched on February 25, 2013. This comparison is of particular interest when dealing with ice sheet observations because both frequencies have different penetration characteristics. We propose in this paper to revisit the estimation of the ice sheet topography (and other related parameters) with altimeter systems and to present illustrations of the differences observed in Ku and Ka bands using AltiKa, Envisat/RA-2 but also Cryosat-2 measurements. Working on AltiKa waveforms in the frame of the PEACHI project has allowed us to better understand the impact of the penetration depth on the echo shape, to improve the estimation algorithm and to compare its output with historical results obtained on Envisat and ERS missions. In particular, analyses at cross-overs of the Cryosat-2 and Saral data will be presented. Sentinel-3 mission should be launch during 2015. Operating in Ku band and in delay/doppler mode, it will be crucial to account for penetration effects in order to accurately derive the ice sheet heights and trends. The results of the work presented here, will benefit to the Sentinel-3 mission.

  15. Abrupt drainage cycles of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Soulet, Guillaume; Ménot, Guillemette; Bayon, Germain; Rostek, Frauke; Ponzevera, Emmanuel; Toucanne, Samuel; Lericolais, Gilles; Bard, Edouard

    2013-04-23

    Continental ice sheets are a key component of the Earth's climate system, but their internal dynamics need to be further studied. Since the last deglaciation, the northern Eurasian Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) has been connected to the Black Sea (BS) watershed, making this basin a suitable location to investigate former ice-sheet dynamics. Here, from a core retrieved in the BS, we combine the use of neodymium isotopes, high-resolution elemental analysis, and biomarkers to trace changes in sediment provenance and river runoff. We reveal cyclic releases of meltwater originating from Lake Disna, a proglacial lake linked to the FIS during Heinrich Stadial 1. Regional interactions within the climate-lake-FIS system, linked to changes in the availability of subglacial water, led to abrupt drainage cycles of the FIS into the BS watershed. This phenomenon raised the BS water level by ∼100 m until the sill of the Bosphorus Strait was reached, flooding the vast northwestern BS shelf and deeply affecting the hydrology and circulation of the BS and, probably, of the Marmara and Aegean Seas.

  16. Abrupt drainage cycles of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    Soulet, Guillaume; Ménot, Guillemette; Bayon, Germain; Rostek, Frauke; Ponzevera, Emmanuel; Toucanne, Samuel; Lericolais, Gilles; Bard, Edouard

    2013-01-01

    Continental ice sheets are a key component of the Earth’s climate system, but their internal dynamics need to be further studied. Since the last deglaciation, the northern Eurasian Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) has been connected to the Black Sea (BS) watershed, making this basin a suitable location to investigate former ice-sheet dynamics. Here, from a core retrieved in the BS, we combine the use of neodymium isotopes, high-resolution elemental analysis, and biomarkers to trace changes in sediment provenance and river runoff. We reveal cyclic releases of meltwater originating from Lake Disna, a proglacial lake linked to the FIS during Heinrich Stadial 1. Regional interactions within the climate–lake–FIS system, linked to changes in the availability of subglacial water, led to abrupt drainage cycles of the FIS into the BS watershed. This phenomenon raised the BS water level by ∼100 m until the sill of the Bosphorus Strait was reached, flooding the vast northwestern BS shelf and deeply affecting the hydrology and circulation of the BS and, probably, of the Marmara and Aegean Seas. PMID:23569264

  17. Discharge of debris from ice at the margin of the Greenland ice sheet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knight, P.G.; Waller, R.I.; Patterson, C.J.; Jones, A.P.; Robinson, Z.P.

    2002-01-01

    Sediment production at a terrestrial section of the ice-sheet margin in West Greenland is dominated by debris released through the basal ice layer. The debris flux through the basal ice at the margin is estimated to be 12-45 m3 m-1 a-1. This is three orders of magnitude higher than that previously reported for East Antarctica, an order of magnitude higher than sites reported from in Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, but an order of magnitude lower than values previously reported from tidewater glaciers in Alaska and other high-rate environments such as surging glaciers. At our site, only negligible amounts of debris are released through englacial, supraglacial or subglacial sediment transfer. Glacio-fluvial sediment production is highly localized, and long sections of the ice-sheet margin receive no sediment from glaciofluvial sources. These findings differ from those of studies at more temperate glacial settings where glaciofluvial routes are dominant and basal ice contributes only a minor percentage of the debris released at the margin. These data on debris flux through the terrestrial margin of an outlet glacier contribute to our limited knowledge of debris production from the Greenland ice sheet.

  18. Experimental design for three interrelated Marine Ice-Sheet and Ocean Model Intercomparison Projects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asay-Davis, X. S.; Cornford, S. L.; Durand, G.; Galton-Fenzi, B. K.; Gladstone, R. M.; Gudmundsson, G. H.; Hattermann, T.; Holland, D. M.; Holland, D.; Holland, P. R.; Martin, D. F.; Mathiot, P.; Pattyn, F.; Seroussi, H.

    2015-11-01

    Coupled ice sheet-ocean models capable of simulating moving grounding lines are just becoming available. Such models have a broad range of potential applications in studying the dynamics of marine ice sheets and tidewater glaciers, from process studies to future projections of ice mass loss and sea level rise. The Marine Ice Sheet-Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (MISOMIP) is a community effort aimed at designing and coordinating a series of model intercomparison projects (MIPs) for model evaluation in idealized setups, model verification based on observations, and future projections for key regions in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Here we describe computational experiments constituting three interrelated MIPs for marine ice sheet models and regional ocean circulation models incorporating ice shelf cavities. These consist of ice sheet experiments under the Marine Ice Sheet MIP third phase (MISMIP+), ocean experiments under the ice shelf-ocean MIP second phase (ISOMIP+) and coupled ice sheet-ocean experiments under the MISOMIP first phase (MISOMIP1). All three MIPs use a shared domain with idealized bedrock topography and forcing, allowing the coupled simulations (MISOMIP1) to be compared directly to the individual component simulations (MISMIP+ and ISOMIP+). The experiments, which have qualitative similarities to Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf and the adjacent region of the Amundsen Sea, are designed to explore the effects of changes in ocean conditions, specifically the temperature at depth, on basal melting and ice dynamics. In future work, differences between model results will form the basis for evaluation of the participating models.

  19. Ice-sheet sourced juxtaposed turbidite systems in Labrador Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hesse, R.; Klaucke, I.; Ryan, William B. F.; Piper, D.J.W.

    1997-01-01

    Ice-sheet sourced Pleistocene turbidite systems of the Labrador Sea are different from non-glacially influenced systems in their facies distribution and depositional processes. Two large-scale sediment dispersal systems are juxtaposed, one mud-dominated and associated with the Northwest Atlantic Mid-Ocean Channel (NAMOC), the other sand-dominated and forming a huge submarine braided sandplain. Co-existence of the two systems reflects grain-size separation of the coarse and fine fractions on an enormous scale, caused by sediment winnowing at the entrance points of meltwater from the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) to the sea (Hudson Strait, fiords) and involves a complex interplay of depositional and redepositional processes. The mud-rich NAMOC system is multisourced and represents a basinwide converging system of tributary canyons and channels. It focusses its sand load to the central trunk channel in basin centre, in the fashion of a "reverse" deep-sea fan. The sand plain received its sediment from the Hudson Strait by turbidity currents that were generated either by failure of glacial prodelta slopes at the ice margin, or by direct meltwater discharges with high bedload concentration. We speculate that the latter might have been related to subglacial-lake outburst flooding through the Hudson Strait, possibly associated with ice-rafting (Heinrich) events.

  20. New eyes in the sky measure glaciers and ice sheets

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kieffer, Hugh; Kargel, Jeffrey S.; Barry, Roger G.; Bindschadler, Robert; Bishop, Michael P.; MacKinnon, David; Ohmura, Atsumu; Raup, Bruce; Antoninetti, Massimo; Bamber, Jonathan; Braun, Mattias; Brown, Ian; Cohen, Denis; Copland, Luke; DueHagen, Jon; Engeset, Rune V.; Fitzharris, Blair; Fujita, Koji; Haeberli, Wilfried; Hagen, Jon Oue; Hall, Dorothy; Hoelzle, Martin; Johansson, Maria; Kaab, Andi; Koenig, Max; Konovalov, Vladimir; Maisch, Max; Paul, Frank; Rau, Frank; Reeh, Niels; Rignot, Eric; Rivera, Andres; De Ruyter de Wildt, Martiyn; Scambos, Ted; Schaper, Jesko; Scharfen, Greg; Shroder, Jack; Solomina, Olga; Thompson, David; van der Veen, Kees; Wohlleben, Trudy; Young, Neal

    2000-01-01

    The mapping and measurement of glaciers and their changes are useful in predicting sea-level and regional water supply, studying hazards and climate change [Haeberli et al., 1998],and in the hydropower industry Existing inventories cover only about 67,000 of the world's estimated 160,000 glaciers and are based on data collected over 50 years or more [e.g.,Haeberli et al., 1998]. The data available have proven that small ice bodies are disappearing at an accelerating rate and that the Antarctic ice sheet and its fringing ice shelves are undergoing unexpected, rapid change. According to many glaciologists, much larger fluctuations in land ice—with vast implications for society—are possible in the coming decades and centuries due to natural and anthropogenic climate change [Oppenheimer, 1998].

  1. Radiostratigraphy of the Greenland ice sheet from the 2009-2012 Operation IceBridge surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGregor, J. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Catania, G. A.; Paden, J. D.; Wagman, B. M.; Rybarski, S. C.; Young, S. K.; Mabrey, A. N.

    2012-12-01

    We are developing a comprehensive radiostratigraphy of the Greenland ice sheet from the nearly two decades (1993-2012) of airborne radar-sounding surveys collected by the University of Kansas and other institutions. This radiostratigraphy will be used to investigate the ice sheet's basal condition in conjunction with 1-D vertical strain-rate modeling and other remote-sensing data. It will also be gridded at the same resolution as upcoming surface- and bed-elevation models, so that next-generation ice-sheet models can treat these isochrones as internal boundary conditions. To trace this stratigraphy efficiently, we are using several new and recently developed semi-automatic methods (phase tracking, layer-dip mapping, and amplitude flattening). Here we present initial results derived from Operation IceBridge surveys between 2009 and 2012. These radar surveys recorded the common depth pattern of the Greenland ice sheet's internal stratigraphy across thousands of line kilometers (strong reflections in the Holocene, a hiatus between ~15-30 ka, and then a distinct reflector triplet). This pattern is most easily observed in its northern sector. However, intermittent basal freeze-on within this sector can disrupt the overlying internal stratigraphy significantly, despite high-resolution along-track sampling (< 1 m). This disruption is likely due to the unusual depth profiles of vertical strain rate there. In heavily disrupted regions, fewer than half a dozen reflectors can typically be traced reliably, whereas in undisrupted regions more than two dozen reflectors can often be traced across distances of several hundred kilometers. This dataset includes multiple reflectors dated to the last glacial period and which are widely observable throughout the Greenland ice sheet. Thus, radiostratigraphy has the potential to strongly constrain models of its evolution since the last interglacial period.

  2. East Antarctic ice sheet stability recorded in a high-elevation ice-cored moraine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bader, Nicole A.; Licht, Kathy J.; Kaplan, Michael R.; Kassab, Christine; Winckler, Gisela

    2017-03-01

    Till in an extensive blue ice moraine in the central Transantarctic Mountains at Mt. Achernar shows relatively continuous deposition by East Antarctic derived ice throughout the last glacial cycle. The most recently exposed material along the active margin of the Law Glacier (Zone 1) has hummocky topography that transitions into to a relatively flat region (Zone 2), followed by a series of ∼2 m high continuous, parallel/sub-parallel ridges and troughs (Zones 3-5). The entire moraine is ice-cored. Past surface changes of <40 m are indicated by a lateral moraine at the base of Mt. Achernar and substantial topographic relief across Zone 3. Pebble lithology and detrital zircon geochronology were analyzed on samples along a 6.5 km transect across the moraine which formed from sub- and englacial debris. Beacon and Ferrar Supergroup rocks comprise most rock types on the moraine surface. Overall, pebbles in Zones 1, 4 and 5 are dominated by igneous rocks of the Ferrar dolerite, whereas Zones 2 and 3 have ∼40% more Beacon Supergroup sedimentary rocks. Zone 4 is characterized by distinctly colored lithologic bands, 5-20 m wide, that alternate between dominant Beacon and Ferrar rock types. When combined with surface exposure ages, we conclude that Zones 2 and 3 contain sediment accumulated through the last glacial maximum (LGM). In contrast to pebble data, the U-Pb zircon data from till across all zones show little variability and are consistent with a Beacon Supergroup source, as samples show significant populations from the Proterozoic, ∼550-600 Ma and ∼950-1270 Ma, as well as the late Archean ∼2700-2770 Ma. The Mackellar, Fairchild, and lower Buckley Formations are interpreted as dominant sources of the detrital zircons. The zircon data lack the spatio-temporal variability indicated by the pebble fraction because the local Ferrar dolerite is not zircon bearing, highlighting the broader importance of using multiple techniques when interpreting provenance changes

  3. From Outlet Glacier Changes to Ice Sheet Mass Balance - Evolution of Greenland Ice Sheet from Laser Altimetry Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Csatho, B. M.; Schenk, A.; Nagarajan, S.; Babonis, G. S.

    2010-12-01

    Investigations of ice sheet mass balance and the changing dynamics of outlet glaciers have been hampered by the lack of comprehensive data. In recent years, this situation has been remedied. Satellite laser altimetry data from the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite mission (ICESat), combined with airborne laser altimetry, provide accurate measurements of surface elevation changes, and surface velocities derived from various satellite platforms yield crucial information on changing glacier dynamics. Taken together, a rich and diverse data set is emerging that allows for characterizing the spatial and temporal evolution of ice sheets and outlet glaciers. In particular, it enables quantitative studies of outlet glaciers undergoing rapid and complex changes. Although airborne and laser altimetry have been providing precise measurements of ice sheet topography since the early 1990s, determining detailed and accurate spatial and temporal distribution of surface changes remains a challenging problem. We have developed a new, comprehensive method, called Surface Elevation Reconstruction And Change detection (SERAC), which estimates surface changes by a simultaneous reconstruction of surface topography from fused multisensor data. The mathematical model is based on the assumption that for a small surface area, only the absolute elevation changes over time but not the shape of the surface patch. Therefore, laser points of all time epochs contribute to the shape parameters; points of each time period determine the absolute elevation of the surface patch at that period. This method provides high-resolution surface topography, precise changes and a rigorous error estimate of the quantities. By using SERAC we combined ICESat and ATM laser altimetry data to determine the evolution of surface change rates of the whole Greenland Ice Sheet between 2003 and 2009 on a high-resolution grid. Our reconstruction, consistent with GRACE results, shows ice sheet thinning propagating

  4. Ice stream reorganization and ice sheet mass balance following the reactivation of Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bougamont, Marion; Christoffersen, Poul; Price, Stephen; Carter, Sasha

    2015-04-01

    Ice streams in Antarctica account for most of the ice volume discharged to the ocean, and their flow variability greatly influences the mass balance of the ice sheet. Today, the Siple Coast region of West Antarctica is the only one to experience a positive mass balance (~36Gt/yr), as a consequence of the stagnation of Kamb Ice Stream about 170 years ago and the ongoing slowdown of Whillans Ice Stream. However, this positive trend could be temporary; past studies have shown that both ice streams experienced significant flow variability over the past millennia, with stagnation typically followed by reactivation on centennial timescales, occurring in response to internal processes. The impact this variability may have on the future mass balance of the WAIS remains unknown. Here, we explore the future flow variability of the Siple Coast ice streams by using a three-dimensional higher-order ice sheet model (CISM), coupled to a physically-based basal processes model and a model of regional hydrology. To obtain realistic initial flow conditions, we assimilate available velocity data for this region from 1997. We perform forward simulations over a 200 year period, during which the basal properties evolve according to the distribution of meltwater beneath the ice and its drainage/flow through a subglacial till layer. First, we assume that the bed evolves according to ice-till interactions with only local exchange of water between the ice and till. Next, we include a model of the regional basal water system capable of transporting water over long distances, so that meltwater is routed laterally along the bed before interacting with the till layer. We also explore the effect of geothermal heat flux uncertainties. We find that ice discharge to the grounding line is larger and more sustained in time when the regional water system is included in the simulations. Still, in all experiments, the main future perturbation to the current state of flow follows from the reactivation of

  5. Contrasting ice sheet response to early and late summer rapid supraglacial lake drainage events on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, L. A.; Behn, M. D.; Das, S. B.; Joughin, I. R.; Herring, T.; King, M. A.; McGuire, J. J.

    2013-12-01

    Across much of the ablation region of the western Greenland Ice Sheet, hydro-fracture events related to supraglacial lake drainages rapidly deliver large volumes of meltwater to the bed and create conduits providing efficient surface-to-bed drainage networks for the remainder of the summer melt season. Using a network of 20 GPS stations installed in 2011, and supplemented with a smaller network operating back to 2006, we observe ice surface motion during a series of lake draining hydro-fracture events. These data are used to investigate (1) the location and propagation geometry of the fracture opening and (2) the acceleration of ice in response to the rapid input of surface meltwater to the bed. Observations at the same location show varying surface motion following early versus late summer rapid lake drainage events from multiple years. During a late-season (July 29) rapid drainage in 2006, results from a single GPS station show velocity in the direction of mean ice flow and surface uplift returned to pre-drainage values within ~24 hours (Das et al., 2008), indicating the large subglacial meltwater pulse was efficiently dissipated into the subglacial hydrologic network. In contrast, an early-season (June 11) rapid drainage at the same lake in 2011 induced uplift that persisted for much longer. Specifically, we find that elevations at stations nearest the moulin did not return to pre-drainage elevations for 4 to 8 days post-drainage, suggesting a more inefficient subglacial hydrologic system during the early summer season. These results indicate that the ice-sheet response is modulated, at least in part, by the seasonal evolution of the subglacial hydrological system. We also plan to investigate new GPS data from 2 rapid drainage events in the early portion of the melt season in 2012 and 2013. Findings from these events will ultimately improve our understanding of the mechanics of ice-sheet hydro-fracture and the influence of surface meltwater on ice-sheet flow.

  6. Preservation of a preglacial landscape under the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Bierman, Paul R; Corbett, Lee B; Graly, Joseph A; Neumann, Thomas A; Lini, Andrea; Crosby, Benjamin T; Rood, Dylan H

    2014-04-25

    Continental ice sheets typically sculpt landscapes via erosion; under certain conditions, ancient landscapes can be preserved beneath ice and can survive extensive and repeated glaciation. We used concentrations of atmospherically produced cosmogenic beryllium-10, carbon, and nitrogen to show that ancient soil has been preserved in basal ice for millions of years at the center of the ice sheet at Summit, Greenland. This finding suggests ice sheet stability through the Pleistocene (i.e., the past 2.7 million years). The preservation of this soil implies that the ice has been nonerosive and frozen to the bed for much of that time, that there was no substantial exposure of central Greenland once the ice sheet became fully established, and that preglacial landscapes can remain preserved for long periods under continental ice sheets.

  7. Preservation of a Preglacial Landscape Under the Center of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bierman, Paul R.; Corbett, Lee B.; Graly, Joseph A.; Neumann, Thomas Allen; Lini, Andrea; Crosby, Benjamin T.; Rood, Dylan H.

    2014-01-01

    Continental ice sheets typically sculpt landscapes via erosion; under certain conditions, ancient landscapes can be preserved beneath ice and can survive extensive and repeated glaciation. We used concentrations of atmospherically produced cosmogenic beryllium-10, carbon, and nitrogen to show that ancient soil has been preserved in basal ice for millions of years at the center of the ice sheet at Summit, Greenland. This finding suggests ice sheet stability through the Pleistocene (i.e., the past 2.7 million years). The preservation of this soil implies that the ice has been non-erosive and frozen to the bed for much of that time, that there was no substantial exposure of central Greenland once the ice sheet became fully established, and that preglacial landscapes can remain preserved for long periods under continental ice sheets

  8. Explosive ice age diversification of kiwi

    PubMed Central

    Weir, Jason T.; Haddrath, Oliver; Robertson, Hugh A.; Colbourne, Rogan M.; Baker, Allan J.

    2016-01-01

    Molecular dating largely overturned the paradigm that global cooling during recent Pleistocene glacial cycles resulted in a burst of species diversification although some evidence exists that speciation was commonly promoted in habitats near the expanding and retracting ice sheets. Here, we used a genome-wide dataset of more than half a million base pairs of DNA to test for a glacially induced burst of diversification in kiwi, an avian family distributed within several hundred kilometers of the expanding and retracting glaciers of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. By sampling across the geographic range of the five kiwi species, we discovered many cryptic lineages, bringing the total number of kiwi taxa that currently exist to 11 and the number that existed just before human arrival to 16 or 17. We found that 80% of kiwi diversification events date to the major glacial advances of the Middle and Late Pleistocene. During this period, New Zealand was repeatedly fragmented by glaciers into a series of refugia, with the tiny geographic ranges of many kiwi lineages currently distributed in areas adjacent to these refugia. Estimates of effective population size through time show a dramatic bottleneck during the last glacial cycle in all but one kiwi lineage, as expected if kiwi were isolated in glacially induced refugia. Our results support a fivefold increase in diversification rates during key glacial periods, comparable with levels observed in classic adaptive radiations, and confirm that at least some lineages distributed near glaciated regions underwent rapid ice age diversification. PMID:27573837

  9. Explosive ice age diversification of kiwi.

    PubMed

    Weir, Jason T; Haddrath, Oliver; Robertson, Hugh A; Colbourne, Rogan M; Baker, Allan J

    2016-09-20

    Molecular dating largely overturned the paradigm that global cooling during recent Pleistocene glacial cycles resulted in a burst of species diversification although some evidence exists that speciation was commonly promoted in habitats near the expanding and retracting ice sheets. Here, we used a genome-wide dataset of more than half a million base pairs of DNA to test for a glacially induced burst of diversification in kiwi, an avian family distributed within several hundred kilometers of the expanding and retracting glaciers of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. By sampling across the geographic range of the five kiwi species, we discovered many cryptic lineages, bringing the total number of kiwi taxa that currently exist to 11 and the number that existed just before human arrival to 16 or 17. We found that 80% of kiwi diversification events date to the major glacial advances of the Middle and Late Pleistocene. During this period, New Zealand was repeatedly fragmented by glaciers into a series of refugia, with the tiny geographic ranges of many kiwi lineages currently distributed in areas adjacent to these refugia. Estimates of effective population size through time show a dramatic bottleneck during the last glacial cycle in all but one kiwi lineage, as expected if kiwi were isolated in glacially induced refugia. Our results support a fivefold increase in diversification rates during key glacial periods, comparable with levels observed in classic adaptive radiations, and confirm that at least some lineages distributed near glaciated regions underwent rapid ice age diversification.

  10. Antarctic last interglacial isotope peak in response to sea ice retreat not ice-sheet collapse

    PubMed Central

    Holloway, Max D.; Sime, Louise C.; Singarayer, Joy S.; Tindall, Julia C.; Bunch, Pete; Valdes, Paul J.

    2016-01-01

    Several studies have suggested that sea-level rise during the last interglacial implies retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The prevalent hypothesis is that the retreat coincided with the peak Antarctic temperature and stable water isotope values from 128,000 years ago (128 ka); very early in the last interglacial. Here, by analysing climate model simulations of last interglacial WAIS loss featuring water isotopes, we show instead that the isotopic response to WAIS loss is in opposition to the isotopic evidence at 128 ka. Instead, a reduction in winter sea ice area of 65±7% fully explains the 128 ka ice core evidence. Our finding of a marked retreat of the sea ice at 128 ka demonstrates the sensitivity of Antarctic sea ice extent to climate warming. PMID:27526639

  11. Antarctic last interglacial isotope peak in response to sea ice retreat not ice-sheet collapse.

    PubMed

    Holloway, Max D; Sime, Louise C; Singarayer, Joy S; Tindall, Julia C; Bunch, Pete; Valdes, Paul J

    2016-08-16

    Several studies have suggested that sea-level rise during the last interglacial implies retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The prevalent hypothesis is that the retreat coincided with the peak Antarctic temperature and stable water isotope values from 128,000 years ago (128 ka); very early in the last interglacial. Here, by analysing climate model simulations of last interglacial WAIS loss featuring water isotopes, we show instead that the isotopic response to WAIS loss is in opposition to the isotopic evidence at 128 ka. Instead, a reduction in winter sea ice area of 65±7% fully explains the 128 ka ice core evidence. Our finding of a marked retreat of the sea ice at 128 ka demonstrates the sensitivity of Antarctic sea ice extent to climate warming.

  12. A test bed for investigating the flow of outlet glaciers and ice streams embedded in the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calov, Reinhard; Rückamp, Martin; Schlegel, Rebecca; Ganopolski, Andrey; Humbert, Angelika

    2016-04-01

    Here, we define a test bed for fast flow regions and its vicinity embedded in an ice sheet. This test bed is designed for outlet glaciers and ice streams of the Greenland ice sheet. It consists of a fine resolution part with a manufactured basal trough over which the professional software COMSOL (Multiphysics Modeling Software) operates as a full-Stokes model. Results by COMSOL are compared with coarse resolution simulations with the ice-sheet model SICOPOLIS operating in shallow-ice-approximation mode and using parameterizations of the fast flow effects. For simplification, in this preliminary approach, both models run in isothermal mode. Definition of surface mass balance follows the EISMINT intercomparison project with parameters adapted to the Greenland ice sheet. In particular, we inspect with this test bed upstream and lateral flow effects of ice streams and outlet glaciers. We present first simulations with this approach, although presentation of the test bed itself is the main emphasis of this presentation.

  13. Could a new ice core offer an insight into the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last interglacial?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mulvaney, R.; Hindmarsh, R. C.

    2013-12-01

    Vaughan et al., in their 2011 paper 'Potential Seaways across West Antarctica' (Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 12, Q10004, doi:10.1029/2011GC003688), offer the intriguing prospect that substantial ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the previous interglacial period might have resulted in the opening of a seaway between the Weddell Sea and the Amundsen Sea. One of their potential seaways passes between the south western corner of the present Ronne Ice Shelf and the Pine Island Bay, through what is currently the course of the Rutford Ice Stream, between the Ellsworth Mountains and the Fletcher Promontory. To investigate whether this seaway could have existed (and to recover a paleoclimate and ice sheet history from the Weddell Sea), a team from the British Antarctic Survey and the Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement drilled an ice core from a close to a topographic dome in the ice surface on the Fletcher Promontory in January 2012, reaching the bedrock at 654.3m depth from the surface. The site was selected to penetrate directly through the centre of a Raymond cupola observed in internal radar reflections from the ice sheet, with the intention that this would ensure we obtained the oldest ice available from the Fletcher Promontory. The basal ice sheet temperature measured was -18°C, implying the oldest ice would not have melted away from the base, while the configuration of the Raymond cupola in the radar horizons suggested stability in the ice dome topography during the majority of the Holocene. Our hypothesis is that chemical analysis of the ice core will reveal whether the site was ever relatively close to open sea water or ice shelf in the Rutford channel 20 km distant, rather than the current 700 km distance to sea ice/open water in either the Weddell Sea or the Amundsen Sea. While we do not yet have the chemistry data to test this hypothesis, in this poster we will discuss whether there is in reality any potential local

  14. Distribution and characteristics of overdeepenings beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and their glaciological implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swift, Darrel; Patton, Henry; Livingstone, Stephen; Jones, Andrew; Clark, Chris; Cook, Simon

    2016-04-01

    Understanding of overdeepening origin and glaciological significance is limited by an absence of quantitative empirical studies. To address this shortcoming, we have mapped the distribution of closed-topographic depressions (i.e. potential overdeepenings) beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets using automated GIS techniques, and have analysed the resulting database of overdeepening characteristics. The morphologies of a subset of mapped depressions that pass strict quality criteria indicate that overdeepening growth is generally allometric and that topographic confinement of ice flow enhances overdeepening depth. However, we infer that deepening slows with overdeepening age because (a) overdeepening depth is skewed towards shallow values - typically 200 to 300 m; and (b) overdeepening adverse slope steepness declines with overdeepening planform size. Analysis of overdeepening surface ice gradient to bed gradient ratio (the SB ratio) and surface ice velocity shows that velocities are highest for overdeepenings with SB ratios of ~ -1 to -1.5. Further, this ratio is close to the preferred range of SB ratio values exhibited by the dataset. This indicates that ice flow velocity and erosion potential are modulated by the changing efficiency of subglacial drainage and sediment transport that occurs as an overdeepening grows. This is presumed to encourage sediment deposition on the adverse slope, whilst overdeepening enlargement by headward growth (e.g. quarrying) is able to continue, and this presumption is supported by analysis of overdeepening long-profiles, which indicates that overdeepenings are typically asymmetric, with the deepest point skewed toward the overdeepening head. Our observations lead to the conclusion that overdeepening formation enhances ice sheet flow and that thinning during retreat, which will produce even greater negative SB ratios, should result a slowing or stabilisation of ice sheet flow.

  15. Geophysical constraints on the dynamics and retreat of the Barents Sea ice sheet as a paleobenchmark for models of marine ice sheet deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patton, Henry; Andreassen, Karin; Bjarnadóttir, Lilja R.; Dowdeswell, Julian A.; Winsborrow, Monica C. M.; Noormets, Riko; Polyak, Leonid; Auriac, Amandine; Hubbard, Alun

    2015-12-01

    Our understanding of processes relating to the retreat of marine-based ice sheets, such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and tidewater-terminating glaciers in Greenland today, is still limited. In particular, the role of ice stream instabilities and oceanographic dynamics in driving their collapse are poorly constrained beyond observational timescales. Over numerous glaciations during the Quaternary, a marine-based ice sheet has waxed and waned over the Barents Sea continental shelf, characterized by a number of ice streams that extended to the shelf edge and subsequently collapsed during periods of climate and ocean warming. Increasing availability of offshore and onshore geophysical data over the last decade has significantly enhanced our knowledge of the pattern and timing of retreat of this Barents Sea ice sheet (BSIS), particularly so from its Late Weichselian maximum extent. We present a review of existing geophysical constraints that detail the dynamic evolution of the BSIS through the last glacial cycle, providing numerical modelers and geophysical workers with a benchmark data set with which to tune ice sheet reconstructions and explore ice sheet sensitivities and drivers of dynamic behavior. Although constraining data are generally spatially sporadic across the Barents and Kara Seas, behaviors such as ice sheet thinning, major ice divide migration, asynchronous and rapid flow switching, and ice stream collapses are all evident. Further investigation into the drivers and mechanisms of such dynamics within this unique paleo-analogue is seen as a key priority for advancing our understanding of marine-based ice sheet deglaciations, both in the deep past and in the short-term future.

  16. Shallow ice approximation, second order shallow ice approximation, and full Stokes models: A discussion of their roles in palaeo-ice sheet modelling and development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchner, N.; Ahlkrona, J.; Gowan, E. J.; Lötstedt, P.; Lea, J. M.; Noormets, R.; von Sydow, L.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Benham, T.

    2016-09-01

    Full Stokes ice sheet models provide the most accurate description of ice sheet flow, and can therefore be used to reduce existing uncertainties in predicting the contribution of ice sheets to future sea level rise on centennial time-scales. The level of accuracy at which millennial time-scale palaeo-ice sheet simulations resolve ice sheet flow lags the standards set by Full Stokes models, especially, when Shallow Ice Approximation (SIA) models are used. Most models used in paleo-ice sheet modeling were developed at a time when computer power was very limited, and rely on several assumptions. At the time there was no means of verifying the assumptions by other than mathematical arguments. However, with the computer power and refined Full Stokes models available today, it is possible to test these assumptions numerically. In this paper, we review (Ahlkrona et al., 2013a) where such tests were performed and inaccuracies in commonly used arguments were found. We also summarize (Ahlkrona et al., 2013b) where the implications of the inaccurate assumptions are analyzed for two paleo-models - the SIA and the SOSIA. We review these works without resorting to mathematical detail, in order to make them accessible to a wider audience with a general interest in palaeo-ice sheet modelling. Specifically, we discuss two implications of relevance for palaeo-ice sheet modelling. First, classical SIA models are less accurate than assumed in their original derivation. Secondly, and contrary to previous recommendations, the SOSIA model is ruled out as a practicable tool for palaeo-ice sheet simulations. We conclude with an outlook concerning the new Ice Sheet Coupled Approximation Level (ISCAL) method presented in Ahlkrona et al. (2016), that has the potential to match the accuracy standards of full Stokes model on palaeo-timescales of tens of thousands of years, and to become an alternative to hybrid models currently used in palaeo-ice sheet modelling. The method is applied to an ice

  17. Reconciling marine and terrestrial evidence for post LGM ice sheet retreat in southern McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Jacob T. H.; Wilson, Gary S.; Fink, David; Lilly, Kat; Levy, Richard H.; Townsend, Dougal

    2017-02-01

    Retreat of the Antarctic ice sheets since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) contributed to sea-level rise, but the location, amount, and timing of ice mass loss has been controversial. This paper presents new 10Be exposure ages from glacially transported erratics which record post LGM retreat of grounded ice in the western Ross Sea. Ice elevation in southern McMurdo Sound was ≥520 m above present day sea level on the eastern side of Mount Discovery during the LGM, and the onset of major deglaciation in the region was after 14 ka. The ice surface lowered from ∼520 to 234 m above present day sea level between 14.0 ka and 10.3 ka and from 234 m to ∼30 m between 10.3 ka and 7.4 ka. This late-glacial and Holocene deglaciation chronology from southern McMurdo Sound is consistent with other records on the margins of the Ross Embayment, and implies that the western margins of the Ross Sea Ice Sheet (RSIS) experienced most mass loss during the early to middle Holocene. These 10Be exposure ages coupled with sediment provenance define a two-stage ice flow scenario for McMurdo Sound subdividing differing reconstructions into an early and late phase. Prior to Termination I, an expanded Koettlitz Glacier flowed north and northeast between Brown Peninsula and Mount Discovery and coalesced with northward flowing ice fed from the Skelton and Mulock Glaciers. Thinning and retreat of the Koettlitz Glacier and perhaps other outlet glaciers flowing through the Royal Society Range allowed ice grounded in the Ross Sea to flow westward and northward, north of Brown Peninsula. Grounding-line recession in the Ross Sea during the late-glacial and Holocene was likely driven by Southern Ocean warming and sea-level rise from the retreat of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and the outer margins of the Antarctic ice sheets.

  18. Numerical and theoretical treatment of grounding line movement and ice shelf buttressing in marine ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goldberg, Daniel N.

    Understanding the dynamics of marine ice sheets is integral to studying the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in both the short and long terms. An important component of the dynamics, grounding line migration, has proved difficult to represent in numerical models, with undesirable behavior such as sensitivity to grid resolution having been observed. Most successful attempts at representing grounding line migration have made use of techniques that are only readily applicable to flowline models, such as Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian schemes. It remains unclear whether a purely Eulerian flowline model can reproduce the actual solution of the governing differential equations, as well as what the theoretical properties of that solution are. In addition, in order to capture the stress transmission involved in another important dynamic component, the buttressing of a marine ice sheet by its ice shelf, the transverse flow direction must also be resolved. Here a numerical model is developed that solves the time-dependent Shelfy-Stream equations [MacAyeal, 1989] and makes use of mesh adaption techniques to overcome the difficulties typically associated with the numerics of grounding line migration. In the special case of a flowline model, it is shown that the Shelfy-Stream equations have a unique solution provided constraints on the initial condition and the forcing are satisfied, and the convergence properties of the model are examined. Model output is also compared with a recent benchmark for flowline models. It is shown that our model yields an accurate solution while using far less resources than would be required without mesh adaption. It is also shown that the mesh adapting techniques extend to two horizontal dimensions. Experiments are carried out to determine how both ice shelf buttressing and ice rises affect the marine instability predicted for an ice sheet on a foredeepened bed. It is found that buttressing is not always sufficient to stabilize such a sheet but

  19. Climate Model Dependency and Understanding the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Warm Late Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolan, Aisling; de Boer, Bas; Bernales, Jorge; Hunter, Stephen; Haywood, Alan

    2016-04-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals of Earth history is fundamentally important. A warm period in the Late Pliocene (3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions and geological evidence. Following a five year international project PLISMIP (Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project) we present the final set of results which quantify uncertainty in climate model-based predictions of the Antarctic ice sheet. In this study we use an ensemble of climate model forcings within a multi-ice sheet model framework to assess the climate (model) dependency of large scale features of the Antarctic ice sheet. Seven coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models are used to derive surface temperature, precipitation and oceanic forcing that drive three ice sheet models (over the grounded and floating domain). Similar to results presented over Greenland, we show that the reconstruction of the Antarctic ice sheet is sensitive to which climate model is used to provide the forcing field. Key areas of uncertainty include West Antarctica, the large subglacial basins of East Antarctica and the overall thickness of the continental interior of East Antarctica. We relate the results back to geological proxy data, such as those relating to exposure rates which provide information on potential ice sheet thickness. Finally we discuss as to whether the choice of modelling framework (i.e. climate model and ice sheet model used) or the choice of boundary conditions causes the greatest uncertainty in ice sheet reconstructions of the warm Pliocene.

  20. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a model comparison

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steger, Christian; Reijmer, Carleen; van den Broeke, Michiel; Ligtenberg, Stefan; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Noël, Brice

    2016-04-01

    Mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is an important contributor to global sea level rise. Besides calving, surface melt is the dominant source of mass loss. However, only part of the surface melt leaves the ice sheet as runoff whereas the other part percolates into the snow cover and refreezes. Due to this process, part of the meltwater is (intermediately) stored. Refreezing thus impacts the surface mass balance of the ice sheet but it also affects the vertical structure of the snow cover due to transport of mass and energy. Due to the sparse availability of in situ data and the demand of future projections, it is inevitable to use numerical models to simulate refreezing and related processes. Currently, the magnitude of refrozen mass is neither well constrained nor well validated. In this study, we model the snow and firn layer, and compare refreezing on the GrIS as modelled with two different numerical models. Both models are forced with meteorological data from the regional climate model RACMO 2 that has been shown to simulate realistic conditions for Greenland. One model is the UU/IMAU firn densification model (FDM) that can be used both in an on- and offline mode with RACMO 2. The other model is SNOWPACK; a model originally designed to simulate seasonal snow cover in alpine conditions. In contrast to FDM, SNOWPACK accounts for snow metamorphism and microstructure and contains a more physically based snow densification scheme. A first comparison of the models indicates that both seem to be able to capture the general spatial and temporal pattern of refreezing. Spatially, refreezing occurs mostly in the ablation zone and decreases in the accumulation zone towards the interior of the ice sheet. Below the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) where refreezing occurs in seasonal snow cover on bare ice, the storage effect is only intermediate. Temporal patterns on a seasonal range indicate two peaks in refreezing; one at the beginning of the melt season where

  1. Widespread Refreezing of Both Surface and Basal Melt Water Beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, R. E.; Tinto, K. J.; Das, I.; Wolovick, M.; Chu, W.; Creyts, T. T.; Frearson, N.

    2013-12-01

    The isotopically and chemically distinct, bubble-free ice observed along the Greenland Ice Sheet margin both in the Russell Glacier and north of Jacobshavn must have formed when water froze from subglacial networks. Where this refreezing occurs and what impact it has on ice sheet processes remain unclear. We use airborne radar data to demonstrate that freeze-on to the ice sheet base and associated deformation produce large ice units up to 700 m thick throughout northern Greenland. Along the ice sheet margin, in the ablation zone, surface meltwater, delivered via moulins, refreezes to the ice sheet base over rugged topography. In the interior, water melted from the ice sheet base is refrozen and surrounded by folded ice. A significant fraction of the ice sheet is modified by basal freeze-on and associated deformation. For the Eqip and Petermann catchments, representing the ice sheet margin and interior respectively, extensive airborne radar datasets show that 10%-13% of the base of the ice sheet and up to a third of the catchment width is modified by basal freeze-on. The interior units develop over relatively subdued topography with modest water flux from basal melt where conductive cooling likely dominates. Steps in the bed topography associated with subglacial valley networks may foster glaciohydraulic supercooling. The ablation zone units develop where both surface melt and crevassing are widespread and large volumes of surface meltwater will reach the base of the ice sheet. The relatively steep topography at the upslope edge of the ablation zone units combined with the larger water flux suggests that supercooling plays a greater role in their formation. The ice qualities of the ablation zone units should reflect the relatively fresh surface melt whereas the chemistry of the interior units should reflect solute-rich basal melt. Changes in basal conditions such as the presence of till patches may contribute to the formation of the large basal units near the

  2. Accurate and stable time stepping in ice sheet modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, Gong; Lötstedt, Per; von Sydow, Lina

    2017-01-01

    In this paper we introduce adaptive time step control for simulation of the evolution of ice sheets. The discretization error in the approximations is estimated using "Milne's device" by comparing the result from two different methods in a predictor-corrector pair. Using a predictor-corrector pair the expensive part of the procedure, the solution of the velocity and pressure equations, is performed only once per time step and an estimate of the local error is easily obtained. The stability of the numerical solution is maintained and the accuracy is controlled by keeping the local error below a given threshold using PI-control. Depending on the threshold, the time step Δt is bound by stability requirements or accuracy requirements. Our method takes a shorter Δt than an implicit method but with less work in each time step and the solver is simpler. The method is analyzed theoretically with respect to stability and applied to the simulation of a 2D ice slab and a 3D circular ice sheet. The stability bounds in the experiments are explained by and agree well with the theoretical results.

  3. Surface elevation contours of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. J.; Bindschadler, R. A.; Brenner, A. C.; Martin, T. V.; Thomas, R. H.

    1983-01-01

    Preliminary results from Seasat radar altimetry over Antarctica north of 72 deg S and Greenland south of 72 deg N are presented. Surface elevations of the ice sheets, obtained from computer retracking of the radar altimeter waveforms, are contoured at 50-m intervals for Greenland and at 100-m intervals for Antarctica. Elevation differences at orbital crossover points are analyzed to obtain a precision of 1.9 m; this figure is partly determined by radial errors of approximately 1.0 m in orbital determination and partly by noise due to ice surface irregularities. Adjustment of the radial components of the orbits to minimize the differences in elevations at crossovers over a small, relatively flat region reduces the rms difference to 0.25 m, which is indicative of the optimum precision obtainable over the ice sheets. However, the precision degrades as the slope of the surface or amplitude of the undulations increases, yielding an overall precision of + or - 1.6 m.

  4. Documenting Melting Features of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tedesco, M.

    2011-12-01

    There is an increasing interest in studying the Greenland Ice Sheet, its hydrology and dynamics over the short term and longer term because of the potential impact of a warming Arctic. Major studies concern about whether increased surface melting will lead to changes in production of supraglacial lakes and subglacial water pressures and hence , potentially, rates of ice movement. In this talk I will show movies recorded over the past three years form fieldwork activities carried out over the West Greenland ice sheet. In particular, I will project and comment movies concerning surface streams and supraglacial lakes, as the one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbuFphwJn4c. I will discuss the importance of observing such phenomena and how the recorded videos can be used to summarize scientific studies and communicate the relevance of scientific findings. I will also show, for the first time, the video of the drainage of a supraglacial lake, an event during which a lake ~ 6 m deep and ~ 1 km drained in ~ 1.5 hours. This section of the movie is under development as video material was collected during our latest expedition in June 2011.

  5. Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Winkelmann, Ricarda; Levermann, Anders; Ridgwell, Andy; Caldeira, Ken

    2015-09-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 m in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

  6. Expanded Late Wisconsinan ice cap and ice sheet margins in the western Queen Elizabeth Islands, Arctic Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nixon, F. Chantel; England, John H.

    2014-05-01

    Recent mapping of surficial geology and geomorphology in the western Canadian High Arctic (Melville and Eglinton islands), together with new radiocarbon dates acquired from ice-contact raised marine sediments, document expanded late Wisconsinan ice limits for the northwest Laurentide Ice Sheet and the western Innuitian Ice Sheet. An extension of the northwestern margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet onto Eglinton Island is proposed based on evidence from till containing erratics derived from the Canadian Shield and a pattern of meltwater channels indicating ice retreat offshore into M'Clure Strait. Expansion of the western Melville Island Ice Cap (part of the western, lowland sector of the Innuitian Ice Sheet) to its offshore late Wisconsinan limit was facilitated by coalescence with the Laurentide Ice Sheet, whose buttressing allowed thickening to occur. Estimates of ice extent and thickness (>500 m) of the western Melville Island Ice Cap are in agreement with high marine limits (≤70 m asl). Lateral and proglacial meltwater channels, moraines and glaciomarine, glaciolacustrine and glaciofluvial deposits indicate radial retreat of the western Melville Island Ice Cap onto central highlands after ˜13.0 cal ka BP. Older marine limit shorelines on southern Eglinton Island (˜13.6 cal ka BP) are broadly synchronous with the early and rapid deglaciation of other areas formerly glaciated by the northwestern Laurentide Ice Sheet to the southeast and southwest (˜14.2-13.6 cal ka BP). The collapse of the northwest Laurentide Ice Sheet in M'Clure Strait beginning at ˜14.2 cal ka BP, in addition to prior inferred thinning, opens the possibility that it made a significant contribution to meltwater pulse 1A.

  7. Predicting Ice Sheet and Climate Evolution at Extreme Scales

    SciTech Connect

    Heimbach, Patrick

    2016-02-06

    A main research objectives of PISCEES is the development of formal methods for quantifying uncertainties in ice sheet modeling. Uncertainties in simulating and projecting mass loss from the polar ice sheets arise primarily from initial conditions, surface and basal boundary conditions, and model parameters. In general terms, two main chains of uncertainty propagation may be identified: 1. inverse propagation of observation and/or prior onto posterior control variable uncertainties; 2. forward propagation of prior or posterior control variable uncertainties onto those of target output quantities of interest (e.g., climate indices or ice sheet mass loss). A related goal is the development of computationally efficient methods for producing initial conditions for an ice sheet that are close to available present-day observations and essentially free of artificial model drift, which is required in order to be useful for model projections (“initialization problem”). To be of maximum value, such optimal initial states should be accompanied by “useful” uncertainty estimates that account for the different sources of uncerainties, as well as the degree to which the optimum state is constrained by available observations. The PISCEES proposal outlined two approaches for quantifying uncertainties. The first targets the full exploration of the uncertainty in model projections with sampling-based methods and a workflow managed by DAKOTA (the main delivery vehicle for software developed under QUEST). This is feasible for low-dimensional problems, e.g., those with a handful of global parameters to be inferred. This approach can benefit from derivative/adjoint information, but it is not necessary, which is why it often referred to as “non-intrusive”. The second approach makes heavy use of derivative information from model adjoints to address quantifying uncertainty in high-dimensions (e.g., basal boundary conditions in ice sheet models). The use of local gradient, or

  8. IceBridge Radar as a Tool for Understanding Accumulation Variability throughout the Western Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, G.; Hawley, R. L.; Osterberg, E. C.; Marshall, H. P.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) in a warming climate is of critical interest to scientists and the general public in the context of future sea-level rise. The mass balance of the GIS has been increasingly negative over recent decades, with a conservative estimate of ice sheet mass loss of 2000 Gt yr-1 over the 1988-2014 period. Snow accumulation, the critical input to surface mass balance, varies through time and regionally around Greenland and from the coast to interior, but is constrained by relatively few observations. An improved understanding of temporal and spatial snow accumulation variability will thus reduce uncertainties in GIS mass balance models and sea-level rise projections. Here we quantify spatial and temporal variations in snow accumulation in central and southwest Greenland using data from NASA's Operation IceBridge Accumulation Radar. We estimate depth-density and depth-age relationships using a Herron-Langway density model and Nye flow model, which are iteratively calculated at 50 km intervals along each radar line. We then trace isochrones to calculate spatial and temporal variability in average snow accumulation along several flight paths throughout central and southwestern Greenland. Depth-density, depth-age, and snow accumulation calculations are calibrated at Summit using data from the GISP2, Katie, and SM07C ice cores. Accumulation results will be verified by a series of snow pits, shallow firn cores, and ice-penetrating radar profiles collected on the Greenland Traverse for Accumulation and Climate Studies (GreenTrACS) through southwest Greenland during spring 2016 and 2017.

  9. Middle to late Holocene fluctuations of the Vindue glacier, an outlet glacier of the Greenland Ice Sheet, central East Greenland.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, L.; Hammer, S. K.; Kelly, M. A.; Lowell, T. V.; Hall, B. L.; Howley, J. A.; Wilcox, P.; Medford, A.

    2014-12-01

    The margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet are currently responding to present-day climate changes. Determining how the ice sheet margins have responded to past climate changes provides a means to understand how they may respond in the future. Here we present a multi-proxy record used to reconstruct the Holocene fluctuations of the Vindue glacier, an ice sheet outlet glacier in eastern Greenland. Lake sediment cores from Qiviut lake (informal name), located ~0.75 km from the present-day Vindue glacier margin contain a sharp transition from medium sand/coarse silt to laminated gyttja just prior to 6,340±130 cal yr BP. We interpret this transition to indicate a time when the Vindue glacier retreated sufficiently to cease glacial sedimentation into the lake basin. Above this contact the core contains laminated gyttja with prominent, ~0.5 cm thick, silt layers. 10Be ages of boulders on bedrock located between Qiviut lake and the present-day ice margin date to 6.81 ± 0.67 ka (n = 3), indicating the time of deglaciation. These ages also agree well with the radiocarbon age of the silt-gyttja transition in Qiviut lake cores. 10Be ages on boulders on bedrock located more proximal to the ice margin (~0.5 km) yield ages of 2.67 ± 0.18 ka (n = 2). These ages indicate either the continued recession of the ice margin during the late Holocene or an advance at this time. Boulders on the historical moraines show that ice retreated from the moraine by AD 1620 ± 20 yrs (n = 2). These results are in contrast with some areas of the western margin of the ice sheet where 10Be ages indicate that the ice sheet was behind its Historical limit from the middle Holocene (~6-7 ka) to Historical time. This may indicate that the eastern margin may have responded to late Holocene cooling more sensitively or that the advance associated with the Historical moraines overran any evidence of late Holocene fluctuations along the western margin of the ice sheet.

  10. Traveling slippery patches produce thickness-scale folds in ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolovick, Michael J.; Creyts, Timothy T.; Buck, W. Roger; Bell, Robin E.

    2014-12-01

    Large, complex stratigraphic folds that rise as high as 60% of the local ice thickness have been observed in ice sheets on Antarctica and Greenland. Here we show that ice deformation caused by heterogeneous and time-variable basal sliding can produce the observed structures. We do this using a thermomechanical ice sheet model in which sliding occurs when the base approaches the melting point and slippery patches develop. These slippery patches emerge and travel downstream because of a feedback between ice deformation, vertical flow, and temperature. Our model produces the largest overturned structures, comparable to observations, when the patches move at about the ice column velocity. We conclude that the history of basal slip conditions is recorded in the ice sheet strata. These basal conditions appear to be dynamic and heterogeneous even in the slow-flowing interior regions of large ice sheets.

  11. Simultaneous solution for mass trends on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoen, N.; Zammit-Mangion, A.; Rougier, J. C.; Flament, T.; Rémy, F.; Luthcke, S.; Bamber, J. L.

    2015-04-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet is the largest potential source of future sea-level rise. Mass loss has been increasing over the last 2 decades for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) but with significant discrepancies between estimates, especially for the Antarctic Peninsula. Most of these estimates utilise geophysical models to explicitly correct the observations for (unobserved) processes. Systematic errors in these models introduce biases in the results which are difficult to quantify. In this study, we provide a statistically rigorous error-bounded trend estimate of ice mass loss over the WAIS from 2003 to 2009 which is almost entirely data driven. Using altimetry, gravimetry, and GPS data in a hierarchical Bayesian framework, we derive spatial fields for ice mass change, surface mass balance, and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) without relying explicitly on forward models. The approach we use separates mass and height change contributions from different processes, reproducing spatial features found in, for example, regional climate and GIA forward models, and provides an independent estimate which can be used to validate and test the models. In addition, spatial error estimates are derived for each field. The mass loss estimates we obtain are smaller than some recent results, with a time-averaged mean rate of -76 ± 15 Gt yr-1 for the WAIS and Antarctic Peninsula, including the major Antarctic islands. The GIA estimate compares well with results obtained from recent forward models (IJ05-R2) and inverse methods (AGE-1). The Bayesian framework is sufficiently flexible that it can, eventually, be used for the whole of Antarctica, be adapted for other ice sheets and utilise data from other sources such as ice cores, accumulation radar data, and other measurements that contain information about any of the processes that are solved for.

  12. Simultaneous solution for mass trends on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schön, N.; Zammit-Mangion, A.; Bamber, J. L.; Rougier, J.; Flament, T.; Rémy, F.; Luthcke, S. B.

    2014-06-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet is the largest potential source of future sea-level rise. Mass loss has been increasing over the last two decades in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), but with significant discrepancies between estimates, especially for the Antarctic Peninsula. Most of these estimates utilise geophysical models to explicitly correct the observations for (unobserved) processes. Systematic errors in these models introduce biases in the results which are difficult to quantify. In this study, we provide a statistically rigorous, error-bounded trend estimate of ice mass loss over the WAIS from 2003-2009 which is almost entirely data-driven. Using altimetry, gravimetry, and GPS data in a hierarchical Bayesian framework, we derive spatial fields for ice mass change, surface mass balance, and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) without relying explicitly on forward models. The approach we use separates mass and height change contributions from different processes, reproducing spatial features found in, for example, regional climate and GIA forward models, and provides an independent estimate, which can be used to validate and test the models. In addition, full spatial error estimates are derived for each field. The mass loss estimates we obtain are smaller than some recent results, with a time-averaged mean rate of -76 ± 15 GT yr-1 for the WAIS and Antarctic Peninsula (AP), including the major Antarctic Islands. The GIA estimate compares very well with results obtained from recent forward models (IJ05-R2) and inversion methods (AGE-1). Due to its computational efficiency, the method is sufficiently scalable to include the whole of Antarctica, can be adapted for other ice sheets and can easily be adapted to assimilate data from other sources such as ice cores, accumulation radar data and other measurements that contain information about any of the processes that are solved for.

  13. Aerosol size distribution at Nansen Ice Sheet Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belosi, F.; Contini, D.; Donateo, A.; Santachiara, G.; Prodi, F.

    2012-04-01

    During austral summer 2006, in the framework of the XXII Italian Antarctic expedition of PNRA (Italian National Program for Research in Antarctica), aerosol particle number size distribution measurements were performed in the 10-500 range nm over the Nansen Ice Sheet glacier (NIS, 74°30' S, 163°27' E; 85 m a.s.l), a permanently iced branch of the Ross Sea. Observed total particle number concentrations varied between 169 and 1385 cm- 3. A monomodal number size distribution, peaking at about 70 nm with no variation during the day, was observed for continental air mass, high wind speed and low relative humidity. Trimodal number size distributions were also observed, in agreement with measurements performed at Aboa station, which is located on the opposite side of the Antarctic continent to the NIS. In this case new particle formation, with subsequent particle growth up to about 30 nm, was observed even if not associated with maritime air masses.

  14. Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project (ISMIP6) contribution to CMIP6

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowicki, Sophie M. J.; Payne, Anthony; Larour, Eric; Seroussi, Helene; Goelzer, Heiko; Lipscomb, William; Gregory, Jonathan; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Shepherd, Andrew

    2016-12-01

    Reducing the uncertainty in the past, present, and future contribution of ice sheets to sea-level change requires a coordinated effort between the climate and glaciology communities. The Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6) is the primary activity within the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project - phase 6 (CMIP6) focusing on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this paper, we describe the framework for ISMIP6 and its relationship with other activities within CMIP6. The ISMIP6 experimental design relies on CMIP6 climate models and includes, for the first time within CMIP, coupled ice-sheet-climate models as well as standalone ice-sheet models. To facilitate analysis of the multi-model ensemble and to generate a set of standard climate inputs for standalone ice-sheet models, ISMIP6 defines a protocol for all variables related to ice sheets. ISMIP6 will provide a basis for investigating the feedbacks, impacts, and sea-level changes associated with dynamic ice sheets and for quantifying the uncertainty in ice-sheet-sourced global sea-level change.

  15. Paleoclimatic evidence for future ice-sheet instability and rapid sea-level rise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Overpeck, J.T.; Otto-Bliesner, B. L.; Miller, G.H.; Muhs, D.R.; Alley, R.B.; Kiehl, J.T.

    2006-01-01

    Sea-level rise from melting of polar ice sheets is one of the largest potential threats of future climate change. Polar warming by the year 2100 may reach levels similar to those of 130,000 to 127,000 years ago that were associated with sea levels several meters above modern levels; both the Greenland Ice Sheet and portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet may be vulnerable. The record of past ice-sheet melting indicates that the rate of future melting and related sea-level rise could be faster than widely thought.

  16. Learning from the past: Antarctic Eemian ice sheet dynamics as an analogy for future warming.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutter, Johannes; Thoma, Malte; Grosfeld, Klaus; Gierz, Paul; Lohmann, Gerrit

    2015-04-01

    Facing considerable warming during this century the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is under increasing scrutiny. Recent observations suggest that the marine ice sheet instability of the WAIS has already started . We investigate the dynamic evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last interglacial, forcing a state of the art 3D ice sheet model with Eemian boundary conditions. We elucidate the role of ocean warming and surface mass balance on the coupled ice sheet/shelf and grounding line dynamics. Special focus lies on an ice sheet modeling assessment of Antarctica's potential contribution to global sea level rise during the Eemian. The transient model runs are forced by time slice experiments of a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean global circulation model, as well as different sets of sea level and bedrock reconstructions. The model result show strong evidences for a severe ice-sheet retreat in West Antartica, leading to substantical contribution to global sea level from the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally we compare future warming scenarios of West Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics to our paleo ice sheet modeling studies.

  17. Greenland Ice Sheet Program. 1979. Phase 1. Casing Operation.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-06-01

    A-l0-1119 699 COLD. REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAS HANOVER NH F/6 8/12 GREENLAND ICE SHEET PROGRAM. 1979. PHASE 1. CASING OPERATION. (U) JNAB J...Thermal drills Drills Glac iology Greenland 124 AnRACr (cimEaeu m reverse ssNnouiesaw ad Middfr by block nmber) )A modified CHREL thermal drill was used at...DYE-3 in Greenland to drill a 8.T5-in.-diamneter hole 251 ft deep for the installation of a steel casing. This activity was accomplished by a drill

  18. Dynamic Inland Propagation of Thinning Due to Ice Loss at the Margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Wei Li; Li, Jun J.; Zwally, H. Jay

    2012-01-01

    Mass-balance analysis of the Greenland ice sheet based on surface elevation changes observed by the European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) (1992-2002) and Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) (2003-07) indicates that the strongly increased mass loss at lower elevations (<2000 m) of the ice sheet, as observed during 2003-07, appears to induce interior ice thinning at higher elevations. In this paper, we perform a perturbation experiment with a three-dimensional anisotropic ice-flow model (AIF model) to investigate this upstream propagation. Observed thinning rates in the regions below 2000m elevation are used as perturbation inputs. The model runs with perturbation for 10 years show that the extensive mass loss at the ice-sheet margins does in fact cause interior thinning on short timescales (i.e. decadal). The modeled pattern of thinning over the ice sheet agrees with the observations, which implies that the strong mass loss since the early 2000s at low elevations has had a dynamic impact on the entire ice sheet. The modeling results also suggest that even if the large mass loss at the margins stopped, the interior ice sheet would continue thinning for 300 years and would take thousands of years for full dynamic recovery.

  19. Observations from the Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, S. B.; Ahlstrom, A. P.; Andersen, M. L.; Box, J. E.; Citterio, M.; Colgan, W. T.; Fausto, R. S.; van As, D.; Forsberg, R.; Skourup, H.; Sandberg Sørensen, L.; Kristensen, S. S.; Dall, J.; Kusk, A.; Petersen, D.

    2014-12-01

    The Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE) is as an on-going effort initiated in 2007 to monitor changes in the mass budget of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The aim of the programme is to quantify the mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet and track changes in the extent of the glaciers, ice caps and ice sheet margin. Specifically, PROMICE aims to estimate the mass loss derived from three fundamentally different sources: Surface melt water runoff from the ice sheet margin Iceberg production Mass loss of individual glaciers and ice caps surrounding the ice sheet The first is observed by a network of automatic weather stations (AWS) on the ice sheet margin measuring ice ablation as well as meteorological parameters. The second is determined by establishing a so-called 'flux gate' along the entire ice sheet margin and keeping track of the ice passing through this gate. The flux gate is obtained from airborne surveys of ice sheet surface elevation and thickness. The volume of the ice passing through the gate is derived from maps of the surface velocity of the ice sheet, produced from satellite radar. The third is investigated through regular mapping of area and elevation of the approximately 20.000 individual glaciers and ice caps in Greenland. Mapping is carried out using recent satellite imagery as well as aerial ortho-photos. Within PROMICE data sets from these activities are collected. They include observations from the network of currently about 20 AWS on the margin of the Greenland ice sheet. Airborne surveys, yielding surface elevation and ice depth along the entire margin of the Greenland ice sheet carried out in 2007 and 2011. A map of all Greenland ice masses, based on the highest detail aero-photogrammetric maps produced from mid-80's aerial photographs. Real-time data from the PROMICE AWS network is shown at the web site www.promice.org and the data is freely available for download. Data from the airborne surveys and mapping activities are

  20. Revision of the NW Laurentide Ice Sheet: implications for paleoclimate, the northeast extremity of Beringia, and Arctic Ocean sedimentation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    England, John H.; Furze, Mark F. A.; Doupé, Jonathan P.

    2009-08-01

    For the past half-century, reconstructions of North American ice cover during the Last Glacial Maximum have shown ice-free land distal to the Laurentide Ice Sheet, primarily on Melville and Banks islands in the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Both islands reputedly preserve at the surface multiple Laurentide till sheets, together with associated marine and lacustrine deposits, recording as many as three pre-Late Wisconsinan glaciations. The northwest corner of Banks Island was purportedly never glaciated and is trimmed by the oldest and most extensive glaciation (Banks Glaciation) considered to be of Matuyama age (>780 ka BP). Inside the limit of Banks Glaciation, younger till sheets are ascribed to the Thomsen Glaciation (pre-Sangamonian) and the Amundsen Glaciation (Early Wisconsinan Stade). The view that the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago remained largely ice-free during the Late Wisconsinan is reinforced by a recent report of two woolly mammoth fragments collected on Banks and Melville islands, both dated to ˜22 ka BP. These dates imply that these islands constitute the northeast extremity of Beringia. A fundamental revision of this model is now warranted based on widespread fieldwork across the adjacent coastlines of Banks and Melville islands, including new dating of glacial and marine landforms and sediments. On Dundas Peninsula, southern Melville Island, AMS 14C dates on ice-transported marine molluscs within the most extensive Laurentide till yield ages of 25-49 ka BP. These dates require that Late Wisconsinan ice advanced northwestward from Visount Melville Sound, excavating fauna spanning Marine Isotope Stage 3. Laurentide ice that crossed Dundas Peninsula (300 m asl) coalesced with Melville Island ice occupying Liddon Gulf. Coalescent Laurentide and Melville ice continued to advance westward through M'Clure Strait depositing granite erratics at ≥235 m asl that require grounded ice in M'Clure Strait, as do streamlined bedforms on the channel

  1. Ice sheet runoff and Dansgaard-Oeschger Cycles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Ian; Wolff, Eric; Fowler, Andrew; Clark, Chris; Evatt, Geoff; Johnson, Helen; Munday, David; Rickaby, Ros; Stokes, Chris

    2016-04-01

    Many northern hemisphere climate records, particularly those from around the North Atlantic, show a series of rapid climate changes that recurred on centennial to millennial timescales throughout most of the last glacial period. These Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) sequences are observed most prominently in Greenland ice cores, although they have a global signature, including an out of phase Antarctic signal. They consist of warming jumps of order 10°C, occurring in typically 40 years, followed generally by a slow cooling (Greenland Interstadial, GI) lasting between a few centuries and a few millennia, and then a final rapid temperature drop into a cold Greenland Stadial (GS) that lasts for a similar period. Most explanations for D-O events call on changes in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation strength, and the majority of such explanations use changes in freshwater delivery from ice sheets as a trigger. Many have relied on large inputs of freshwater from singular events (such as lake outbursts or iceberg armadas) to push the AMOC into its cold state. However the evidence for such events at the right time in each cycle is sparse. Here we investigate mechanisms that would arise from a change in the rate of ice sheet runoff, which would be a natural feedback from each rapid warming or cooling event. Recent work has suggested that AMOC is most easily disrupted by freshwater delivered through the Arctic. We investigate whether the proposed AMOC changes could have occurred as part of a natural oscillation, in which runoff from the Laurentide ice sheet into the Arctic is controlled by temperature around the North Atlantic. The Arctic buffers the salinity changes, but under warm conditions, high runoff eventually leads to water entering the North Atlantic with low enough salinity to switch AMOC into its weaker state. Under the colder conditions now prevailing, the Arctic is starved of runoff, and the salinity rises until a further switch occurs. Contrary to many

  2. Insights from Thermo-Mechanically Coupled Modeling of High-Elevation Regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sommers, A. N.; Rajaram, H.; Colgan, W. T.

    2014-12-01

    As observations become more plentiful through remote sensing and numerical models become increasingly sophisticated, a clear priority of the ice sheet modeling community is to compare model simulations with observations. Temperature and velocity conditions within the Greenland ice sheet and at the bed remain largely unknown with the exception of sparse borehole measurements, but much can be inferred from rigorous thermo-mechanically coupled modeling. Surface velocities on the Greenland ice sheet are well constrained, both from satellite imagery and field observations. We take advantage of the observed surface velocities at the PARCA stakes around the 2,000m elevation contour of the ice sheet as modeling targets that represent a broad range of flow characteristics in different regions. Prescribing ice geometry, we use a two-dimensional thermo-mechanically coupled model to calculate 'steady-state' velocity and temperature profiles throughout the depth of the ice along flowlines from the main divide to the 2,000m elevation contour. Vertical velocity calculations are based on first principles of mass conservation, accounting for convergence and divergence of the streamtube width, and the enthalpy-based temperature calculations also incorporate the effects of liquid water content in temperate ice through the flow law parameter. Numerous insights from our simulations are presented for different regions, such as the influence of variable geothermal heat flux, the treatment of basal boundary conditions, and appropriate enhancement factors based on the age of ice. Results indicate that areas of temperate bed do exist in the high-elevation interior in certain sections of Greenland. Also highlighted is the importance of including temperature calculations in ice sheet modeling, particularly in regions with a temperate bed. For example, on the west coast, computations assuming a constant temperature of -5°C result in a 41% underestimation of the surface velocity at the 2,000m

  3. How much did the North American ice sheet contribute to Meltwater Pulse 1a?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregoire, Lauren; Otto-Bliesner, Bette; Valdes, Paul

    2016-04-01

    Constraining the source of Meltwater Pulse 1a (MWP1a), a sea level rise of 12 to 22 m in less than 350 years, 14.6 ka (Deschamps et al., 2012) is important for understanding mechanisms of rapid ice melt and the links with abrupt climate change. The North American ice sheet could have been a major contributor to this event due to the abrupt Northern Hemisphere Bølling warming at 14.7 ka and the collapse of the ice saddle between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets which caused accelerated melt (Gregoire et al., 2012). Here, we combine modelling of the North American ice sheet with observational constraints of ice extent evolution and sea level change to evaluate how and how much the North American ice sheet could have contributed to MWP1a. We drive an ice sheet model offline with transient climate experiments of the last deglaciation (21-7 ka) performed with two General Circulation Models (CCSM3 and FAMOUS) and run perturbed physics ensembles of ice sheet model experiments to take into account both climate and ice sheet model uncertainties. By ruling out experiments which do not match the evolution of ice extent and volume through the deglaciation (21-7 ka), we determine the range of plausible sea level rise associated with MWP1a. The North American ice sheet produces a sea level rise of 3-6 m in 350 years in response to the Bølling warming and 7-10 m over the same duration due to the ice saddle collapse during the separation of the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets. Although not seen in our experiments, it is possible that the Bølling abrupt warming triggered the saddle collapse, in which case the meltwater flux would have been substantially amplified.

  4. Response of a marine ice sheet to changes at the grounding line

    SciTech Connect

    Van der Veen, C.J.

    1985-01-01

    A numerical model was designed to study the stability of a marine ice sheet, and used to do some basic experiments. The ice-shelf/ice-sheet interaction enters through the flow law in which the longitudinal stress is also taken into account. Instead of applying the model to some (measured) profile and showing that this is unstable (as is common practice in other studies), an attempt is made to simulate a whole cycle of growth and retreat of a marine ice sheet, although none of the model sheets is particularly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions. The question as to what might happen to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the near future when a climatic warming can be expected as a result of the CO/sub 2/ effect, seems to be open for discussion again. From the results presented in this paper one can infer that a collapse, caused by increased melting on the ice shelves, is not very likely.

  5. Sensitivity of ocean circulation and sea-ice conditions to loss of West Antarctic ice shelves and ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bougamont, Marion; Hunke, Elizabeth C.; Tulaczyk, Slawek

    We use a global coupled ocean-sea ice model to test the hypothesis that the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS), or just its ice shelves, may modify ocean circulation and sea-ice conditions in the Southern Ocean. We compare the results of three model runs: (1) a control run with a standard (modern) configuration of landmask in West Antarctica, (2) a no-shelves run with West Antarctic ice shelves removed and (3) a no-WAIS run. In the latter two runs, up to a few million square kilometres of new sea surface area opens to sea-ice formation, causing the volume and extent of Antarctic sea-ice cover to increase compared with the control run. In general, near-surface waters are cooler around Antarctica in the no-shelves and no-WAIS model runs than in the control run, while warm intermediate and deep waters penetrate further south, increasing poleward heat transport. Varying regional responses to the imposed changes in landmask configuration are determined by the fact that Antarctic polynyas and fast ice develop in different parts of the model domain in each run. Model results suggest that changes in the extent of WAIS may modify oceanographic conditions in the Southern Ocean.

  6. Meltwater export of prokaryotic cells from the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Cameron, Karen A; Stibal, Marek; Hawkings, Jon R; Mikkelsen, Andreas B; Telling, Jon; Kohler, Tyler J; Gözdereliler, Erkin; Zarsky, Jakub D; Wadham, Jemma L; Jacobsen, Carsten S

    2017-02-01

    Microorganisms are flushed from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) where they may contribute towards the nutrient cycling and community compositions of downstream ecosystems. We investigate meltwater microbial assemblages as they exit the GrIS from a large outlet glacier, and as they enter a downstream river delta during the record melt year of 2012. Prokaryotic abundance, flux and community composition was studied, and factors affecting community structures were statistically considered. The mean concentration of cells exiting the ice sheet was 8.30 × 10(4) cells mL(-1) and we estimate that ∼1.02 × 10(21) cells were transported to the downstream fjord in 2012, equivalent to 30.95 Mg of carbon. Prokaryotic microbial assemblages were dominated by Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria. Cell concentrations and community compositions were stable throughout the sample period, and were statistically similar at both sample sites. Based on our observations, we argue that the subglacial environment is the primary source of the river-transported microbiota, and that cell export from the GrIS is dependent on discharge. We hypothesise that the release of subglacial microbiota to downstream ecosystems will increase as freshwater flux from the GrIS rises in a warming world.

  7. Surface exposure dating of Little Ice Age ice cap advances on Disko Island, West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lane, Timothy; Jomelli, Vincent; Rinterknecht, Vincent; Brunstein, Daniel; Schimmelpfennig, Irene; Swingedouw, Didier; Favier, Vincent; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie

    2015-04-01

    Little Ice Age (LIA: 1200-1920 AD) glacier advances in Greenland often form the most extensive positions of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) ice cap and margins since the Early Holocene. Across Greenland these advances are commonly represented by un-vegetated moraines, usually within 1-5 km of the present ice margin. However, chronological constraints on glacier advances during this period are sparse, meaning that GrIS and ice cap behavior and advance/retreat chronology remains poorly understood during this period. At present the majority of ages are based on historical accounts, ice core data, and radiocarbon ages from proglacial threshold lakes. However, developments in the accuracy and precision of surface exposure methods allow dating of LIA moraine boulders, permitting an opportunity to better understand of ice dynamics during this period. Geomorphological mapping and surface exposure dating (36Cl) were used to interpret moraine deposits from the Lyngmarksbræen on Disko Island, West Greenland. A Positive Degree Day (PDD) model was used to estimate Equilibrium Line Altitude (ELA) and mass balance changes for two distinct paleo-glacial extents. Three moraines (M1, M2, and M3) were mapped in the field, and sampled for 36Cl surface exposure dating. The outermost moraine (M1) was of clearly different morphology to the inner moraines, and present only in small fragments. M2 and M3 were distinct arcuate termino-lateral moraines within 50 m of one another, 1.5 km from the present ice margin. The weighted average of four 36Cl ages from M1 returned an early Holocene age of 8.4 ± 0.6 ka. M2 (four samples) returned an age of 0.57 ± 0.04 ka (1441 AD) and M3 (four samples) returned an age of 0.28 ± 0.02 ka (1732 AD). These surface exposure ages represent the first robustly dated Greenlandic ice cap moraine sequence from the LIA. The two periods of ice cap advance and marginal stabilisation are similar to recorded periods of LIA GrIS advance in west Greenland, constrained

  8. Little Ice Age Fluctuations of Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stroup, J. S.; Kelly, M. A.; Lowell, T.

    2009-12-01

    A record of the past extents of Quelccaya Ice Cap (QIC) provides valuable information about tropical climate change from late glacial to recent time. Here, we examine the timing and regional significance of fluctuations of QIC during the Little Ice Age (LIA; ~1300-1850 AD). One prominent set of moraines, known as the Huancane I moraines, is located ~1 km from the present-day western ice cap margin and provides a near-continuous outline of the most recent advance of QIC. This moraine set was radiocarbon dated (~298 ± 134 and 831 ± 87 yr BP) by Mercer and Palacios (1977) and presented as some of the first evidence for cooling in the tropics during the Little Ice Age. Recent field investigations in the QIC region focused on refining the chronology of the Huancane I moraines. In 2008, new stratigraphic sections exposed by local lake-flooding events revealed multiple layers of peat within the Huancane I moraines. In both 2008 and 2009, samples were obtained for 10Be dating of boulders on Huancane I moraines. A combination of radiocarbon and 10Be ages indicate that the Huancane I moraines were deposited by ice cap expansion after ~3800 yr BP and likely by multiple advances at approximately 1000, 600, 400, and 200 yr BP. Radiocarbon and 10Be chronologies of the Huancane I moraines are compared with the Quelccaya ice core records (Thompson et al., 1985; 1986; 2006). Accumulation data from the ice core records are interpreted to indicate a significant wet period at ~1500-1700 AD followed by a significant drought at ~1720-1860 AD. We examine ice marginal fluctuations during these times to determine influence of such events on the ice cap extent.

  9. Geothermal Heat Flux: Linking Deep Earth's Interior and the Dynamics of Large-Scale Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogozhina, Irina; Vaughan, Alan

    2014-05-01

    Regions covered by continental-scale ice sheets have the highest degree of uncertainty in composition and structure of the crust and lithospheric mantle, compounded by the poorest coverage on Earth of direct heat flow measurements. In addition to challenging conditions that make direct measurements and geological survey difficult Greenland and Antarctica are known to be geologically complex. Antarctica in particular is marked by two lithospherically distinct zones. In contrast to young and thin lithosphere of West Antarctica, East Antarctica is a collage of thick Precambrian fragments of Gondwana and earlier supercontinents. However, recent observations and modeling studies have detected large systems of subglacial lakes extending beneath much of the East Antarctic ice sheet base that have been linked to anomalously elevated heat flow. Outcrop samples from the rift margin with Australia (Prydz Bay) have revealed highly radiogenic Cambrian granite intrusives that are implicated in regional increase of crustal heat flux by a factor of two to three compared to the estimated continental background. Taken together, these indicate high variability of heat flow and properties of rocks across Antarctica. Similar conclusions have been made based on direct measurements and observations of the Greenland ice sheet. Airborne ice-penetrating radar and deep ice core projects show very high rates of basal melt for parts of the ice sheet in northern and central Greenland that have been explained by abnormally high heat flux. Archaean in age, the Greenland lithosphere was significantly reworked during the Early Proterozoic. In this region, the interpretation of independent geophysical data is complicated by Proterozoic and Phanerozoic collision zones, compounded by strong thermochemical effects of rifting along the western and eastern continental margins between 80 and 25 million years ago. In addition, high variability of heat flow and thermal lithosphere structure in central

  10. Dynamic Antarctic ice sheet during the early to mid-Miocene.

    PubMed

    Gasson, Edward; DeConto, Robert M; Pollard, David; Levy, Richard H

    2016-03-29

    Geological data indicate that there were major variations in Antarctic ice sheet volume and extent during the early to mid-Miocene. Simulating such large-scale changes is problematic because of a strong hysteresis effect, which results in stability once the ice sheets have reached continental size. A relatively narrow range of atmospheric CO2 concentrations indicated by proxy records exacerbates this problem. Here, we are able to simulate large-scale variability of the early to mid-Miocene Antarctic ice sheet because of three developments in our modeling approach. (i) We use a climate-ice sheet coupling method utilizing a high-resolution atmospheric component to account for ice sheet-climate feedbacks. (ii) The ice sheet model includes recently proposed mechanisms for retreat into deep subglacial basins caused by ice-cliff failure and ice-shelf hydrofracture. (iii) We account for changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of the ice sheet by using isotope-enabled climate and ice sheet models. We compare our modeling results with ice-proximal records emerging from a sedimentological drill core from the Ross Sea (Andrill-2A) that is presented in a companion article. The variability in Antarctic ice volume that we simulate is equivalent to a seawater oxygen isotope signal of 0.52-0.66‰, or a sea level equivalent change of 30-36 m, for a range of atmospheric CO2 between 280 and 500 ppm and a changing astronomical configuration. This result represents a substantial advance in resolving the long-standing model data conflict of Miocene Antarctic ice sheet and sea level variability.

  11. Dynamic Antarctic ice sheet during the early to mid-Miocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gasson, Edward; DeConto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Levy, Richard H.

    2016-03-01

    Geological data indicate that there were major variations in Antarctic ice sheet volume and extent during the early to mid-Miocene. Simulating such large-scale changes is problematic because of a strong hysteresis effect, which results in stability once the ice sheets have reached continental size. A relatively narrow range of atmospheric CO2 concentrations indicated by proxy records exacerbates this problem. Here, we are able to simulate large-scale variability of the early to mid-Miocene Antarctic ice sheet because of three developments in our modeling approach. (i) We use a climate-ice sheet coupling method utilizing a high-resolution atmospheric component to account for ice sheet-climate feedbacks. (ii) The ice sheet model includes recently proposed mechanisms for retreat into deep subglacial basins caused by ice-cliff failure and ice-shelf hydrofracture. (iii) We account for changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of the ice sheet by using isotope-enabled climate and ice sheet models. We compare our modeling results with ice-proximal records emerging from a sedimentological drill core from the Ross Sea (Andrill-2A) that is presented in a companion article. The variability in Antarctic ice volume that we simulate is equivalent to a seawater oxygen isotope signal of 0.52-0.66‰, or a sea level equivalent change of 30-36 m, for a range of atmospheric CO2 between 280 and 500 ppm and a changing astronomical configuration. This result represents a substantial advance in resolving the long-standing model data conflict of Miocene Antarctic ice sheet and sea level variability.

  12. A parallel high-order accurate finite element nonlinear Stokes ice sheet model and benchmark experiments: A PARALLEL FEM STOKES ICE SHEET MODEL

    SciTech Connect

    Leng, Wei; Ju, Lili; Gunzburger, Max; Price, Stephen; Ringler, Todd

    2012-01-04

    The numerical modeling of glacier and ice sheet evolution is a subject of growing interest, in part because of the potential for models to inform estimates of global sea level change. This paper focuses on the development of a numerical model that determines the velocity and pressure fields within an ice sheet. Our numerical model features a high-fidelity mathematical model involving the nonlinear Stokes system and combinations of no-sliding and sliding basal boundary conditions, high-order accurate finite element discretizations based on variable resolution grids, and highly scalable parallel solution strategies, all of which contribute to a numerical model that can achieve accurate velocity and pressure approximations in a highly efficient manner. We demonstrate the accuracy and efficiency of our model by analytical solution tests, established ice sheet benchmark experiments, and comparisons with other well-established ice sheet models.

  13. Global Geodetic Signatures of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    James, Thomas S.; Ivins, Erik R.

    1997-01-01

    Four scenarios of present day Antarctic ice sheet mass change are developed from comprehensive reviews of the available glaciological and oceanographic evidence. The gridded scenarios predict widely varying contributions to secular sea level change xi ranging from -1.1 to 0.45 mm/yr, and predict polar motion m and time-varying low-degree gravitational coefficients J(sub l) that differ significantly from earlier estimates. A reasonably linear relationship between the rate of sea level change from Antarctica xi(sub A) and the predicted Antarctic J(sub l) is found for the four scenarios. This linearity permits a series of forward models to be constructed that incorporate the effects of ice mass changes in Antarctica, Greenland, and distributed smaller glaciers, as well as postglacial rebound (assuming the ICE-3G deglaciation history), with the goal of obtaining optimum reconciliation between observed constraints on J(sub l) and sea level rise xi. Numerous viable combinations of lower mantle viscosity and hydrologic sources are found that safely "observed" in the range of 1 to 2-2.5 mm/yr and observed J(sub l) for degrees 2, 3, and 4. In contrast, rates of global sea level rise above 2.5 mm/yr are inconsistent with available J(sub l) observations. The successful composite models feature a pair of lower mantle viscosity solutions arising from the sensitivity of J(sub l) to glacial rebound. The paired values are well separated at xi = 1 mm/yr, but move closer together as xi is increased, and, in fact, merge around xi = 2 - 2.5 mm/yr, revealing an intimate relation between xi and preferred lower mantle viscosity. This general pattern is quite robust and persists for different J(sub l) solutions, for variations in source assumptions, and for different styles of lower mantle viscosity stratification. Tighter J(sub l) constraints for l greater than 2 may allow some viscosity stratification schemes and source assumptions to be excluded in the future. For a given total

  14. Photophysiology and albedo-changing potential of the ice algal community on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet

    PubMed Central

    Yallop, Marian L; Anesio, Alexandre M; Perkins, Rupert G; Cook, Joseph; Telling, Jon; Fagan, Daniel; MacFarlane, James; Stibal, Marek; Barker, Gary; Bellas, Chris; Hodson, Andy; Tranter, Martyn; Wadham, Jemma; Roberts, Nicholas W

    2012-01-01

    Darkening of parts of the Greenland ice sheet surface during the summer months leads to reduced albedo and increased melting. Here we show that heavily pigmented, actively photosynthesising microalgae and cyanobacteria are present on the bare ice. We demonstrate the widespread abundance of green algae in the Zygnematophyceae on the ice sheet surface in Southwest Greenland. Photophysiological measurements (variable chlorophyll fluorescence) indicate that the ice algae likely use screening mechanisms to downregulate photosynthesis when exposed to high intensities of visible and ultraviolet radiation, rather than non-photochemical quenching or cell movement. Using imaging microspectrophotometry, we demonstrate that intact cells and filaments absorb light with characteristic spectral profiles across ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, whereas inorganic dust particles typical for these areas display little absorption. Our results indicate that the phototrophic community growing directly on the bare ice, through their photophysiology, most likely have an important role in changing albedo, and subsequently may impact melt rates on the ice sheet. PMID:23018772

  15. Photophysiology and albedo-changing potential of the ice algal community on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Yallop, Marian L; Anesio, Alexandre M; Perkins, Rupert G; Cook, Joseph; Telling, Jon; Fagan, Daniel; MacFarlane, James; Stibal, Marek; Barker, Gary; Bellas, Chris; Hodson, Andy; Tranter, Martyn; Wadham, Jemma; Roberts, Nicholas W

    2012-12-01

    Darkening of parts of the Greenland ice sheet surface during the summer months leads to reduced albedo and increased melting. Here we show that heavily pigmented, actively photosynthesising microalgae and cyanobacteria are present on the bare ice. We demonstrate the widespread abundance of green algae in the Zygnematophyceae on the ice sheet surface in Southwest Greenland. Photophysiological measurements (variable chlorophyll fluorescence) indicate that the ice algae likely use screening mechanisms to downregulate photosynthesis when exposed to high intensities of visible and ultraviolet radiation, rather than non-photochemical quenching or cell movement. Using imaging microspectrophotometry, we demonstrate that intact cells and filaments absorb light with characteristic spectral profiles across ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, whereas inorganic dust particles typical for these areas display little absorption. Our results indicate that the phototrophic community growing directly on the bare ice, through their photophysiology, most likely have an important role in changing albedo, and subsequently may impact melt rates on the ice sheet.

  16. Laser altimetry reveals complex pattern of Greenland Ice Sheet dynamics.

    PubMed

    Csatho, Beata M; Schenk, Anton F; van der Veen, Cornelis J; Babonis, Gregory; Duncan, Kyle; Rezvanbehbahani, Soroush; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Simonsen, Sebastian B; Nagarajan, Sudhagar; van Angelen, Jan H

    2014-12-30

    We present a new record of ice thickness change, reconstructed at nearly 100,000 sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from laser altimetry measurements spanning the period 1993-2012, partitioned into changes due to surface mass balance (SMB) and ice dynamics. We estimate a mean annual GrIS mass loss of 243 ± 18 Gt ⋅ y(-1), equivalent to 0.68 mm ⋅ y(-1) sea level rise (SLR) for 2003-2009. Dynamic thinning contributed 48%, with the largest rates occurring in 2004-2006, followed by a gradual decrease balanced by accelerating SMB loss. The spatial pattern of dynamic mass loss changed over this time as dynamic thinning rapidly decreased in southeast Greenland but slowly increased in the southwest, north, and northeast regions. Most outlet glaciers have been thinning during the last two decades, interrupted by episodes of decreasing thinning or even thickening. Dynamics of the major outlet glaciers dominated the mass loss from larger drainage basins, and simultaneous changes over distances up to 500 km are detected, indicating climate control. However, the intricate spatiotemporal pattern of dynamic thickness change suggests that, regardless of the forcing responsible for initial glacier acceleration and thinning, the response of individual glaciers is modulated by local conditions. Recent projections of dynamic contributions from the entire GrIS to SLR have been based on the extrapolation of four major outlet glaciers. Considering the observed complexity, we question how well these four glaciers represent all of Greenland's outlet glaciers.

  17. Glacial isostatic stress shadowing by the Antarctic ice sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ivins, E. R.; James, T. S.; Klemann, V.

    2005-01-01

    Numerous examples of fault slip that offset late Quaternary glacial deposits and bedrock polish support the idea that the glacial loading cycle causes earthquakes in the upper crust. A semianalytical scheme is presented for quantifying glacial and postglacial lithospheric fault reactivation using contemporary rock fracture prediction methods. It extends previous studies by considering differential Mogi-von Mises stresses, in addition to those resulting from a Coulomb analysis. The approach utilizes gravitational viscoelastodynamic theory and explores the relationships between ice mass history and regional seismicity and faulting in a segment of East Antarctica containing the great Antarctic Plate (Balleny Island) earthquake of 25 March 1998 (Mw 8.1). Predictions of the failure stress fields within the seismogenic crust are generated for differing assumptions about background stress orientation, mantle viscosity, lithospheric thickness, and possible late Holocene deglaciation for the D91 Antarctic ice sheet history. Similar stress fracture fields are predicted by Mogi-von Mises and Coulomb theory, thus validating previous rebound Coulomb analysis. A thick lithosphere, of the order of 150-240 km, augments stress shadowing by a late melting (middle-late Holocene) coastal East Antarctic ice complex and could cause present-day earthquakes many hundreds of kilometers seaward of the former Last Glacial Maximum grounding line.

  18. Linking climate history and ice crystalline fabric evolution in polar ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennedy, Joseph Huston

    An ice sheet consists of an unfathomable number of grains that typically have a preferred orientation of the crystalline lattices, termed fabric. At the surface of ice sheets, the microstructural processes which control the grain structure and fabric evolution are influenced by climate variables. Layers of firn, in different climate regimes, may have an observable variation in fabric which can persist deep into the ice sheet; fabric may have 'memory' of these past climate regimes. To model the evolution of a subtle variation in fabric below the firn-ice transition, we have developed and released an open-source Fabric Evolution with Recrystallization (FEvoR) model. FEvoR is an anisotropic stress model that distributes stresses through explicit nearest-neighbor interaction. The model includes parameterizations of grain growth, rotation recrystallization and migration recrystallization which account for the major recrystallization processes that affect the macroscopic grain structure and fabric evolution. Using this model, we explore the evolution of a subtle variation in near-surface fabric using both constant applied stress and a stress-temperature history based on data from Taylor Dome, East Antarctica. Our results show that a subtle fabric variation will be preserved for ≈200 ka in compressive stress regimes with temperatures typical of polar ice-sheets. The addition of shear to compressive stress regimes preserves fabric variations longer than in compression-only regimes because shear drives a positive feedback between crystal rotation and deformation. We find that temperature affects how long the fabric variation is preserved, but does not affect the strain-integrated fabric evolution profile except when crossing the thermal-activation-energy threshold (≈ -10°C). Even at high temperatures, migration recrystallization does not rid the fabric of its memory under most conditions. High levels of nearest-neighbor interactions between grains will rid the fabric

  19. Recent Changes in High-Latitude Glaciers, Ice Caps, and Ice Sheets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abdalati, Waleed

    2006-01-01

    The glaciers and ice sheets of the world contain enough ice to raise sea level by approximately 70 meters if they were to disappear entirely, and most of this ice is located in the climatically sensitive polar regions. Fortunately changes of this magnitude would probably take many thousands of years to occur, but recent discoveries indicate that these ice masses are responding to changes in today s climate more rapidly than previously thought. These responses are likely to be of great societal significance, primarily in terms of their implications for sea level, but also in terms of how their discharge of freshwater, through melting or calving, may impact ocean circulation. For millions of years, oceans have risen and fallen as the Earth has warmed and cooled, and ice on land has shrunk and grown. Today is no different in that respect, as sea levels have been rising at a rate of nearly 2 m per year during the last century (Miller and Douglas 2004), and 3 mm/yr in the last 12 years (Leuliette et al. 2004). What is different today, however, is that tens - perhaps hundreds - of millions of people live in coastal areas that are vulnerable to changes in sea level. Rising seas erode beaches, increase flood potential, and reduce the ability of barrier islands and coastal wetlands to mitigate the effects of major storms and hurricanes. The costs associated with a one-meter rise in sea level are estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States alone. The worldwide costs in human terms would be far greater as some vulnerable low-lying coastal regions would become inundated, especially in poorer nations that do not have the resources to deal with such changes. Such considerations are particularly important in light of the fact that a one meter sea level rise is not significantly outside the 0.09 to 0.88 range of predictions for this century (IPCC 2001), and rises of this magnitude have occurred in the past in as little as 20 years (Fairbanks 1989

  20. Inter-annual and geographical variations in the extent of bare ice and dark ice on the Greenland ice sheet derived from MODIS satellite images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimada, Rigen; Takeuchi, Nozomu; Aoki, Teruo

    2016-04-01

    Areas of dark ice have appeared on the Greenland ice sheet every summer in recent years. These are likely to have a great impact on the mass balance of the ice sheet because of their low albedo. We report annual and geographical variations in the bare ice and dark ice areas that appeared on the Greenland Ice Sheet from 2000 to 2014 by using MODIS satellite images. The July monthly mean of the extent of bare ice showed a positive trend over these 15 years, and large annual variability ranging from 89,975 km2 to 279,075 km2, 5% and 16% of the entire ice sheet, respectively. The extent of dark ice also showed a positive trend and varied annually, ranging from 3,575 km2 to 26,975 km2, 4% and 10% of the bare ice extent. These areas are geographically varied, and their expansion is the greatest on the western side, particularly the southwestern side of the ice sheet. The bare ice extent correlates strongly with the monthly mean air temperature in July, suggesting that the extent was determined by snow melt. The dark ice extent also correlates with the air temperature; however, the correlation is weaker. The dark ice extent further correlates negatively with solar radiation. This suggests that the extent of dark ice is not only controlled by snow melt on the ice, but also by changes in the surface structures of the bare ice surface, such as cryoconite holes, which are associated with impurities appearing on the ice surface.

  1. Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakker, Pepijn; Clark, Peter U.; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Schmittner, Andreas; Weber, Michael E.

    2016-12-01

    Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean-atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both high-spatial-resolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

  2. The effects of mountain building in Greenland on the initiation of the ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solgaard, Anne; Bonow, Johan; Langen, Peter; Japsen, Peter; Hvidberg, Christine

    2013-04-01

    We investigate the effects of a new hypothesis about mountain building in Greenland on ice sheet initiation using an ice sheet model in combination with a climate model. According to this hypothesis, the present-day mountains formed after two phases of uplift since the Late Miocene where the Greenland topography was close to sea level. Ice sheet initiation is studied using the Greenland topography before uplift and after each phase of uplift by applying different forcing conditions relevant for the time period. We find a large response of ice sheet growth to the cooling and precipitation increase related to the local effect of elevation change, but also that a Föhn effect is induced which inhibits ice sheet expansion into the interior Greenland. Despite this, the second phase of uplift facilitates ice-sheet initiation. The area of main ice sheet nucleation is relocated from the northern tip of Greenland to the eastern coastal mountains following the second phase of uplift. The period where uplift occurred was a time characterized by a long term cooling trend but with cold and warm excursions superimposed on this. We compare our results with observations of ice sheet extent over this period. We find that they represent conditions well, and that the mountain building history augments the effect in Greenland of the climatic deterioration leading to the Northern Hemisphere glaciations.

  3. Rapid sea-level rise soon from West Antarctic ice sheet collapse?

    SciTech Connect

    Bentley, C.R.

    1997-02-21

    This article presents a commentary on the possibility of a global sea-level rise because of shrinkage of the west antarctic ice sheet (WAIS). The WAIS is the focus of attention because of general agreement among glaciologists that only a marine ice sheet is likely to undergo rapid change, and WAIS appears to be the most vulnerable. 14 refs., 1 fig.

  4. Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge.

    PubMed

    Bakker, Pepijn; Clark, Peter U; Golledge, Nicholas R; Schmittner, Andreas; Weber, Michael E

    2017-01-05

    Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean-atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both high-spatial-resolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

  5. Inferring unknow boundary conditions of the Greenland Ice Sheet by assimilating ICESat-1 and IceBridge altimetry intothe Ice Sheet System Model.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larour, E. Y.; Khazendar, A.; Seroussi, H. L.; Schlegel, N.; Csatho, B. M.; Schenk, A. F.; Rignot, E. J.; Morlighem, M.

    2014-12-01

    Altimetry signals from missions such as ICESat-1, CryoSat, EnviSat, as well as altimeters onboard Operation IceBridge provide vital insights into processes such as surface mass balance, mass transport and ice-flow dynamics. Historically however, ice-flow models have been focused on assimilating surface velocities from satellite-based radar observations, to infer properties such as basal friction or the position of the bedrock. Here, we leverage a new methodology based on automatic differentation of the Ice Sheet System Model to assimilate surface altimetry data into a reconstruction of the past decade of ice flow on the North Greenland area. We infer corrections to boundary conditions such as basal friction and surface mass balance, as well as corrections to the ice hardness, to best-match the observed altimetry record. We compare these corrections between glaciers such as Petermann Glacier, 79 North and Zacchariae Isstrom. The altimetry signals exhibit very different patterns between East and West, which translate into very different signatures for the inverted boundary conditions. This study gives us greater insights into what differentiates different basins, both in terms of mass transport and ice-flow dynamics, and what could bethe controlling mechanisms behind the very different evolutions of these basins.

  6. Substantial contribution to sea-level rise during the last interglacial from the Greenland ice sheet

    PubMed

    Cuffey; Marshall

    2000-04-06

    During the last interglacial period (the Eemian), global sea level was at least three metres, and probably more than five metres, higher than at present. Complete melting of either the West Antarctic ice sheet or the Greenland ice sheet would today raise sea levels by 6-7 metres. But the high sea levels during the last interglacial period have been proposed to result mainly from disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, with model studies attributing only 1-2 m of sea-level rise to meltwater from Greenland. This result was considered consistent with ice core evidence, although earlier work had suggested a much reduced Greenland ice sheet during the last interglacial period. Here we reconsider the Eemian evolution of the Greenland ice sheet by combining numerical modelling with insights obtained from recent central Greenland ice-core analyses. Our results suggest that the Greenland ice sheet was considerably smaller and steeper during the Eemian, and plausibly contributed 4-5.5 m to the sea-level highstand during that period. We conclude that the high sea level during the last interglacial period most probably included a large contribution from Greenland meltwater and therefore should not be interpreted as evidence for a significant reduction of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

  7. Setting a chronology for the basal ice at Dye-3 and GRIP: Implications for the long-term stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yau, Audrey M.; Bender, Michael L.; Blunier, Thomas; Jouzel, Jean

    2016-10-01

    The long-term stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) is an important issue in our understanding of the climate system. Limited data suggest that the northern and southern sections extend well back into the Pleistocene, but most age constraints do not definitively date the ice. Here, we re-examine the GRIP and Dye-3 ice cores to provide direct ice core observations as to whether the GIS survived previous interglacials known to be warmer (˜130 ka) or longer (˜430 ka) than the present interglacial. We present geochemical analyses of the basal ice from Dye-3 (1991-2035 m) and GRIP (3020-3026 m) that characterize and date the ice. We analyzed the elemental and isotopic composition of O2, N2, and Ar, of trapped air in these two cores to assess the origin of trapped gases in silty ice. Dating of the trapped air was then achieved by measuring the paleoatmospheric δ40Ar/38Ar and the 17O anomaly (17Δ) of O2. The resulting age is a lower limit because the trapped air may be contaminated with crustal radiogenic 40Ar. The oldest average age of replicates measured at various depths is 970 ± 140 ka for the GRIP ice core and 400 ka ± 170 ka for Dye-3. 17Δ data from Dye-3 also argue strongly that basal ice in this core predates the Eemian. This confirms that the Greenland Ice Sheet did not completely melt at Southern Greenland during the last interglacial, nor did it completely melt at Summit Greenland during the unusually long interglacial ˜430 kyr before present.

  8. Modelling large-scale ice-sheet-climate interactions following glacial inception

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregory, J. M.; Browne, O. J. H.; Payne, A. J.; Ridley, J. K.; Rutt, I. C.

    2012-10-01

    We have coupled the FAMOUS global AOGCM (atmosphere-ocean general circulation model) to the Glimmer thermomechanical ice-sheet model in order to study the development of ice-sheets in north-east America (Laurentia) and north-west Europe (Fennoscandia) following glacial inception. This first use of a coupled AOGCM-ice-sheet model for a study of change on long palæoclimate timescales is made possible by the low computational cost of FAMOUS, despite its inclusion of physical parameterisations similar in complexity to higher-resolution AOGCMs. With the orbital forcing of 115 ka BP, FAMOUS-Glimmer produces ice caps on the Canadian Arctic islands, on the north-west coast of Hudson Bay and in southern Scandinavia, which grow to occupy the Keewatin region of the Canadian mainland and all of Fennoscandia over 50 ka. Their growth is eventually halted by increasing coastal ice discharge. The expansion of the ice-sheets influences the regional climate, which becomes cooler, reducing the ablation, and ice accumulates in places that initially do not have positive surface mass balance. The results suggest the possibility that the glaciation of north-east America could have begun on the Canadian Arctic islands, producing a regional climate change that caused or enhanced the growth of ice on the mainland. The increase in albedo (due to snow and ice cover) is the dominant feedback on the area of the ice-sheets and acts rapidly, whereas the feedback of topography on SMB does not become significant for several centuries, but eventually has a large effect on the thickening of the ice-sheets. These two positive feedbacks are mutually reinforcing. In addition, the change in topography perturbs the tropospheric circulation, producing some reduction of cloud, and mitigating the local cooling along the margin of the Laurentide ice-sheet. Our experiments demonstrate the importance and complexity of the interactions between ice-sheets and local climate.

  9. Dynamic Antarctic ice sheet during the early to mid-Miocene

    PubMed Central

    DeConto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Levy, Richard H.

    2016-01-01

    Geological data indicate that there were major variations in Antarctic ice sheet volume and extent during the early to mid-Miocene. Simulating such large-scale changes is problematic because of a strong hysteresis effect, which results in stability once the ice sheets have reached continental size. A relatively narrow range of atmospheric CO2 concentrations indicated by proxy records exacerbates this problem. Here, we are able to simulate large-scale variability of the early to mid-Miocene Antarctic ice sheet because of three developments in our modeling approach. (i) We use a climate–ice sheet coupling method utilizing a high-resolution atmospheric component to account for ice sheet–climate feedbacks. (ii) The ice sheet model includes recently proposed mechanisms for retreat into deep subglacial basins caused by ice-cliff failure and ice-shelf hydrofracture. (iii) We account for changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of the ice sheet by using isotope-enabled climate and ice sheet models. We compare our modeling results with ice-proximal records emerging from a sedimentological drill core from the Ross Sea (Andrill-2A) that is presented in a companion article. The variability in Antarctic ice volume that we simulate is equivalent to a seawater oxygen isotope signal of 0.52–0.66‰, or a sea level equivalent change of 30–36 m, for a range of atmospheric CO2 between 280 and 500 ppm and a changing astronomical configuration. This result represents a substantial advance in resolving the long-standing model data conflict of Miocene Antarctic ice sheet and sea level variability. PMID:26903645

  10. A Maturing Tephra Record in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunbar, N. W.; Kurbatov, A.; McIntosh, W. C.

    2011-12-01

    Tephra layers found in many Antarctic ice cores range from sub-centimeter thick, visible layers to cryptotephra consisting of sparse, fine-grained (<10 micron) glass particles. Location of tephra particles has improved with advances in methods of detecting cryptotephra in ice cores. Identification of tephra layers traditionally relied on visible detection or association with sulfate aerosols, but is now supplemented by downhole optical logging (Bay et al., 2001). Improved analytical techniques for glass characterization, such as high quality quantitative electron microprobe analysis, and more complete information on source eruptions has facilitated identification of tephra horizons in ice cores. Two deep ice cores drilled in West Antarctica (Siple Dome and WAIS Divide) contain rich tephra records, with the former containing 37 tephra layers and the latter containing several hundred distinct, visible layers, many of which are likely to be tephra. Most of the tephra layers with strong correlations to sources are derived from Antarctic volcanoes, many from two large West Antarctic stratovolcanoes Mt. Berlin and Mt. Takahe, tephra from which have also been recognized in the marine record (Hillenbrand et al., 1988). A well-defined ash layer is found at a depth of between 190.37-190.39 m depth in the WAIS Divide core, containing 20 um ash shards that are chemically correlated to the the Pleaides volcanoes, in northern Victoria Land. This tephra layer correlates to one found in a Siple Dome (B) ice core (97.2 to 97.7 m depth) and in the Taylor Dome ice core (79.2 m depth). Deeper parts of the WAIS Divide ice core correspond to a time interval of abundant regional volcanism, represented by the large number of visible dust bands and cloudy layers in the core (A. Orsi, pers. comm., 2010). A distinct "visible brown layer" at a depth of 1586.363 m. (8.279 Ky BP preliminary age) is very likely to be from a major eruption of the West Antarctic volcano Mt. Takahe (8.2±5

  11. A model of the western Laurentide Ice Sheet, using observations of glacial isostatic adjustment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gowan, Evan J.; Tregoning, Paul; Purcell, Anthony; Montillet, Jean-Philippe; McClusky, Simon

    2016-05-01

    We present the results of a new numerical model of the late glacial western Laurentide Ice Sheet, constrained by observations of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), including relative sea level indicators, uplift rates from permanent GPS stations, contemporary differential lake level change, and postglacial tilt of glacial lake level indicators. The later two datasets have been underutilized in previous GIA based ice sheet reconstructions. The ice sheet model, called NAICE, is constructed using simple ice physics on the basis of changing margin location and basal shear stress conditions in order to produce ice volumes required to match GIA. The model matches the majority of the observations, while maintaining a relatively realistic ice sheet geometry. Our model has a peak volume at 18,000 yr BP, with a dome located just east of Great Slave Lake with peak thickness of 4000 m, and surface elevation of 3500 m. The modelled ice volume loss between 16,000 and 14,000 yr BP amounts to about 7.5 m of sea level equivalent, which is consistent with the hypothesis that a large portion of Meltwater Pulse 1A was sourced from this part of the ice sheet. The southern part of the ice sheet was thin and had a low elevation profile. This model provides an accurate representation of ice thickness and paleo-topography, and can be used to assess present day uplift and infer past climate.

  12. Sonification of cryoconite landscapes over the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tedesco, M.

    2015-12-01

    Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to convey information. In sonification, several elements can be altered, modified or manipulated to change the perception of the sound, and in turn, the perception of the information being transmitted. For example, an increase or decrease in pitch, tempo and amplitude can be used to convey the information but this can also happen by varying other less commonly used components. One of the advantages of using sonification lies in the temporal, spatial, amplitude, and frequency resolution that offer complementary and supplementary possibilities with respect to visualization techniques. Two years ago, the outcomes of the PolarSEEDS project (www.polaseeds.org), consisting of sonification of time series of albedo, melting and surface temperature over the Greenland ice sheet, were presented in this very same session. The work that I will discuss in this presentation builds on the PolarSEEDS experience, focusing on the fascinating microcosm of cryoconite. Cryoconite is a unique and extremely fascinating form of glacial cover consisting of aggregated rock dust, inorganic and detrital organic matter, and active microbial colonies. It can be seen as 'living stones', with this ecosystem containing the only form of life that is sustained on the majestic surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Microbes are, indeed, the catalyst for cryoconite formation and growth. The cryoconite constituents radiate metabolic heat promoting glacier hole development, melt water formation, and decreasing glacier surface albedo. Lower albedos cause a positive feedback that further contributes to glacier ablation. Despite their importance, cryoconite systems are poorly studied and little is known about their evolution. In the talk, I will first present and discuss previous sonification projects whose main focus was on the polar regions; then, I will present new sonifications based on data quantifying the distribution and evolution of cryoconite over the west

  13. Greenland ice sheet elevation changes estimated from CryoSat-2 observations from 2010-2014

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nilsson, J.; Sandberg Sørensen, L.; Meister, R.; Barletta, V. R.; Forsberg, R.

    2014-12-01

    With more than 3.5 years of CryoSat-2 satellite data now available, the estimation of ice sheet wide elevation changes is now possible for the Greenland ice sheet. In this study we have developed novel LRM and SARin processing chains to produce elevation estimates from ESA level-1b data sets. From these estimates, ice sheet wide elevation changes were estimated using both the plane fitting principles and satellite crossovers. The accuracy of the results are evaluated using airborne NASA ATM and ESA CryoVEx data. The resulting elevation changes were then compared to results derived from Envisat and GRACE data. The results obtained are in line with previous observed spatial patterns of elevation change, where a clear negative signal can be detected along the ice sheet margins which decreases inwards to interior of the ice sheet, and confirms the dynamic behavior of the major outlet glaciers.

  14. Widespread complex flow in the interior of the antarctic ice sheet

    PubMed

    Bamber; Vaughan; Joughin

    2000-02-18

    It has been suggested that as much as 90% of the discharge from the Antarctic Ice Sheet is drained through a small number of fast-moving ice streams and outlet glaciers fed by relatively stable and inactive catchment areas. Here, evidence obtained from balance velocity estimates suggests that each major drainage basin is fed by complex systems of tributaries that penetrate up to 1000 kilometers from the grounding line into the interior of the ice sheet. This finding has important consequences for the modeled or estimated dynamic response time of past and present ice sheets to climate forcing.

  15. Ocean - ice sheet interaction along the NW European margin during the last glacial phases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, L. W. M.; Sejrup, H. P.; Haflidason, H.; Hjelstuen, B. O. B.

    2015-12-01

    The NW European continental margin was repeatedly covered by shelf edge glaciations during the last glacial cycles. Here, we present a compilation of new and previously published data from a SW to NE transect of 8 sediment cores raised along the upper continental slope. This study aims to investigate the interaction between sea surface conditions and the variability seen in the British Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) and the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) during the last 13-40 ka BP. Ice Rafted Debris (IRD) counts, IRD flux data, grain size data, the content of the polar planktonic foraminifera Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sin) and ∂18O measurements were compiled and combined with new Bayesian age models. From 40-24.5 ka BP the build up and consecutive confluence of the BIIS and the FIS are reflected in sediment composition and flux data. Pulses of large quantities of fine material to the southern part of the transect suggest riverine BIIS related influx. The sediment composition in cores close to the Norwegian channel indicates that the Norwegian Channel Ice Stream (NCIS) was only active between 24.5-18.5 ka BP during the last glacial stage. The planktonic foraminifera data during this period strongly suggests a dependence of NCIS extent variability and pulses in warm Atlantic water entering the Nordic Seas. In the northernmost cores rapidly deposited, laminated sediments and ∂18O spikes in planktonic foraminifera dated to 18.5 ka BP were interpreted as meltwater plume deposits. This may reflect NCIS retreat allowing BIIS and FIS to unzip and route ice dammed lake- and meltwater to the margin. In conclusion, the investigation suggests a close co-variation in extent of marine based parts of the BIIS, the FIS and ocean circulation while demonstrating the strong influence of the local glacial history on standard open marine proxies. This suggests that tuning chronologies of single marine records to ice cores in some regions might be more challenging than previously

  16. Coring to the West Antarctic ice sheet bed with a new Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) drill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bentley, C. R.; Taylor, K. C.; Shturmakov, A. J.; Mason, W. P.; Emmel, G. R.; Lebar, D. A.

    2005-05-01

    As a contribution to IPY 2007-2008, the U.S. ice core research community, supported by the National Science Foundation, plans to core through the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) at the ice-flow divide between the Ross Sea and Amundsen Sea drainage systems. The aim is to develop a unique series of interrelated climatic, ice-dynamic, and biologic records focused on understanding interactions among global earth systems. There will be approximately 15 separate but synergistic projects to analyze the ice and interpret the records. The most significant expected outcome of the WAIS Divide program will be climate records for the last ~40,000 years with an annually resolved chronology (through layer counting), comparable to the records from central Greenland. The data will also extend, at lower temporal resolution, to approximately 100,000 BP. These records will permit comparison of environmental conditions between the northern and southern hemispheres, and study of greenhouse gas concentrations in the paleoatmosphere, with unprecedented detail. To accomplish the coring, an innovative new Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) drill is being built at the University of Wisconsin. The modular design of the bore-hole assembly (sonde) provides high flexibility for producing a 122 mm diameter ice core to depths of 4,000 m with maximum core lengths of 4 m. The DISC drill has a rotating outer barrel that can be used with or without an inner barrel designed to improve core recovery in brittle ice. Separate and independent motors for the drill and pump allow cutter speeds from 0 to 150 rpm and pump rates from 0 to 140 gpm. The high pumping rate should alleviate problems drilling in warm ice near the bed; it also helps make tripping speeds several times faster than with the old US drill. Other innovations include vibration and acoustic sensors for monitoring the drilling process, a segmented core barrel to avoid the formerly persistent problem of bent core barrels, and a high-speed data

  17. Future Antarctic Bed Topography and Its Implications for Ice Sheet Dynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adhikari, Surendra; Ivins, Erik R.; Larour, Eric Y.; Seroussi, Helene L.; Morlighem, Mathieu; Nowicki, S.

    2014-01-01

    The Antarctic bedrock is evolving as the solid Earth responds to the past and ongoing evolution of the ice sheet. A recently improved ice loading history suggests that the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) has generally been losing its mass since the Last Glacial Maximum. In a sustained warming climate, the AIS is predicted to retreat at a greater pace, primarily via melting beneath the ice shelves.We employ the glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) capability of the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) to combine these past and future ice loadings and provide the new solid Earth computations for the AIS.We find that past loading is relatively less important than future loading for the evolution of the future bed topography. Our computations predict that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) may uplift by a few meters and a few tens of meters at years AD 2100 and 2500, respectively, and that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is likely to remain unchanged or subside minimally except around the Amery Ice Shelf. The Amundsen Sea Sector in particular is predicted to rise at the greatest rate; one hundred years of ice evolution in this region, for example, predicts that the coastline of Pine Island Bay will approach roughly 45mmyr-1 in viscoelastic vertical motion. Of particular importance, we systematically demonstrate that the effect of a pervasive and large GIA uplift in the WAIS is generally associated with the flattening of reverse bed slope, reduction of local sea depth, and thus the extension of grounding line (GL) towards the continental shelf. Using the 3-D higher-order ice flow capability of ISSM, such a migration of GL is shown to inhibit the ice flow. This negative feedback between the ice sheet and the solid Earth may promote stability in marine portions of the ice sheet in the future.

  18. The North American Cordillera - an Impediment to Growing the Continent-wide Laurentide Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Löfverström, M.; Liakka, J.; Kleman, J.

    2015-12-01

    Much effort has been devoted to understanding the climate of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) when the continent-wide Laurentide Ice Sheet resided in North America. It has been established, however, that the massive LGM ice sheet was a relatively short lasting (5-15 kyrs) "glacial extreme", and the longer build-up phase (around 75-85 kyrs in length) was dominated by an east-heavy ice configuration and largely ice-free conditions in the interior of the continent. The present study aims to investigate whether first-order (large scale) interactions between the atmosphere and ice sheets can explain the asymmetric ice evolution and the limited glaciation of the continental interior in the larger part of the last glacial cycle. Simulations are conducted using a comprehensive atmospheric circulation model asynchronously coupled to an ice-sheet model. The atmospheric state is updated for every 2×106 km3 increase in ice volume and the coupled model is integrated to steady state. We resort to a simplified model setup, using a triangular representation of North America, with and without the influence of the Cordilleran region, in order to isolate the influence of the mountain range on the ice sheet evolution. In the first experiment we use a flat continent with no background topography. The ice sheet evolves fairly zonally symmetric and the equilibrium ice sheet is continent wide and has the highest point in the center of the continent. In the second experiment we include a simplified representation of the Cordilleran region. The ice sheet's equilibrium state is here structurally different from the flat continent case; the center of mass is strongly shifted to the east and the interior of the continent remains ice-free - an outline resembling the geologically determined pre-LGM state. The ice sheet induces both mechanically and thermally forced stationary waves that result in a reduced cloudiness and hence an increased downwelling of radiation at the surface. This yields

  19. BRITICE-CHRONO: Constraining rates and style of marine-influenced ice sheet decay to provide a data-rich playground for ice sheet modellers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Chris

    2014-05-01

    Uncertainty exists regarding the fate of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and how they will respond to forcings from sea level and atmospheric and ocean temperatures. If we want to know more about the mechanisms and rate of change of shrinking ice sheets, then why not examine an ice sheet that has fully disappeared and track its retreat through time? If achieved in enough detail such information could become a data-rich playground for improving the next breed of numerical ice sheet models to be used in ice and sea level forecasting. We regard that the last British-Irish Ice Sheet is a good target for this work, on account of its small size, density of information and with its numerous researchers already investigating it. BRITICE-CHRONO is a large (>45 researchers) NERC-funded consortium project comprising Quaternary scientists and glaciologists who will search the seafloor around Britain and Ireland and parts of the landmass in order to find and extract samples of sand, rock and organic matter that can be dated (OSL; Cosmogenic; 14C) to reveal the timing and rate of change of the collapsing British-Irish Ice Sheet. The purpose is to produce a high resolution dataset on the demise on an ice sheet - from the continental shelf edge and across the marine to terrestrial transition. Some 800 new date assessments will be added to those that already exist. This poster reports on the hypotheses that underpin the work. Data on retreat will be collected by focusing on 8 transects running from the continental shelf edge to a short distance (10s km) onshore and acquiring marine and terrestrial samples for geochronometric dating. The project includes funding for 587 radiocarbon, 140 OSL and 158 TCN samples for surface exposure dating; with sampling accomplished by two research cruises and 16 fieldwork campaigns. Results will reveal the timing and rate of change of ice margin recession for each transect, and combined with existing landform and dating databases, will be

  20. Multiphase flow of the late Wisconsinan Cordilleran ice sheet in Western Canada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stumpf, A.J.; Broster, B.E.; Levson, V.M.

    2000-01-01

    In central British Columbia, ice flow during the late Wisconsinan Fraser glaciation (ca. 25-10 ka) occurred in three phases. The ice expansion phase occurred during an extended period when glaciers flowed westward to the Pacific Ocean and east-southeastward onto the Nechako Plateau from ice centers in the Skeena, Hazelton, Coast, and Omineca Mountains. Initially, glacier flow was confined by topography along major valleys, but eventually piedmont and montane glaciers coalesced to form an integrated glacier system, the Cordilleran ice sheet. In the maximum phase, a Cordilleran ice divide developed over the Nechako Plateau to 300 km inland from the Pacific coast. At this time, the surface of the ice sheet extended well above 2500 m above sea level, and flowed westward over the Skeena, Hazelton, and Coast Mountains onto the continental shelf, and eastward across the Rocky Mountains into Alberta. In the late glacial phase, a rapid rise of the equilibrium line caused ice lobes to stagnate in valleys, and restricted accumulation centers to high mountains. Discordant directions in ice flow are attributed to fluctuations of the ice divide representing changes in the location of accumulation centers and ice thickness. Ice centers probably shifted in response to climate, irregular growth in the ice sheet, rapid calving, ice streaming, and drainage of proglacial and subglacial water bodies. Crosscutting ice-flow indicators and preservation of early (valley parallel) flow features in areas exposed to later (cross-valley) glacier erosion indicate that the ice expansion phase was the most erosive and protracted event.

  1. Ross Sea Till Properties: Implications for Ice Sheet Bed Interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Halberstadt, A. R.; Anderson, J. B.; Simkins, L.; Prothro, L. O.; Bart, P. J.

    2015-12-01

    Since the discovery of a pervasive shearing till layer underlying Ice Stream B, the scientific community has categorized subglacial diamictons as either deformation till or lodgement till primarily based on shear strength. Deformation till is associated with streaming ice, formed through subglacial deformation of unconsolidated sediments. Lodgement till is believed to be deposited by the plastering of sediment entrained at the base of slow-flowing ice onto a rigid bed. Unfortunately, there has been a paucity of quantitative data on the spatial distribution of shear strength across the continental shelf. Cores collected from the Ross Sea on cruises NBP1502 and NBP9902 provide a rich dataset that can be used to interpret till shear strength variability. Till strengths are analyzed within the context of: (1) geologic substrate; (2) water content and other geotechnical properties; (3) ice sheet retreat history; and (4) geomorphic framework. Tills display a continuum of shear strengths rather than a bimodal distribution, suggesting that shear strength cannot be used to distinguish between lodgement and deformation till. Where the substrate below the LGM unconformity is comprised of older lithified deposits, till shear strengths are both highly variable within the till unit, as well as highly variable between cores. Conversely, where ice streams flowed across unconsolidated Plio-Pleistocene deposits, shear strengths are low and less variable within the unit and between cores. This suggests greater homogenization of cannibalized tills, and possibly a deeper pervasive shear layer. Coarser-grained tills are observed on banks and bank slopes, with finer tills in troughs. Highly variable and more poorly sorted tills are found in close proximity to sediment-based subglacial meltwater channels, attesting to a change in ice-bed interaction as subglacial water increases. Pellets (rounded sedimentary clasts of till matrix) are observed in Ross Sea cores, suggesting a history of

  2. Annual accumulation over the Greenland ice sheet interpolated from historical and newly compiled observation data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shen, Dayong; Liu, Yuling; Huang, Shengli

    2012-01-01

    The estimation of ice/snow accumulation is of great significance in quantifying the mass balance of ice sheets and variation in water resources. Improving the accuracy and reducing uncertainty has been a challenge for the estimation of annual accumulation over the Greenland ice sheet. In this study, we kriged and analyzed the spatial pattern of accumulation based on an observation data series including 315 points used in a recent research, plus 101 ice cores and snow pits and newly compiled 23 coastal weather station data. The estimated annual accumulation over the Greenland ice sheet is 31.2 g cm−2 yr−1, with a standard error of 0.9 g cm−2 yr−1. The main differences between the improved map developed in this study and the recently published accumulation maps are in the coastal areas, especially southeast and southwest regions. The analysis of accumulations versus elevation reveals the distribution patterns of accumulation over the Greenland ice sheet.

  3. Thermal insights of the Greenland ice sheet perennial firn aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forster, R. R.; Miège, C.; Koenig, L.; Brucker, L.

    2013-12-01

    The Greenland ice sheet hydrology is characterized by a complex system and is triggered essentially by surface melt starting late spring to early summer each year. Understanding the hydrologic system for the ice sheet remains important to address ice dynamics and surface mass balance questions. In April 2011, in Southeast Greenland, field work was conducted and firn-core drilling identified the presence of liquid water persisting through the winter without freezing. This observed feature is named perennial firn aquifer (PFA) and can be mapped by the Accumulation Radar on board of the NASA Operation IceBridge mission. Even if the extent of this feature can be constrained by remote sensing techniques its formation and persistence mechanism remain unclear. Thermal behavior of the PFA is a key parameter to monitor in order to understand melting and refreezing processes at the PFA location. The PFA-13 site (66.18°N, 39.04°W and 1563 m), located near the 2011 site where the PFA was first identified, was revisited in early April 2013 for further investigations of the aquifer. To characterize the PFA thermal regime and seasonal evolution, we installed two thermistor strings . They are used to record the vertical temperature evolution for a year, from the surface to the bottom of the PFA and below. The data are being uploaded daily via satellite link. Progressive heating of the firn pack is observed from June 15th to the end of July 2013, by then, the entire firn column from the surface to 12 m depth (top of PFA) is at 0 °C. This observation brings evidence that meltwater can reach the depth of 12 m in the firn, during one and a half months. By the end of the summer, refreezing is expected from near the surface and the cold surface temperatures will slowly penetrate into the firn. In addition, freshly fallen snow, usually > 2 m over the course of a winter, will help insulate the remaining liquid water within the firn from the surface. We will present the time series of

  4. Northern Cordilleran Ice Sheet Dynamics in Coastal Alaska from MIS 3 to the Present: Initial Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penkrot, M. L.; Jaeger, J. M.; LeVay, L.; St-Onge, G.; Mix, A. C.; Bahlburg, H.; Davies-Walczak, M.; Gulick, S. P. S.

    2014-12-01

    Establishing the timing of northwestern Cordilleran ice sheet (NCIS) advance-retreat cycles in southern Alaska allows for investigation of global synchronicity in glacial-age climate forcing. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 341 targeted the glacial dynamics of the NCIS in the coastal St. Elias range. Sediment cores from Site U1419 encompass times of global ice advance and retreat from MIS 3 to the present, based on a preliminary age model with 5-kya resolution developed using oxygen isotopes from benthic and planktonic foraminifera and stratigraphic correlation with a previously C-14 dated site survey core (Davies et al., 2011; doi:10.1029/2010PA002051). CT images of cores were used to identify sedimentary facies and relative ice sheet proximity. Six sedimentary facies were identified in the images; massive mud with and without lonestones, laminations with and without lonestones, massive and stratified diamict (>1 clast/cm). Elemental scanning XRF data were used to delineate possible downcore changes in sediment provenance using provenance-sensitive transition metals. Diamict and gravelly mud are the most common facies, indicative of persistent glacial input interpreted as marine-terminating glacial systems. Stratified diamicts are interpreted as periods of maximum ice extent (~18-20 ka), whereas massive mud (~14 ka-present) suggests terminus retreat. Intervals of laminated mud with and without lonestones are interpreted as periods of reduced ice cover, with the most recent (~14.5 kya) coinciding with the Bølling Interstade of northern Europe/Greenland (Davies et al., 2011). Downcore changes in Al-normalized metal XRF counts vary along with sedimentary lithoficies, suggesting changes in sediment provenance that may be related to the quantity of glacigenic sediment delivery to this location.

  5. Evidence for smaller extents of the northwestern Greenland Ice Sheet and North Ice Cap during the Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelly, M. A.; Osterberg, E. C.; Axford, Y.; Bigl, M.; Birkel, S. D.; Corbett, L. B.; Roy, E. P.; Thompson, J. T.; Whitecloud, S.

    2013-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and local glaciers on Greenland are responding dynamically to warming temperatures with widespread retreat. GRACE satellite data (e.g., Kahn et al., 2010) and the Petermann Glacier calving events document the recent expansion of ice loss into northwestern Greenland. To improve the ability to estimate future ice loss in a warming climate, we are developing records of the response of the northwestern Greenlandic cryosphere to Holocene climatic conditions, with a focus on past warm periods. Our ongoing research includes analyses of glacial geology, sub-fossil vegetation, lake sediment cores, chironomid assemblages and ice cores combined with glaciological modeling. To constrain past ice extents that were as small as, or smaller than, at present, we recovered sub-fossil vegetation exposed at the receding margins of the GrIS and North Ice Cap (NIC) in the Nunatarssuaq region (~76.7°N, 67.4°W) and of the GrIS near Thule (~76.5°N, 68.7°W). We present vegetation types and radiocarbon ages of 30 plant samples collected in August 2012. In the Nunatarssuaq region, five ages of in situ (rooted) vegetation including Polytrichum moss, Saxifraga nathorstii and grasses located <5 m outboard of the GrIS margin are ~120-200 cal yr BP (range of medians of the 2-sigma calibrated age ranges). Nine ages of in situ Polytrichum, Saxifraga oppositafolia and grasses from ~1-5 m inboard of the NIC margin (excavated from beneath ice) range from ~50 to 310 cal yr BP. The growth of these plants occurred when the GrIS and NIC were at least as small as at present and their ages suggest that ice advances occurred in the last 50-120 yrs. In addition to the in situ samples, we collected plants from well-preserved ground material exposed along shear planes in the GrIS margins. In Nunatarssuaq, two Polytrichum mosses rooted in ground material and exposed along a shear plane in the GrIS margin date to 4680 and 4730 cal yr BP. Near Thule, three ages of Salix arctica

  6. A Synthesis of the Basal Thermal State of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macgregor, J. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Catania, G. A.; Aschwanden, A.; Clow, G. D.; Colgan, W. T.; Gogineni, S. P.; Morlighem, M.; Nowicki, S. M. J.; Paden, J. D.; Price, S. F.; Seroussi, H.

    2016-01-01

    Greenland's thick ice sheet insulates the bedrock below from the cold temperatures at the surface, so the bottom of the ice is often tens of degrees warmer than at the top, because the ice bottom is slowly warmed by heat coming from the Earth's depths. Knowing whether Greenland's ice lies on wet, slippery ground or is anchored to dry, frozen bedrock is essential for predicting how this ice will flow in the future. But scientists have very few direct observations of the thermal conditions beneath the ice sheet, obtained through fewer than two dozen boreholes that have reached the bottom. Our study synthesizes several independent methods to infer the Greenland Ice Sheet's basal thermal state -whether the bottom of the ice is melted or not-leading to the first map that identifies frozen and thawed areas across the whole ice sheet. This map will guide targets for future investigations of the Greenland Ice Sheet toward the most vulnerable and poorly understood regions, ultimately improving our understanding of its dynamics and contribution to future sea-level rise. It is of particular relevance to ongoing Operation IceBridge activities and future large-scale airborne missions over Greenland.

  7. Late Wisconsinan ice sheet flow across northern and central Vermont, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, Stephen F.

    2015-12-01

    A compilation of over 2000 glacial striation azimuths across northern and central Vermont, northeastern USA, provides the basis for interpreting a sequence of ice flow directions across this area. The oldest striations indicate widespread ice flow to the southeast, obliquely across the mountains. Similarly oriented striations between northern Vermont and the ice sheet's terminus in the Gulf of Maine suggest that a broad area of southeast ice flow existed at the Last Glacial Maximum. Younger striations with more southerly azimuths on both the mountain ridgelines and within adjacent valleys indicate that ice sheet flow trajectories in most areas rotated from southeast to south, parallel to the North-South alignment of the mountains, as the ice sheet thinned. This transition in ice flow direction was time transgressive from south to north with the Green Mountains eventually separating a thick south-flowing lobe of ice in the Champlain Valley from a much thinner lobe of south-flowing ice east of the mountains. While this transition was taking place yet ice was still thick enough to flow across the mountains, ice flow along a narrow ∼65 km long section of the Green Mountains shifted to the southwest such that ice was flowing into the Champlain Valley. The most likely process driving this change was a limited period of fast ice flow in the Champlain Valley, a short-lived ice streaming event, that drew down the ice surface in the valley. The advancing ice front during this period of fast ice flow may be responsible for the Luzerne Readvance south of Glens Falls, New York. Valley-parallel striations across the area indicate strong topographic control on ice flow as the ice sheet thinned.

  8. Dynamics of the last glacial maximum Antarctic ice-sheet and its response to ocean forcing.

    PubMed

    Golledge, Nicholas R; Fogwill, Christopher J; Mackintosh, Andrew N; Buckley, Kevin M

    2012-10-02

    Retreat of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) Antarctic ice sheet is thought to have been initiated by changes in ocean heat and eustatic sea level propagated from the Northern Hemisphere (NH) as northern ice sheets melted under rising atmospheric temperatures. The extent to which spatial variability in ice dynamics may have modulated the resultant pattern and timing of decay of the Antarctic ice sheet has so far received little attention, however, despite the growing recognition that dynamic effects account for a sizeable proportion of mass-balance changes observed in modern ice sheets. Here we use a 5-km resolution whole-continent numerical ice-sheet model to assess whether differences in the mechanisms governing ice sheet flow could account for discrepancies between geochronological studies in different parts of the continent. We first simulate the geometry and flow characteristics of an equilibrium LGM ice sheet, using pan-Antarctic terrestrial and marine geological data for constraint, then perturb the system with sea level and ocean heat flux increases to investigate ice-sheet vulnerability. Our results identify that fast-flowing glaciers in the eastern Weddell Sea, the Amundsen Sea, central Ross Sea, and in the Amery Trough respond most rapidly to ocean forcings, in agreement with empirical data. Most significantly, we find that although ocean warming and sea-level rise bring about mainly localized glacier acceleration, concomitant drawdown of ice from neighboring areas leads to widespread thinning of entire glacier catchments-a discovery that has important ramifications for the dynamic changes presently being observed in modern ice sheets.

  9. Dynamics of the last glacial maximum Antarctic ice-sheet and its response to ocean forcing

    PubMed Central

    Golledge, Nicholas R.; Fogwill, Christopher J.; Mackintosh, Andrew N.; Buckley, Kevin M.

    2012-01-01

    Retreat of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) Antarctic ice sheet is thought to have been initiated by changes in ocean heat and eustatic sea level propagated from the Northern Hemisphere (NH) as northern ice sheets melted under rising atmospheric temperatures. The extent to which spatial variability in ice dynamics may have modulated the resultant pattern and timing of decay of the Antarctic ice sheet has so far received little attention, however, despite the growing recognition that dynamic effects account for a sizeable proportion of mass-balance changes observed in modern ice sheets. Here we use a 5-km resolution whole-continent numerical ice-sheet model to assess whether differences in the mechanisms governing ice sheet flow could account for discrepancies between geochronological studies in different parts of the continent. We first simulate the geometry and flow characteristics of an equilibrium LGM ice sheet, using pan-Antarctic terrestrial and marine geological data for constraint, then perturb the system with sea level and ocean heat flux increases to investigate ice-sheet vulnerability. Our results identify that fast-flowing glaciers in the eastern Weddell Sea, the Amundsen Sea, central Ross Sea, and in the Amery Trough respond most rapidly to ocean forcings, in agreement with empirical data. Most significantly, we find that although ocean warming and sea-level rise bring about mainly localized glacier acceleration, concomitant drawdown of ice from neighboring areas leads to widespread thinning of entire glacier catchments—a discovery that has important ramifications for the dynamic changes presently being observed in modern ice sheets. PMID:22988078

  10. Improving Climate Literacy Using The Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM): A Prototype Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory For Use In K-12 Classrooms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Halkides, D. J.; Larour, E. Y.; Perez, G.; Petrie, K.; Nguyen, L.

    2013-12-01

    Statistics indicate that most Americans learn what they will know about science within the confines of our public K-12 education system and the media. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aim to remedy science illiteracy and provide guidelines to exceed the Common Core State Standards that most U.S. state governments have adopted, by integrating disciplinary cores with crosscutting ideas and real life practices. In this vein, we present a prototype ';Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory' (I-Lab), geared to K-12 students, educators and interested members of the general public. I-Lab will allow users to perform experiments using a state-of-the-art dynamical ice sheet model and provide detailed downloadable lesson plans, which incorporate this model and are consistent with NGSS Physical Science criteria for different grade bands (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). The ultimate goal of this website is to improve public climate science literacy, especially in regards to the crucial role of the polar ice sheets in Earth's climate and sea level. The model used will be the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), an ice flow model developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UC Irvine, that simulates the near-term evolution of polar ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) and includes high spatial resolution capabilities and data assimilation to produce realistic simulations of ice sheet dynamics at the continental scale. Open sourced since 2011, ISSM is used in cutting edge cryosphere research around the globe. Thru I-Lab, students will be able to access ISSM using a simple, online graphical interface that can be launched from a web browser on a computer, tablet or smart phone. The interface will allow users to select different climate conditions and watch how the polar ice sheets evolve in time under those conditions. Lesson contents will include links to background material and activities that teach observation recording, concept articulation, hypothesis formulation and testing, and

  11. Subglacial volcanic features beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet interpreted from aeromagnetic and radar ice sounding

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Behrendt, John C.; Blankenship, D.D.; Morse, D.L.; Finn, C.A.; Bell, R.E.

    2002-01-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) flows through the volcanically active, late Cenozoic West Antarctic rift system. Active subglacial volcanism and a vast (>106 km3) extent of subglacial volcanic structures have been interpreted from aerogeophysical surveys over central West Antarctica in the past decade, combined with results from 1960s and 1970s aeromagnetic profiles over the WAIS. Modelling of magnetic anomalies constrained by radar ice sounding shows volcanic sources at the base of the ice throughout large areas, whose subglacially erupted hyaloclastite edifices have been eroded by moving ice, as in Iceland. The 1800 m-high divide of the WAIS is underlain by the 400 km-long volcanic Sinuous Ridge, which rises above sea level; most hyaloclastite edifices there have also been glacially removed, indicating migration of the ice divide through time. Northeast of the divide of the WAIS there is a 400-nT positive magnetic anomaly over the shallowest, most rugged bedrock topography (elevation +380 m above sea level), probably comprising subaerially erupted flows erupted when the Sinuous Ridge area was deglaciated. Uplift of the Sinuous Ridge may have forced the advance of the WAIS. Other aspects of the subglacial volcanism in Antarctica can be observed in Iceland and have a direct bearing on our understanding of the subglacial conditions of the WAIS and its dynamics.

  12. Past ice-sheet behaviour: retreat scenarios and changing controls in the Ross Sea, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Halberstadt, Anna Ruth W.; Simkins, Lauren M.; Greenwood, Sarah L.; Anderson, John B.

    2016-05-01

    Studying the history of ice-sheet behaviour in the Ross Sea, Antarctica's largest drainage basin can improve our understanding of patterns and controls on marine-based ice-sheet dynamics and provide constraints for numerical ice-sheet models. Newly collected high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data, combined with two decades of legacy multibeam and seismic data, are used to map glacial landforms and reconstruct palaeo ice-sheet drainage. During the Last Glacial Maximum, grounded ice reached the continental shelf edge in the eastern but not western Ross Sea. Recessional geomorphic features in the western Ross Sea indicate virtually continuous back-stepping of the ice-sheet grounding line. In the eastern Ross Sea, well-preserved linear features and a lack of small-scale recessional landforms signify rapid lift-off of grounded ice from the bed. Physiography exerted a first-order control on regional ice behaviour, while sea floor geology played an important subsidiary role. Previously published deglacial scenarios for Ross Sea are based on low-spatial-resolution marine data or terrestrial observations; however, this study uses high-resolution basin-wide geomorphology to constrain grounding-line retreat on the continental shelf. Our analysis of retreat patterns suggests that (1) retreat from the western Ross Sea was complex due to strong physiographic controls on ice-sheet drainage; (2) retreat was asynchronous across the Ross Sea and between troughs; (3) the eastern Ross Sea largely deglaciated prior to the western Ross Sea following the formation of a large grounding-line embayment over Whales Deep; and (4) our glacial geomorphic reconstruction converges with recent numerical models that call for significant and complex East Antarctic ice sheet and West Antarctic ice sheet contributions to the ice flow in the Ross Sea.

  13. Analogue modelling of the influence of ice shelf collapse on the flow of ice sheets grounded below sea-level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corti, Giacomo; Zeoli, Antonio

    2016-04-01

    The sudden breakup of ice shelves is expected to result in significant acceleration of inland glaciers, a process related to the removal of the buttressing effect exerted by the ice shelf on the tributary glaciers. This effect has been tested in previous analogue models, which however applied to ice sheets grounded above sea level (e.g., East Antarctic Ice Sheet; Antarctic Peninsula and the Larsen Ice Shelf). In this work we expand these previous results by performing small-scale laboratory models that analyse the influence of ice shelf collapse on the flow of ice streams draining an ice sheet grounded below sea level (e.g., the West Antarctic Ice Sheet). The analogue models, with dimensions (width, length, thickness) of 120x70x1.5cm were performed at the Tectonic Modelling Laboratory of CNR-IGG of Florence, Italy, by using Polydimethilsyloxane (PDMS) as analogue for the flowing ice. This transparent, Newtonian silicone has been shown to well approximate the rheology of natural ice. The silicone was allowed to flow into a water reservoir simulating natural conditions in which ice streams flow into the sea, terminating in extensive ice shelves which act as a buttress for their glaciers and slow their flow. The geometric scaling ratio was 10(-5), such that 1cm in the models simulated 1km in nature; velocity of PDMS (a few mm per hour) simulated natural velocities of 100-1000 m/year. Instability of glacier flow was induced by manually removing a basal silicone platform (floating on water) exerting backstresses to the flowing analogue glacier: the simple set-up adopted in the experiments isolates the effect of the removal of the buttressing effect that the floating platform exerts on the flowing glaciers, thus offering insights into the influence of this parameter on the flow perturbations resulting from a collapse event. The experimental results showed a significant increase in glacier velocity close to its outlet following ice shelf breakup, a process similar to what

  14. Greenland ice sheet melt from MODIS and associated atmospheric variability.

    PubMed

    Häkkinen, Sirpa; Hall, Dorothy K; Shuman, Christopher A; Worthen, Denise L; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E

    2014-03-16

    Daily June-July melt fraction variations over the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (2000-2013) are associated with atmospheric blocking forming an omega-shape ridge over the GIS at 500 hPa height. Blocking activity with a range of time scales, from synoptic waves breaking poleward (<5 days) to full-fledged blocks (≥5 days), brings warm subtropical air masses over the GIS controlling daily surface temperatures and melt. The temperature anomaly of these subtropical air mass intrusions is also important for melting. Based on the years with the greatest melt (2002 and 2012) during the MODIS era, the area-average temperature anomaly of 2 standard deviations above the 14 year June-July mean results in a melt fraction of 40% or more. Though the summer of 2007 had the most blocking days, atmospheric temperature anomalies were too small to instigate extreme melting.

  15. Greenland Ice Sheet Melt from MODIS and Associated Atmospheric Variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hakkinen, Sirpa; Hall, Dorothy K.; Shuman, Christopher A.; Worthen, Denise L.; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E.

    2014-01-01

    Daily June-July melt fraction variations over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) derived from the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (2000-2013) are associated with atmospheric blocking forming an omega-shape ridge over the GIS at 500hPa height (from NCEPNCAR). Blocking activity with a range of time scales, from synoptic waves breaking poleward ( 5 days) to full-fledged blocks (5 days), brings warm subtropical air masses over the GIS controlling daily surface temperatures and melt. The temperature anomaly of these subtropical air mass intrusions is also important for melting. Based on the largest MODIS melt years (2002 and 2012), the area-average temperature anomaly of 2 standard deviations above the 14-year June-July mean, results in a melt fraction of 40 or more. Summer 2007 had the most blocking days, however atmospheric temperature anomalies were too small to instigate extreme melting.

  16. The northern sector of the last British Ice Sheet: Maximum extent and demise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradwell, Tom; Stoker, Martyn S.; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Wilson, Christian K.; Merritt, Jon W.; Long, David; Everest, Jeremy D.; Hestvik, Ole B.; Stevenson, Alan G.; Hubbard, Alun L.; Finlayson, Andrew G.; Mathers, Hannah E.

    2008-06-01

    Strongly divided opinion has led to competing, apparently contradictory, views on the timing, extent, flow configuration and decay mechanism of the last British Ice Sheet. We review the existing literature and reconcile some of these differences using remarkable new sea-bed imagery. This bathymetric data provides unprecedented empirical evidence of confluence and subsequent separation of the last British and Fennoscandian Ice Sheets. Critically, it also allows a viable pattern of ice-sheet disintegration to be proposed for the first time. Covering the continental shelf around the northern United Kingdom, extensive echosounder data reveals striking geomorphic evidence - in the form of tunnel valleys and moraines - relating to the former British and Fennoscandian Ice Sheets. The pattern of tunnel valleys in the northern North Sea Basin and the presence of large moraines on the West Shetland Shelf, coupled with stratigraphic evidence from the Witch Ground Basin, all suggest that at its maximum extent a grounded ice sheet flowed from SE to NW across the northern North Sea Basin, terminating at the continental-shelf edge. The zone of confluence between the British and much larger Fennoscandian Ice Sheets was probably across the northern Orkney Islands, with fast-flowing ice in the Fair Isle Channel focusing sediment delivery to the Rona and Foula Wedges. This period of maximum confluent glaciation (c. 30-25 ka BP) was followed by a remarkable period of large-scale ice-sheet re-organisation. We present evidence suggesting that as sea level rose, a large marine embayment opened in the northern North Sea Basin, as far south as the Witch Ground Basin, forcing the two ice sheets to decouple rapidly along a north-south axis east of Shetland. As a result, both ice sheets rapidly adjusted to new quasi-stable margin positions forming a second distinct set of moraines (c. 24-18 ka BP). The lobate overprinted morphology of these moraines on the mid-shelf west of Orkney and

  17. Monitoring southwest Greenland’s ice sheet melt with ambient seismic noise

    PubMed Central

    Mordret, Aurélien; Mikesell, T. Dylan; Harig, Christopher; Lipovsky, Bradley P.; Prieto, Germán A.

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet presently accounts for ~70% of global ice sheet mass loss. Because this mass loss is associated with sea-level rise at a rate of 0.7 mm/year, the development of improved monitoring techniques to observe ongoing changes in ice sheet mass balance is of paramount concern. Spaceborne mass balance techniques are commonly used; however, they are inadequate for many purposes because of their low spatial and/or temporal resolution. We demonstrate that small variations in seismic wave speed in Earth’s crust, as measured with the correlation of seismic noise, may be used to infer seasonal ice sheet mass balance. Seasonal loading and unloading of glacial mass induces strain in the crust, and these strains then result in seismic velocity changes due to poroelastic processes. Our method provides a new and independent way of monitoring (in near real time) ice sheet mass balance, yielding new constraints on ice sheet evolution and its contribution to global sea-level changes. An increased number of seismic stations in the vicinity of ice sheets will enhance our ability to create detailed space-time records of ice mass variations. PMID:27386524

  18. The Gamburtsev mountains and the origin and early evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Bo, Sun; Siegert, Martin J; Mudd, Simon M; Sugden, David; Fujita, Shuji; Xiangbin, Cui; Yunyun, Jiang; Xueyuan, Tang; Yuansheng, Li

    2009-06-04

    Ice-sheet development in Antarctica was a result of significant and rapid global climate change about 34 million years ago. Ice-sheet and climate modelling suggest reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide (less than three times the pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million by volume) that, in conjunction with the development of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, led to cooling and glaciation paced by changes in Earth's orbit. Based on the present subglacial topography, numerical models point to ice-sheet genesis on mountain massifs of Antarctica, including the Gamburtsev mountains at Dome A, the centre of the present ice sheet. Our lack of knowledge of the present-day topography of the Gamburtsev mountains means, however, that the nature of early glaciation and subsequent development of a continental-sized ice sheet are uncertain. Here we present radar information about the base of the ice at Dome A, revealing classic Alpine topography with pre-existing river valleys overdeepened by valley glaciers formed when the mean summer surface temperature was around 3 degrees C. This landscape is likely to have developed during the initial phases of Antarctic glaciation. According to Antarctic climate history (estimated from offshore sediment records) the Gamburtsev mountains are probably older than 34 million years and were the main centre for ice-sheet growth. Moreover, the landscape has most probably been preserved beneath the present ice sheet for around 14 million years.

  19. Interaction of ice sheets and climate during the past 800 000 years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stap, L. B.; van de Wal, R. S. W.; de Boer, B.; Bintanja, R.; Lourens, L. J.

    2014-06-01

    During the Cenozoic, land ice and climate have interacted on many different time scales. On long time scales, the effect of land ice on global climate and sea level is mainly set by large ice sheets on North America, Eurasia, Greenland and Antarctica. The climatic forcing of these ice sheets is largely determined by the meridional temperature profile resulting from radiation and greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. As response, the ice sheets cause an increase in albedo and surface elevation, which operates as a feedback in the climate system. To quantify the importance of these climate-land ice processes, a zonally-averaged energy balance climate model is coupled to five one-dimensional ice-sheet models, representing the major ice sheets. In this study, we focus on the transient simulation of the past 800 000 years, where a high-confidence CO2-record from ice cores samples is used as input in combination with Milankovitch radiation changes. We obtain simulations of atmospheric temperature, ice volume and sea level, that are in good agreement with recent proxy-data reconstructions. We examine long-term climate-ice sheet interactions by a comparison of simulations with uncoupled and coupled ice sheets. We show that these interactions amplify global temperature anomalies by up to a factor 2.6, and that they increase polar amplification by 94%. We demonstrate that, on these long time scales, the ice-albedo feedback has a larger and more global influence on the meridional atmospheric temperature profile than the surface-height temperature feedback. Furthermore, we assess the influence of CO2 and insolation, by performing runs with one or both of these variables held constant. We find that atmospheric temperature is controlled by a complex interaction of CO2 and insolation, and both variables serve as thresholds for Northern Hemispheric glaciation.

  20. Interaction of ice sheets and climate during the past 800 000 years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stap, L. B.; van de Wal, R. S. W.; de Boer, B.; Bintanja, R.; Lourens, L. J.

    2014-12-01

    During the Cenozoic, land ice and climate interacted on many different timescales. On long timescales, the effect of land ice on global climate and sea level is mainly set by large ice sheets in North America, Eurasia, Greenland and Antarctica. The climatic forcing of these ice sheets is largely determined by the meridional temperature profile resulting from radiation and greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. As a response, the ice sheets cause an increase in albedo and surface elevation, which operates as a feedback in the climate system. To quantify the importance of these climate-land ice processes, a zonally averaged energy balance climate model is coupled to five one-dimensional ice sheet models, representing the major ice sheets. In this study, we focus on the transient simulation of the past 800 000 years, where a high-confidence CO2 record from ice core samples is used as input in combination with Milankovitch radiation changes. We obtain simulations of atmospheric temperature, ice volume and sea level that are in good agreement with recent proxy-data reconstructions. We examine long-term climate-ice-sheet interactions by a comparison of simulations with uncoupled and coupled ice sheets. We show that these interactions amplify global temperature anomalies by up to a factor of 2.6, and that they increase polar amplification by 94%. We demonstrate that, on these long timescales, the ice-albedo feedback has a larger and more global influence on the meridional atmospheric temperature profile than the surface-height-temperature feedback. Furthermore, we assess the influence of CO2 and insolation by performing runs with one or both of these variables held constant. We find that atmospheric temperature is controlled by a complex interaction of CO2 and insolation, and both variables serve as thresholds for northern hemispheric glaciation.

  1. Long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calov, Reinhard; Robinson, Alex; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2015-04-01

    We investigate the impact of future cumulative anthropogenic emissions on the fate of the Greenland ice sheet. For this study, we use the polythermal ice sheet model SICOPOLIS, which is bi-directionally coupled with the regional climate model of intermediate complexity REMBO. We constrain our model parameters with simulations over two glacial cycles employing anomalies from the global CLIMBER-2 model. CLIMBER-2 treats the major components or the Earth system, including atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial vegetation and carbon cycle. As constraints we include the cumulative error in ice thickness, the surface mass balance partition (ratio between precipitation and ice discharge) and the ice elevation drop between Eemian and present-day at the NEEM ice core location. Our model includes a new ice discharge parameterization, which describes the ice loss via small-scale outlet glaciers in a heuristic statistical approach. Using the large-ensemble of model versions consistent with our constraints, we estimate the range of the long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise under global warming. On the 100,000-year time scale, there is a visible modulation over the CO2 signal in the simulated Greenland ice volume caused by the 20,000 years precessional cycle of insolation. In nearly all of our scenarios (500 to 5000 Gt carbon cumulative emissions), the Greenland is sheet fully decays in the future after at least 40,000 years. For the extreme scenario (5000 Gt), the Greenland ice sheet decays much faster - after about 5000 years, while there is still 80% of the ice sheet left after 40,000 years only for the model versions with a low temperature sensitivity and the low cumulative carbon emission scenario (500 Gt). Our results underline that without future negative CO2 emissions, irreversible loss of Greenland ice sheet is essentially unavoidable.

  2. Surface melt-induced acceleration of Greenland ice-sheet flow.

    PubMed

    Zwally, H Jay; Abdalati, Waleed; Herring, Tom; Larson, Kristine; Saba, Jack; Steffen, Konrad

    2002-07-12

    Ice flow at a location in the equilibrium zone of the west-central Greenland Ice Sheet accelerates above the midwinter average rate during periods of summer melting. The near coincidence of the ice acceleration with the duration of surface melting, followed by deceleration after the melting ceases, indicates that glacial sliding is enhanced by rapid migration of surface meltwater to the ice-bedrock interface. Interannual variations in the ice acceleration are correlated with variations in the intensity of the surface melting, with larger increases accompanying higher amounts of summer melting. The indicated coupling between surface melting and ice-sheet flow provides a mechanism for rapid, large-scale, dynamic responses of ice sheets to climate warming.

  3. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin

    PubMed Central

    Feldmann, Johannes; Levermann, Anders

    2015-01-01

    The future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet represents the largest uncertainty in sea-level projections of this and upcoming centuries. Recently, satellite observations and high-resolution simulations have suggested the initiation of an ice-sheet instability in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica, caused by the last decades’ enhanced basal ice-shelf melting. Whether this localized destabilization will yield a full discharge of marine ice from West Antarctica, associated with a global sea-level rise of more than 3 m, or whether the ice loss is limited by ice dynamics and topographic features, is unclear. Here we show that in the Parallel Ice Sheet Model, a local destabilization causes a complete disintegration of the marine ice in West Antarctica. In our simulations, at 5-km horizontal resolution, the region disequilibrates after 60 y of currently observed melt rates. Thereafter, the marine ice-sheet instability fully unfolds and is not halted by topographic features. In fact, the ice loss in Amundsen Sea sector shifts the catchment's ice divide toward the Filchner–Ronne and Ross ice shelves, which initiates grounding-line retreat there. Our simulations suggest that if a destabilization of Amundsen Sea sector has indeed been initiated, Antarctica will irrevocably contribute at least 3 m to global sea-level rise during the coming centuries to millennia. PMID:26578762

  4. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin.

    PubMed

    Feldmann, Johannes; Levermann, Anders

    2015-11-17

    The future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet represents the largest uncertainty in sea-level projections of this and upcoming centuries. Recently, satellite observations and high-resolution simulations have suggested the initiation of an ice-sheet instability in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica, caused by the last decades' enhanced basal ice-shelf melting. Whether this localized destabilization will yield a full discharge of marine ice from West Antarctica, associated with a global sea-level rise of more than 3 m, or whether the ice loss is limited by ice dynamics and topographic features, is unclear. Here we show that in the Parallel Ice Sheet Model, a local destabilization causes a complete disintegration of the marine ice in West Antarctica. In our simulations, at 5-km horizontal resolution, the region disequilibrates after 60 y of currently observed melt rates. Thereafter, the marine ice-sheet instability fully unfolds and is not halted by topographic features. In fact, the ice loss in Amundsen Sea sector shifts the catchment's ice divide toward the Filchner-Ronne and Ross ice shelves, which initiates grounding-line retreat there. Our simulations suggest that if a destabilization of Amundsen Sea sector has indeed been initiated, Antarctica will irrevocably contribute at least 3 m to global sea-level rise during the coming centuries to millennia.

  5. Evolution of the early Antarctic ice ages.

    PubMed

    Liebrand, Diederik; de Bakker, Anouk T M; Beddow, Helen M; Wilson, Paul A; Bohaty, Steven M; Ruessink, Gerben; Pälike, Heiko; Batenburg, Sietske J; Hilgen, Frederik J; Hodell, David A; Huck, Claire E; Kroon, Dick; Raffi, Isabella; Saes, Mischa J M; van Dijk, Arnold E; Lourens, Lucas J

    2017-03-27

    Understanding the stability of the early Antarctic ice cap in the geological past is of societal interest because present-day atmospheric CO2 concentrations have reached values comparable to those estimated for the Oligocene and the Early Miocene epochs. Here we analyze a new high-resolution deep-sea oxygen isotope (δ(18)O) record from the South Atlantic Ocean spanning an interval between 30.1 My and 17.1 My ago. The record displays major oscillations in deep-sea temperature and Antarctic ice volume in response to the ∼110-ky eccentricity modulation of precession. Conservative minimum ice volume estimates show that waxing and waning of at least ∼85 to 110% of the volume of the present East Antarctic Ice Sheet is required to explain many of the ∼110-ky cycles. Antarctic ice sheets were typically largest during repeated glacial cycles of the mid-Oligocene (∼28.0 My to ∼26.3 My ago) and across the Oligocene-Miocene Transition (∼23.0 My ago). However, the high-amplitude glacial-interglacial cycles of the mid-Oligocene are highly symmetrical, indicating a more direct response to eccentricity modulation of precession than their Early Miocene counterparts, which are distinctly asymmetrical-indicative of prolonged ice buildup and delayed, but rapid, glacial terminations. We hypothesize that the long-term transition to a warmer climate state with sawtooth-shaped glacial cycles in the Early Miocene was brought about by subsidence and glacial erosion in West Antarctica during the Late Oligocene and/or a change in the variability of atmospheric CO2 levels on astronomical time scales that is not yet captured in existing proxy reconstructions.

  6. Using an Earth System Model to Better Understand Ice Sheet Variability Through the Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tabor, C. R.; Poulsen, C. J.; Pollard, D.

    2015-12-01

    We use an Earth System model with a dynamic land-ice component to explore several inconsistencies between traditional Milankovitch theory and δ18O sediment records of the Pleistocene. Our model results show that a combination of albedo feedbacks, seasonal offset of precession forcing, and orbital cycle duration differences can explain much of the 41-kyr glacial cycles that characterize the early Pleistocene. The obliquity-controlled changes in annual average high-latitude insolation produce large variations in arctic vegetation-type and sea-ice cover, which amplify the land-ice response. In contrast, the seasonal nature of the precession insolation signal dampens net ice-melt. For instance, when precession enhances ice melt in the spring, it reduces ice melt in the fall, and vice versa. The lower frequency of obliquity cycles in combination with amplified climate sensitivity due to albedo feedbacks help produce a larger ice-volume response to cycles of obliquity compared to precession, despite precession contributing more to variations in high-latitude summer insolation. In addition, we can simulate the appearance of a 100-kyr ice-volume signal by reducing basal sliding in the ice sheet model. Model experiments with enhanced basal drag have greater ice sheet elevation because the ice sheets are not able to flow as quickly, leading to increased ice thickness at the expense of ice extent. These thicker ice sheets have colder surface temperatures, receive more snowfall, and do not readily advance past the ice equilibrium line. Greater high-latitude summer insolation from the combination of high obliquity and precession/eccentricity is then necessary to cause complete ice sheet retreat. This research lends support to the regolith hypothesis, which proposes gradual erosion of high-latitude northern hemisphere regolith by multiple cycles of glaciation helped cause the mid-Pleistocene transition.

  7. Polar ice-sheet contributions to sea level during past warm periods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutton, A.

    2015-12-01

    Recent sea-level rise has been dominated by thermal expansion and glacier loss, but the contribution from mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is expected to exceed other contributions under future sustained warming. Due to limitations of existing ice sheet models and the lack of relevant analogues in the historical record, projecting the timing and magnitude of polar ice sheet mass loss in the future remains challenging. One approach to improving our understanding of how polar ice-sheet retreat will unfold is to integrate observations and models of sea level, ice sheets, and climate during past intervals of warmth when the polar ice sheets contributed to higher sea levels. A recent review evaluated the evidence of polar ice sheet mass loss during several warm periods, including interglacials during the mid-Pliocene warm period, Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11, 5e (Last Interglacial), and 1 (Holocene). Sea-level benchmarks of ice-sheet retreat during the first of these three periods, when global mean climate was ~1 to 3 deg. C warmer than preindustrial, are useful for understanding the long-term potential for future sea-level rise. Despite existing uncertainties in these reconstructions, it is clear that our present climate is warming to a level associated with significant polar ice-sheet loss in the past, resulting in a conservative estimate for a global mean sea-level rise of 6 meters above present (or more). This presentation will focus on identifying the approaches that have yielded significant advances in terms of past sea level and ice sheet reconstruction as well as outstanding challenges. A key element of recent advances in sea-level reconstructions is the ability to recognize and quantify the imprint of geophysical processes, such as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and dynamic topography, that lead to significant spatial variability in sea level reconstructions. Identifying specific ice-sheet sources that contributed to higher sea levels

  8. When glaciers and ice sheets melt: consequences for planktonic organisms

    PubMed Central

    SOMMARUGA, RUBEN

    2016-01-01

    The current melting of glaciers and ice sheets is a consequence of climatic change and their turbid meltwaters are filling and enlarging many new proglacial and ice-contact lakes around the world, as well as affecting coastal areas. Paradoxically, very little is known on the ecology of turbid glacier-fed aquatic ecosystems even though they are at the origin of the most common type of lakes on Earth. Here, I discuss the consequences of those meltwaters for planktonic organisms. A remarkable characteristic of aquatic ecosystems receiving the discharge of meltwaters is their high content of mineral suspensoids, so-called glacial flour that poses a real challenge for filter-feeding planktonic taxa such as Daphnia and phagotrophic groups such as heterotrophic nanoflagellates. The planktonic food-web structure in highly turbid meltwater lakes seems to be truncated and microbially dominated. Low underwater light levels leads to unfavorable conditions for primary producers, but at the same time, cause less stress by UV radiation. Meltwaters are also a source of inorganic and organic nutrients that could stimulate secondary prokaryotic production and in some cases (e.g. in distal proglacial lakes) also phytoplankton primary production. How changes in turbidity and in other related environmental factors influence diversity, community composition and adaptation have only recently begun to be studied. Knowledge of the consequences of glacier retreat for glacier-fed lakes and coasts will be crucial to predict ecosystem trajectories regarding changes in biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles and function. PMID:26869738

  9. When glaciers and ice sheets melt: consequences for planktonic organisms.

    PubMed

    Sommaruga, Ruben

    2015-05-01

    The current melting of glaciers and ice sheets is a consequence of climatic change and their turbid meltwaters are filling and enlarging many new proglacial and ice-contact lakes around the world, as well as affecting coastal areas. Paradoxically, very little is known on the ecology of turbid glacier-fed aquatic ecosystems even though they are at the origin of the most common type of lakes on Earth. Here, I discuss the consequences of those meltwaters for planktonic organisms. A remarkable characteristic of aquatic ecosystems receiving the discharge of meltwaters is their high content of mineral suspensoids, so-called glacial flour that poses a real challenge for filter-feeding planktonic taxa such as Daphnia and phagotrophic groups such as heterotrophic nanoflagellates. The planktonic food-web structure in highly turbid meltwater lakes seems to be truncated and microbially dominated. Low underwater light levels leads to unfavorable conditions for primary producers, but at the same time, cause less stress by UV radiation. Meltwaters are also a source of inorganic and organic nutrients that could stimulate secondary prokaryotic production and in some cases (e.g. in distal proglacial lakes) also phytoplankton primary production. How changes in turbidity and in other related environmental factors influence diversity, community composition and adaptation have only recently begun to be studied. Knowledge of the consequences of glacier retreat for glacier-fed lakes and coasts will be crucial to predict ecosystem trajectories regarding changes in biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles and function.

  10. Insolation-driven 100,000-year glacial cycles and hysteresis of ice-sheet volume.

    PubMed

    Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Saito, Fuyuki; Kawamura, Kenji; Raymo, Maureen E; Okuno, Jun'ichi; Takahashi, Kunio; Blatter, Heinz

    2013-08-08

    The growth and reduction of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets over the past million years is dominated by an approximately 100,000-year periodicity and a sawtooth pattern (gradual growth and fast termination). Milankovitch theory proposes that summer insolation at high northern latitudes drives the glacial cycles, and statistical tests have demonstrated that the glacial cycles are indeed linked to eccentricity, obliquity and precession cycles. Yet insolation alone cannot explain the strong 100,000-year cycle, suggesting that internal climatic feedbacks may also be at work. Earlier conceptual models, for example, showed that glacial terminations are associated with the build-up of Northern Hemisphere 'excess ice', but the physical mechanisms underpinning the 100,000-year cycle remain unclear. Here we show, using comprehensive climate and ice-sheet models, that insolation and internal feedbacks between the climate, the ice sheets and the lithosphere-asthenosphere system explain the 100,000-year periodicity. The responses of equilibrium states of ice sheets to summer insolation show hysteresis, with the shape and position of the hysteresis loop playing a key part in determining the periodicities of glacial cycles. The hysteresis loop of the North American ice sheet is such that after inception of the ice sheet, its mass balance remains mostly positive through several precession cycles, whose amplitudes decrease towards an eccentricity minimum. The larger the ice sheet grows and extends towards lower latitudes, the smaller is the insolation required to make the mass balance negative. Therefore, once a large ice sheet is established, a moderate increase in insolation is sufficient to trigger a negative mass balance, leading to an almost complete retreat of the ice sheet within several thousand years. This fast retreat is governed mainly by rapid ablation due to the lowered surface elevation resulting from delayed isostatic rebound, which is the lithosphere

  11. Response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Periphery to Late Pleistocene MWP-1a Event: Sedimentologic, Geomorphologic, and Chronologic Evidence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domack, E. W.; Leventer, A.

    2005-12-01

    recession we review over 300 radiocarbon ages we have published in the last 6 years and discuss the critical constraints that must be placed upon the interpretation of radiocarbon ages from Antarctic marine and glacial sediments, including uncertain but assumed correction and calibration routines. Consideration of this evidence indicates that the source for MWP-1a was not the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The former may have in-fact, responded to but was not responsible for the short lived rise in sea level observed in regions far-field from the Antarctic margin. Rather the peripheral recession of the Antarctic Ice Sheet was more likely contemporaneous with the well known Younger Dryas and we briefly discuss the implications for this apparent coincidence.

  12. Laser altimetry reveals complex pattern of Greenland Ice Sheet dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Csatho, Beata M.; Schenk, Anton F.; van der Veen, Cornelis J.; Babonis, Gregory; Duncan, Kyle; Rezvanbehbahani, Soroush; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Simonsen, Sebastian B.; Nagarajan, Sudhagar; van Angelen, Jan H.

    2014-01-01

    We present a new record of ice thickness change, reconstructed at nearly 100,000 sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from laser altimetry measurements spanning the period 1993–2012, partitioned into changes due to surface mass balance (SMB) and ice dynamics. We estimate a mean annual GrIS mass loss of 243 ± 18 Gt⋅y−1, equivalent to 0.68 mm⋅y−1 sea level rise (SLR) for 2003–2009. Dynamic thinning contributed 48%, with the largest rates occurring in 2004–2006, followed by a gradual decrease balanced by accelerating SMB loss. The spatial pattern of dynamic mass loss changed over this time as dynamic thinning rapidly decreased in southeast Greenland but slowly increased in the southwest, north, and northeast regions. Most outlet glaciers have been thinning during the last two decades, interrupted by episodes of decreasing thinning or even thickening. Dynamics of the major outlet glaciers dominated the mass loss from larger drainage basins, and simultaneous changes over distances up to 500 km are detected, indicating climate control. However, the intricate spatiotemporal pattern of dynamic thickness change suggests that, regardless of the forcing responsible for initial glacier acceleration and thinning, the response of individual glaciers is modulated by local conditions. Recent projections of dynamic contributions from the entire GrIS to SLR have been based on the extrapolation of four major outlet glaciers. Considering the observed complexity, we question how well these four glaciers represent all of Greenland’s outlet glaciers. PMID:25512537

  13. Boundary layer stability acts to ballast the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berkelhammer, M. B.; Noone, D. C.; Steen-Larsen, H. C.; O'Neill, M.; Raudzens Bailey, A.; Cox, C.; Schneider, D. P.

    2014-12-01

    The mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet has been reduced over recent decades as a consequence of warming, the impact of which is already detectable on global sea level. However, temperature projections suggest that at interior high-altitude sites on the ice it could be decades or more before warming forces these regions to transition from a dry to wet snow facies. Shifts in boundary layer dynamics, including atmosphere-ice sheet hydrological exchange and cloud radiative forcing could expedite or delay this transition. These processes are important with respect to future ice sheet stability, yet they remain difficult to constrain. Using continuous in situ measurements of vertical profiles of the isotopic composition of water vapor at Summit Camp, the highest observatory on the ice sheet, we document the presence of a hydrologic balance between surface sublimation and condensation fluxes. This exists because of a nearly persistent temperature inversion, which hinders the efficiency with which surface water vapor mixes into the free atmosphere. In the presence of a strong temperature inversion, fog and ice particles form near the ice-atmosphere interface from surface moisture fluxes. When this condensate precipitates on or settles to the surface, it ballasts the ice sheet's mass. A decade-long trend towards lower annual accumulation at Summit may therefore reflect continuous replacement of the near surface atmosphere due to reduced atmospheric stability. If this tendency toward destabilization continues, it could accelerate mass loss at interior sites on the ice sheet. The role of boundary layer stability in ice sheet hydrological budgets discussed here is applicable beyond the accumulation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  14. Ice-sheet configuration in the CMIP5/PMIP3 Last Glacial Maximum experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; Kageyama, M.; Braconnot, P.; Harrison, S. P.; Lambeck, K.; Otto-Bliesner, B. L.; Peltier, W. R.; Tarasov, L.; Peterschmitt, J.-Y.; Takahashi, K.

    2015-06-01

    We describe the creation of boundary conditions related to the presence of ice sheets, including ice sheet extent and height, ice shelf extent, and the distribution and altitude of ice-free land, at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) for use in LGM experiments conducted as part of the fifth phase of the Coupled Modelling Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and the third phase of the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP3). The CMIP5/PMIP3 data sets were created from reconstructions made by three different groups, which were all obtained using a model-inversion approach but differ in the assumptions used in the modelling and in the type of data used as constraints. The ice sheet extent, and thus the albedo mask, for the Northern Hemisphere (NH) does not vary substantially between the three individual data sources. The difference in the topography of the NH ice sheets is also moderate, and smaller than the differences between these reconstructions (and the resultant composite reconstruction) and ice-sheet reconstructions used in previous generations of PMIP. Only two of the individual reconstructions provide information for Antarctica. The discrepancy between these two reconstructions is larger than the difference for the NH ice sheets although still less than the difference between the composite reconstruction and previous PMIP ice-sheet reconstructions. Differences in the climate response to the individual LGM reconstructions, and between these reconstructions and the CMIP5/PMIP3 composite, are largely confined to the ice-covered regions, but also extend over North Atlantic Ocean and Northern Hemisphere continents through atmospheric stationary waves. There are much larger differences in the climate response to the latest reconstructions (or the derived composite) and ice-sheet reconstructions used in previous phases of PMIP.

  15. Decadal-Scale Response of the Antarctic Ice sheet to a Warming Ocean using the POPSICLES Coupled Ice Sheet-Ocean model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, D. F.; Asay-Davis, X.; Cornford, S. L.; Price, S. F.; Ng, E. G.; Collins, W.

    2015-12-01

    We present POPSICLES simulation results covering the full Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Southern Ocean spanning the period from 1990 to 2010. We use the CORE v. 2 interannual forcing data to force the ocean model. Simulations are performed at 0.1o(~5 km) ocean resolution with adaptive ice sheet resolution as fine as 500 m to adequately resolve the grounding line dynamics. We discuss the effect of improved ocean mixing and subshelf bathymetry (vs. the standard Bedmap2 bathymetry) on the behavior of the coupled system, comparing time-averaged melt rates below a number of major ice shelves with those reported in the literature. We also present seasonal variability and decadal melting trends from several Antarctic regions, along with the response of the ice shelves and the consequent dynamic response of the grounded ice sheet.POPSICLES couples the POP2x ocean model, a modified version of the Parallel Ocean Program, and the BISICLES ice-sheet model. POP2x includes sub-ice-shelf circulation using partial top cells and the commonly used three-equation boundary layer physics. Standalone POP2x output compares well with standard ice-ocean test cases (e.g., ISOMIP) and other continental-scale simulations and melt-rate observations. BISICLES makes use of adaptive mesh refinement and a 1st-order accurate momentum balance similar to the L1L2 model of Schoof and Hindmarsh to accurately model regions of dynamic complexity, such as ice streams, outlet glaciers, and grounding lines. Results of BISICLES simulations have compared favorably to comparable simulations with a Stokes momentum balance in both idealized tests (MISMIP-3d) and realistic configurations.The figure shows the BISICLES-computed vertically-integrated grounded ice velocity field 5 years into a 20-year coupled full-continent Antarctic-Southern-Ocean simulation. Submarine melt rates are painted onto the surface of the floating ice shelves. Grounding lines are shown in green.

  16. Laurentide Ice Sheet dynamics in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, revealed through multibeam sonar mapping of glacial landsystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Todd, Brian J.; Shaw, John

    2012-12-01

    Recent multibeam sonar data collected in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, interpreted in conjunction with geophysical profiling and sediment sampling, reveal in unprecedented detail a suite of glacial landforms associated with the southwest margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. These landforms constitute four glacial landsystems. 1) Subglacial landsystem I: In southwestern Bay of Fundy, the elongated Grand Manan Basin contains ice-contact sediments of possible mid-Wisconsinan age overlain by late-Wisconsinan ice-contact sediments strongly imprinted by iceberg furrows and pits. In places, possible mid-Wisconsinan glaciomarine sediments have been eroded by late-Wisconsinan ice, creating streamlined landforms. Eroded bedrock and megafluted ice-contact sediment on the flanks of Grand Manan Basin indicate the southwest direction of topographically-steered ice. 2) Subglacial landsystem II: Along the southern margin of the Bay of Fundy, an array of drumlins, with superimposed esker complexes, was formed by glacial ice that emanated northwest from the interior of Nova Scotia and was deflected to the southwest by the ice flowing out of the Bay of Fundy to the Gulf of Maine. The esker complexes formed later when the Nova Scotia ice sheet stagnated and meltwater escaped northwest via topographic gaps. 3) Ice-marginal landsystem I: In northern Bay of Fundy, both small De Geer moraines and larger, basin-bounding moraines were created when retreating late-Wisconsinan ice became grounded in relatively shallow water. New radiocarbon ages show that the Owen Basin Moraine in this landsystem was abandoned prior to c. 14,600 14C yr BP (cal BP 17,015-17,270 [0.7], 17,286-17,405 [0.3]). 4) Ice-marginal landsystem II: This distinctive landsystem consists of numerous arcuate moraines, commonly superimposed on one another. This landsystem was formed by thin (170 m), lightly grounded ice that retreated northeast into the Bay of Fundy. The splayed pattern of the ice margin was a response to a large

  17. Airborne radar evidence for tributary flow switching in Institute Ice Stream, West Antarctica: Implications for ice sheet configuration and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winter, Kate; Woodward, John; Ross, Neil; Dunning, Stuart A.; Bingham, Robert G.; Corr, Hugh F. J.; Siegert, Martin J.

    2015-09-01

    Despite the importance of ice streaming to the evaluation of West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) stability we know little about mid- to long-term dynamic changes within the Institute Ice Stream (IIS) catchment. Here we use airborne radio echo sounding to investigate the subglacial topography, internal stratigraphy, and Holocene flow regime of the upper IIS catchment near the Ellsworth Mountains. Internal layer buckling within three discrete, topographically confined tributaries, through Ellsworth, Independence, and Horseshoe Valley Troughs, provides evidence for former enhanced ice sheet flow. We suggest that enhanced ice flow through Independence and Ellsworth Troughs, during the mid-Holocene to late Holocene, was the source of ice streaming over the region now occupied by the slow-flowing Bungenstock Ice Rise. Although buckled layers also exist within the slow-flowing ice of Horseshoe Valley Trough, a thicker sequence of surface-conformable layers in the upper ice column suggests slowdown more than ~4000 years ago, so we do not attribute enhanced flow switch-off here, to the late Holocene ice-flow reorganization. Intensely buckled englacial layers within Horseshoe Valley and Independence Troughs cannot be accounted for under present-day flow speeds. The dynamic nature of ice flow in IIS and its tributaries suggests that recent ice stream switching and mass changes in the Siple Coast and Amundsen Sea sectors are not unique to these sectors, that they may have been regular during the Holocene and may characterize the decline of the WAIS.

  18. Morphological properties of tunnel valleys beneath the southern sector of the former Laurentide Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Livingstone, Stephen; Clark, Chris

    2016-04-01

    Tunnel valleys have been widely reported on the bed of former ice sheets and are considered an important expression of subglacial meltwater drainage. Although known to have been cut by erosive meltwater flow, the water source and development of channels has been widely debated. Possible mechanisms include: (i) gradual formation by water flow in a subglacially deforming bed into channels under steady-state conditions; (ii) time-transgressive formation close to the ice margin by drainage of supraglacial meltwater to the bed or of meltwater temporarily impounded behind a permafrost wedge; and or (iii) by catastrophic subglacial meltwater floods. We have mapped and analysed the spatial pattern and morphometry of tunnel valleys and associated glacial bedforms along the southern sector of the former Laurentide Ice Sheet from high-resolution digital elevation models. Around 2000 tunnel valleys have been mapped, revealing a well-organised pattern of sub-parallel, semi-regularly spaced valleys that cluster together in distinctive networks. The tunnel valleys are typically <20 km long, and 0.5-3 km wide and preferentially terminate at moraines. They tend to be associated with outwash fans, eskers, glacial curvilineations, giant current ripples, and hill-hole-pairs. A relative age of the tunnel valleys, based on cross-cutting relationships, is used to resolve when individual tunnel valleys and networks were eroded. Our results suggest a time-transgressive origin for most tunnel valleys (i.e. they grow upstream) with some contributions from large meltwater drainage events.

  19. A meteorological experiment in the melting zone of the Greenland ice sheet

    SciTech Connect

    Oerlemans, J. ); Vugts, H.F. )

    1993-03-01

    Preliminary results are described from a glaciometeorological experiment carried out in the margin (melting zone) of the Greenland ice sheet in the summers of 1990 and 1991. This work was initiated within the framework of a Dutch research program on land ice and sea level change. Seven meteostations were operated along a transect running from the tundra well onto the ice sheet. At the ice edge, humidity, temperature, and wind profiles were obtained with a tethered balloon. On the ice sheet, 90 km from the edge, a boundary-layer research unit, including a sound detecting and ranging system (SODAR) and a radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), was established. Although focusing on the relation between surface energy balance, glacier mass balance, and ice flow, the experiment has also delivered a unique dataset on the dynamics of the atmospheric boundary layer around the warm tundra-cold ice sheet transition. Unexpected behavior was found for the surface albedo during the melt season. Lowest values are not found close to the ice edge, which is usual for glaciers, but higher on the ice sheet. Meltwater accumulation due to inefficient surface drainage was found to be the cause for this. The wind regime is dominated by katabatic flow from the ice sheet. The katabatic layer is typically 100-200 m thick. Close to the ice edge, the flow exhibits a very regular daily rhythm, with maximum wind speed in the afternoon. Farther on the ice sheet, the regime changes, and wind speed reaches maximum values in late night/early morning.

  20. The impact of dynamic topography change on Antarctic Ice Sheet stability during the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Austermann, J.; Pollard, D.; Mitrovica, J. X.; Moucha, R.; Forte, A. M.; Deconto, R. M.; Rowley, D. B.; Raymo, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    The mid-Pliocene warm period (MPWP; ~ 3Ma), characterized by globally elevated temperatures (2-3º C) and carbon dioxide levels of ~400ppm, is commonly used as a testing ground for investigating ice sheet stability in a slightly warmer world. The central, unanswered question in this regard is the extent of East Antarctic melting during the MPWP. Here we assess the potential role of dynamic topography on this issue. Model reconstructions of the evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet during the ice age require an estimate of bedrock elevation through time. Ice sheet models account for changes in bedrock elevation due to glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), often using simplified models of the GIA process, but they generally do not consider other processes that may perturb subglacial topography. One such notable process is dynamic topography, i.e. the deflection of the solid surface of the Earth due to convective flow and buoyancy variations within the mantle and lithosphere. Paleo-shorelines of Pliocene age reflect the influence of dynamic topography, but the impact of these bedrock elevation changes on ice sheet stability in the Antarctic region is unknown. In this study we use viscous flow simulations of mantle dynamics to predict changes in dynamic topography and reconstruct bedrock elevations below the Antarctic Ice Sheet since the MPWP. We furthermore couple this reconstruction to a three-dimensional ice sheet model in order to explore the impact of dynamic topography on the extent of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Pliocene. Our modeling indicates that uplift occurred in the area of the Transantarctic Mountains and the adjacent Wilkes Basin. This predicted uplift, which is consistent with geological inferences of uplift in the Transantarctic Mountains, implies a significantly (~100-200 m) lower elevation of the Wilkes Basin in the Pliocene. This lower elevation leads to ~400 km of additional retreat of the grounding line in this region relative to simulations

  1. Heat sources within the Greenland Ice Sheet: dissipation, temperate paleo-firn and cryo-hydrologic warming

    DOE PAGES

    Lüthi, M. P.; Ryser, C.; Andrews, L. C.; ...

    2015-01-01

    Ice temperature profiles from the Greenland Ice Sheet contain information on the deformation history, past climates and recent warming. We present full-depth temperature profiles from two drill sites on a flow line passing through Swiss Camp, West Greenland. Numerical modeling reveals that ice temperatures are considerably higher than would be expected from heat diffusion and dissipation alone. The possible causes for this extra heat are evaluated using a Lagrangian heat flow model. The model results reveal that the observations can be explained with a combination of different processes: enhanced dissipation (strain heating) in ice-age ice, temperate paleo-firn, and cryo-hydrologic warmingmore » in deep crevasses.« less

  2. Heat sources within the Greenland Ice Sheet: dissipation, temperate paleo-firn and cryo-hydrologic warming

    SciTech Connect

    Lüthi, M. P.; Ryser, C.; Andrews, L. C.; Catania, G. A.; Funk, M.; Hawley, R. L.; Hoffman, M. J.; Neumann, T. A.

    2015-01-01

    Ice temperature profiles from the Greenland Ice Sheet contain information on the deformation history, past climates and recent warming. We present full-depth temperature profiles from two drill sites on a flow line passing through Swiss Camp, West Greenland. Numerical modeling reveals that ice temperatures are considerably higher than would be expected from heat diffusion and dissipation alone. The possible causes for this extra heat are evaluated using a Lagrangian heat flow model. The model results reveal that the observations can be explained with a combination of different processes: enhanced dissipation (strain heating) in ice-age ice, temperate paleo-firn, and cryo-hydrologic warming in deep crevasses.

  3. Do climate mode flips control the dynamics of the Laurentide Ice Sheet

    SciTech Connect

    Lowell, T.V. . Dept. of Geology)

    1993-03-01

    Mode flips, major reorganizations of the earth's ocean-atmosphere system, are being debated as the cause of glacial terminations. If these do occur, one important implication is that ice sheets responded to, rather than drove, climate changes. Using the Laurentide Ice Sheet as an example, the author explores this implication and suggest that ice sheets acted in three fundamentally different modes. In the growth mode the LIS expanded under cold conditions, produced little meltwater and left little sediment. Equilibrium profiles were maintained during growth. During it's full extent mode, the ice sheet remained in a quasi-equilibrium state for several thousand years with minor marginal changes but produced little meltwater. In the decay mode, despite its rapid retreat, the ice sheet did most of its geomorphic work largely because of the abundant water produced from a rapid rise in ELA. Surface profiles would be low from the increased surface melting. This model explains the large volumes of meltwater that are necessary for deforming beds, surges, major subglacial erosion, and formation of proglacial lakes. If this hypothesis is correct it implies that the role of ice sheets in GCM models must be modified from driving to driven, and that anthropogenic warming may change the behavior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet by introducing a large ablation zone.

  4. Decadal slowdown of a land-terminating sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet despite warming.

    PubMed

    Tedstone, Andrew J; Nienow, Peter W; Gourmelen, Noel; Dehecq, Amaury; Goldberg, Daniel; Hanna, Edward

    2015-10-29

    Ice flow along land-terminating margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) varies considerably in response to fluctuating inputs of surface meltwater to the bed of the ice sheet. Such inputs lubricate the ice-bed interface, transiently speeding up the flow of ice. Greater melting results in faster ice motion during summer, but slower motion over the subsequent winter, owing to the evolution of an efficient drainage system that enables water to drain from regions of the ice-sheet bed that have a high basal water pressure. However, the impact of hydrodynamic coupling on ice motion over decadal timescales remains poorly constrained. Here we show that annual ice motion across an 8,000-km(2) land-terminating region of the west GIS margin, extending to 1,100 m above sea level, was 12% slower in 2007-14 compared with 1985-94, despite a 50% increase in surface meltwater production. Our findings suggest that, over these three decades, hydrodynamic coupling in this section of the ablation zone resulted in a net slowdown of ice motion (not a speed-up, as previously postulated). Increases in meltwater production from projected climate warming may therefore further reduce the motion of land-terminating margins of the GIS. Our findings suggest that these sectors of the ice sheet are more resilient to the dynamic impacts of enhanced meltwater production than previously thought.

  5. The Potsdam Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM-PIK) - Part 1: Model description