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Sample records for mcmurdo ice shelf

  1. Calving and rifting on McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banwell, Alison; Willis, Ian; MacAyeal, Douglas; Goodsell, Becky; Macdonald, Grant; Mayer, David; Powell, Anthony

    2017-04-01

    On March 2, 2016, a series of small en échelon tabular icebergs calved from the seaward front of the McMurdo Ice Shelf, and a previously inactive ice-shelf rift suddenly widened and propagated by 3km, 25% of its previous length, setting the stage for future calving of an approximately 8 km2 segment of the ice shelf. Immediately prior to these events, perhaps within 24 hours, all remaining land-fast sea ice buttressing the ice shelf broke up and drifted away. The events were witnessed by time-lapse cameras at nearby Scott Base giving a unique opportunity to document the timing of the events and conditions leading up to them. In addition, the events can be put into context using nearby seismic and automatic weather station data, satellite imagery, and ground observation made 8 months later. Although the observations cannot be used definitively to identify the exact trigger of calving and rifting, the seismic records reveal superimposed sets of long-period (>10 s) sea swell, propagating into McMurdo Sound from distant storm sources in the Pacific Ocean, at the time of, and immediately prior to, the break-up of sea ice and associated ice shelf calving and rifting. This conspicuous presence suggests that sea swell should be studied further as a proximal cause of ice-shelf calving and rifting; if proven, it suggests that ice-shelf stability is tele-connected with far-field storm conditions at lower latitudes, adding a global dimension to the physics of potential ice-shelf breakup.

  2. Seismic Stratigraphy Of The Ross Island Flexural Moat Under Western Mcmurdo-Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horgan, H.; Naish, T.; Bannister, S.; Balfour, N.; Wilson, G.; Finnemore, F.

    2003-04-01

    Ross Island is a volcanic complex that began forming with the emplacement Mount Bird around 5 million years ago, though it has developed most significantly within the last 1 million years with the emplacement of the c. 4km high Mount Erebus. Throughout this time, loading of the lithosphere by this volcanic complex has warped the underlying crust into a subcircular submarine depression that has been accumulating sediment in series of flexural moat basins around the periphery of the island. Due to the depth of the floor of the depression (800-1000 m below sea level today), the sediment fill has largely escaped subsequent erosion by grounded ice of the McMurdo and Ross Ice Shelves (MRIS) and Ross Ice Sheet. Our interest is in the 1.5 km-thick sedimentary record that now lies beneath the deepest part of the depression and is covered by the MRIS. The sediments here have the potential to provide a continuous and high resolution (10^2-10^3 year) record back to 5 million years of the past behaviour of the MRIS and its influence on bottom water production in Ross Sea. The flexural moat basin-fill between the volcanic complexes of Ross and White Islands, which because of its remoteness is only now being investigated for the first time, is in a key location beneath the north western corner of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) where it flows into the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS). This site forms one of the 4 objectives of the ANDRILL Programme and is scheduled for drilling in 2005. Here we present new multi-channel seismic reflection data from over-ice shelf surveys conducted between 2001-2003, that elucidate the geometry and stratigraphy of the flexural-moat basin-fill and its relationship to the adjacent volcanics. We illustrate the proposed drill sites and make an initial prognosis of the sedimentary fill. The uppermost c. 500 m of the sedimentary succession is expected to be fine-grained muds with occasional glacigene sediment and layers of volcanic ash. Underlying strata may become

  3. Reconstructing Holocene conditions under the McMurdo Ice Shelf using Antarctic barnacle shells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, S. N.; Henderson, G. M.; Hall, B. L.

    2010-10-01

    This study evaluates the potential of barnacles for paleoceanographic reconstruction and, in particular, of the Antarctic species Bathylasma corolliforme to reconstruct past conditions under ice shelves. Like other barnacle species, this Antarctic barnacle secretes a robust low-Mg calcite shell with distinct growth increments on the external surface indicating growth over a number of years (30-50 in samples studied here). The Bathylasma samples used in this study grew in the Ross Sea and became entrained at the grounding line of a coastal ice shelf in McMurdo Sound, offering potential as an archive of changing conditions in this difficult to access environment under the McMurdo ice shelf. Nine barnacle shells were subsampled at high resolution (60 μm) for δ 18O and δ 13C analysis. These samples were dated with 14C and U-Th techniques, although the later did not yield useful age information due to open-system behaviour of barnacle calcite. Measured δ 18O values indicate that Bathylasma calcifies close to equilibrium with ambient seawater. One older sample (≈ 200 ka) has similar δ 18O and δ 13C values as the eight Holocene samples, suggesting that barnacle calcite is not prone to significant diagenesis in this setting. Apparent isotope equilibrium and lack of diagenesis make barnacles a promising archive for reconstruction of past ocean conditions. Cycles of δ 18O observed within each sample sometimes correlate with the external growth ridges, but not always, and have amplitudes of typically 0.6‰. This magnitude of variation suggests shell growth during a significant portion of the year, although it remains unclear whether growth continues throughout the year. However, the prominent growth bands suggest at least a signficant seasonal slowing in growth rate. Variations in barnacle δ 18O within each plate and between plates are too large to be caused by temperature, and instead reflect changes in δ 18O of the seawater, allowing some assessment of seawater

  4. Crevasse Extent and Lateral Shearing of the McMurdo Shear Zone, Antarctica: Implications of Ice Shelf Stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaluzienski, L. M.; Hamilton, G. S.; Koons, P. O.; Enderlin, E. M.; Arcone, S. A.; Borstad, C.; Walker, B.

    2016-12-01

    Antarctica's ice shelves modulate the flow of inland ice towards the ocean. Understanding the controls on ice-shelf stability is critical for predicting the future evolution of the ice sheet. For the western sector of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS), a potentially important region of lateral resistance is the McMurdo Shear Zone (MSZ) just downstream of Minna Bluff. Here the fast-moving Ross Ice Shelf ( 450 m/yr) shears past the slower-moving McMurdo Ice Shelf ( 200 m/yr) creating a zone of intense crevassing. An analysis of several satellite image datasets including a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) extracted from stereo Worldview imagery suggests that many of these flow features originate as the RIS flows past Minna Bluff. Here we present a sensitivity analysis of RIS ice flow using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) (Larour et al. 2012) and the Design Analysis Kit for Optimization and Terascale Applications (DAKOTA). In this analysis we assess the sensitivity of model flow of RIS tributary glaciers to boundary condition perturbations within the Minna Bluff/MSZ region. Perturbations include ice shelf thickness variations as well as a scalar damage variable that quantifies the loss of load-bearing surface area due to ice shelf fracture. Field observations of surface flow and strain (GPS) and crevasse distribution and geometry (GPR)in the MSZ help constrain the model simulations. Initial results point to the importance of sub-ice shelf topography and its interaction with features such as Minna Bluff in determining stress distribution on the western RIS. Larour, E.; Seroussi, H.; Morlighem, M.; Rignot, E. 2012. Continental scale, high order, high spatial resolution, ice sheet modeling using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), Journal of Geophysical Research

  5. Cenozoic basin evolution beneath the southern McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnston, Lisa; Wilson, Gary S.; Gorman, Andrew R.; Henrys, Stuart A.; Horgan, Huw; Clark, Roger; Naish, Tim R.

    2008-05-01

    Fifty-two kilometres of multi-channel seismic reflection data were acquired from the southern McMurdo Ice Shelf (SMIS) during potential drill site investigations for the Antarctic Drilling (ANDRILL) program. The survey was acquired atop 110 to 220 m of floating ice and extended across ablation and accumulation zones of the ice shelf. Seismic processing was tailored to the ice shelf environment, including: datum static corrections to account for changes in the thickness and average velocity of the near-surface firn layer, and changes in the surface elevation across the survey area; residual static corrections to account for near-surface ice shelf irregularities; and two-step predictive deconvolution to suppress ice and firn layer multiples. A model for the ice shelf thickness was also incorporated in the interval velocity model during depth conversion to ensure that the ice shelf structure did not impose non-static shifts on the seismic section. The depth converted CMP stacked sections reveal several N to NE trending normal faults, that offset reflective horizons by up to 150 m within the lower part of the section and form a broad east-dipping, half-graben structure. The seafloor possesses trough and arch morphology in parallel with the half-graben structure. These features are interpreted as the southern extension of the Terror Rift. The rift succession comprises a dislocated (?)early-Miocene synrift package and a relatively undeformed (?)late-Miocene post-rift package separated by an erosional unconformity. The post-rift package infills and onlaps the rift topography, and drapes over the graben system, reaching a maximum thickness of 400 m. Throughout the post-rift phase, the basin was also influenced by Neogene volcanism, evidenced by three small volcanic features within the seismic profiles, and associated successions of inferred volcanic material. An angular unconformity within the post-rift succession is interpreted as a flexural horizon related to the load of

  6. Downhole measurements in the AND-1B borehole, ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project, Antarctica

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morin, R.; Williams, T.; Henrys, S.; Crosby, T.; Hansaraj, D.

    2007-01-01

    A comprehensive set of downhole measurements was collected in the AND-1B drillhole as part of the on-ice scientific programme defined for the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS) Project. Geophysical logs were recorded over two operation phases and consisted of calliper, temperature, fluid conductivity, induction resistivity, magnetic susceptibility, natural gamma activity, acoustic televiewer, borehole deviation, and dipmeter. In addition, two standard vertical seismic profiles (VSP) and one walk-away VSP were obtained. Radioactive logs (porosity and density) were not run because of unstable borehole conditions. Although the total depth of the hole is 1285 metres below seafloor (mbsf), the depth range for in situ measurements was limited by the length of the wireline (1018 mbsf) and by the nullification of some geophysical logs due to the presence of steel casing. A depth correction was derived to account for systematic discrepancies in depth between downhole measurements and cores; consequently, log responses can be directly compared to core properties. The resulting data are amenable to studies of cyclicity and climate, heat flux and fluid flow, and stricture and stress. When integrated with physical properties and fractures measured on the core, this information should play a significant role in addressing many of the scientific objectives of the ANDRILL programme.

  7. Initial observations from seismometers frozen into a borehole through the McMurdo Ice Shelf.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prior, David; Eccles, Jennifer; Cooper, Joanna; Craw, Lisa; van Haastrecht, Laurine; Hamish Bowman, M.; Stevens, Craig; Gamble Rosevear, Madi; Hulbe, Christina; Gorman, Andrew; Horgan, Huw; Pyne, Alex

    2017-04-01

    A seismometer cable with two, three-component seismometers was frozen into a hot water borehole through the McMurdo Ice Shelf at Windless Bight in late December 2016. The seismometers are at 39m and 189m depth. The upper seismometer lies just below the firn-ice transition ( 37m) and very close to sea level ( 38m). The lower seismometer is positioned 30m above the base of the ice shelf ( 222m). The seismometers froze in within 40 (upper) to 60 (lower) hours of the last reaming operation. The temperature evolution during freezing is complicated, particularly for the lower seismometer. The complications are interpreted as the result of brine expulsion and brine pocket migration. We conducted an active source experiment using the frozen-in seismometers together with a surface seismometer and four lines of geophones radiating from the borehole, at 45-degree angles, to a distance of 240m. Sources included a traditional hammer and surface plate, two types of hammer activated surface shear wave sources (for hard and soft surfaces) and a hammer activated borehole source. The frozen-in seismometers show excellent separation of P - wave and S - wave arrivals for all sources, particularly on the lower seismometer. The surface shear sources give clearer separation of arrivals on the vertical and horizontal components. For some source to receiver geometries the surface shear sources give no P - wave arrival on the horizontal seismometer components and a very strong S - wave arrival that is partitioned between the horizontal components in correspondence with the source orientation. The borehole source (at 3 to 10m in the firn) also gives clearer separation of P - wave and S - wave arrivals compared to a surface hammer and plate. The frozen-in seismometers were also used to listen for natural events in the ice. Comparing the same events recorded at the surface and at depth, the latter are much less noisy than the former, leading to more clear interpretation. As in the active

  8. Neogene sea surface temperature reconstructions from the Southern McMurdo Sound and the McMurdo Ice Shelf (ANDRILL Program, Antarctica)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sangiorgi, Francesca; Willmott, Veronica; Kim, Jung-Hyun; Schouten, Stefan; Brinkhuis, Henk; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Florindo, Fabio; Harwood, David; Naish, Tim; Powell, Ross

    2010-05-01

    During the austral summers 2006 and 2007 the ANtarctic DRILLing Program (ANDRILL) drilled two cores, each recovering more than 1000m of sediment from below the McMurdo Ice-Shelf (MIS, AND-1B), and sea-ice in Southern McMurdo Sound (SMS, AND-2A), respectively, revealing new information about Neogene Antarctic cryosphere evolution. Core AND-1B was drilled in a more distal location than core AND-2A. With the aim of obtaining important information for the understanding of the history of Antarctic climate and environment during selected interval of the Neogene, we applied novel organic geochemistry proxies such as TEX86 (Tetra Ether IndeX of lipids with 86 carbon atoms) using a new calibration equation specifically developed for polar areas and based on 116 surface sediment samples collected from polar oceans (Kim et al., subm.), and BIT (Branched and Isoprenoid Tetraether), to derive absolute (sea surface) temperature values and to evaluate the relative contribution of soil organic matter versus marine organic matter, respectively. We will present the state-of-the-art of the methodology applied, discussing its advantages and limitations, and the results so far obtained from the analysis of 60 samples from core AND-2A covering the Miocene Climatic Optimum (and the Mid-late Miocene transition) and of 20 pilot samples from core AND-1B covering the late Pliocene.

  9. Field Investigation of Surface-Lake Processes on Ice Shelves: Results of the 2015/16 Field Campaign on McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacAyeal, Doug; Banwell, Alison; Willis, Ian; Macdonald, Grant

    2016-04-01

    Ice-shelf instability and breakup of the style exhibited by Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002 remains the most difficult glaciological process of consequence to observe in detail. It is, however, vital to do so because ice-shelf breakup has the potential to influence the buttressing controls on inland ice discharge, and thus to affect sea level. Several mechanisms enabling Larsen B style breakup have been proposed, including the ability of surface lakes to introduce ice-shelf fractures when they fill and drain, thereby changing the surface loads the ice-shelf must adjust to. Our model suggest that these fractures resulted in a chain-reaction style drainage of >2750 surface lakes on the Larsen B in the days prior to its demise. To validate this and other models, we began a field project on the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS) during the 2015/16 austral summer. Advantages of the MIS study site are: there is considerable surface melting during 3-6 weeks of the summer season, the ice is sufficiently thin (< 30 m in places) to allow observable viscoelastic responses to relatively small loads, and it is close to a center of logistical support (McMurdo Station). Here we show initial results from the field campaign, including GPS and water-depth observations of a lake that has filled and drained over multiple week timescales in previous austral summers. We also report on the analysis of high-resolution WorldView satellite imagery from several summers that reveals the complexity of surface meltwater movement in channels and subsurface void spaces. Initial reconnaissance of the largest surface-lake features reveal that they have a central circular depression surrounded by an uplifted ring, which supports one of the central tenets of our ice-shelf flexure theory. A second field season is anticipated for the 2016/17 austral summer.

  10. Surface Density, Roughness, and Brine Infiltration Observed with Airborne Radar Statistical Reconnaissance at The McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grima, C.; Lopez Garcia, E.; Koch, I.; Greenbaum, J. S.; Soderlund, K. M.; Blankenship, D. D.; Young, D. A.; Fitzsimons, S.

    2016-12-01

    Radar statistical reconnaissance (RSR) is a recent technique that has been used to characterize the surface properties of the Earth's cryosphere, Mars, and Titan; two forthcoming missions will apply RSR to characterize the surface of Europa, as well. Here we apply RSR to map the surface (snow or ice) density, roughness, and near-surface brine infiltration extent at the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS), adjacent to the eponymous station and the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. The ice surface is known for large gradients in snowfall and impurities; however, the MIS is perhaps best known for the presence of brine-soaked firn. Although brine infiltration is known to occur in several Antarctic ice shelves, the process has not been discussed in recent literature despite its importance for the development of englacial microbial habitats or for its potential impact on ice shelf stability. While studies to date have confirmed the existence of brine layers through discrete sampling with ice cores and ground penetrating radar traverses, the active processes that exert primary control on its extent on the MIS has remained elusive.The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) acquired airborne radar survey grids over the northern part of the MIS during the 2011-2012 austral summer then over the remainder of the MIS in summer 2014-2015. Using radar data acquired with the High Capability Radar Sounder (HiCARS2; 60-MHz center frequency and 15-MHz bandwidth), surface density and roughness is quantified with RSR and ice thickness is computed with traditional radar sounding analysis. We present recently-published results from the 2011/2012 campaign to demonstrate that brine infiltration in the northern part of the MIS is primarily controlled by patterns of local snow accumulation. We extend these methodologies to the 2014/2015 data over the Southern MIS (SMIS) to show that RSR-derived snow density values and patterns agree with directly-measured accumulation rates. We also compare the

  11. Radar detection of the brine extent at McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, and its control by snow accumulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grima, Cyril; Greenbaum, Jamin S.; Lopez Garcia, Erika J.; Soderlund, Krista M.; Rosales, Arami; Blankenship, Donald D.; Young, Duncan A.

    2016-07-01

    We derive the surface density and brine infiltration depth/extent at McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, from combined analysis of radar profiles and radar statistical reconnaissance of the surface from 2011 to 2012 austral summer airborne observations. Most of the brine boundaries appear controlled, directly or indirectly, by the snow accumulation pattern. The infiltration is bounded westward by an ablation area and resides just above the pore close-off depth over most of its extent. The eastern brine limit matches a light-snow corridor, suggesting a reversed pressure gradient at depth that might sharply slow down the infiltration. Brine into ice is confirmed at the deepest locations north and east of Williams Field. The ice-ocean interface is undetected west of the infiltrated zone, except in localized patches. We hypothesize this echo-free zone to be due to high scattering below the surface, possibly from a network of accreted ice and/or ice platelets at the ice-ocean interface.

  12. Heat Flow and Hydrologic Characteristics at the AND-1B borehole, ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project, Antarctica

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morin, Roger H.; Williams, Trevor; Henry, Stuart; ,; Hansaraj, Dhiresh

    2010-01-01

    The Antarctic Drilling Program (ANDRILL) successfully drilled and cored a borehole, AND-1B, beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf and into a flexural moat basin that surrounds Ross Island. Total drilling depth reached 1285 m below seafloor (mbsf) with 98 percent core recovery for the detailed study of glacier dynamics. With the goal of obtaining complementary information regarding heat flow and permeability, which is vital to understanding the nature of marine hydrogeologic systems, a succession of three temperature logs was recorded over a five-day span to monitor the gradual thermal recovery toward equilibrium conditions. These data were extrapolated to true, undisturbed temperatures, and they define a linear geothermal gradient of 76.7 K/km from the seafloor to 647 mbsf. Bulk thermal conductivities of the sedimentary rocks were derived from empirical mixing models and density measurements performed on core, and an average value of 1.5 W/mK ± 10 percent was determined. The corresponding estimate of heat flow at this site is 115 mW/m2. This value is relatively high but is consistent with other elevated heat-flow data associated with the Erebus Volcanic Province. Information regarding the origin and frequency of pathways for subsurface fluid flow is gleaned from drillers' records, complementary geophysical logs, and core descriptions. Only two prominent permeable zones are identified and these correspond to two markedly different features within the rift basin; one is a distinct lithostratigraphic subunit consisting of a thin lava flow and the other is a heavily fractured interval within a single thick subunit.

  13. Calcareous nannofossil evidence for Marine Isotope Stage 31 (1 Ma) in the AND-1B Core, ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project (Antarctica).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villa, G.; Persico, D.; Wise, S. W.; Gadaleta, A.

    2009-04-01

    During the austral summer 2006 the ANDRILL Program recovered a 1285 m-long succession of cyclic glacimarine sediments from the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS). The aim of the MIS Project was to obtain continuous Neogene (c. 0-10 Ma) glacial, glacimarine, volcanic, and biogenic sediments that have accumulated in the region of the McMurdo Ice Shelf (Ross Sea) nourished by ice flowing from East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) outlet glaciers in the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). The MIS AND-1B drill core represents the longest and most complete (98% recovery) geological record from the Antarctic continental margin to date, and will provide a key reference record of climate and ice-sheet variability through the Late Neogene; detailed investigations of this record will contribute for improving our knowledge of Antarctica's influence on global climate. Preliminary on-ice analysis of the smear slides of the Andrill core revealed calcareous microfossils (dinoflagellates, calciosponge spicula and small foraminifera) occurring with variable concentrations. The presence of thoracosphaerid fragments in the smear slides of the first 600 mbsf (Quaternary), probably belong to the species Thoracosphaera saxea (Stradner 1961), and Thoracosphaera heimi (Kamptner, 1941) and other, potentially undescribed species (Villa & Wise 1998), suggests either a peculiar adaptation to this environment, due to their ability to develop cysts or warmer conditions at the time of their deposition, or a combination of both. However, they represent an additional element to use with the other proxies for inferring palaeoenvironmental conditions of the core. Subsequent shore-based analyses of 100 samples from 86-96 mbsf revealed for the first time the presence of Pleistocene coccolithophorids at these high southern latitudes (77° S), including: Coccolithus pelagicus, small Gephyrocapsa, Reticulofenestra asanoi, Pseudoemiliania lacunosa, Dictyoccocites productus, Reticulofenestra sp., Reticulofenestra minutula

  14. Brittle fractures in AND-1B core, McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica: A record of Neogene rifting or glaciotectonic deformation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, T.; Paulsen, T.; Millan, C.; Lauefer, A.; McKay, R.; Team, A. S.

    2008-12-01

    The ANDRILL geological drilling program retrieved a 1285-m-long core (AND1B) from beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, in 2006-07. The drillsite is inferred to lie within the Terror Rift, a regional Neogene rift basin in the western Ross Sea, hence normal faulting and related tectonic deformation is expected to be present in the core. Sequence stratigraphic analysis has identified ~60 unconformity-bounded cycles in the core, with each base interpreted to mark erosion and subglacial deposition by an advancing Ross Ice Sheet, hence glaciotectonic deformation is also expected in the core. Systematic fracture logging of the AND-1B core identified 1,475 'natural fractures', i.e. pre-existing fractures in the rock intersected by coring. The most abundant natural fractures are normal faults and calcite veins; reverse faults, brecciated zones, and sedimentary intrusions are also present. Here we compare fracture distribution, density, type and orientation (where known) to the positions of glacial erosion surfaces in the core, together with initial information on the conditions of deformation from microstructural analysis, to discriminate rift-related from glaciotectonic formation of natural fractures in AND-1B core.

  15. Antarctica - Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    This color picture of Antarctica is one part of a mosaic of pictures covering the entire polar continent taken during the hours following Galileo's historic first encounter with its home planet. The view shows the Ross Ice Shelf to the right and its border with the sea. An occasional mountain can be seen poking through the ice near the McMurdo Station. It is late spring in Antarctica, so the sun never sets on the frigid, icy continent. This picture was taken about 6:20 p.m. PST on December 8, 1990. From top to bottom, the frame looks across about half of Antarctica.

  16. Antarctica - Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    This color picture of Antarctica is one part of a mosaic of pictures covering the entire polar continent taken during the hours following Galileo's historic first encounter with its home planet. The view shows the Ross Ice Shelf to the right and its border with the sea. An occasional mountain can be seen poking through the ice near the McMurdo Station. It is late spring in Antarctica, so the sun never sets on the frigid, icy continent. This picture was taken about 6:20 p.m. PST on December 8, 1990. From top to bottom, the frame looks across about half of Antarctica.

  17. Calcareous nannofossil evidence for Marine Isotope Stage 31 (1 Ma) in Core AND-1B, ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project (Antarctica)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villa, Giuliana; Persico, Davide; Wise, Sherwood W.; Gadaleta, Alessia

    2012-10-01

    ANDRILL Core AND-1B, recovered in the Western Ross Sea of Antarctica, has been examined in search of calcareous nannofossils. Exhaustive and detailed analyses of the interval from 86.61 to 98.99 mbsf revealed for the first time at an extreme southern high latitude (77.88° S) the presence of lower Pleistocene calcareous nannofossils, together with Tertiary and Upper Cretaceous reworked species. Other calcareous microfossils in the assemblage include, spicules of calciosponges and small foraminifers. The short normal magnetozone between 84.97 and 91.13 mbsf is correlated with the Jaramillo Subchron (C1r.1n) (Wilson et al., 2007). The presence of nannofossils in the biogenic interglacial sediments is consistent with an episode of warm surface waters and open-marine conditions during the Jaramillo subchron, at ~ 1 Ma, which corresponds with Marine Isotope Stage (MIS)-31 (Scherer et al., 2007; Naish et al., 2007). Climate proxies such as oxygen isotope stratigraphy and calcareous nannofossils at ODP Site 1165 (Pospichal, 2003; Villa et al., 2008) and the diatom assemblage in a shelly carbonate sequence at Cape Roberts 1 (Bohaty et al., 1998) also support a warming event during this time and suggest it extended around the Antarctic Continent. This in turn implies a total or partial collapse of the McMurdo Ice Shelf and a concurrent shift or temporary dissipation of the Polar Front (Antarctic Convergence) and Antarctic Divergence that currently serve as barriers to the influx of calcareous nannofossils to the margins of Antarctica.

  18. Partitioning Effects during Terminal Carbon and Electron Flow in Sediments of a Low-Salinity Meltwater Pond near Bratina Island, McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Mountfort, Douglas O.; Kaspar, Heinrich F.; Downes, Malcolm; Asher, Rodney A.

    1999-01-01

    A study of anaerobic sediments below cyanobacterial mats of a low-salinity meltwater pond called Orange Pond on the McMurdo Ice Shelf at temperatures simulating those in the summer season (<5°C) revealed that both sulfate reduction and methane production were important terminal anaerobic processes. Addition of [2-14C]acetate to sediment samples resulted in the passage of label mainly to CO2. Acetate addition (0 to 27 mM) had little effect on methanogenesis (a 1.1-fold increase), and while the rate of acetate dissimilation was greater than the rate of methane production (6.4 nmol cm−3 h−1 compared to 2.5 to 6 nmol cm−3 h−1), the portion of methane production attributed to acetate cleavage was <2%. Substantial increases in the methane production rate were observed with H2 (2.4-fold), and H2 uptake was totally accounted for by methane production under physiological conditions. Formate also stimulated methane production (twofold), presumably through H2 release mediated through hydrogen lyase. Addition of sulfate up to 50-fold the natural levels in the sediment (interstitial concentration, ∼0.3 mM) did not substantially inhibit methanogenesis, but the process was inhibited by 50-fold chloride (36 mM). No net rate of methane oxidation was observed when sediments were incubated anaerobically, and denitrification rates were substantially lower than rates for sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. The results indicate that carbon flow from acetate is coupled mainly to sulfate reduction and that methane is largely generated from H2 and CO2 where chloride, but not sulfate, has a modulating role. Rates of methanogenesis at in situ temperatures were four- to fivefold less than maximal rates found at 20°C. PMID:10584008

  19. Dibble Ice Shelf

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2013-06-13

    This photo, aken onboard a National Science Foundation/NASA chartered Twin Otter aircraft, shows the ice front of Dibble Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, a significant melt water producer from the Wilkes Land region, East Antarctica.

  20. Wilkins Ice Shelf

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2009-04-20

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf, as seen by NASA Terra spacecraft, on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, experienced multiple disintegration events in 2008. By the beginning of 2009, a narrow ice bridge was all that remained to connect the ice shelf to ice fragments fringing nearby Charcot Island. That bridge gave way in early April 2009. Days after the ice bridge rupture, on April 12, 2009, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite acquired this image of the southern base of the ice bridge, where it connected with the remnant ice shelf. Although the ice bridge has played a role in stabilizing the ice fragments in the region, its rupture doesn't guarantee the ice will immediately move away. http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA11991

  1. Airborne and ground based measurements in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, for the validation of satellite derived ice thickness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rack, Wolfgang; Haas, Christian; Langhorne, Pat; Leonard, Greg; Price, Dan; Barnsdale, Kelvin; Soltanzadeh, Iman

    2014-05-01

    Melting and freezing processes in the ice shelf cavities of the Ross and McMurdo Ice Shelves significantly influence the sea ice formation in McMurdo Sound. Between 2009 and 2013 we used a helicopter-borne laser and electromagnetic induction sounder (EM bird) to measure thickness and freeboard profiles across the ice shelf and the landfast sea ice, which was accompanied by extensive field validation, and coordinated with satellite altimeter overpasses. Using freeboard and thickness, the bulk density of all ice types was calculated assuming hydrostatic equilibrium. Significant density steps were detected between first-year and multi-year sea ice, with higher values for the younger sea ice. Values are overestimated in areas with abundance of sub-ice platelets because of overestimation in both ice thickness and freeboard. On the ice shelf, bulk ice densities were sometimes higher than that of pure ice, which can be explained by both the accretion of marine ice and glacial sediments. For thin ice, the freeboard to thickness conversion critically depends on the knowledge of snow properties. Our measurements allow tuning and validation of snow cover simulations using the Weather Research Forecasting (WRF) model. The simulated snowcover is used to calculate ice thickness from satellite derived freeboard. The results of our measurements, which are supported by the New Zealand Antarctic programme, draw a picture of how oceanographic processes influence the ice shelf morphology and sea ice formation in McMurdo Sound, and how satellite derived freeboard of ICESat and CryoSat together with information on snow cover can potentially capture the signature of these processes.

  2. Larsen B Ice Shelf

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... ice shelf and the rough crevasses of glaciers appear orange. In contrast to the spectral composite, which provides information on ... surfaces appear brighter on their illuminated faces, the orange color in the multi-angle composite suggests a macroscopically rough ice ...

  3. Influences of Pond Geochemistry, Temperature, and Freeze-Thaw on Terminal Anaerobic Processes Occurring in Sediments of Six Ponds of the McMurdo Ice Shelf, near Bratina Island, Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Mountfort, Douglas O.; Kaspar, Heinrich F.; Asher, Rodney A.; Sutherland, Donna

    2003-01-01

    The effects of freeze-thaw, freezing and sediment geochemistry on terminal anaerobic processes occurring in sediments taken from below cyanobacterial mats in meltwater ponds of the McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica were investigated. Depending on the geochemical and physical status of the sediments (i.e., frozen or thawed), as well as passage of sediment through a freeze-thaw cycle, terminal carbon and electron flow shifted in which the proportions of hydrogen and acetate utilized for methanogenesis and sulfate reduction changed. Thus, in low-sulfate (or chloride) sediment which was thawed and incubated at 4°C, total carbon and electron flow were mediated by acetate-driven sulfate reduction and H2-driven methanogenesis. When the same sediments were incubated frozen, both methanogenesis and sulfate reduction decreased. However, under these conditions methanogenesis was favored over sulfate reduction, and carbon flow from acetate to methane increased relative to sulfate reduction; >70% of methane was contributed by acetate, and more than 80% of acetate was oxidized by pathways not coupled to sulfate reduction. In high-sulfate pond sediments, sulfate reduction was a major process mediating terminal carbon and electron flow in both unfrozen and frozen incubations. However, as with low-sulfate sediments, acetate oxidation became uncoupled from sulfate reduction with freezing. Geochemical and temperature effects could be expressed by linear models in which the log (methanogenesis to sulfate reduction) was negative log linear with respect to either temperature or the log of the sulfate (or chloride) concentration. From these relationships it was possible to predict the ratio for a given temperature (low-sulfate sediments) or sulfate (chloride) concentration. Small transitory changes, such as elevated sulfate reduction coupled to increased acetate turnover, resulted from application of a freeze-thaw cycle to low-salinity pond sediments. The results demonstrate how

  4. Breakup of Pack Ice, Antarctic Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    Breakup of Pack Ice along the periphery of the Antarctic Ice Shelf (53.5S, 3.0E) produced this mosaic of ice floes off the Antarctic Ice Shelf. Strong offshore winds, probably associated with strong katabatic downdrafts from the interior of the continent, are seen peeling off the edges of the ice shelf into long filamets of sea ice, icebergs, bergy bits and growlers to flow northward into the South Atlantic Ocean. 53.5S, 3.0E

  5. Kinematics of the Neogene Terror Rift: Constraints from calcite twinning strain in AND-1B core, McMurdo Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paulsen, T.; Wilson, T. J.; Demosthenous, C.; Millan, C.; Jarrard, R. D.; Laufer, A.

    2013-12-01

    Strain analyses of mechanically twinned calcite in veins and faults hosted by Neogene (13.6 Ma to 4.3 Ma) sedimentary and volcanic rocks recovered within the ANDRILL AND-1B drill core from the Terror Rift in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica, yield prolate and oblate ellipsoids with principal shortening and extension strains ranging from 0.1% to 8.5%. The majority of samples show homogeneous coaxial strain predominantly characterized by subvertical shortening, which we attribute to lithostatic loading in an Andersonian normal faulting stress regime during sedimentary and ice sheet burial of the stratigraphic sequence. The overall paucity of a non-coaxial layer-parallel shortening signal in the AND-1B twin populations suggests that horizontal compressive stresses predicted by Neogene transtensional kinematic models for the rift system have been absent or of insufficient magnitude to cause a widespread noncoaxial strain overprint. Limited numbers of oriented samples yield a possible average ESE extension direction for the rift that is subparallel to other indicators of Neogene extension. The lack of horizontal shortening in the twin data suggests the Neogene Terror Rift system either lacks a strong longitudinal strike-slip component, or that spatial partitioning of strain controls the maximum shortening axes seen in rocks of this age.

  6. Amery Ice Shelf

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... seaward edge of the ice shelf. Between them, a transverse fracture extends eastward from the base of the western rift. This rift system ... approximately 1.6 - 1.7 kilometers, and the transverse fracture and a three-way fissure at the juncture of the rifts have widened. ...

  7. Ross ice shelf vibrations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bromirski, P. D.; Diez, A.; Gerstoft, P.; Stephen, R. A.; Bolmer, T.; Wiens, D. A.; Aster, R. C.; Nyblade, A.

    2015-09-01

    Broadband seismic stations were deployed across the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) in November 2014 to study ocean gravity wave-induced vibrations. Initial data from three stations 100 km from the RIS front and within 10 km of each other show both dispersed infragravity (IG) wave and ocean swell-generated signals resulting from waves that originate in the North Pacific. Spectral levels from 0.001 to 10 Hz have the highest accelerations in the IG band (0.0025-0.03 Hz). Polarization analyses indicate complex frequency-dependent particle motions, with energy in several frequency bands having distinctly different propagation characteristics. The dominant IG band signals exhibit predominantly horizontal propagation from the north. Particle motion analyses indicate retrograde elliptical particle motions in the IG band, consistent with these signals propagating as Rayleigh-Lamb (flexural) waves in the ice shelf/water cavity system that are excited by ocean wave interactions nearer the shelf front.

  8. Ice Front at Venable Ice Shelf

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2013-06-13

    This photo, taken onboard the Chilean Navy P3 aircraft, shows the ice front of Venable Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, in October 2008. It is an example of a small-size ice shelf that is a large melt water producer.

  9. Breakup of Pack Ice, Antarctic Ice Shelf

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1991-09-18

    STS048-152-007 (12-18 Sept 1991) --- The periphery of the Antarctic ice shelf and the Antarctic Peninsula were photographed by the STS 48 crew members. Strong offshore winds, probably associated with katabatic winds from the interior of the continent, are peeling off the edges of the ice shelf into ribbons of sea ice, icebergs, bergy bits and growlers into the cold waters of the circum-Antarctic southern ocean.

  10. Movement of fuel spills in the Ross Ice Shelf

    SciTech Connect

    Tumeo, M.A.; Larson, M.K.

    1994-12-31

    Williams Field provides logistical support to McMurdo Station in Antarctica and managers large amounts of fuel for their cargo planes. Numerous spills have occurred at this site with little recovery or remediation of the spilled fuel. From 1980 to 1989, approximately 380,000 liters (L) leaked during documented fuel spills-197,600 L of that total came from one spill alone, in October of 1989, when fuel leaked onto the ice at Williams Field. An additional 20 spills of unknown quantities have also occurred at McMurdo Station and Williams Field. Although recent improvements in equipment and procedures in Antarctica have significantly reduced the accidental release of fuel and all but eliminated the risk of a large fuel spill, the potential for small releases still exists. To track the movement of fuel spills on the ice shelf more accurately and to established the basis for remediation methods NSF funded a 3-year study. This article discusses information obtained about the movement of fuel from a small oil spill from a flexible pipeline between McMurdo Station and Williams Field on the Ross Ice Shelf. 1 fig., 1 tab.

  11. Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctic Ice and Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    In this view of Antarctic ice and clouds, (56.5S, 152.0W), the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica is almost totally clear, showing stress cracks in the ice surface caused by wind and tidal drift. Clouds on the eastern edge of the picture are associated with an Antarctic cyclone. Winds stirred up these storms have been known to reach hurricane force.

  12. Mezozooplankton Beneath the Summer Sea Ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: Abundance, Species Composition, and DMSP content

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Ross Sea Phaeocystis antarctica bloom contributes to a summer increase in under-ice planton biomass in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Due to difficulties of under-ice sampling, information on the mesozooplankton in McMurdo Sound is limited. We measured the abundance of mesooopl...

  13. Mezozooplankton Beneath the Summer Sea Ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: Abundance, Species Composition, and DMSP content

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Ross Sea Phaeocystis antarctica bloom contributes to a summer increase in under-ice planton biomass in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Due to difficulties of under-ice sampling, information on the mesozooplankton in McMurdo Sound is limited. We measured the abundance of mesooopl...

  14. Ross Ice Shelf

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... to hatch their young this year due to a combination of huge icebergs grounded near Ross Island and an unprecedented amount of sea ice in the Ross Sea. The grounded icebergs and sea ice have increased the distance between the penguins' feeding ...

  15. Earth - Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    This color picture of Antarctica is one part of a mosaic of pictures covering the entire Antarctic continent taken during the hours following Galileo's historic first encounter with its home planet. The view shows the Ross Ice Shelf. An occasional mountain can be seen poking through the ice. It is late spring in Antarctica, so the sun never sets on the frigid, icy continent. This picture was taken on December 8, 1990.

  16. An ice shelf breakup

    SciTech Connect

    Fahnestock, M.

    1996-02-09

    Glaciers and ice sheets are controlled by the climate and must change if the conditions that led to their current configurations are changing. These ice masses exist at the interface between the atmosphere, which provides sustaining snowfall and thermal regulation, and the land, which provides a stable base and in many cases the elevation required to reach suitably cold conditions. Ice sheets and glaciers are distributed around the globe and can serve as potential indicators of past climate variability and current climatic trends. 9 refs.

  17. Western Ross Sea and McMurdo Sound Ice Forecasting Guide.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1975-06-01

    SEA AND McMURDO SOUND ICE FORECASTING GUIDE / R ./.ERCHAL I’ JUN 1975 Approved for public release: distribution unlimited. NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE...recognition for the speed and skill with which they cnpoleted the graphics presented in this publication . R.J.P. V vmauLm PAG E &Amxh.Nr niumE 7- adr...Naval Of ficer assigned to assess prevailing ice conditions or to prepare ice forecasts is faced with a difficult task. The purpose of this publication

  18. Bearing Capacity of Floating Ice Sheets under Short-Term Loads: Over-Sea-Ice Traverse from McMurdo Station to Marble Point

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-01-01

    under Short-Term Loads Over-Sea-Ice Traverse from McMurdo Station to Marble Point Co ld R eg io ns R es ea rc h an d En gi ne er in g La bo ra...Traverse from McMurdo Station to Marble Point Jason C. Weale and Devinder S. Sodhi Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) U.S...Division of Polar Programs operates an over-sea-ice traverse from McMurdo Station to rou- tinely resupply Marble Point Camp. The traverse requires that

  19. The seasonal appearance of ice shelf water in coastal Antarctica and its effect on sea ice growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahoney, Andrew R.; Gough, Alexander J.; Langhorne, Patricia J.; Robinson, Natalie J.; Stevens, Craig L.; Williams, Michael M. J.; Haskell, Timothy G.

    2011-11-01

    In this paper we report measurements from the first year-round mooring underneath sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, which we combine with full-depth ocean profiles to identify the incremental appearance of potentially supercooled ice shelf water (ISW). We investigate the effects of ISW on sea ice using observations of sea ice growth and crystal structure together with under-ice photography. We show that the appearance of ISW at the surface leads to a disruption in the columnar texture of the sea ice, but that persistent growth enhancement occurs only once the entire water column has cooled to the surface freezing point. In doing so, we demonstrate the possibility of inferring the presence of ISW beneath sea ice through crystallographic analysis of cores. These findings will be useful for both modeling and observing the extent of ISW-enhanced ice growth. In addition, we found that the local growth of first-year landfast sea ice only accounted for half of the observed increase in salinity over the water column, which indicates that polynyas are responsible for approximately half of the salt flux into McMurdo Sound.

  20. Iceberg B-15, Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Iceberg B-15 broke from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica in late March. Among the largest ever observed, the new iceberg is approximately 170 miles long x 25 miles wide. Its 4,250 square-mile area is nearly as large as the state of Connecticut. The iceberg was formed from glacial ice moving off the Antarctic continent and calved along pre-existing cracks in the Ross Ice Shelf near Roosevelt Island. The calving of the iceberg essentially moves the northern boundary of the ice shelf about 25 miles to the south, a loss that would normally take the ice shelf as long as 50-100 years to replace. This infrared image was acquired by the DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) F-13 satellite on April 13, 2000. For more images see Antarctic Meteorological Research Center Image courtesy of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center, Antarctic Meteorological Research Center

  1. Glacier surge after ice shelf collapse.

    PubMed

    De Angelis, Hernán; Skvarca, Pedro

    2003-03-07

    The possibility that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse as a consequence of ice shelf disintegration has been debated for many years. This matter is of concern because such an event would imply a sudden increase in sea level. Evidence is presented here showing drastic dynamic perturbations on former tributary glaciers that fed sections of the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula before its collapse in 1995. Satellite images and airborne surveys allowed unambiguous identification of active surging phases of Boydell, Sjögren, Edgeworth, Bombardier, and Drygalski glaciers. This discovery calls for a reconsideration of former hypotheses about the stabilizing role of ice shelves.

  2. The presence and quantification of splenic ice in the McMurdo Sound notothenioid fish, Pagothenia borchgrevinki (Boulenger, 1902).

    PubMed

    Praebel, Kim; Hunt, Ben; Hunt, Luke H; DeVries, Arthur L

    2009-12-01

    Survival of some polar fishes is associated with high levels of circulating antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs). AFGP prevent ice growth giving rise to thermal hysteresis. The inhibiting action of AFGPs implies that polar fish contain ice to which AFGPs adsorb. Cryopelagic Pagothenia borchgrevinki, inhabiting the ice-laden waters of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, were assayed for ice and ice was found on skin, gills, in the intestine, and in the spleen. Two methods used to assess the number of ice crystals in spleens gave comparable results (12.1+/-1.9 and 22+/-3.8 per spleen). Attempts were made to measure the rate of uptake of ice by P. borchgrevinki held in cages immediately beneath the sub-ice platelet layer in McMurdo Sound; uptake was sporadic. Introduction of ice into fish by spray freezing a small patch of the integument resulted in detection of splenic ice after 1h, illustrating that a mechanism exists for ice transport from the periphery to the spleen. Splenic ice did not seem to be eliminated from fish held in ice-free water at -1.6 degrees C for approximately two months. The relatively small number of splenic ice crystals and the slow rate of ice uptake suggest efficient ice barriers exist in P. borchgrevinki.

  3. Tidal Modulation of Ice-shelf Flow: a Viscous Model of the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brunt, Kelly M.; MacAyeal, Douglas R.

    2014-01-01

    Three stations near the calving front of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, recorded GPS data through a full spring-neap tidal cycle in November 2005. The data revealed a diurnal horizontal motion that varied both along and transverse to the long-term average velocity direction, similar to tidal signals observed in other ice shelves and ice streams. Based on its periodicity, it was hypothesized that the signal represents a flow response of the Ross Ice Shelf to the diurnal tides of the Ross Sea. To assess the influence of the tide on the ice-shelf motion, two hypotheses were developed. The first addressed the direct response of the ice shelf to tidal forcing, such as forces due to sea-surface slopes or forces due to sub-ice-shelf currents. The second involved the indirect response of ice-shelf flow to the tidal signals observed in the ice streams that source the ice shelf. A finite-element model, based on viscous creep flow, was developed to test these hypotheses, but succeeded only in falsifying both hypotheses, i.e. showing that direct tidal effects produce too small a response, and indirect tidal effects produce a response that is not smooth in time. This nullification suggests that a combination of viscous and elastic deformation is required to explain the observations.

  4. Climate science: A great Arctic ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domack, Eugene

    2016-02-01

    Newly mapped features on the floor of the Arctic Ocean suggest that the Arctic basin was once covered by a one-kilometre-thick, flowing ice shelf derived from large ice sheets in eastern Siberia, Arctic Canada and the Barents Sea.

  5. Ice-Shelf Melting Around Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-07-01

    We compare the volume flux divergence of Antarctic ice shelves in 2007 and 2008 with 1979 to 2010 surface accumulation and 2003 to 2008 thinning to determine their rates of melting and mass balance. Basal melt of 1325 ± 235 gigatons per year (Gt/year) exceeds a calving flux of 1089 ± 139 Gt/year, making ice-shelf melting the largest ablation process in Antarctica. The giant cold-cavity Ross, Filchner, and Ronne ice shelves covering two-thirds of the total ice-shelf area account for only 15% of net melting. Half of the meltwater comes from 10 small, warm-cavity Southeast Pacific ice shelves occupying 8% of the area. A similar high melt/area ratio is found for six East Antarctic ice shelves, implying undocumented strong ocean thermal forcing on their deep grounding lines.

  6. Getz Ice Shelf, West Antarctica: Little glacier speed increase despite basal ice shelf melting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alley, K. E.; Scambos, T. A.

    2013-12-01

    The Getz Ice Shelf, stretching along ~500 km of coastline in the Amundsen Sea Sector of West Antarctica, occupies a region of changing climatic and oceanic conditions. Climatically, the region is influenced by the Amundsen Sea Low, a mean atmospheric circulation feature of West Antarctica that has slowly increased in intensity over the past several decades. Oceanographically, the shelf is affected by intrusions of Antarctic Circumpolar Deep Water, which are currently melting the shelf from below at a rate of 4.3 × 0.4 meters of water per year. Recent results from gravity-based assessments of mass change in the region indicate significant mass loss for the entire Getz ice drainage area, and altimetry studies of grounded ice in the Getz Ice Shelf catchment area show significant elevation loss since the 1990s. Our study examines the history of ice velocities from 1972-present on the Getz Ice Shelf, with particular attention to the ice shelf edge and the grounding zone area during the last decade. The shelf and grounded ice are characterized by relatively narrow zones of faster outflow and steep grounded ice surface slopes. The fastest outflow speeds are found toward the western edge at DeVicq Glacier, typically 800-1000 ma-1 near the ice edge and 400-800 ma-1 at the grounding line. Slower speeds towards the east are generally 250-500 ma-1 at the ice edge and 150-400 ma-1 near the grounding line. Despite significant basal melt and thinning of grounded ice, the Getz Ice Shelf has exhibited only modest accelerations: ~20% near the grounding line in the DeVicq Glacier region, ~35% at the far eastern edge, and <10% across central sections of the shelf. This contrasts with the nearly 50% flow speed increase of Pine Island Glacier between 1972 and 2012, and >100% for the adjacent Smith Glacier between 1992 and 2008. We postulate that steep slopes in the grounded ice flow just above the grounding line imply high basal shear stresses for the feeder glaciers and therefore

  7. Ice Shelf Microbial Ecosystems in the High Arctic and Implications for Life on Snowball Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vincent, W. F.; Gibson, J. A. E.; Pienitz, R.; Villeneuve, V.; Broady, P. A.; Hamilton, P. B.; Howard-Williams, C.

    The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf (83°N, 74°W) is the largest remaining section of thick (>10m) landfast sea ice along the northern coastline of Ellesmere Island, Canada. Extensive meltwater lakes and streams occur on the surface of the ice and are colonized by photosynthetic microbial mat communities. This High Arctic cryo-ecosystem is similar in several of its physical, biological and geochemical features to the McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The ice-mats in both polar regions are dominated by filamentous cyanobacteria but also contain diatoms, chlorophytes, flagellates, ciliates, nematodes, tardigrades and rotifers. The luxuriant Ward Hunt consortia also contain high concentrations (107-108cm-2) of viruses and heterotrophic bacteria. During periods of extensive ice cover, such as glaciations during the Proterozoic, cryotolerant mats of the type now found in these polar ice shelf ecosystems would have provided refugia for the survival, growth and evolution of a variety of organisms, including multicellular eukaryotes.

  8. Breakup of the Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Recent Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery analyzed at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center revealed that the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, has shattered and separated from the continent. This particular image was taken on March 5, 2002. The shattered ice formed a plume of thousands of icebergs adrift in the Weddell Sea. A total of about 3,250 square kilometers of shelf area disintegrated in a 35-day period beginning on January 31, 2002. Over the last five years, the shelf has lost a total of 5,700 square kilometers and is now about 40 percent the size of its previous minimum stable extent. Ice shelves are thick plates of ice, fed by glaciers, that float on the ocean around much of Antarctica. The Larsen B shelf was about 220 meters thick. Based on studies of ice flow and sediment thickness beneath the ice shelf, scientists believe that it existed for at least 400 years prior to this event and likely existed since the end of the last major glaciation 12,000 years ago. For reference, the area lost in this most recent event dwarfs Rhode Island (2,717 square kilometers) in size. In terms of volume, the amount of ice released in this short time is 720 billion tons--enough ice for about 12 trillion 10-kilogram bags. This is the largest single event in a series of retreats by ice shelves along the peninsula over the last 30 years. The retreats are attributed to a strong climate warming in the region. The rate of warming is approximately 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade, and the trend has been present since at least the late 1940s. Overall in the peninsula, the extent of seven ice shelves has declined by a total of about 13,500 square kilometers since 1974. This value excludes areas that would be expected to calve under stable conditions. Ted Scambos, a researcher with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at

  9. Breakup of the Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Recent Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery analyzed at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center revealed that the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, has shattered and separated from the continent. This particular image was taken on March 5, 2002. The shattered ice formed a plume of thousands of icebergs adrift in the Weddell Sea. A total of about 3,250 square kilometers of shelf area disintegrated in a 35-day period beginning on January 31, 2002. Over the last five years, the shelf has lost a total of 5,700 square kilometers and is now about 40 percent the size of its previous minimum stable extent. Ice shelves are thick plates of ice, fed by glaciers, that float on the ocean around much of Antarctica. The Larsen B shelf was about 220 meters thick. Based on studies of ice flow and sediment thickness beneath the ice shelf, scientists believe that it existed for at least 400 years prior to this event and likely existed since the end of the last major glaciation 12,000 years ago. For reference, the area lost in this most recent event dwarfs Rhode Island (2,717 square kilometers) in size. In terms of volume, the amount of ice released in this short time is 720 billion tons--enough ice for about 12 trillion 10-kilogram bags. This is the largest single event in a series of retreats by ice shelves along the peninsula over the last 30 years. The retreats are attributed to a strong climate warming in the region. The rate of warming is approximately 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade, and the trend has been present since at least the late 1940s. Overall in the peninsula, the extent of seven ice shelves has declined by a total of about 13,500 square kilometers since 1974. This value excludes areas that would be expected to calve under stable conditions. Ted Scambos, a researcher with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at

  10. Sub-ice shelf circulation and basal melting of the Fimbul Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nost, Ole Anders

    2010-05-01

    The Fimbul Ice Shelf is the largest of the ice shelves in Dronning Maud Land. Due to a narrow and some places non-existent continental shelf, the ice shelves in Dronning Maud Land are situated close to the Warm Deep Water. The Antarctic Slope Front separates the Warm Deep Water from the ice shelves and complicated exchange processes working across this front controls the melting of the Fimbul Ice Shelf and the other ice shelves in Dronning Maud Land. Here we will present analysis of unique data from the Dronning Maud Land coastal zone, as well as preliminary results from the 2009/2010 field work on the Fimbul Ice Shelf. In 2008 eight elephant seals equipped with CTD data loggers collected hydrographic data in the Dronning Maud Land coastal zone from February through October. Analysis of these data shows that overturning of the Antarctic Slope Front is the main process exchanging heat into the ice shelf cavities. This overturning together with an onshore surface Ekman flow leads to a seasonal cycle in the salinity of the coastal water masses, while glacial melting sea ice formation has little influence. During the 2009/2010 field season on the Fimbul Ice Shelf glaciological and oceanographic data were collected. We will show preliminary results of ice flow, ice thickness and basal melting measured using stake nets and phase sensitive radar. Oceanographic data were collected through three hot water drilled access holes in the ice shelf. These data show a water column with temperatures close to the surface freezing point over most of the water column. Relatively warmer water was observed near the bottom on one of the CTD stations. Maximum observed temperature is -1.57 °C. We compare the sub iceshelf hydrography with the hydrography observed by the elephant seals near the ice front in an attempt to reveal the sub ice shelf circulation. We also compare estimated melt rates from the oceanographic data with melt rates estimated with the phase sensitive radar and stake

  11. 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.

  12. Circulation and melting beneath the ross ice shelf.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, S S; Gordon, A L; Ardai, J L

    1979-02-02

    Thermohaline observations in the water column beneath the Ross Ice Shelf and along its terminal face show significant vertical stratification, active horizontal circulation, and net melting at the ice shelf base. Heat is supplied by seawater that moves southward beneath the ice shelf from a central warm core and from a western region of high salinity. The near-freezing Ice Shelf Water produced flows northward into the Ross Sea.

  13. Mass Balance and Structure of the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, I.; Padman, L.; Chu, W.; Fricker, H. A.; Becker, M. K.; Bell, R. E.; Tinto, K. J.; Millstein, J. D.

    2016-12-01

    Changes in ice shelf mass balance is key to the long term stability of the Antarctic ice sheet. Although the most extensive thinning occurs on the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica, recent studies indicate that many other ice shelves are also experiencing widespread thinning. Here, we focus on the Ross Ice Self. An 18-year record (1994-2012) of satellite radar altimetry shows elevation change 1 m/yr across the shelf. Significant variability in ice shelf height on interannual time scales makes it difficult to detect a long-term mass budget trend of this ice shelf. Variability of radar signal penetration into the ice-shelf snow and firn layers further complicates assessment of mass changes. In this work, we investigate the Ross Ice Shelf mass balance using aerogeophyical data from the ROSETTA-ICE IcePod and NASA's Operation IceBridge. ROSSETTA-ICE is an aerogeophysical program planned to survey the ice shelf at a 10 km spacing over the course of two field seasons-2015 and 2016. This NSF/Moore Foundation supported multi-University collaborative project is designed to provide an integrated view of the ice shelf and the underlying bathymetry using the IcePod system including its ice-penetrating radars, laser altimetry, gravity meters and magnetometers. We present preliminary results from our ongoing efforts of quantifying the mass balance of the ice shelf using IcePod ice penetrating radars and laser altimetry along with satellite data. We will use internal layers traced from ice penetrating radars to outline the structure of the ice shelf. Airborne laser altimetry measurements from this IcePod survey and IceBridge will be used to study the elevation change of the ice shelf. Spatial variations of thickness of the internal layers in the first few meters of the ice shelf, particularly near the grounding line, will indicate the impact of wind-blown snow coming from the continent onto the ice shelf. In order to infer conditions of melt and freeze-on at the ice

  14. The Tweeting Ice Shelf: geophysics and outreach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Liefferinge, Brice; Berger, Sophie; Drews, Reinhard; Pattyn, Frank

    2015-04-01

    Over the last decade the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have contributed about one third of the annual sea level rise (Hanna et al., 2013). However, it remains difficult to reconcile global mass balance estimates obtained from different satellite-based methods. A typical approach is to balance the mass input from atmospheric modelling with the outgoing mass flux at the ice-sheet boundary (Shepherd et al., 2012). The flux calculations at the boundary rely on satellite-derived surface velocities, which are currently only available as snapshots in time, and which need ground truth for validation. Here, we report on continuous, year-round measurements that aim at improving the input-output method in several aspects and carefully map the flow speed allowing for detecting seasonal variability. For this purpose, we set up in December 2014 three stand-alone single-frequency GPSes on the Roi Baudouin ice shelf (East Antarctica). The GPSes are installed across a surface depression (typical for large ice-shelf channels), where subglacial melting is expected. This setup allows us to investigate how these channels behave, i.e., if they become wider, whether or not they enhance the ice flow, and, in combination with an installed phase-sensitive radar, what amount of melting occurs below the channels in contact with the ocean. The GPS data are transmitted on a daily basis. Ice-shelf velocity is derived from the raw hourly location following the methods described in den Ouden et al. (2010), Dunse et al. (2012), and Ahlstrøm et al. (2013). However, a reference station has not been used for the correction. Basic processing involves outliers removal, smoothing, time-series analysis and comparison with tidal models. The project comes alongside an outreach event: on a weekly basis, the ice shelf 'tweets' its position, motion and relays other information with respect to the project. The GPS systems can be followed on Twitter via @TweetinIceShelf as well as the Tweeting Ice Shelf

  15. Impacts of the Larsen-C Ice Shelf calving event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hogg, Anna E.; Gudmundsson, G. Hilmar

    2017-08-01

    A giant iceberg has calved off the Larsen-C Ice Shelf, the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, reducing its total area by ~10%. Whilst calving events are a natural phenomenon and thus not necessarily indicative of changing environmental conditions, such events can impact ice-shelf stability.

  16. A case study of a Ross Ice Shelf Airstream event using high resolution observational data captured by SNOWWEB

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jolly, Ben; McDonald, Adrian

    2015-04-01

    The Ross Ice Shelf Airstream (RAS) is the dominant weather pattern over the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Characterised by a strong southerly flow over the ice shelf, the RAS plays a significant role in the northward transport of cold air from the interior of the continent out into the Ross Sea. As it passes by Ross Island - home to McMurdo Station and Scott Base - and out over the edge of the ice shelf, the RAS also helps to create and maintain the Ross Sea Polynya, the single largest contributor to sea ice growth in the Ross Sea region. Our area of interest is the McMurdo Ice Shelf, situated directly south of Ross Island and adjoining the north-western tip of the much larger Ross Ice Shelf. The terrain of this region is complex, with large mountains, islands, and cliffs dominating local flow. Additionally, severe weather - often experienced during a RAS event - can greatly impact human activity. These two factors make this region particularly interesting to study. During the 2013/14 austral summer season we deployed 14 weather stations on the McMurdo Ice Shelf, creating a dense spatial observational network. In combination with existing automatic weather stations and high resolution model output from the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS), we present a case study of a three day RAS event observed in November 2013. We find that AMPS represents the RAS well in general, however at the local scale there are some large discrepancies between observed and forecast winds. Predominantly these are a result of errors in timing, with AMPS incorrectly forecasting 'lulls' in the RAS when none were observed and vice-versa. There also appear to be some differences between AMPS and observations regarding the split of the southerly RAS flow around Ross Island. The representation within AMPS of both Hut Point Peninsula - a small yet important orographic feature running south-west from Ross Island that blocks relatively weak flows - and the Windless Bight high pressure

  17. Patterns of Macrozooplankton and Fish Occurrence Beneath McMurdo Sound Fast Ice during Spring/Summer 2014/2015

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saenz, B. T.; Daly, K. L.; Kim, S.; Ainley, D. G.; Ballard, G.

    2016-02-01

    McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, represents a unique environment for study of trophic interactions, where a full complement of marine predators thrive. As part of a greater study of McMurdo Sound food web interactions, including ocean and ice physics, algal characterization, and predator behavior, macrozooplankton and fish were surveyed using bioacoustics and video using a specially-designed under-ice ROV. Acoustic returns from 82 under-ice surveys were divided into classes consisting of krill, silverfish, and weak scatters. Krill were scarce during surveys in late November, but increased in abundance in association with increasing chlorophyll a in December and early January when surveys ended. The greatest concentrations of krill were found near Ross Island in the eastern Sound, where southerly currents move high-productivity waters beneath the fast ice. Conversely, silverfish, especially schools of juveniles, were found in greater abundance toward the west where currents flow northward and platelet ice typically blocked light from surface waters. Silverfish were rare toward the end of the survey in late December/early January, but possibly had moved deeper than the acoustic instrument could detect. Overall, krill were less abundant and occurred deeper in the water column within 2 km of the fast ice edge, which was accessible by air-breathing predators, suggesting that predation pressure helped structure krill abundance or distribution. Acoustic returns from weak scatters, which included observed jellies, pteropods, detached ice algae and potentially other mesoplankton in high abundance such as copepods, also increased during the study period and co-occurred with chlorophyll a. The patterns of macrozooplankton and fish observed in McMurdo Sound raise important questions about source-sink dynamics, overwinter strategies of mid-trophic organisms, prey-predator dynamics, and sea-ice structuring of ecosystems.

  18. Ice shelf structure derived from dispersion curve analysis of ambient seismic noise, Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diez, A.; Bromirski, P. D.; Gerstoft, P.; Stephen, R. A.; Anthony, R. E.; Aster, R. C.; Cai, C.; Nyblade, A.; Wiens, D. A.

    2016-05-01

    An L-configured, three-component short period seismic array was deployed on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica during November 2014. Polarization analysis of ambient noise data from these stations shows linearly polarized waves for frequency bands between 0.2 and 2 Hz. A spectral peak at about 1.6 Hz is interpreted as the resonance frequency of the water column and is used to estimate the water layer thickness below the ice shelf. The frequency band from 4 to 18 Hz is dominated by Rayleigh and Love waves propagating from the north that, based on daily temporal variations, we conclude were generated by field camp activity. Frequency-slowness plots were calculated using beamforming. Resulting Love and Rayleigh wave dispersion curves were inverted for the shear wave velocity profile within the firn and ice to ˜150 m depth. The derived density profile allows estimation of the pore close-off depth and the firn-air content thickness. Separate inversions of Rayleigh and Love wave dispersion curves give different shear wave velocity profiles within the firn. We attribute this difference to an effective anisotropy due to fine layering. The layered structure of firn, ice, water and the seafloor results in a characteristic dispersion curve below 7 Hz. Forward modelling the observed Rayleigh wave dispersion curves using representative firn, ice, water and sediment structures indicates that Rayleigh waves are observed when wavelengths are long enough to span the distance from the ice shelf surface to the seafloor. The forward modelling shows that analysis of seismic data from an ice shelf provides the possibility of resolving ice shelf thickness, water column thickness and the physical properties of the ice shelf and underlying seafloor using passive-source seismic data.

  19. Calibration and Validation of Airborne LiDAR at McMurdo Station, Antarctica for Operation IceBridge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonntag, J. G.

    2014-12-01

    Airborne LiDAR flight operations based at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, present unusual challenges for calibrating and validating the sensor measurements at the level of a few centimeters. NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) team prefers to perform regular, near-daily calibrations of range and angular biases of our sensor for the lengthy field deployments typical for Operation IceBridge (OIB). For the fall 2013 OIB deployment to McMurdo, we had to adapt our usual technique of regular overflights of an independently-surveyed airport parking ramp to deal with the fact that the McMurdo airfield was located on tidally-influenced sea ice, and that very few nearby durable surfaces were free of variable-depth snow during the OIB deployment. We detail our approach for dealing with these challenges, which included multiple GPS/vehicle surveys of the sea ice runway to quantify surface changes due to grooming operations, combined with GPS tide-gauge measurements of the runway's tidal motion. We also conducted a remote GPS/vehicle survey of a mostly snow-free road on Black Island, and included both sites during near-daily overflights with the ATM. We discuss the quantitative results of these surveys and the associated ATM overflights, and present conclusions for future deployments. Finally we discuss a related validation effort in which we compare ATM results from overflights of snow-free areas in the Dry Valleys with ATM surveys of the same area from a 2001 effort there.

  20. Amery Ice Shelf's 'Loose Tooth' Gets Looser

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The Amery Ice Shelf is an important dynamic system responsible for draining about 16% of the grounded East Antarctic ice sheet through only 2% of its coastline. Most of the mass input to the system occurs from the Lambert and several other glaciers. Mass loss from the system occurs through basal melting and iceberg calving. These images from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) portray the ice shelf front on October 6, 2001 (top) and September 29, 2002 (bottom), and illustrate changes that took place over the year elapsed between the two views.

    Two longitudinal rifts, oriented roughly parallel to the direction of ice flow and measuring about 25 and 15 kilometers in length, are apparent near the seaward edge of the ice shelf. Between them, a transverse fracture extends eastward from the base of the western rift. This rift system is colloquially named the Amery 'loose tooth.' Over the course of the one-year interval between these two MISR images, the ice front has advanced approximately 1.6 - 1.7 kilometers, and the transverse fracture and a three-way fissure at the juncture of the rifts have widened. When the transverse fracture eventually reaches the eastern rift, a large iceberg (25 kilometers x 25 kilometers) will be released.

    These false-color multi-angle composites combine red-band data from MISR's 60o forward, nadir, and 60o aftward viewing cameras, displayed as red, green and blue, respectively. Different colors represent angular reflectance variations. Since generally smooth surfaces predominantly forward-scatter sunlight, these appear in shades of blue. Rough surfaces tend to backward-scatter sunlight, and these appear in shades of red or orange. Low clouds appear bright purple, since they exhibit both forward and backward-scattering. Using this technique, textural variations among ice types are revealed, and clouds can be easily distinguished from ice. Illumination conditions on the two dates are nearly identical.

    Understanding the

  1. Amery Ice Shelf's 'Loose Tooth' Gets Looser

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The Amery Ice Shelf is an important dynamic system responsible for draining about 16% of the grounded East Antarctic ice sheet through only 2% of its coastline. Most of the mass input to the system occurs from the Lambert and several other glaciers. Mass loss from the system occurs through basal melting and iceberg calving. These images from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) portray the ice shelf front on October 6, 2001 (top) and September 29, 2002 (bottom), and illustrate changes that took place over the year elapsed between the two views.

    Two longitudinal rifts, oriented roughly parallel to the direction of ice flow and measuring about 25 and 15 kilometers in length, are apparent near the seaward edge of the ice shelf. Between them, a transverse fracture extends eastward from the base of the western rift. This rift system is colloquially named the Amery 'loose tooth.' Over the course of the one-year interval between these two MISR images, the ice front has advanced approximately 1.6 - 1.7 kilometers, and the transverse fracture and a three-way fissure at the juncture of the rifts have widened. When the transverse fracture eventually reaches the eastern rift, a large iceberg (25 kilometers x 25 kilometers) will be released.

    These false-color multi-angle composites combine red-band data from MISR's 60o forward, nadir, and 60o aftward viewing cameras, displayed as red, green and blue, respectively. Different colors represent angular reflectance variations. Since generally smooth surfaces predominantly forward-scatter sunlight, these appear in shades of blue. Rough surfaces tend to backward-scatter sunlight, and these appear in shades of red or orange. Low clouds appear bright purple, since they exhibit both forward and backward-scattering. Using this technique, textural variations among ice types are revealed, and clouds can be easily distinguished from ice. Illumination conditions on the two dates are nearly identical.

    Understanding the

  2. Victoria Land, Ross Sea, and Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    On December 19, 2001, MODIS acquired data that produced this image of Antarctica's Victoria Land, Ross Ice Shelf, and the Ross Sea. The coastline that runs up and down along the left side of the image denotes where Victoria Land (left) meets the Ross Ice Shelf (right). The Ross Ice Shelf is the world's largest floating body of ice, approximately the same size as France. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

  3. Victoria Land, Ross Sea, and Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    On December 19, 2001, MODIS acquired data that produced this image of Antarctica's Victoria Land, Ross Ice Shelf, and the Ross Sea. The coastline that runs up and down along the left side of the image denotes where Victoria Land (left) meets the Ross Ice Shelf (right). The Ross Ice Shelf is the world's largest floating body of ice, approximately the same size as France. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

  4. Ice-shelf channel evolution in Antarctic ice shelves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drews, Reinhard; Berger, Sophie; Favier, Lionel; Pattyn, Frank

    2015-04-01

    Ice shelves buttress the continental ice flux and facilitate ice--ocean interactions. They are often intersected by longitudinally elongated channels in which basal melting is significantly enhanced. Recent studies highlighted that this type of channelized melting impacts the buttressing strength of ice shelves and hence imprints the mass flux from the Antarctic continent. Here, the channel evolution is investigated from a glaciological perspective, using a full Stokes model and geophysical data from three consecutive field seasons on Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf (RBIS), Antarctica. The RBIS contains numerous channels, incising the ice shelf by more than half the ice thickness. The modeling confirms (1) that basal melting as a feasible mechanism for the channel creation, albeit channels may also advect without melting for many tens of kilometers. The mere existence of channels is not a sufficient criteria to infer channelized melting at that location; (2) channels can be out of hydrostatic equilibrium depending on their width and the upstream melt history. This implies that inverting surface elevation for ice thickness in those areas is erroneous. Corresponding observational evidence for the channels at RBIS is presented by comparing the hydrostatic-ice thickness from GPS measurements with the ice thickness measured by ground-penetrating radar; (3) the simulations show that channelized melting imprints the flowfield characteristically, and can cause enhanced horizontal shearing across channels. This is exemplified for a channel at RBIS where the velocity anomaly is found in different sets of satellite-derived surface velocities, as well as in ground-based GPS measurements. This opens up the possibility to classify channelized melting from space, an important step towards incorporating these effects in ice--ocean models.

  5. Dynamics of the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Casassa, Gino; Turner, John

    1991-01-01

    The changing flow of the Ross Ice Shelf is described based on AVHRR data from 18 cloud-free images which evince flow stripes and form the data for a glaciological map. The discharge region of the valley glaciers in the Transantarctic Mountains is found to have curvilinear stripes, and the brightness contrast is enhanced to examine the feature. The map of the region also shows rifts, ridge crests, surface folds, and large-scale lineaments.

  6. Unique Views of a Shattered Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Both single and multi-angle views of the breakup of the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf are shown in this image pair from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer. The Larsen B ice shelf collapsed and broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula during February and March, 2002 -- a progression observed by Terra's Moderate-resolution Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MODIS) and analyzed at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center. The collapse is thought to have been accelerated by warm summer temperatures which caused meltwater to fill crevasses along the landward side of the Larsen shelf, leading to intensified pressures within the sheet structure.

    In the left-hand view, spectral variations across the scene are highlighted by using near-infrared, red and blue data from MISR's nadir (vertical-viewing) camera. Here, the ice within the disintegrating ice shelf appears vibrant blue. Water has an intrinsic blue color due to the selective absorption of longer wavelengths such as red and infrared, and the translucent properties of ice within the collapsing shelf enables this absorption to be observed. The use of the near-infrared band within this false-color composite accentuates the effect. Light brownish streaks across the splintering sheet can also be discerned, and probably indicate regions where rocks and morainal debris were exposed from the interior of the shelf.

    On the right, data from three different view angles and only one color channel were combined to create a multi-angle composite. This image displays red-band data from MISR's 46-degree forward, nadir, and 46-degree backward-viewing cameras as red, green and blue, respectively. Here, the disintegrating ice shelf and the rough crevasses of glaciers appear orange. In contrast to the spectral composite, which provides information on the chemical composition of water ice, the colors in the right-hand image represent properties related to its physical nature. Because vertical

  7. Unique Views of a Shattered Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Both single and multi-angle views of the breakup of the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf are shown in this image pair from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer. The Larsen B ice shelf collapsed and broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula during February and March, 2002 -- a progression observed by Terra's Moderate-resolution Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MODIS) and analyzed at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center. The collapse is thought to have been accelerated by warm summer temperatures which caused meltwater to fill crevasses along the landward side of the Larsen shelf, leading to intensified pressures within the sheet structure.

    In the left-hand view, spectral variations across the scene are highlighted by using near-infrared, red and blue data from MISR's nadir (vertical-viewing) camera. Here, the ice within the disintegrating ice shelf appears vibrant blue. Water has an intrinsic blue color due to the selective absorption of longer wavelengths such as red and infrared, and the translucent properties of ice within the collapsing shelf enables this absorption to be observed. The use of the near-infrared band within this false-color composite accentuates the effect. Light brownish streaks across the splintering sheet can also be discerned, and probably indicate regions where rocks and morainal debris were exposed from the interior of the shelf.

    On the right, data from three different view angles and only one color channel were combined to create a multi-angle composite. This image displays red-band data from MISR's 46-degree forward, nadir, and 46-degree backward-viewing cameras as red, green and blue, respectively. Here, the disintegrating ice shelf and the rough crevasses of glaciers appear orange. In contrast to the spectral composite, which provides information on the chemical composition of water ice, the colors in the right-hand image represent properties related to its physical nature. Because vertical

  8. Modern shelf ice, equatorial Aeolis Quadrangle, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brakenridge, G. R.

    1993-01-01

    As part of a detailed study of the geological and geomorphological evolution of Aeolis Quadrangle, I have encountered evidence suggesting that near surface ice exists at low latitudes and was formed by partial or complete freezing of an inland sea. The area of interest is centered at approximately -2 deg, 196 deg. As seen in a suite of Viking Orbiter frames obtained at a range of approximately 600 km, the plains surface at this location is very lightly cratered or uncratered, and it is thus of late Amazonian age. Extant topographic data indicate that the Amazonian plains at this location occupy a trough whose surface lies at least 1000 m below the Mars datum. A reasonable hypothesis is that quite recent surface water releases, perhaps associated with final evolution of large 'outflow chasms' to the south, but possibly from other source areas, filled this trough, that ice floes formed almost immediately, and that either grounded ice or an ice-covered sea still persists. A reasonable hypothesis is that quite recent surface water releases, perhaps associated with final evolution of large 'outflow chasms' to the south, but possibly from other source areas, filled this trough, that ice floes formed almost immediately, and that either grounded ice or an ice-covered sea still persists. In either case, the thin (a few meters at most) high albedo, low thermal inertia cover of aeolian materials was instrumental in allowing ice preservation, and at least the lower portions of this dust cover may be cemented by water ice. Detailed mapping using Viking stereopairs and quantitative comparisons to terrestrial shelf ice geometries are underway.

  9. Modern shelf ice, equatorial Aeolis Quadrangle, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brakenridge, G. R.

    1993-01-01

    As part of a detailed study of the geological and geomorphological evolution of Aeolis Quadrangle, I have encountered evidence suggesting that near surface ice exists at low latitudes and was formed by partial or complete freezing of an inland sea. The area of interest is centered at approximately -2 deg, 196 deg. As seen in a suite of Viking Orbiter frames obtained at a range of approximately 600 km, the plains surface at this location is very lightly cratered or uncratered, and it is thus of late Amazonian age. Extant topographic data indicate that the Amazonian plains at this location occupy a trough whose surface lies at least 1000 m below the Mars datum. A reasonable hypothesis is that quite recent surface water releases, perhaps associated with final evolution of large 'outflow chasms' to the south, but possibly from other source areas, filled this trough, that ice floes formed almost immediately, and that either grounded ice or an ice-covered sea still persists. A reasonable hypothesis is that quite recent surface water releases, perhaps associated with final evolution of large 'outflow chasms' to the south, but possibly from other source areas, filled this trough, that ice floes formed almost immediately, and that either grounded ice or an ice-covered sea still persists. In either case, the thin (a few meters at most) high albedo, low thermal inertia cover of aeolian materials was instrumental in allowing ice preservation, and at least the lower portions of this dust cover may be cemented by water ice. Detailed mapping using Viking stereopairs and quantitative comparisons to terrestrial shelf ice geometries are underway.

  10. Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: the relationship between icequake locations and ice shelf structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Heeszel, David S.; Fricker, Helen A.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; O'Neel, Shad; Walter, Fabian

    2014-01-01

    Iceberg calving is a dominant mass loss mechanism for Antarctic ice shelves, second only to basal melting. An important known process involved in calving is the initiation and propagation of through-penetrating fractures called rifts; however, the mechanisms controlling rift propagation remain poorly understood. To investigate the mechanics of ice-shelf rifting, we analyzed seismicity associated with a propagating rift tip on the Amery Ice Shelf, using data collected during the Austral summers of 2004-2007. We investigated seismicity associated with fracture propagation using a suite of passive seismological techniques including icequake locations, back projection, and moment tensor inversion. We confirm previous results that show that seismicity is characterized by periods of relative quiescence punctuated by swarms of intense seismicity of one to three hours. However, even during periods of quiescence, we find significant seismic deformation around the rift tip. Moment tensors, calculated for a subset of the largest icequakes (MW > -2.0) located near the rift tip, show steeply dipping fault planes, horizontal or shallowly plunging stress orientations, and often have a significant volumetric component. They also reveal that much of the observed seismicity is limited to the upper 50 m of the ice shelf. This suggests a complex system of deformation that involves the propagating rift, the region behind the rift tip, and a system of rift-transverse crevasses. Small-scale variations in the mechanical structure of the ice shelf, especially rift-transverse crevasses and accreted marine ice, play an important role in modulating the rate and location of seismicity associated with propagating ice shelf rifts.

  11. Ross Ice Shelf Polynya - Contribution to Antarctic Sea Ice Variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, J. M.; Raphael, M. N.

    2016-12-01

    The complexity of the Antarctic sea ice system is contributed to by the numerous sea ice generating polynyas which occur around the continental coast. The Ross Ice Shelf Polynya is the largest by far and has the highest ice production rates. It is commonly assumed that the relationship between the size of the open water area and sea ice generation is positive. This study uses NASA Team sea ice concentration (SIC) and a new and unique dataset of daily RISP area to establish and examine the temporal geographical reach of the sea ice generated within the RISP. The dataset spans the period 1987 - 2015 and represents the longest timeseries of this polynya to date. Initial analyses show that areal variability of the RISP has significant effects on the SIC in the Ross Sea sector. The relationship varies in sign and strength depending on the time of year. During the warm season, the relationship is strongly negative suggesting that a larger polynya is associated with lower SIC. During the cold season, the relationship is positive and stronger in some months than others. These new findings are discussed. This study sheds new light on the way in which the RISP interacts with the SIC in the Ross Sea and has potential for increasing our understanding of sea ice variability in that region.

  12. Massive Ice Layer Formed by Refreezing of Ice-shelf Surface Melt Ponds: Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuipers Munneke, P.; Hubbard, B. P.; Luckman, A. J.; Ashmore, D.; Bevan, S. L.; Kulessa, B.; Jansen, D.; O'Leary, M.

    2015-12-01

    Surface melt ponds now form frequently on ice shelves across the northern sector of the Antarctic Peninsula in response to regional warming and local föhn winds. Analysis of a new, 1-year set of observations from an Automatic Weather Station on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica, reveals that föhn winds are able to cause intense melt in summer, and even into the late austral autumn. A potentially important, but hitherto unknown, consequence of this intense surface melting and ponding is the formation of high-density near-surface ice from the refreezing of that water. We report the discovery of a massive subsurface ice layer located in an area of intense melting and intermittent ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We combine borehole optical televiewer logging and ground-based radar measurements with remote sensing and firn modelling to investigate the formation and spatial extent of this layer, found to be tens of kilometres across and tens of metres deep. The presence of this ice layer has the effect of raising local ice shelf density by ~190 kg m-3 and temperature by 5 - 10 °C above values found in areas unaffected by ponding and hitherto used in models of ice-shelf fracture and flow.

  13. Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of early Holocene ice shelf retreat, George VI Ice Shelf, Antarctica Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, James A.; Bentley, Michael J.; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Roberts, Stephen J.; Leng, Melanie J.; Lloyd, Jeremy M.; Barrett, Melissa S.; Bryant, Charlotte; Sugden, David E.

    2007-02-01

    We use lake sediment records from an epishelf lake on Alexander Island to provide a detailed picture of the Holocene history of George VI Ice Shelf (GVI-IS). Core analyses included; micropaleontology (diatoms/foraminifera), stable isotope (δ18O, δ13C), geochemistry (total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), C/N ratios) and grain-size analyses. These data provide robust evidence for one period of past ice shelf absence during the early Holocene. The timing of this period has been constrained by 10 AMS 14C dates performed on mono-specific foraminifera samples. These dates suggest that GVI-IS was absent between c 9600 cal yr BP and c 7730 cal yr BP. This early Holocene collapse immediately followed a period of maximum Holocene warmth that is recorded in some Antarctic ice cores and coincides with an influx of warmer ocean water onto the western Antarctic Peninsula (AP) shelf at c 9000 cal yr BP. The absence of a currently extant ice shelf during this time interval suggests that early Holocene ocean-atmosphere variability in the AP was greater than that measured in recent decades.

  14. Simulations of ice flux through Totten Glacier as ice shelf calving changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, John; Sun, Sainan; Åström, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Totten glacier is one of the most important ocean portals for the East Antarctic ice sheet. Melt rates under the ice shelf in front of the glacier are very high, and the ice shelf seems to suffer from extensive basal melt-induced calving. The ice shelf is underlain by a relatively narrow and convoluted cavity, which recent resurveying suggests maybe substantially different from Bedmap2 geometry. Here we use the BISICLES ice flow model and ice shelf buttressing derived from inverse modeling to simulate present day ice dynamics. We then use a discrete particle model so simulate ice shelf fracturing to simulate how the ice shelf geometry, calving patterns and buttressing force could evolve. The new ice shelf geometry is then used with the continuum model to asses ice flux through the region 50 years into the future. The results suggest considerable changes in glacier-ice shelf configuration, but which are sensitive to ice shelf pinning points and sub-shelf cavity geometry.

  15. Niche specialization of bacteria in permanently ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Miye; Kim, Mincheol; Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina; Lee, Jaejin; Hong, Soon Gyu; Kim, Sang Jong; Priscu, John C; Kim, Ok-Sun

    2017-03-09

    Perennially ice-covered lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are chemically stratified with depth and have distinct biological gradients. Despite long-term research on these unique environments, data on the structure of the microbial communities in the water columns of these lakes are scarce. Here, we examined bacterial diversity in five ice-covered Antarctic lakes by 16S rRNA gene-based pyrosequencing. Distinct communities were present in each lake, reflecting the unique biogeochemical characteristics of these environments. Further, certain bacterial lineages were confined exclusively to specific depths within each lake. For example, candidate division WM88 occurred solely at a depth of 15 m in Lake Fryxell, whereas unknown lineages of Chlorobi were found only at a depth of 18 m in Lake Miers, and two distinct classes of Firmicutes inhabited East and West Lobe Bonney at depths of 30 m. Redundancy analysis revealed that community variation of bacterioplankton could be explained by the distinct conditions of each lake and depth; in particular, assemblages from layers beneath the chemocline had biogeochemical associations that differed from those in the upper layers. These patterns of community composition may represent bacterial adaptations to the extreme and unique biogeochemical gradients of ice-covered lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  16. Condition of the Ross Ice Shelf derived from AVHRR imagery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Casassa, Gino

    1993-01-01

    Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite imagery is combined with the Ross Ice Shelf Geophysical and Glaciological Survey (RIGGS) data to study recent changes on the Ross Ice Shelf. Flow stripes that appear on the AVHRR imagery agree with significant changes in ice flow that have occurred over the past 1,100 years on the ice shelf sector fed by East Antarctica. A large looping pattern of flow stripes that disagrees with RIGGS flow lines appears west of Crary Ice Rise, on the eastern part of the ice shelf. This looped pattern is interpreted as relict flow stripes related to past activity of a major ice stream of West Antarctica, which occurred about 800 years ago.

  17. Condition of the Ross Ice Shelf derived from AVHRR imagery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Casassa, Gino

    1993-01-01

    Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite imagery is combined with the Ross Ice Shelf Geophysical and Glaciological Survey (RIGGS) data to study recent changes on the Ross Ice Shelf. Flow stripes that appear on the AVHRR imagery agree with significant changes in ice flow that have occurred over the past 1,100 years on the ice shelf sector fed by East Antarctica. A large looping pattern of flow stripes that disagrees with RIGGS flow lines appears west of Crary Ice Rise, on the eastern part of the ice shelf. This looped pattern is interpreted as relict flow stripes related to past activity of a major ice stream of West Antarctica, which occurred about 800 years ago.

  18. Multiple Ice Advances Suggested by Rock Glacier Stratigraphy and Surface Weathering in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winsor, K.; Swanger, K. M.; Babcock, E.; Valletta, R. D.; Dickson, J. L.

    2016-12-01

    In Taylor Valley of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, cold-based Sollas Glacier extends from the Kukri Hills to a plateau above Lake Bonney. Adjacent to the eastern margin of the glacier is the 1200-m long Sollas rock glacier, which flows from an icefall deposited by Doran Glacier as it overtops a steep sidewall. Ground-penetrating radar lines from upper to lower Sollas rock glacier indicate a thin debris cover overtopping 3­-6 m of clean ice, which in some areas overlies a second debris layer above deeper clean ice. This configuration is similar to observed englacial stratigraphy in the higher-elevation Mullins Glacier in Beacon Valley, where it is interpreted to result from episodic advances of the source ice. Major ion analyses of seven meltwater ponds extending from the central to lower Sollas rock glacier show fresh water in central ponds, but highly saline water in isolated lower ponds. This salinity distribution is consistent with the observed weathering pattern along the rock glacier, with fresh, angular granitic boulders dominating the upper and central sections, and heavily grussified granitic boulders dominating the lower sections. Weathering, pond salinities, and subsurface stratigraphy all point to successive advances of the Sollas rock glacier, likely induced by fluctuations of Doran Glacier. These relationships have two implications: 1) Sollas Glacier itself has not laterally expanded more than 50 m beyond its current extent over the past few local climate fluctuations, and 2) glacial ice buried under 10­-50 cm of debris has survived these fluctuations. This supports research that indicates subsurface ice persisted, even in the low elevation McMurdo Dry Valleys, through Marine Isotope Stages 1, 2, and possibly 5. Such persistence preserves the record of local ice advances that may in turn reflect the behavior of Taylor Dome.

  19. Fracture propagation and stability of ice shelves governed by ice shelf heterogeneity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borstad, Chris; McGrath, Daniel; Pope, Allen

    2017-05-01

    Tabular iceberg calving and ice shelf retreat occurs after full-thickness fractures, known as rifts, propagate across an ice shelf. A quickly evolving rift signals a threat to the stability of Larsen C, the Antarctic Peninsula's largest ice shelf. Here we reveal the influence of ice shelf heterogeneity on the growth of this rift, with implications that challenge existing notions of ice shelf stability. Most of the rift extension has occurred in bursts after overcoming the resistance of suture zones that bind together neighboring glacier inflows. We model the stresses in the ice shelf to determine potential rift trajectories. Calving perturbations to ice flow will likely reach the grounding line. The stability of Larsen C may hinge on a single suture zone that stabilizes numerous upstream rifts. Elevated fracture toughness of suture zones may be the most important property that allows ice shelves to modulate Antarctica's contribution to sea level rise.

  20. Ice shelf studies off northern Ellesmere Island, Spring 1983

    SciTech Connect

    Jeffries, M.O.

    1985-09-01

    In spring 1983 work on the ice shelves of northern Ellesmere Island was continued. A total of 55 m of 7.6 cm diameter ice core was obtained from 10 locations. The longest core of 31.79 m is composed of iced-firn and basement ice and can be divided into three distinct strata according to ice salinity. Oscillating strains in Ward Hunt Ice Shelf were measured with a wire strainmeter. It is suggested that the periodic calving of ice from Ward Hung Ice Shelf might be related to the effects of the high frequency oscillation of 35s to 40s. Ice conditions along 150 km of coastline continue to change. Continued monitoring of the ice shelves and landfast ice is believed to be necessary in view of the offshore development in the Beaufort Sea.

  1. Geochemical and isotopic signatures of ice shelves and ice shelf circulation in marine sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, Duanne; Fink, David; Simon, Krista; Post, Alix; Galton-Fenzi, Ben; Yokoyama, Yusuke

    2016-04-01

    Ice shelves are a key component of the ice sheet drainage network. Most ice lost from the present day Antarctic ice sheet occurs via ice shelves, so ice shelf processes (e.g. calving and basal melt) modulate ice sheet mass balance. Knowledge of the past distribution and geometry of ice shelves will help understand their sensitivity to climate forcing, and the response of ice sheets to changes and loss of ice shelves. However, detecting the presence or absence of past ice shelves in the sedimentary record is challenging. In this study, we compare concentrations of elemental and isotopic tracers in modern sediments in open water in Prydz Bay to those being deposited underneath the Amery Ice Shelf at ten sites across the region. Our results suggest that sub-ice shelf and open water sediments differ in their acid-extractable elemental concentrations. Also, meteoric Be-10 concentrations are on average lower in sub-ice shelf settings than they are in open water environments. However, the Be-10 concentration is modulated by sub-ice shelf ocean circulation, so that there is overlap between the sediment concentrations in these two environments. In combination, we suggest that these tracers can be used as proxies to reconstruct former ice shelf geometries and sub-shelf circulation.

  2. Observing ice-shelf channels and basal melting from space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berger, Sophie; Drews, Reinhard; Helm, Veit; Rack, Wolfgang; Lenaerts, Jan; Ligtenberg, Stefan; Pattyn, Frank

    2016-04-01

    Ice-shelf channels (along-flow lineations in which ice is thinner) are ubiquitous in Antarctic ice shelves. Although these features are readily visible in satellite imagery, ice-thickness and ice-velocity variations in their surrounding are typically heavily undersampled. Ice-shelf channels focus channelized melting and significantly alter the basal mass balance (and hence ice-shelf stability) on short horizontal scales. Here we use interferometrically-derived TandDEM-X digital elevation models and ice-flow velocities with a horizontal gridding of 125 m illustrating the ice-shelf dynamics of the Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, Dronning Maud Land (East Antarctica) in unprecedented detail. Using ground-based GPS surface elevation, we demonstrate that TanDEM-X is an ideal sensor to map the channel morphology at the ice-shelf surface. We find velocity anomalies surrounding the channels along the entire ice shelf potentially indicating the presence of locally elevated basal melt rates. Using mass conservation in a Lagrangian framework, we find basal melt rates averaging 0.4 m/a in the middle of the ice shelf and peaking at 12 m/a inside some channels. We illustrate the sensitivity of the method with respect to systematic biases in elevation/velocity and also with respect to lateral variations of the depth-density relationship. With the increased availability of high-resolution radar satellites (such as Sentinel1), the techniques presented here could be applied on an pan-Antarctic scale to map basal melting both in space and time at high-resolution.

  3. Mathematical Modelling of Melt Lake Formation on an Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buzzard, Sammie; Feltham, Daniel; Flocco, Daniela; Sammonds, Peter

    2015-04-01

    The accumulation of surface meltwater on ice shelves can lead to the formation of melt lakes. These structures have been implicated in crevasse propagation and ice shelf collapse; the Larsen B ice shelf was observed to have a large amount of melt lakes present on its surface just before its collapse in 2002. Through modelling the transport of heat through the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf, where melt lakes have also been observed, this work aims to provide new insights into the ways in which melt lakes are forming and the effect that meltwater filling crevasses on the ice shelf will have. This will enable an assessment of the role of meltwater in triggering ice shelf collapse. The Antarctic Peninsula, where Larsen C is situated, has warmed several times the global average over the last century and this ice shelf has been suggested as a candidate for becoming fully saturated with meltwater by the end of the current century. Here we present results of a 1D mathematical model of heat transfer through an idealised ice shelf. When forced with automatic weather station data from Larsen C, surface melting and the subsequent meltwater accumulation, melt lake development and refreezing are demonstrated through the modelled results. Furthermore, the effect of lateral meltwater transport upon melt lakes is examined. This will be developed through the estimations of meltwater catchment areas and the fraction of the ice shelf where melt lakes are present. Investigating the role of meltwater in ice shelf stability is key as collapse can affect ocean circulation and temperature, and cause a loss of habitat. Additionally, it can cause a loss of the buttressing effect that ice shelves can have on their tributary glaciers, thus allowing the glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea level rise.

  4. Massive Ice Layer Formed by Refreezing of Ice-shelf Surface Melt Ponds: Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, Bryn; Luckman, Adrian; Ashmore, David; Bevan, Suzanne; Kulessa, Bernd; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Jansen, Daniela; O'Leary, Martin

    2016-04-01

    Surface melt ponds now form frequently on ice shelves across the northern sector of the Antarctic Peninsula in response to regional warming and local föhn winds. A potentially important, but hitherto unknown, consequence of this surface melting and ponding is the formation of high-density near-surface ice from the refreezing of that water. We report the discovery and physical character of a massive subsurface ice layer located in an area of intense melting and intermittent ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We combine borehole optical televiewer logging and ground-based radar measurements with remote sensing and firn modelling to investigate the formation and spatial extent of this layer, found to be tens of kilometres across and tens of metres deep. The presence of this ice layer has the effect of raising local ice shelf density by ~190 kg m^-3 and temperature by 5 - 10 degrees C above values found in areas unaffected by ponding and hitherto used in models of ice-shelf fracture and flow.

  5. Environment at the Grounding Zone of the Whillans Ice Stream-Ross Ice Shelf, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hodson, T. O.; Powell, R. D.; Mikucki, J.; Scherer, R. P.; Tulaczyk, S. M.; Coenen, J. J.; Puttkammer, R.; Branecky, C.

    2015-12-01

    Grounding zones where grounded ice sheets transition to floating ice shelves, are the primary gateways through which the Antarctic Ice Sheet loses mass to the ocean. In these environments, ice, ocean, meltwater and sediment meet and interact, influencing both the ice sheet and ocean circulation beneath the ice shelf. Here, we report on conditions near the grounding zone of the Whillans Ice Stream, which feeds into the Ross Ice Shelf. Cameras and instruments lowered through an access borehole to the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelf found a 10m-thick water column comprising an upper layer of colder ice shelf water formed from mixing between meltwater with the lower layer of warmer higher salinity shelf water. This style of stratification is typical of large ice shelves, but it was uncertain whether it existed so near the grounding zone, where stronger tidal currents and/or strong subglacial stream discharges could mix the water column. Salinity and temperature of the water suggest it formed from sea ice production in the Western Ross Sea, with minimal modification beneath the ice shelf. This source region is distinct from waters previously observed at the nearby J-9 borehole, illustrating the importance of the sub-ice shelf bathymetry in steering circulation between the ocean and the grounding zone. Preliminary data suggest an active exchange of heat and nutrients between the grounding zone and the open ocean, despite being separated by 600km. Thus life found near the grounding line is probably not an isolated oasis, but may instead be part of a much broader ecosystem that spans the ice shelf. Although sea ice formation presently maintains water in the sub-ice shelf cavity near the surface freezing point, buffering many larger ice shelves from gradual ocean warming, these findings suggest that even grounding zones of extensive ice shelves may respond quickly to abrupt changes in ocean circulation, such as that observed in the Amundsen Sea.

  6. Ice Shelf Modeling: A Cross-Polar Bayesian Statistical Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchner, N.; Furrer, R.; Jakobsson, M.; Zwally, H. J.

    2010-12-01

    Ice streams interlink glacial terrestrial and marine environments: embedded in a grounded inland ice such as the Antarctic Ice Sheet or the paleo ice sheets covering extensive parts of the Eurasian and Amerasian Arctic respectively, ice streams are major drainage agents facilitating the discharge of substantial portions of continental ice into the ocean. At their seaward side, ice streams can either extend onto the ocean as floating ice tongues (such as the Drygalsky Ice Tongue/East Antarctica), or feed large ice shelves (as is the case for e.g. the Siple Coast and the Ross Ice Shelf/West Antarctica). The flow behavior of ice streams has been recognized to be intimately linked with configurational changes in their attached ice shelves; in particular, ice shelf disintegration is associated with rapid ice stream retreat and increased mass discharge from the continental ice mass, contributing eventually to sea level rise. Investigations of ice stream retreat mechanism are however incomplete if based on terrestrial records only: rather, the dynamics of ice shelves (and, eventually, the impact of the ocean on the latter) must be accounted for. However, since floating ice shelves leave hardly any traces behind when melting, uncertainty regarding the spatio-temporal distribution and evolution of ice shelves in times prior to instrumented and recorded observation is high, calling thus for a statistical modeling approach. Complementing ongoing large-scale numerical modeling efforts (Pollard & DeConto, 2009), we model the configuration of ice shelves by using a Bayesian Hiearchial Modeling (BHM) approach. We adopt a cross-polar perspective accounting for the fact that currently, ice shelves exist mainly along the coastline of Antarctica (and are virtually non-existing in the Arctic), while Arctic Ocean ice shelves repeatedly impacted the Arctic ocean basin during former glacial periods. Modeled Arctic ocean ice shelf configurations are compared with geological spatial

  7. Ocean interactions with the base of Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hellmer, Hartmut H.; Jacobs, Stanley S.

    1992-01-01

    Using a two-dimensional ocean themohaline circulation model, we varied the cavity shape beneath Amery Ice Shelf in an attempt to reproduce the 150-m-thick marine ice layer observed at the 'G1' ice core site. Most simulations caused melting rates which decrease the ice thickness by as much as 400 m between grounding line and G1, but produce only minor accumulation at the ice core site and closer to the ice front. Changes in the sea floor and ice topographies revealed a high sensitivity of the basal mass balance to water column thickness near the grounding line, to submarine sills, and to discontinuities in ice thickness. Model results showed temperature/salinity gradients similar to observations from beneath other ice shelves where ice is melting into seawater. Modeled outflow characteristics at the ice front are in general agreement with oceanographic data from Prydz Bay. We concur with Morgan's inference that the G1 core may have been taken in a basal crevasse filled with marine ice. This ice is formed from water cooled by ocean/ice shelf interactions along the interior ice shelf base.

  8. Teleseismic Earthquake Signals Observed on an Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, M. G.; Aster, R. C.; Anthony, R. E.; Wiens, D.; Nyblade, A.; Bromirski, P. D.; Stephen, R. A.; Gerstoft, P.

    2015-12-01

    The West Antarctic Rift System (WARS) is one of Earth's largest continental extension zones. Study of the WARS is complicated by the presence of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Ross Ice Shelf, and the Ross Sea. Recent deployments of broadband seismographs in the POLENET project have allowed passive seismic techniques, such as receiver function analysis and surface wave dispersion, to be widely utilized to infer crustal and mantle velocity structure across much of the WARS and West Antarctica. However, a large sector of the WARS lies beneath the Ross Ice Shelf. In late 2014, 34 broadband seismographs were deployed atop the ice shelf to jointly study deep Earth structure and the dynamics of the ice shelf. Ice shelf conditions present strong challenges to broadband teleseismic imaging: 1) The presence of complicating signals in the microseism through long-period bands due to the influence of ocean gravity waves; 2) The strong velocity contrasts at the ice-water and water-sediment interfaces on either side of the water layer give rise to large amplitude reverberations; 3) The water layer screens S-waves or P-to-S phases originating from below the water layer. We present an initial analysis of the first teleseismic earthquake arrivals collected on the ice shelf at the end of the 2014 field season from a limited subset of these stations.

  9. Holocene dynamics of the Arctic's largest ice shelf.

    PubMed

    Antoniades, Dermot; Francus, Pierre; Pienitz, Reinhard; St-Onge, Guillaume; Vincent, Warwick F

    2011-11-22

    Ice shelves in the Arctic lost more than 90% of their total surface area during the 20th century and are continuing to disintegrate rapidly. The significance of these changes, however, is obscured by the poorly constrained ontogeny of Arctic ice shelves. Here we use the sedimentary record behind the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf (Ellesmere Island, Canada), to establish a long-term context in which to evaluate recent ice-shelf deterioration. Multiproxy analysis of sediment cores revealed pronounced biological and geochemical changes in Disraeli Fiord in response to the formation of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf and its fluctuations through time. Our results show that the ice shelf was absent during the early Holocene and formed 4,000 years ago in response to climate cooling. Paleoecological data then indicate that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf remained stable for almost three millennia before a major fracturing event that occurred ∼1,400 years ago. After reformation ∼800 years ago, freshwater was a constant feature of Disraeli Fiord until the catastrophic drainage of its epishelf lake in the early 21st century.

  10. Holocene dynamics of the Arctic's largest ice shelf

    PubMed Central

    Antoniades, Dermot; Francus, Pierre; Pienitz, Reinhard; St-Onge, Guillaume; Vincent, Warwick F.

    2011-01-01

    Ice shelves in the Arctic lost more than 90% of their total surface area during the 20th century and are continuing to disintegrate rapidly. The significance of these changes, however, is obscured by the poorly constrained ontogeny of Arctic ice shelves. Here we use the sedimentary record behind the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf (Ellesmere Island, Canada), to establish a long-term context in which to evaluate recent ice-shelf deterioration. Multiproxy analysis of sediment cores revealed pronounced biological and geochemical changes in Disraeli Fiord in response to the formation of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf and its fluctuations through time. Our results show that the ice shelf was absent during the early Holocene and formed 4,000 years ago in response to climate cooling. Paleoecological data then indicate that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf remained stable for almost three millennia before a major fracturing event that occurred ∼1,400 years ago. After reformation ∼800 years ago, freshwater was a constant feature of Disraeli Fiord until the catastrophic drainage of its epishelf lake in the early 21st century. PMID:22025693

  11. Resonance Vibrations of the Ross Ice Shelf and Observations of Persistent Atmospheric Waves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zabotin, N. A.; Godin, O. A.

    2016-12-01

    Recently reported lidar observations at McMurdo have revealed a persistent wave activity in the Antarctic middle and upper atmosphere that has no counterpart in observations at mid- and low-latitude locations [Chen et al., JGR Space Physics, 2016]. The unusual wave activity suggests a geographically specific source of atmospheric waves with periods of 3-10 hours. Here, we investigate theoretically the hypothesis that the unusual atmospheric wave activity in Antarctica is generated by the fundamental and low-order modes of vibrations of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS). Simple models are developed to describe basic physical properties of resonant vibrations of large ice shelves and their coupling to the atmosphere. Dispersion relation of the long surface waves, which propagate in the floating ice sheet and are responsible for its low-order resonances, is found to be similar to the dispersion relation of infragravity waves in the ice-free ocean. The phase speed of the surface waves and the resonant frequencies determine the periods and wave vector of atmospheric waves that are generated by the RIS resonant oscillations. The altitude-dependent vertical wavelengths and the periods of the acoustic-gravity waves in the atmosphere are shown to be sensitive to the physical parameters of the RIS, which can be difficult to measure by other means. Predicted properties of the atmospheric waves prove to be in a remarkable agreement with the key features of the observed persistent wave activity.

  12. Mathematical Modelling of Melt Lake Formation On An Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buzzard, Sammie; Feltham, Daniel; Flocco, Daniela

    2016-04-01

    The accumulation of surface meltwater on ice shelves can lead to the formation of melt lakes. These structures have been implicated in crevasse propagation and ice-shelf collapse; the Larsen B ice shelf was observed to have a large amount of melt lakes present on its surface just before its collapse in 2002. Through modelling the transport of heat through the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf, where melt lakes have also been observed, this work aims to provide new insights into the ways in which melt lakes are forming and the effect that meltwater filling crevasses on the ice shelf will have. This will enable an assessment of the role of meltwater in triggering ice-shelf collapse. The Antarctic Peninsula, where Larsen C is situated, has warmed several times the global average over the last century and this ice shelf has been suggested as a candidate for becoming fully saturated with meltwater by the end of the current century. Here we present results of a 1-D mathematical model of heat transfer through an idealized ice shelf. When forced with automatic weather station data from Larsen C, surface melting and the subsequent meltwater accumulation, melt lake development and refreezing are demonstrated through the modelled results. Furthermore, the effect of lateral meltwater transport upon melt lakes and the effect of the lakes upon the surface energy balance are examined. Investigating the role of meltwater in ice-shelf stability is key as collapse can affect ocean circulation and temperature, and cause a loss of habitat. Additionally, it can cause a loss of the buttressing effect that ice shelves can have on their tributary glaciers, thus allowing the glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise.

  13. Mathematical Modelling of Melt Lake Formation On An Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buzzard, S. C.; Feltham, D. L.; Flocco, D.; Sammonds, P. R.

    2015-12-01

    The accumulation of surface meltwater on ice shelves can lead to the formation of melt lakes. These structures have been implicated in crevasse propagation and ice-shelf collapse; the Larsen B ice shelf was observed to have a large amount of melt lakes present on its surface just before its collapse in 2002. Through modelling the transport of heat through the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf, where melt lakes have also been observed, this work aims to provide new insights into the ways in which melt lakes are forming and the effect that meltwater filling crevasses on the ice shelf will have. This will enable an assessment of the role of meltwater in triggering ice-shelf collapse. The Antarctic Peninsula, where Larsen C is situated, has warmed several times the global average over the last century and this ice shelf has been suggested as a candidate for becoming fully saturated with meltwater by the end of the current century. Here we present results of a 1-D mathematical model of heat transfer through an idealized ice shelf. When forced with automatic weather station data from Larsen C, surface melting and the subsequent meltwater accumulation, melt lake development and refreezing are demonstrated through the modelled results. Furthermore, the effect of lateral meltwater transport upon melt lakes and the effect of the lakes upon the surface energy balance are examined. Investigating the role of meltwater in ice-shelf stability is key as collapse can affect ocean circulation and temperature, and cause a loss of habitat. Additionally, it can cause a loss of the buttressing effect that ice shelves can have on their tributary glaciers, thus allowing the glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise.

  14. Mathematical Modelling of Melt Lake Formation on an Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feltham, D. L.; Buzzard, S. C.; Flocco, D.; Sammonds, P. R.

    2014-12-01

    The accumulation of surface meltwater on ice shelves can lead to the formation of melt lakes. These structures have been implicated in crevasse propagation and ice shelf collapse; the Larsen B ice shelf was observed to have a large amount of melt lakes present on its surface just before its collapse in 2002. Through modelling the transport of heat through the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf, where melt lakes have also been observed, this work aims to provide new insights into the ways in which melt lakes are forming and the effect that meltwater filling crevasses on the ice shelf will have. This will enable an assessment of the role of meltwater in triggering ice shelf collapse.The Antarctic Peninsula, where Larsen C is situated, has warmed several times the global average over the last century and this ice shelf has been suggested as a candidate for becoming fully saturated with meltwater by the end of the current century. Here we present preliminary results of a mathematical model of heat transfer through an idealised ice shelf. When forced with automatic weather station data from Larsen C, surface melting and the subsequent meltwater accumulation and melt lake development are demonstrated through the modelled results. Investigating the role of meltwater in ice shelf stability is key as collapse can affect ocean circulation and temperature, and cause a loss of habitat. Additionally, it can cause a loss of the buttressing effect that ice shelves can have on their tributary glaciers, thus allowing the glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea level rise.

  15. Massive subsurface ice formed by refreezing of ice-shelf melt ponds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, Bryn; Luckman, Adrian; Ashmore, David W.; Bevan, Suzanne; Kulessa, Bernd; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Philippe, Morgane; Jansen, Daniela; Booth, Adam; Sevestre, Heidi; Tison, Jean-Louis; O'Leary, Martin; Rutt, Ian

    2016-06-01

    Surface melt ponds form intermittently on several Antarctic ice shelves. Although implicated in ice-shelf break up, the consequences of such ponding for ice formation and ice-shelf structure have not been evaluated. Here we report the discovery of a massive subsurface ice layer, at least 16 km across, several kilometres long and tens of metres deep, located in an area of intense melting and intermittent ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We combine borehole optical televiewer logging and radar measurements with remote sensing and firn modelling to investigate the layer, found to be ~10 °C warmer and ~170 kg m-3 denser than anticipated in the absence of ponding and hitherto used in models of ice-shelf fracture and flow. Surface ponding and ice layers such as the one we report are likely to form on a wider range of Antarctic ice shelves in response to climatic warming in forthcoming decades.

  16. Rapid collapse of northern Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    SciTech Connect

    Rott, H.; Nagler, T.; Skvarca, P.

    1996-02-09

    In January 1995, 4200 square kilometers of the northern Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, broke away. Radar images from the ERS-1 satellite, complemented by field observations, showed that the two northernmost sections of the ice shelf fractured and disintegrated almost completely within a few days. This breakup followed a period of steady retreat that coincided with a regional trend of atmospheric warming. The observations imply that after an ice shelf retreats beyond a critical limit, it may collapse rapidly as a result of perturbated mass balance. 26 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab.

  17. Comparison of Ice-shelf Creep Flow Simulations with Ice-front Motion of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Detected by SAR Interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hulbe, C. L.; Rignot, E.; MacAyeal, D. R.

    1998-01-01

    Comparison between numerical model ice-shelf flow simulations and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferograms is used to study the dynamics at the Hemmen Ice Rise (HIR) and Lassiter Coast (LC) corners of the iceberg-calving front of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS).

  18. Comparison of Ice-shelf Creep Flow Simulations with Ice-front Motion of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Detected by SAR Interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hulbe, C. L.; Rignot, E.; MacAyeal, D. R.

    1998-01-01

    Comparison between numerical model ice-shelf flow simulations and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferograms is used to study the dynamics at the Hemmen Ice Rise (HIR) and Lassiter Coast (LC) corners of the iceberg-calving front of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS).

  19. Seabed topography beneath Larsen C Ice Shelf from seismic soundings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brisbourne, A. M.; Smith, A. M.; King, E. C.; Nicholls, K. W.; Holland, P. R.; Makinson, K.

    2014-01-01

    Seismic reflection soundings of ice thickness and seabed depth were acquired on the Larsen C Ice Shelf in order to test a sub-ice shelf bathymetry model derived from the inversion of IceBridge gravity data. A series of lines was collected, from the Churchill Peninsula in the north to the Joerg Peninsula in the south, and also towards the ice front. Sites were selected using the bathymetry model derived from the inversion of free-air gravity data to indicate key regions where sub-ice shelf oceanic circulation may be affected by ice draft and seabed depth. The seismic velocity profile in the upper 100 m of firn and ice was derived from shallow refraction surveys at a number of locations. Measured temperatures within the ice column and at the ice base were used to define the velocity profile through the remainder of the ice column. Seismic velocities in the water column were derived from previous in situ measurements. Uncertainties in ice and water cavity thickness are in general < 10 m. Compared with the seismic measurements, the root-mean-square error in the gravimetrically derived bathymetry at the seismic sites is 162 m. The seismic profiles prove the non-existence of several bathymetric features that are indicated in the gravity inversion model, significantly modifying the expected oceanic circulation beneath the ice shelf. Similar features have previously been shown to be highly significant in affecting basal melt rates predicted by ocean models. The discrepancies between the gravity inversion results and the seismic bathymetry are attributed to the assumption of uniform geology inherent in the gravity inversion process and also the sparsity of IceBridge flight lines. Results indicate that care must be taken when using bathymetry models derived by the inversion of free-air gravity anomalies. The bathymetry results presented here will be used to improve existing sub-ice shelf ocean circulation models.

  20. Ocean mixing beneath Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Satoshi; Dutrieux, Pierre; Jenkins, Adrian; Forryan, Alexander; Naveira Garabato, Alberto; Firing, Yvonne

    2016-04-01

    Ice shelves around Antarctica are vulnerable to increase in ocean-driven melting, with the melt rate depending on ocean temperature and strength of sub-ice-shelf-cavity circulations. We present repeated measurements of velocity, temperature, salinity, turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate and thermal variance dissipation rate beneath Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, collected by CTD, ADCP and turbulence sensors mounted on an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The turbulence quantities measured by the AUV outside the ice shelf are in good agreement with ship-based measurements. The highest rate of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation is found near the grounding line, while its temporal fluctuation over seabed ridge within the cavity corresponds to the tidal fluctuation predicted in the Pine Island Bay to the west. The highest thermal variance dissipation rate is found when the AUV was 0.5 m away from the ice, and the thermal variance dissipation generally increases with decreasing distance between the AUV and ice.

  1. Ice-Shelf Tidal Flexure and Subglacial Pressure Variations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walker, Ryan T.; Parizek, Byron R.; Alley, Richard B.; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar; Riverman, Kiya L.; Christianson, Knut

    2013-01-01

    We develop a model of an ice shelf-ice stream system as a viscoelastic beam partially supported by an elastic foundation. When bed rock near the grounding line acts as a fulcrum, leverage from the ice shelf dropping at low tide can cause significant (approx 1 cm) uplift in the first few kilometers of grounded ice.This uplift and the corresponding depression at high tide lead to basal pressure variations of sufficient magnitude to influence subglacial hydrology.Tidal flexure may thus affect basal lubrication, sediment flow, and till strength, all of which are significant factors in ice-stream dynamics and grounding-line stability. Under certain circumstances, our results suggest the possibility of seawater being drawn into the subglacial water system. The presence of sea water beneath grounded ice would significantly change the radar reflectivity of the grounding zone and complicate the interpretation of grounded versus floating ice based on ice-penetrating radar observations.

  2. Seabed topography beneath Larsen C Ice Shelf from seismic soundings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brisbourne, A. M.; Smith, A. M.; King, E. C.; Nicholls, K. W.; Holland, P. R.; Makinson, K.

    2013-08-01

    Seismic reflection soundings of ice thickness and seabed depth were acquired on the Larsen C Ice Shelf in order to test a sub-shelf bathymetry model derived from the inversion of IceBridge gravity data. A series of lines were collected, from the Churchill Peninsula in the north to the Joerg Peninsula in the south, and also towards the ice front. Sites were selected using the bathymetry model derived from the inversion of free-air gravity data to indicate key regions where sub-shelf oceanic circulation may be affected by ice draft and sub-shelf cavity thickness. The seismic velocity profile in the upper 100 m of firn and ice was derived from shallow refraction surveys at a number of locations. Measured temperatures within the ice column and at the ice base were used to define the velocity profile through the remainder of the ice column. Seismic velocities in the water column were derived from previous in situ measurements. Uncertainties in ice and water cavity thickness are in general <10 m. Compared with the seismic measurements, the root-mean-square error in the gravimetrically derived bathymetry at the seismic sites is 162 m. The seismic profiles prove the non-existence of several bathymetric features that are indicated in the gravity inversion model, significantly modifying the expected oceanic circulation beneath the ice shelf. Similar features have previously been shown to be highly significant in affecting basal melt rates predicted by ocean models. The discrepancies between the gravity inversion results and the seismic bathymetry are attributed to the assumption of uniform geology inherent in the gravity inversion process and also the sparsity of IceBridge flight lines. Results indicate that care must be taken when using bathymetry models derived by the inversion of free-air gravity anomalies. The bathymetry results presented here will be used to improve existing sub-shelf ocean circulation models.

  3. Dissolved and particulate trace metal micronutrients under the McMurdo Sound seasonal sea ice: basal sea ice communities as a capacitor for iron

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noble, Abigail; Saito, Mak; Moran, Dawn; Allen, Andrew

    2013-10-01

    Dissolved and particulate metal concentrations are reported from three sites beneath and at the base of the McMurdo Sound seasonal sea ice in the Ross Sea of Antarctica. This dataset provided insight into Co and Mn biogeochemistry, supporting a previous hypothesis for water column mixing occurring faster than scavenging. Three observations support this: first, Mn-containing particles with Mn/Al ratios in excess of the sediment were present in the water column, implying the presence of bacterial Mn-oxidation processes. Second, dissolved and labile Co were uniform with depth beneath the sea ice after the winter season. Third, dissolved Co:PO43- ratios were consistent with previously observed Ross Sea stoichiometry, implying that over-winter scavenging was slow relative to mixing. Abundant dissolved Fe and Mn were consistent with a winter reserve concept, and particulate Al, Fe, Mn, and Co covaried, implying that these metals behaved similarly. Elevated particulate metals were observed in proximity to the nearby Islands, with particulate Fe/Al ratios similar to that of nearby sediment, consistent with a sediment resuspension source. Dissolved and particulate metals were elevated at the shallowest depths (particularly Fe) with elevated particulate P/Al and Fe/Al ratios in excess of sediments, demonstrating a sea ice biomass source. The sea ice biomass was extremely dense (chl a >9500 μg/L) and contained high abundances of particulate metals with elevated metal/Al ratios. A hypothesis for seasonal accumulation of bioactive metals at the base of the McMurdo Sound sea ice by the basal algal community is presented, analogous to a capacitor that accumulates iron during the spring and early summer. The release and transport of particulate metals accumulated at the base of the sea ice by sloughing is discussed as a potentially important mechanism in providing iron nutrition during polynya phytoplankton bloom formation and could be examined in future oceanographic expeditions.

  4. Dissolved and particulate trace metal micronutrients under the McMurdo Sound seasonal sea ice: basal sea ice communities as a capacitor for iron.

    PubMed

    Noble, Abigail E; Moran, Dawn M; Allen, Andrew E; Saito, Mak A

    2013-01-01

    Dissolved and particulate metal concentrations are reported from three sites beneath and at the base of the McMurdo Sound seasonal sea ice in the Ross Sea of Antarctica. This dataset provided insight into Co and Mn biogeochemistry, supporting a previous hypothesis for water column mixing occurring faster than scavenging. Three observations support this: first, Mn-containing particles with Mn/Al ratios in excess of the sediment were present in the water column, implying the presence of bacterial Mn-oxidation processes. Second, dissolved and labile Co were uniform with depth beneath the sea ice after the winter season. Third, dissolved Co:PO(3-) 4 ratios were consistent with previously observed Ross Sea stoichiometry, implying that over-winter scavenging was slow relative to mixing. Abundant dissolved Fe and Mn were consistent with a winter reserve concept, and particulate Al, Fe, Mn, and Co covaried, implying that these metals behaved similarly. Elevated particulate metals were observed in proximity to the nearby Islands, with particulate Fe/Al ratios similar to that of nearby sediment, consistent with a sediment resuspension source. Dissolved and particulate metals were elevated at the shallowest depths (particularly Fe) with elevated particulate P/Al and Fe/Al ratios in excess of sediments, demonstrating a sea ice biomass source. The sea ice biomass was extremely dense (chl a >9500 μg/L) and contained high abundances of particulate metals with elevated metal/Al ratios. A hypothesis for seasonal accumulation of bioactive metals at the base of the McMurdo Sound sea ice by the basal algal community is presented, analogous to a capacitor that accumulates iron during the spring and early summer. The release and transport of particulate metals accumulated at the base of the sea ice by sloughing is discussed as a potentially important mechanism in providing iron nutrition during polynya phytoplankton bloom formation and could be examined in future oceanographic

  5. Dissolved and particulate trace metal micronutrients under the McMurdo Sound seasonal sea ice: basal sea ice communities as a capacitor for iron

    PubMed Central

    Noble, Abigail E.; Moran, Dawn M.; Allen, Andrew E.; Saito, Mak A.

    2013-01-01

    Dissolved and particulate metal concentrations are reported from three sites beneath and at the base of the McMurdo Sound seasonal sea ice in the Ross Sea of Antarctica. This dataset provided insight into Co and Mn biogeochemistry, supporting a previous hypothesis for water column mixing occurring faster than scavenging. Three observations support this: first, Mn-containing particles with Mn/Al ratios in excess of the sediment were present in the water column, implying the presence of bacterial Mn-oxidation processes. Second, dissolved and labile Co were uniform with depth beneath the sea ice after the winter season. Third, dissolved Co:PO3−4 ratios were consistent with previously observed Ross Sea stoichiometry, implying that over-winter scavenging was slow relative to mixing. Abundant dissolved Fe and Mn were consistent with a winter reserve concept, and particulate Al, Fe, Mn, and Co covaried, implying that these metals behaved similarly. Elevated particulate metals were observed in proximity to the nearby Islands, with particulate Fe/Al ratios similar to that of nearby sediment, consistent with a sediment resuspension source. Dissolved and particulate metals were elevated at the shallowest depths (particularly Fe) with elevated particulate P/Al and Fe/Al ratios in excess of sediments, demonstrating a sea ice biomass source. The sea ice biomass was extremely dense (chl a >9500 μg/L) and contained high abundances of particulate metals with elevated metal/Al ratios. A hypothesis for seasonal accumulation of bioactive metals at the base of the McMurdo Sound sea ice by the basal algal community is presented, analogous to a capacitor that accumulates iron during the spring and early summer. The release and transport of particulate metals accumulated at the base of the sea ice by sloughing is discussed as a potentially important mechanism in providing iron nutrition during polynya phytoplankton bloom formation and could be examined in future oceanographic

  6. Impact of ice-shelf sediment content on the dynamics of plumes under melting ice shelves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wells, A.

    2015-12-01

    When a floating ice shelf melts into an underlying warm salty ocean, the resulting fresh meltwater can rise in a buoyant Ice-Shelf-Water plume under the ice. In certain settings, ice flowing across the grounding line carries a basal layer of debris rich ice, entrained via basal freezing around till in the upstream ice sheet. Melting of this debris-laden ice from floating ice shelves provides a flux of dense sediment to the ocean, in addition to the release of fresh buoyant meltwater. This presentation considers the impact of the resulting suspended sediment on the dynamics of ice shelf water plumes, and identifies two key flow regimes depending on the sediment concentration frozen into the basal ice layer. For large sediment concentration, melting of the debris-laden ice shelf generates dense convectively unstable waters that drive convective overturning into the underlying ocean. For lower sediment concentration, the sediment initially remains suspended in a buoyant meltwater plume rising along the underside of the ice shelf, before slowly depositing into the underlying ocean. A theoretical plume model is used to evaluate the significance of the negatively buoyant sediment on circulation strength and the feedbacks on melting rate, along with the expected depositional patterns under the ice shelf.

  7. Mg/Casea surface temperatures during the Marine Isotope Stage 31 collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunbar, G. B.

    2012-04-01

    The recovery of the AND-1b and CRP-1 drill cores from the Southwest Ross Sea highlighted the potential instability in of the Ross Ice Shelf and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet it buttresses. Both cores recovered a few individuals of the planktonic foraminifera Neogloboquadrina pachyderma from marine isotope stage (MIS) 31. This interval is significant because it marks the youngest occurrence of open ocean diatom sediment at AND-1b, which is now situated under the McMurdo Ice Shelf, indicating a substantial retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf occurred during this interglacial. However, sediment deposited after MIS 31 at both sites is represented only by glacial-dominated sediment, suggesting a critical environmental threshold had been crossed enabling the Ross Ice Shelf to form and persist. Numerical modeling by Pollard and DeConto (Nature, 2009) suggested that sub-ice oceanic melting is a critical element in the stability of ice shelves and that "WAIS will begin to collapse when nearby ocean temperatures warm by roughly 5°C." Laser ablation ICPMS measurement of the Mg/Ca content of N. pachyderma shows that although there is considerable heterogeneity in the distribution of Mg in their tests the mean Mg/Ca of a sample population appears proportional to calcification temperature. By empirically calibrating Mg/Ca in CRP-1 N. pachyderma against values measured in modern populations collected from Ross Sea and Southern Ocean sites with SSTs ranging from 1.2°C to 14°C it is concluded that SST during MIS 31 was warmer than today by 5-9°C, consistent with model projections.

  8. Ice-Shelf Collapse Scenario in Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica: A Model Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, E.; Schmeltz, M.; Dupont, T.; MacAyeal, D.; Rignot, E.

    2000-01-01

    In this study, we investigate a scenario by which the ice shelf of a major ice stream is progressively removed due to climate warming, and the ice stream response to the disparition of the ice shelf, that is disparition of the ice-shelf back stress.

  9. Ice velocity at the ice front of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, as observed with ERS interferometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, Eric; MacAyeal, Douglas R.

    1997-01-01

    ERS images of the two ends of the ice front of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf (Antarctica) were utilized interferometrically to study the deformation rate of the ice shelf in response to viscous creep. On the western bank of Berkner Island (BI), near Hemmen Ice Rise (HIR), a time series of ERS data acquired in February 1992, in both ascending and descending mode, and with a three-day time interval, were utilized to map the ice velocity in two dimensions. Finite-element ice-shelf flow simulations are compared with the ERS interferograms to interpret the ice motion in terms of the physical constraints on ice-shelf flow. The efforts to fit artificial interferograms generated with model velocity output suggest that the flow regime is strongly influenced by three processes. First, a void-creation process responsible for rifts at coastal margins tends to uncouple the ice shelf from the ice rise and neighboring coast of BI. Secondly, sea ice within the void space appears to act as a binding agent between discrete ice-shelf fragments, allowing rigid-body rotations of these fragments. Third, strain rates appear to be enhanced in a narrow zone adjacent to HIR, implying significant strain softening along the boundary. It is believed that synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferogram/model intercomparison represents a powerful impetus towards the development of better, more physically realistic ice-shelf flow models.

  10. Changes on the ice plain of Ice Stream B and Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shabtaie, Sion

    1993-01-01

    During the 1970's and 1980's, nearly 200 stations from which accurate, three dimensional position fixes have been obtained from TRANSIT satellites were occupied throughout the Ross Ice Shelf. We have transformed the elevations obtained by satellite altimetry to the same geodetic datum, and then applied a second transformation to reduce the geodetic heights to elevations above mean sea level using the GEM-10C geoidal height. On the IGY Ross Ice Shelf traverse between Oct. 1957 and Feb. 1958, an accurate method of barometric altimetry was used on a loop around the ice shelf that was directly tied to the sea at both ends of the travel route, thus providing absolute elevations. Comparisons of the two sets of data at 32 station pairs on floating ice show a mean difference of 0 +/- 1 m. The elevation data were also compared with theoretical values of elevations for a hydrostatically floating ice shelf. The mean difference between theoretical and measured values of elevations is -2 +/- 1 m.

  11. Changes on the ice plain of Ice Stream B and Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shabtaie, Sion

    1993-01-01

    During the 1970's and 1980's, nearly 200 stations from which accurate, three dimensional position fixes have been obtained from TRANSIT satellites were occupied throughout the Ross Ice Shelf. We have transformed the elevations obtained by satellite altimetry to the same geodetic datum, and then applied a second transformation to reduce the geodetic heights to elevations above mean sea level using the GEM-10C geoidal height. On the IGY Ross Ice Shelf traverse between Oct. 1957 and Feb. 1958, an accurate method of barometric altimetry was used on a loop around the ice shelf that was directly tied to the sea at both ends of the travel route, thus providing absolute elevations. Comparisons of the two sets of data at 32 station pairs on floating ice show a mean difference of 0 +/- 1 m. The elevation data were also compared with theoretical values of elevations for a hydrostatically floating ice shelf. The mean difference between theoretical and measured values of elevations is -2 +/- 1 m.

  12. Actively evolving subglacial conduits and eskers initiate ice shelf channels at an Antarctic grounding line.

    PubMed

    Drews, R; Pattyn, F; Hewitt, I J; Ng, F S L; Berger, S; Matsuoka, K; Helm, V; Bergeot, N; Favier, L; Neckel, N

    2017-05-09

    Ice-shelf channels are long curvilinear tracts of thin ice found on Antarctic ice shelves. Many of them originate near the grounding line, but their formation mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we use ice-penetrating radar data from Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, to infer that the morphology of several ice-shelf channels is seeded upstream of the grounding line by large basal obstacles indenting the ice from below. We interpret each obstacle as an esker ridge formed from sediments deposited by subglacial water conduits, and calculate that the eskers' size grows towards the grounding line where deposition rates are maximum. Relict features on the shelf indicate that these linked systems of subglacial conduits and ice-shelf channels have been changing over the past few centuries. Because ice-shelf channels are loci where intense melting occurs to thin an ice shelf, these findings expose a novel link between subglacial drainage, sedimentation and ice-shelf stability.

  13. Actively evolving subglacial conduits and eskers initiate ice shelf channels at an Antarctic grounding line

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drews, R.; Pattyn, F.; Hewitt, I. J.; Ng, F. S. L.; Berger, S.; Matsuoka, K.; Helm, V.; Bergeot, N.; Favier, L.; Neckel, N.

    2017-05-01

    Ice-shelf channels are long curvilinear tracts of thin ice found on Antarctic ice shelves. Many of them originate near the grounding line, but their formation mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we use ice-penetrating radar data from Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, to infer that the morphology of several ice-shelf channels is seeded upstream of the grounding line by large basal obstacles indenting the ice from below. We interpret each obstacle as an esker ridge formed from sediments deposited by subglacial water conduits, and calculate that the eskers' size grows towards the grounding line where deposition rates are maximum. Relict features on the shelf indicate that these linked systems of subglacial conduits and ice-shelf channels have been changing over the past few centuries. Because ice-shelf channels are loci where intense melting occurs to thin an ice shelf, these findings expose a novel link between subglacial drainage, sedimentation and ice-shelf stability.

  14. Chacterization of Teleseismic Earthquakes Observed on an Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, M. G.; Aster, R. C.; Anthony, R. E.; Wiens, D.; Nyblade, A.; Bromirski, P. D.; Stephen, R. A.; Gerstoft, P.

    2016-12-01

    Broadband seismographs deployed atop large tabular icebergs and ice shelves record a rich superposition of atmospheric, oceanic, and solid earth signals. We characterize these signals, including body and surface wave arrivals from approximately 200 global earthquakes, using a 34-station broadband array spanning the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Teleseismic earthquake arrivals are essential for constructing models of crustal and upper mantle structure, and observations on the ice shelf are key to resolving the structure of the underlying West Antarctic Rift System. To test the plausibility of passive imaging in this unique environment, we examine seasonal and spatial dependence of signal-to-noise ratios of body wave arrivals and the impact of ice shelf dynamics on surface wave dispersion. We also note unusual phase mechanics arising from the floating platform geometry.

  15. Antarctic Ice-Shelf Front Dynamics from ICESat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robbins, John W.; Zwally, H. Jay; Saba, Jack L.; Yi, Donghui

    2012-01-01

    Time variable elevation profiles from ICESat Laser Altimetry over the period 2003-2009 provide a means to quantitatively detect and track topographic features on polar ice surfaces. The results of this study provide a measure of the horizontal motion of ice-shelf fronts. We examine the time histories of elevation profiles crossing the ice fronts of the Ross, Ronne, Filchner, Riiser-Larson and Fimbul shelves. This provides a basis for estimating dynamics in two dimensions, i.e. in elevation and horizontally in the along-track direction. Ice front velocities, corrected for ground-track intersection angle, range from nearly static to 1.1 km/yr. In many examples, a decrease in elevation up to 1 m/yr near the shelf frontis also detectable. Examples of tabular calving along shelf fronts are seen in some elevation profiles and are confirmed by corresponding MODIS imagery.

  16. Ross Ice Shelf Seismic Survey and Future Drilling Recommendation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Haastrecht, Laurine; Ohneiser, Christian; Gorman, Andrew; Hulbe, Christina

    2016-04-01

    The Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) is one of three gateways through which change in the ocean can be propagated into the interior of West Antarctica. Both the geologic record and ice sheet models indicate that it has experienced widespread retreat under past warm climates. But inland of the continental shelf, there are limited data available to validate the models. Understanding what controls the rate at which the ice shelf will respond to future climate change is central to making useful climate projections. Determining the retreat rate at the end of the last glacial maximum is one part of this challenge. In November 2015, four lines of multi-channel seismic data, totalling over 45 km, were collected on the Ross Ice Shelf, approximately 300 km south of Ross Island using a thumper seismic source and a 96 channel snow streamer. The seismic survey was undertaken under the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) funded Aotearoa New Zealand Ross Ice Shelf Programme to resolve bathymetric details and to image sea floor sediments under a proposed drilling site on the ice shelf, at about 80.7 S and 174 E. The thumper, a purpose-built, trailer mounted, weight-drop seismic source was towed behind a Hägglund tracked vehicle to image the bathymetry and sediments underneath the RIS. Seismic data collection on an ice shelf has unique challenges, in particular strong attenuation of the seismic energy by snow and firn, and complex multiple ray paths. The thumper, which consists of a heavy weight (250kg) that is dropped on a large, ski mounted steel plate, produced a consistent, repeatable higher energy signal when compared to sledge hammer source and allowed for a greater geographic coverage and lower environmental impact than an explosive source survey. Our survey revealed that the seafloor is smooth and that there may be up to 100 m of layered sediments beneath the seafloor and possibly deeper, more complex structures. A multiple generated by internally reflected seismic energy

  17. DEM, tide and velocity over sulzberger ice shelf, West Antarctica

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baek, S.; Shum, C.K.; Lee, H.; Yi, Y.; Kwoun, Oh-Ig; Lu, Zhiming; Braun, Andreas

    2005-01-01

    Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets preserve more than 77% of the global fresh water and could raise global sea level by several meters if completely melted. Ocean tides near and under ice shelves shifts the grounding line position significantly and are one of current limitations to study glacier dynamics and mass balance. The Sulzberger ice shelf is an area of ice mass flux change in West Antarctica and has not yet been well studied. In this study, we use repeat-pass synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry data from the ERS-1 and ERS-2 tandem missions for generation of a high-resolution (60-m) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) including tidal deformation detection and ice stream velocity of the Sulzberger Ice Shelf. Other satellite data such as laser altimeter measurements with fine foot-prints (70-m) from NASA's ICESat are used for validation and analyses. The resulting DEM has an accuracy of-0.57??5.88 m and is demonstrated to be useful for grounding line detection and ice mass balance studies. The deformation observed by InSAR is found to be primarily due to ocean tides and atmospheric pressure. The 2-D ice stream velocities computed agree qualitatively with previous methods on part of the Ice Shelf from passive microwave remote-sensing data (i.e., LANDSAT). ?? 2005 IEEE.

  18. Ocean mixing beneath Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Satoshi; Jenkins, Adrian; Dutrieux, Pierre; Forryan, Alexander; Naveira Garabato, Alberto C.; Firing, Yvonne

    2016-12-01

    Ice shelves around Antarctica are vulnerable to an increase in ocean-driven melting, with the melt rate depending on ocean temperature and the strength of flow inside the ice-shelf cavities. We present measurements of velocity, temperature, salinity, turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate, and thermal variance dissipation rate beneath Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, West Antarctica. These measurements were obtained by CTD, ADCP, and turbulence sensors mounted on an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The highest turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate is found near the grounding line. The thermal variance dissipation rate increases closer to the ice-shelf base, with a maximum value found ˜0.5 m away from the ice. The measurements of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate near the ice are used to estimate basal melting of the ice shelf. The dissipation-rate-based melt rate estimates is sensitive to the stability correction parameter in the linear approximation of universal function of the Monin-Obukhov similarity theory for stratified boundary layers. We argue that our estimates of basal melting from dissipation rates are within a range of previous estimates of basal melting.

  19. Seasonal circulation under the eastern Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctia

    SciTech Connect

    Hellmer, H.H.; Jacobs, S.S.

    1995-06-15

    An annual cycle of shelf water temperatures and salinities measured at depth near the eastern Ross Ice Shelf front is used to force a two-dimensional thermohaline circulation model adapted to different subice paths in the vicinity of Roosevelt Island. These paths were assumed to have constant water column thicknesses of 160, 200, and 240 m and lengths of 460-800 km. Additional simulations with the longer cavity included a 80-m thick interior water column in order to approximate conditions closer to the grounding line. Model results were compared with other long-term measurements that showed outflow from beneath the ice shelf. Shelf water flowing into the cavity west of Roosevelt Island appears to follow a cyclonic route around the island. The ice shelf base loses mass at a rate of 18-27 cm yr{sup {minus}1}, with seasonal forcing increasing the spatial and temporal variability of circulation and property distributions in the larger cavities. Shallow cavities reduce the influence of shelf water variability with increasing length. Introducing a transient shelf water temperature rise of 0.01{degrees}C yr {sup {minus}1} for 100 years increases the melt rate by 4-5 times. However, this increase is smaller if salinity also decreases over the same period of time, as might be expected from the added meltwater component. 42 refs., 9 figs.

  20. Abiotic versus Biotic Drivers of Ocean pH Variation under Fast Sea Ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Matson, Paul G.; Washburn, Libe; Martz, Todd R.; Hofmann, Gretchen E.

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification is expected to have a major effect on the marine carbonate system over the next century, particularly in high latitude seas. Less appreciated is natural environmental variation within these systems, particularly in terms of pH, and how this natural variation may inform laboratory experiments. In this study, we deployed sensor-equipped moorings at 20 m depths at three locations in McMurdo Sound, comprising deep (bottom depth>200 m: Hut Point Peninsula) and shallow environments (bottom depth ∼25 m: Cape Evans and New Harbor). Our sensors recorded high-frequency variation in pH (Hut Point and Cape Evans only), tide (Cape Evans and New Harbor), and water mass properties (temperature and salinity) during spring and early summer 2011. These collective observations showed that (1) pH differed spatially both in terms of mean pH (Cape Evans: 8.009±0.015; Hut Point: 8.020±0.007) and range of pH (Cape Evans: 0.090; Hut Point: 0.036), and (2) pH was not related to the mixing of two water masses, suggesting that the observed pH variation is likely not driven by this abiotic process. Given the large daily fluctuation in pH at Cape Evans, we developed a simple mechanistic model to explore the potential for biotic processes – in this case algal photosynthesis – to increase pH by fixing carbon from the water column. For this model, we incorporated published photosynthetic parameters for the three dominant algal functional groups found at Cape Evans (benthic fleshy red macroalgae, crustose coralline algae, and sea ice algal communities) to estimate oxygen produced/carbon fixed from the water column underneath fast sea ice and the resulting pH change. These results suggest that biotic processes may be a primary driver of pH variation observed under fast sea ice at Cape Evans and potentially at other shallow sites in McMurdo Sound. PMID:25221950

  1. Abiotic versus biotic drivers of ocean pH variation under fast sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Matson, Paul G; Washburn, Libe; Martz, Todd R; Hofmann, Gretchen E

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification is expected to have a major effect on the marine carbonate system over the next century, particularly in high latitude seas. Less appreciated is natural environmental variation within these systems, particularly in terms of pH, and how this natural variation may inform laboratory experiments. In this study, we deployed sensor-equipped moorings at 20 m depths at three locations in McMurdo Sound, comprising deep (bottom depth>200 m: Hut Point Peninsula) and shallow environments (bottom depth ∼25 m: Cape Evans and New Harbor). Our sensors recorded high-frequency variation in pH (Hut Point and Cape Evans only), tide (Cape Evans and New Harbor), and water mass properties (temperature and salinity) during spring and early summer 2011. These collective observations showed that (1) pH differed spatially both in terms of mean pH (Cape Evans: 8.009±0.015; Hut Point: 8.020±0.007) and range of pH (Cape Evans: 0.090; Hut Point: 0.036), and (2) pH was not related to the mixing of two water masses, suggesting that the observed pH variation is likely not driven by this abiotic process. Given the large daily fluctuation in pH at Cape Evans, we developed a simple mechanistic model to explore the potential for biotic processes--in this case algal photosynthesis--to increase pH by fixing carbon from the water column. For this model, we incorporated published photosynthetic parameters for the three dominant algal functional groups found at Cape Evans (benthic fleshy red macroalgae, crustose coralline algae, and sea ice algal communities) to estimate oxygen produced/carbon fixed from the water column underneath fast sea ice and the resulting pH change. These results suggest that biotic processes may be a primary driver of pH variation observed under fast sea ice at Cape Evans and potentially at other shallow sites in McMurdo Sound.

  2. The internal structure of the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica from ice-penetrating radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, Edward; De Rydt, Jan; Gudmundsson, Hilmar

    2016-04-01

    The Brunt Ice Shelf is a small feature on the Coats Land Coast of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. It is unusual among Antarctic ice shelves because the ice crossing the grounding line from the ice sheet retains no structural integrity, so the ice shelf comprises icebergs of continental ice cemented together by sea ice, with the whole blanketed by in-situ snowfall. The size and distribution of the icebergs is governed by the thickness profile along the grounding line. Where bedrock troughs discharge thick ice to the ice shelf, the icebergs are large and remain close together with little intervening sea ice. Where bedrock ridges mean the ice crossing the grounding line is thin, the icebergs are small and widely-scattered with large areas of sea ice between them. To better understand the internal structure of the Brunt Ice Shelf and how this might affect the flow dynamics we conducted ice-penetrating radar surveys during December 2015 and January 2016. Three different ground-based radar systems were used, operating at centre frequencies of 400, 50 and 10 MHz respectively. The 400 MHz system gave detailed firn structure and accumulation profiles as well as time-lapse profiles of the active propagation of a crevasse. The 50 MHz system provided intermediate-level detail of iceberg distribution and thickness as well as information on the degree of salt water infiltration into the accumulating snow pack. The 10 MHz system used a high-power transmitter in an attempt to measure ice thickness beneath salt-impregnated ice. In this poster we will present example data from each of the three radar systems which will demonstrate the variability of the internal structure of the ice shelf. We will also present preliminary correlations between the internal structure and the surface topography from satellite data.

  3. 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

  4. Grounding zone heterogeneity around the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marsh, Oliver; Floricioiu, Dana; Rack, Wolfgang

    2017-04-01

    Grounding lines are most accurately mapped by identifying patterns of differential vertical movement from SAR interferometry. The apparent grounding line position at the upstream limit of flexure and the width of the flexure zone are influenced by satellite acquisition time relative to the tides, even for steep bedrock slopes. Here we identify and interpret spatial variations in flexure around the Ross Ice Shelf using a suite of TerraSAR-X interferograms. A small change in grounding line position can indicate short-term dynamic variability in ice thickness or the onset of ocean-induced instability, though neither are observed here. Nevertheless, interferograms also contain information about the stiffness of ice, its time-dependent response to tides and basal characteristics at the ice shelf boundary. Using flexure zone width, we estimate ice stiffness and link it to variations in thickness and rheology. Surface profiles across the grounding line from ICESat laser altimetry are re-interpreted and used to clarify the process of buoyancy-induced bending. Observations match well to theoretical models predicting an ice-shelf bump of variable amplitude and wavelength downstream of the transition. A deviation from hydrostatic balance is particularly clear at the steep, fast-flowing outlet glaciers of the Transantarctic Mountains (Mulock / Beardmore) but is also found in non-moving areas such as the Kamb Ice Stream. This deviation can lead to a positive bias of up to 15% of ice thickness and may cause significant miscalculation of ice shelf basal melt rates and errors in 'flux gate' type mass balance calculations. Here, cross-sections through the grounding line are modelled analytically in 1D from fundamental glaciological parameters using the new grounding line locations, leading to much improved estimates of ice thickness from ICESat surface profiles. Thickness is validated using airborne ground penetrating radar data where available.

  5. Evolving Toward the Next Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration: Recent Ice Velocity, Climate, and Ocean Observations of the Larsen B Ice Shelf Remnants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scambos, T. A.; Shuman, C. A.; Truffer, M.; Pettit, E. C.; Huber, B. A.; Haran, T. M.; Ross, R.; Domack, E. W.

    2013-12-01

    Ice shelf / ice tongue disintegrations and break-ups have a major effect on glacier mass balance, and nowhere has this been more evident than in the northern sections of the Larsen Ice Shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula. Ice flux in this region surged 2- to 6-fold after the 1995 and 2002 ice shelf disintegration events, driven by a group of processes based on the presence of extensive surface melt lakes. However, precursor changes in the ice shelves beginning more than a decade before the events have been identified. A new assessment of these provides insight on the earliest causes of ice shelf change. Among the precursor changes are an increase in meltwater lake extent, structural changes in the ice shelf shear margins, grounding line changes, and pre-breakup acceleration of the ice shelves and feeder glaciers. In the aftermath of the 2002 disintegration of the Larsen B, the two large remnant ice shelves at Seal Nunataks (~400 km2) and Scar Inlet (~2400 km2) have also evolved in these ways. These changes have been measured by a combination of in situ automated observation systems (AMIGOS: see Scambos et al., 2013, J. Glaciol.) and remote sensing as part of the Larsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica (LARISSA) NSF project and NASA Cryosphere Program funding. Ice flow speed on the central Scar Inlet ice shelf has increased 60% between 2002 and 2012 (425 to 675 m/yr), and by 20% (540 to 660 m/yr) just above the grounding line of Flask Glacier, a tributary. Elevation change data from ICESat altimetry and ASTER stereo images show evidence of grounding line movement for Flask between 2003 and 2008, and for Crane Glacier prior to the 2002 break-up. In late 2002, and again in late 2012, major new rifts have formed on the southern portion of the Scar Inlet shelf, and the northwestern shear zone has rapidly evolved. The ice speed increase and the new rifts are inferred to be due to significant structural changes in the ice shelf shear margin on its northern side (concentration of

  6. Mass balance for a meteoric ice layer of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Y.; Cheng, X.; Hui, F.

    2011-12-01

    Snow accumulation on the upper surface and melting from the lower surface are important to the mass balance of an ice shelf. However the ice shelf surface accumulation measurements are only available from stakes, firn-core records and automatic weather station (AWS) measurements. The total mass balance can be obtained from the continuity equation by employing the steady-state assumption. But it is hardly used to calculate the mass balance, due to the lack of spatially continuous data, the uncertainty of ice flow properties, and other limitations. With the recently structural glaciological description and more updated datasets, a modified mass-balance model for a meteoric ice layer was developed and applied to a longitudinal flowband of the Amery ice shelf, East Antarctica. The datasets of ice velocity and meteoric ice thickness are employed. Here, the changes in ice flow velocity, meteoric ice thickness on the centre flowline, as well as flowband width with the distance along the flowband was modeled by piecewise cubic polynomial fitting. The original model overestimates the mass balance. We introduce a ratio to modify it model with only one observation. The model was then used to simulate the mass balance of a meteoric ice layer along a longitudinal flowband that extends some 300 km all way to the calving front. Sensitivity tests showed that the modeled mass balance is nearly equally sensitive to changes in ice flow velocity, ice thickness, and flow width. But there is more uncertainty with changes in flow width because the flowband boundary is delineated manually. The results were compared to observations and previous studies, which showed that the model ignoring the changes in flow width has better simulation result. The calculated specific mass balance of the meteoric ice layer is from 0.6812 m/a near the ice shelf front to -0.2645 m/a 300 km far away from the ice shelf front.

  7. High Resolution Ice Surface of the Ross Ice Shelf: Accuracy and Links to Basal Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Starke, S. E.

    2015-12-01

    We use airborne laser altimetry data from IcePod and IceBridge to map the surface across the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Laser altimetry and radar data is analyzed from the IcePod 2014 and 2015 field campaigns as well as IceBridge 2013. Icepod is a multi sensor suite that includes ice penetrating radars, a swath scanning laser, visible and IR cameras as well as GPS mounted on a LC-130. Using shallow ice radar data from both IcePod and IceBridge we identify the base of the ice shelf. Across the shelf we observe distinct areas of high reflectivity in the radar data suggesting basal crevassing. In some regions, the basal reflector is not well defined. Laser altimetry profiles correlate surface morphology with features at the base including basal crevasses and marine ice formed by freezing on to the base of the ice shelf. Building Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from the laser altimetry data, we investigate the relationship between the surface expressions of these ice shelf dynamics including thickness changes, potential sites of marine ice at the base and basal morphology in regions where a well defined basal reflector does not exist in the radar profiles. We present accuracy of the IcePod laser altimetry dataset using ground control points and GPS grids from Greenland and Antarctica as well as Photogrammetric DEMs. Our laser altimetry analysis resolves sub-meter surface features which, combined with coincident radar, provides a link between basal processes and their surface expressions.

  8. Numerical model of ice melange expansion during abrupt ice-shelf collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guttenberg, N.; Abbot, D. S.; Amundson, J. M.; Burton, J. C.; Cathles, L. M.; Macayeal, D. R.; Zhang, W.

    2010-12-01

    Satellite imagery of the February 2008 Wilkins Ice-Shelf Collapse event reveals that a large percentage of the involved ice shelf was converted to capsized icebergs and broken fragments of icebergs over a relatively short period of time, possibly less than 24 hours. The extreme violence and short time scale of the event, and the considerable reduction of gravitational potential energy between upright and capsized icebergs, suggests that iceberg capsize might be an important driving mechanism controlling both the rate and spatial extent of ice shelf collapse. To investigate this suggestion, we have constructed an idealized, 2-dimensional model of a disintegrating ice shelf composed of a large number (N~100 to >1000) of initially well-packed icebergs of rectangular cross section. The model geometry consists of a longitudinal cross section of the idealized ice shelf from grounding line (or the upstream extent of ice-shelf fragmentation) to seaward ice front, and includes the region beyond the initial ice front to cover the open, ice-free water into which the collapsing ice shelf expands. The seawater in which the icebergs float is treated as a hydrostatic fluid in the computation of iceberg orientation (e.g., the evaluation of buoyancy forces and torques), thereby eliminating the complexities of free-surface waves, but net horizontal drift of the icebergs is resisted by a linear drag law designed to energy dissipation by viscous forces and surface-gravity-wave radiation. Icebergs interact via both elastic and inelastic contacts (typically a corner of one iceberg will scrape along the face of its neighbor). Ice-shelf collapse in the model is embodied by the mass capsize of a large proportion of the initially packed icebergs and the consequent advancement of the ice front (leading edge). Model simulations are conducted to examine (a) the threshold of stability (e.g., what density of initially capsizable icebergs is needed to allow a small perturbation to the system

  9. Prokaryotic diversity of arctic ice shelf microbial mats.

    PubMed

    Bottos, Eric M; Vincent, Warwick F; Greer, Charles W; Whyte, Lyle G

    2008-04-01

    The prokaryotic diversity and respiratory activity of microbial mat communities on the Markham Ice Shelf and Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in the Canadian high Arctic were analysed. All heterotrophic isolates and > 95% of bacterial 16S rRNA gene clone library sequences from both ice shelves grouped within the phyla Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Clone library analyses showed that the bacterial communities were diverse and varied significantly between the two ice shelves, with the Markham library having a higher estimated diversity (Chao1 = 243; 105 operational taxonomic units observed in 189 clones) than the Ward Hunt library (Chao1 = 106; 52 operational taxonomic units observed in 128 clones). Archaeal 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from both ice shelves were dominated by a single Euryarchaeota sequence, which appears to represent a novel phylotype. Analyses of community activity by radiorespiration assays detected metabolism in mat samples from both ice shelves at temperatures as low as -10 degrees C. These findings provide the first insight into the prokaryotic biodiversity of Arctic ice shelf communities and underscore the importance of these cryo-ecosystems as a rich source of microbiota that are adapted to extreme cold.

  10. Ocean and Atmosphere Forcing of Larsen Ice Shelf Thinning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, P.; Brisbourne, A.; Corr, H. F. J.; McGrath, D.; Purdon, K.; Paden, J. D.; Fricker, H. A.; Padman, L.; Paolo, F. S.; Fleming, A. H.

    2014-12-01

    The ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) have shown a progressive decline over the last five decades, including the spectacular collapses of Larsen A Ice Shelf in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002. These collapses have accelerated the flow of ice inland, contributing significantly to sea-level rise, and have also freshened the Antarctic Bottom Water formed nearby. Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS), the largest on the peninsula, has progressively lowered since 1992, but the origin of this lowering remains controversial; it has been attributed to ocean melting, but most evidence has favoured enhanced firn (snowpack) compaction. By applying a novel method to the data from eight separate radar surveys of LCIS spanning a 15-year period, we show that the lowering is caused by both ice loss and firn air loss. The ice loss may be caused by unbalanced ocean melting, so oceanic changes have contributed to the wastage of LCIS in addition to the well-documented atmospheric warming in the region. If naively extrapolated in space and time, the air loss rate would deplete LCIS firn within 2-3 centuries, while the ice loss could cause LCIS to unground from Bawden Ice Rise within 2-4 centuries. Until we better understand the atmosphere and ocean forcing of the AP Ice Sheet, it will not be possible to project its future stability or determine the anthropogenic contribution to its decline.

  11. Evidence for an ice shelf covering the central Arctic Ocean during the penultimate glaciation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jakobsson, Martin; Nilsson, Johan; Anderson, Leif G.; Backman, Jan; Bjork, Goran; Cronin, Thomas M.; Kirchner, Nina; Koshurnikov, Andrey; Mayer, Larry; Noormets, Riko; O'Regan, Matthew; Stranne, Christian; Ananiev, Roman; Macho, Natalia Barrientos; Cherniykh, Dennis; Coxall, Helen; Eriksson, Bjorn; Floden, Tom; Gemery, Laura; Gustafsson, Orjan; Jerram, Kevin; Johansson, Carina; Khortov, Alexey; Mohammad, Rezwan; Semiletov, Igor

    2016-01-01

    The hypothesis of a km-thick ice shelf covering the entire Arctic Ocean during peak glacial conditions was proposed nearly half a century ago. Floating ice shelves preserve few direct traces after their disappearance, making reconstructions difficult. Seafloor imprints of ice shelves should, however, exist where ice grounded along their flow paths. Here we present new evidence of ice-shelf groundings on bathymetric highs in the central Arctic Ocean, resurrecting the concept of an ice shelf extending over the entire central Arctic Ocean during at least one previous ice age. New and previously mapped glacial landforms together reveal flow of a spatially coherent, in some regions >1-km thick, central Arctic Ocean ice shelf dated to marine isotope stage 6 (~140 ka). Bathymetric highs were likely critical in the ice-shelf development by acting as pinning points where stabilizing ice rises formed, thereby providing sufficient back stress to allow ice shelf thickening.

  12. Evidence for an ice shelf covering the central Arctic Ocean during the penultimate glaciation

    PubMed Central

    Jakobsson, Martin; Nilsson, Johan; Anderson, Leif; Backman, Jan; Björk, Göran; Cronin, Thomas M.; Kirchner, Nina; Koshurnikov, Andrey; Mayer, Larry; Noormets, Riko; O'Regan, Matthew; Stranne, Christian; Ananiev, Roman; Barrientos Macho, Natalia; Cherniykh, Denis; Coxall, Helen; Eriksson, Björn; Flodén, Tom; Gemery, Laura; Gustafsson, Örjan; Jerram, Kevin; Johansson, Carina; Khortov, Alexey; Mohammad, Rezwan; Semiletov, Igor

    2016-01-01

    The hypothesis of a km-thick ice shelf covering the entire Arctic Ocean during peak glacial conditions was proposed nearly half a century ago. Floating ice shelves preserve few direct traces after their disappearance, making reconstructions difficult. Seafloor imprints of ice shelves should, however, exist where ice grounded along their flow paths. Here we present new evidence of ice-shelf groundings on bathymetric highs in the central Arctic Ocean, resurrecting the concept of an ice shelf extending over the entire central Arctic Ocean during at least one previous ice age. New and previously mapped glacial landforms together reveal flow of a spatially coherent, in some regions >1-km thick, central Arctic Ocean ice shelf dated to marine isotope stage 6 (∼140 ka). Bathymetric highs were likely critical in the ice-shelf development by acting as pinning points where stabilizing ice rises formed, thereby providing sufficient back stress to allow ice shelf thickening. PMID:26778247

  13. Evidence for an ice shelf covering the central Arctic Ocean during the penultimate glaciation.

    PubMed

    Jakobsson, Martin; Nilsson, Johan; Anderson, Leif; Backman, Jan; Björk, Göran; Cronin, Thomas M; Kirchner, Nina; Koshurnikov, Andrey; Mayer, Larry; Noormets, Riko; O'Regan, Matthew; Stranne, Christian; Ananiev, Roman; Barrientos Macho, Natalia; Cherniykh, Denis; Coxall, Helen; Eriksson, Björn; Flodén, Tom; Gemery, Laura; Gustafsson, Örjan; Jerram, Kevin; Johansson, Carina; Khortov, Alexey; Mohammad, Rezwan; Semiletov, Igor

    2016-01-18

    The hypothesis of a km-thick ice shelf covering the entire Arctic Ocean during peak glacial conditions was proposed nearly half a century ago. Floating ice shelves preserve few direct traces after their disappearance, making reconstructions difficult. Seafloor imprints of ice shelves should, however, exist where ice grounded along their flow paths. Here we present new evidence of ice-shelf groundings on bathymetric highs in the central Arctic Ocean, resurrecting the concept of an ice shelf extending over the entire central Arctic Ocean during at least one previous ice age. New and previously mapped glacial landforms together reveal flow of a spatially coherent, in some regions >1-km thick, central Arctic Ocean ice shelf dated to marine isotope stage 6 (∼ 140 ka). Bathymetric highs were likely critical in the ice-shelf development by acting as pinning points where stabilizing ice rises formed, thereby providing sufficient back stress to allow ice shelf thickening.

  14. 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.

  15. Ice sheet/shelf dynamics at grounding lines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robison, R. A.; Huppert, H. E.; Worster, G.

    2007-12-01

    We present a novel experimental and theoretical analysis of the conditions under which an ice sheet loses contact with its basal bed rock to form a floating ice shelf. The experiments consist of modelling the ice sheet by a Newtonian viscous fluid, either glycerine or golden syrup. The `ocean' is represented by a relatively dense solution of aqueous potassium carbonate, made up to be more dense than the viscous fluid of the `ice' shelf. The viscous fluid is input just above the `ocean' surface at a constant flux to propagate in a two-dimensional fashion down an inclined ramp into the `ocean'. The grounding line, at which the viscous fluid leaves the ramp and flows over the aqueous ocean, was observed to approach a steady position dependent on the values of the flux, the bed slope, the kinematic viscosity of the viscous fluid and its density difference from the underlying `ocean'. A simple but powerful, complementary theory was developed, based on balancing horizontal forces at the grounding line, where the differing flow regimes of the ice sheet and ice shelf must match. The theoretical results for the downslope position of the grounding line are in good agreement with our experimental observations. Video sequences of the experiments will be presented.

  16. Mertz Ice Shelf Dynamics in the Last Twenty Years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, X.; Cheng, X.; Shum, C.

    2013-12-01

    In February 2010, the Mertz Ice Tongue collapsed and generated a giant iceberg. However, parameters about this iceberg have not been calculated and published in detail. In this study, the freeboard map of this iceberg was generated for the first time using a time-series ICESat/GLAS data. Methods for producing the freeboard map of this iceberg are suggested. Field data for ice velocity were used to relocate the footprints collected by different campaigns. Cross-validation was conducted with freeboards extracted from crossovers observed within 30 days of each other. The precision of the freeboard extraction is approximately 0.50 m, when taking one standard deviation as the precision. The freeboard varied from 23 m to 59 m with an averaged 41 m. The histogram of crevasse depth on Mertz Ice Shelf from 2003 to 2009 showed nearly the same annual distribution, indicating the almost stable situation. The crevasse depth ranged from 2m to 10m takes more than 70% every year, with remaining 30% greater than 10m and smaller than 56m. The area of large rift in the right side along ice shelf advancing showed an increasing trend (4.05 square km to 19.4 square km) from 1989 to 2003 and a decreasing trend (19.05 square km to 17.6 square km) from 2003 to 2009. However, large rift in the left side along ice shelf advancing occurred at about 2002 and the area increased to 11.38 square km at the end of 2009. Deep crevasse on surface and expansion of central large rift made Mertz Ice Shelf fragile and disintegrated after collision by an iceberg. With the assumption of hydrostatic equilibrium (assuming a snow layer depth of 1m, a snow density of 360 kg/m^3, an ice density of 915 kg/m^3 and a sea water density of 1024 kg/m^3), the minimum, maximum and average ice thickness for the disintegrated ice tongue were calculated as 210 m, 550 m and 383 m respectively. The total ice loss is approximately 896 G ton over an area, 34 km in width and 75 km in length, or approximately 2560×5 km^2

  17. Atmospheric and oceanic forcing of Larsen C Ice Shelf thinning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, P. R.; Brisbourne, A.; Corr, H. F. J.; McGrath, D.; Purdon, K.; Paden, J.; Fricker, H. A.; Paolo, F. S.; Fleming, A. H.

    2015-01-01

    The catastrophic collapses of Larsen A and B ice shelves on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula have caused their tributary glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise and freshening the Antarctic Bottom Water formed nearby. The surface of Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS), the largest ice shelf on the peninsula, is lowering. This could be caused by unbalanced ocean melting (ice loss) or enhanced firn melting and compaction (englacial air loss). Using a novel method to analyse eight radar surveys, this study derives separate estimates of ice and air thickness changes during a 15 year period. The uncertainties are considerable, but the primary estimate is that the surveyed lowering (0.066 ± 0.017 m yr-1) is caused by both ice loss (0.28 ± 0.18 m yr-1) and firn air loss (0.037 ± 0.026 m yr-1). Though the ice loss is much larger, ice and air loss contribute approximately equally to the lowering. The ice loss could be explained by high basal melting and/or ice divergence, and the air loss by low surface accumulation or high surface melting and/or compaction. The primary estimate therefore requires that at least two forcings caused the surveyed lowering. Mechanisms are discussed by which LCIS stability could be compromised in future, suggesting destabilisation timescales of a few centuries. The most rapid pathways to collapse are offered by a flow perturbation arising from the ungrounding of LCIS from Bawden Ice Rise, or ice-front retreat past a "compressive arch" in strain rates.

  18. Ice-shelf Dynamics Near the Front of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Revealed by SAR Interferometry: Model/Interferogram Comparison

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    MacAyeal, D. R.; Rignot, E.; Hulbe, C. L.

    1998-01-01

    We compare Earth Remote Sensing (ERS) satellite synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) interferograms with artificial interferograms constructed using output of a finite-element ice-shelf flow model to study the dynamics of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS) near Hemmen Ice Rise (HIR) where the iceberg-calving front itersects Berkener Island (BI).

  19. Ross Ice Shelf airstream driven by polar vortex cyclone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schultz, Colin

    2012-07-01

    The powerful air and ocean currents that flow in and above the Southern Ocean, circling in the Southern Hemisphere's high latitudes, form a barrier to mixing between Antarctica and the rest of the planet. Particularly during the austral winter, strong westerly winds isolate the Antarctic continent from heat, energy, and mass exchange, bolstering the scale of the annual polar ozone depletion and driving the continent's record-breaking low temperatures. Pushing through this wall of high winds, the Ross Ice Shelf airstream (RAS) is responsible for a sizable amount of mass and energy exchange from the Antarctic inland areas to lower latitudes. Sitting due south of New Zealand, the roughly 470,000-square-kilometer Ross Ice Shelf is the continent's largest ice shelf and a hub of activity for Antarctic research. A highly variable lower atmospheric air current, RAS draws air from the inland Antarctic Plateau over the Ross Ice Shelf and past the Ross Sea. Drawing on modeled wind patterns for 2001-2005, Seefeldt and Cassano identify the primary drivers of RAS.

  20. Ross Ice Shelf and the Queen Maude Mounains, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    Part of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Queen Maude Mounains of Antarctica (55.5N, 178.0W) are in the background of this scene, oriented toward the south. Low stratocumulus clouds are predominant throughout most of the scene.

  1. Ross Ice Shelf and the Queen Maude Mounains, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    Part of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Queen Maude Mounains of Antarctica (55.5N, 178.0W) are in the background of this scene, oriented toward the south. Low stratocumulus clouds are predominant throughout most of the scene.

  2. Massive subsurface ice formed by refreezing of ice-shelf melt ponds.

    PubMed

    Hubbard, Bryn; Luckman, Adrian; Ashmore, David W; Bevan, Suzanne; Kulessa, Bernd; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Philippe, Morgane; Jansen, Daniela; Booth, Adam; Sevestre, Heidi; Tison, Jean-Louis; O'Leary, Martin; Rutt, Ian

    2016-06-10

    Surface melt ponds form intermittently on several Antarctic ice shelves. Although implicated in ice-shelf break up, the consequences of such ponding for ice formation and ice-shelf structure have not been evaluated. Here we report the discovery of a massive subsurface ice layer, at least 16 km across, several kilometres long and tens of metres deep, located in an area of intense melting and intermittent ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We combine borehole optical televiewer logging and radar measurements with remote sensing and firn modelling to investigate the layer, found to be ∼10 °C warmer and ∼170 kg m(-3) denser than anticipated in the absence of ponding and hitherto used in models of ice-shelf fracture and flow. Surface ponding and ice layers such as the one we report are likely to form on a wider range of Antarctic ice shelves in response to climatic warming in forthcoming decades.

  3. Massive subsurface ice formed by refreezing of ice-shelf melt ponds

    PubMed Central

    Hubbard, Bryn; Luckman, Adrian; Ashmore, David W.; Bevan, Suzanne; Kulessa, Bernd; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Philippe, Morgane; Jansen, Daniela; Booth, Adam; Sevestre, Heidi; Tison, Jean-Louis; O'Leary, Martin; Rutt, Ian

    2016-01-01

    Surface melt ponds form intermittently on several Antarctic ice shelves. Although implicated in ice-shelf break up, the consequences of such ponding for ice formation and ice-shelf structure have not been evaluated. Here we report the discovery of a massive subsurface ice layer, at least 16 km across, several kilometres long and tens of metres deep, located in an area of intense melting and intermittent ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We combine borehole optical televiewer logging and radar measurements with remote sensing and firn modelling to investigate the layer, found to be ∼10 °C warmer and ∼170 kg m−3 denser than anticipated in the absence of ponding and hitherto used in models of ice-shelf fracture and flow. Surface ponding and ice layers such as the one we report are likely to form on a wider range of Antarctic ice shelves in response to climatic warming in forthcoming decades. PMID:27283778

  4. Large flux of iron from the Amery Ice Shelf marine ice to Prydz Bay, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herraiz-Borreguero, L.; Lannuzel, D.; van der Merwe, P.; Treverrow, A.; Pedro, J. B.

    2016-08-01

    The Antarctic continental shelf supports a high level of marine primary productivity and is a globally important carbon dioxide (CO2) sink through the photosynthetic fixation of CO2 via the biological pump. Sustaining such high productivity requires a large supply of the essential micronutrient iron (Fe); however, the pathways for Fe delivery to these zones vary spatially and temporally. Our study is the first to report a previously unquantified source of concentrated bioavailable Fe to Antarctic surface waters. We hypothesize that Fe derived from subglacial processes is delivered to euphotic waters through the accretion (Fe storage) and subsequent melting (Fe release) of a marine-accreted layer of ice at the base of the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS). Using satellite-derived Chlorophyll-a data, we show that the soluble Fe supplied by the melting of the marine ice layer is an order of magnitude larger than the required Fe necessary to sustain the large annual phytoplankton bloom in Prydz Bay. Our finding of high concentrations of Fe in AIS marine ice and recent data on increasing rates of ice shelf basal melt in many of Antarctica's ice shelves should encourage further research into glacial and marine sediment transport beneath ice shelves and their sensitivity to current changes in basal melt. Currently, the distribution, volume, and Fe concentration of Antarctic marine ice is poorly constrained. This uncertainty, combined with variable forecasts of increased rates of ice shelf basal melt, limits our ability to predict future Fe supply to Antarctic coastal waters.

  5. Analysis of Ice Plains of Filchner/Ronne Ice Shelf Using ICESat Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brunt, Kelly M.; Fricker, Helen A.; Padman, Laurie

    2010-01-01

    We use repeat-track laser altimeter data from the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) to map the grounding zone of Filchner/Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS), Antarctica. Repeated passes of ICESat reveal ice flexure in the grounding zone occurs as the ice shelf responds to ocean height changes due primarily to tides. In the course of our mapping, we have confirmed or identified three major "ice plains", regions of low surface slope near the GZ where the ice is close to hydrostatic equilibrium: one on Institute Ice Stream, another to its east, and another west of Foundation Ice Stream. The vertical information from repeated ICESat tracks enables us to study the topography and flexure characteristics across these three ice plains, and we use this to develop a classification scheme for ice plains based on their surface topography and their state of flotation. We show that one of these ice plains indicates changes in lateral extent on short time-scales, depending on the state of the ocean tide. Understanding the location and nature of ice plains is important for ice sheet modeling, since they add uncertainty to the absolute boundary between floating and grounded ice.

  6. Does Arctic sea ice reduction foster shelf-basin exchange?

    PubMed

    Ivanov, Vladimir; Watanabe, Eiji

    2013-12-01

    The recent shift in Arctic ice conditions from prevailing multi-year ice to first-year ice will presumably intensify fall-winter sea ice freezing and the associated salt flux to the underlying water column. Here, we conduct a dual modeling study whose results suggest that the predicted catastrophic consequences for the global thermohaline circulation (THC), as a result of the disappearance of Arctic sea ice, may not necessarily occur. In a warmer climate, the substantial fraction of dense water feeding the Greenland-Scotland overflow may form on Arctic shelves and cascade to the deep basin, thus replenishing dense water, which currently forms through open ocean convection in the sub-Arctic seas. We have used a simplified model for estimating how increased ice production influences shelf-basin exchange associated with dense water cascading. We have carried out case studies in two regions of the Arctic Ocean where cascading was observed in the past. The baseline range of buoyancy-forcing derived from the columnar ice formation was calculated as part of a 30-year experiment of the pan-Arctic coupled ice-ocean general circulation model (GCM). The GCM results indicate that mechanical sea ice divergence associated with lateral advection accounts for a significant part of the interannual variations in sea ice thermal production in the coastal polynya regions. This forcing was then rectified by taking into account sub-grid processes and used in a regional model with analytically prescribed bottom topography and vertical stratification in order to examine specific cascading conditions in the Pacific and Atlantic sectors of the Arctic Ocean. Our results demonstrate that the consequences of enhanced ice formation depend on geographical location and shelf-basin bathymetry. In the Pacific sector, strong density stratification in slope waters impedes noticeable deepening of shelf-origin water, even for the strongest forcing applied. In the Atlantic sector, a 1.5x increase of

  7. SPH non-Newtonian Model for Ice Sheet and Ice Shelf Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-07-07

    We propose a new three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) non-Newtonian model to study coupled ice sheet and ice shelf dynamics. Most existing ice sheet numerical models use a grid-based Eulerian approach, and are usually restricted to shallow ice sheet and ice shelf approximations of the momentum conservation equation. SPH, a fully Lagrangian particle method, solves the full momentum conservation equation. SPH method also allows modeling of free-surface flows, large material deformation, and material fragmentation without employing complex front-tracking schemes, and does not require re-meshing. As a result, SPH codes are highly scalable. Numerical accuracy of the proposed SPH model is first verified by simulating a plane shear flow with a free surface and the propagation of a blob of ice along a horizontal surface. Next, the SPH model is used to investigate the grounding line dynamics of ice sheet/shelf. The steady position of the grounding line, obtained from our SPH simulations, is in good agreement with laboratory observations for a wide range of bedrock slopes, ice-to-fluid density ratios, and flux. We examine the effect of non-Newtonian behavior of ice on the grounding line dynamics. The non-Newtonian constitutive model is based on Glen's law for a creeping flow of a polycrystalline ice. Finally, we investigate the effect of a bedrock geometry on a steady-state position of the grounding line.

  8. Basal crevasses and suture zones in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica: Implications for ice shelf stability in a warming climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, Daniel J.

    Understanding ice shelf structure and processes is paramount to future predictions of sea level rise, as nearly 75% of the ice flux from the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) passes through these gates. The breakup of an ice shelf removes the longitudinal back stress acting on the grounded inland ice and leads to flow acceleration, dynamic thinning and frontal retreat, processes that can be sustained for more than a decade. Increased ice discharge to the ocean contributes to global sea level rise. This dissertation investigates basal crevasses and suture zones, two key structural components of ice shelves, in order to understand how the structure of an ice shelf influences its stability in a warming climate. Ground penetrating radar, high-resolution satellite imagery and a variety of modeling approaches are utilized to assess these features on the Larsen C Ice Shelf but in a manner that considers their influence on ice shelf stability around the AIS. Basal crevasses are large-scale (~66% of ice thickness and ten's of kms in length) and abundant features that are significant structural weaknesses. The viscoplastic deformation of the ice shelf in response to the perturbed hydrostatic balance leads to the formation of both surface depressions and crevasses, hence weakening the ice shelf further. Basal crevasses increase the local ice-ocean interface by ~30%, thereby increasing basal roughness and altering ice-ocean interactions. Ice-shelf fractures frequently terminate where they encounter suture zones, regions of material heterogeneity that form at the lateral bounds of meteoric inflows to ice shelves. The termination of a 25 km-long rift in the Churchill Peninsula suture zone is investigated and found to contain ~60 m of accreted marine ice. Steady-state basal melting/freezing rates are determined for the ice shelf and applied to a flowline model to examine the along-flow evolution of ice shelf structure. The thickening surface wedge of locally accumulated meteoric ice

  9. Ice-shelf tidal deflections modelled with a full 3D elastic model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Konovalov, Yuri

    2014-05-01

    Ice-shelf flexure modelling was performed using a full 3D finite-difference elastic model, which takes into account sub-ice-shelf seawater flow. The numerical experiments were carried out for the thin plate of ice with changing ice thickness (with trapezoidal profile along the center line). The sub-ice seawater flow was described by the wave channel equation (Holdsworth and Glynn, 1978). In the model ice shelf flexures result from variations in the incoming (outgoing) sea water flux, which flows into (out of) the sub-ice-shelf channel. The numerical experiments were carried out for harmonic incoming seawater fluxes and the ice-shelf flexures were obtained for tidal ocean impacts and for different ice-shelf spatial extents. References Bassis J.N., Fricker H.A., Coleman R., Minster J.-B.: An investigation into the forces that drive ice-shelf rift propagation on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarcyica. J. of Glaciol. 54 (184): 17-27, 2008. Holdsworth G and Glynn J.: Iceberg calving from floating glaciers by a vibrating mechanism. Nature. 274, 464-466, 1978. Konovalov Y. V.: Ice-shelf resonance deflections modelled with a 2D elastic centre-line model. Physical Review & Research International, 4(1), 9-29, 2014. Vaughan D.G.: Tidal flexure at ice shelf margins. J. Geophys. Res. 100(B4), 6213-6224, 2002.

  10. Snow, Firn and Ice Heterogeneity within Larsen C Ice Shelf Revealed by Borehole Optical-televiewing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, B. P.; Ashmore, D.; Luckman, A. J.; Kulessa, B.; Bevan, S. L.; Booth, A.; Kuipers Munneke, P.; O'Leary, M.; Sevestre, H.

    2016-12-01

    The north-western sector of Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS), Antarctica, hosts intermittent surface ponds resulting from intense melting, largely driven by warm föhn winds. The fate of such surface melt water is largely controlled by the shelf's firn structure, which also dictates shelf density (widely used to reconstruct ice shelf thickness from altimetric data) and preconditioning to hydrofracture. Here, we report a suite of five 90 m long optical-televiewer (OPTV) borehole logs from the northern and central regions of LCIS recorded in spring 2014 and 2015. For each OPTV log we reconstruct vertical variations in material density via an empirical OPTV log-ice core calibration, and apply a thresholding technique to estimate refrozen ice content within the firn column. These data are combined to define five material facies present within this sector of LCIS. The firn/ice column is anomalously dense at all five sites, having an overall mean depth-averaged density of 873 +/-32 kg m-3. In terms of spatial variability, our findings generally support previous estimates of firn air content fields and implied infiltration ice content. However, they also highlight finer-resolution complexity of ice shelf structure. For example, the most dense ice, with the lowest equivalent firn air content, is not located within the most westerly inlets, where firn-driven melting and ponding are most active, but some tens of km down-flow of these areas. We interpret this effect in terms of the inheritance nearer the grounding line of relatively low-density glacial ice (e.g., 52 m thick with a density of 852 +/-21 kg m-3 in northernmost Cabinet Inlet) advected from inland. This inherited ice forms one of five facies identified across the study region. These are, extending broadly downwards into the shelf, and with different representation at each site: local accumulation (F1); local accumulation hosting substantial infiltration ice, i.e. influenced by intense melt but insufficient to form

  11. Marine ice regulates the future stability of a large Antarctic ice shelf

    PubMed Central

    Kulessa, Bernd; Jansen, Daniela; Luckman, Adrian J.; King, Edward C.; Sammonds, Peter R.

    2014-01-01

    The collapses of the Larsen A and B ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula in 1995 and 2002 confirm the impact of southward-propagating climate warming in this region. Recent mass and dynamic changes of Larsen B’s southern neighbour Larsen C, the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, may herald a similar instability. Here, using a validated ice-shelf model run in diagnostic mode, constrained by satellite and in situ geophysical data, we identify the nature of this potential instability. We demonstrate that the present-day spatial distribution and orientation of the principal stresses within Larsen C ice shelf are akin to those within pre-collapse Larsen B. When Larsen B’s stabilizing frontal portion was lost in 1995, the unstable remaining shelf accelerated, crumbled and ultimately collapsed. We hypothesize that Larsen C ice shelf may suffer a similar fate if it were not stabilized by warm and mechanically soft marine ice, entrained within narrow suture zones. PMID:24751641

  12. Ice-Shelf Flexure and Tidal Forcing of Bindschadler Ice Stream, West Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walker, Ryan T.; Parizek, Bryron R.; Alley, Richard B.; Brunt, Kelly M.; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar

    2014-01-01

    Viscoelastic models of ice-shelf flexure and ice-stream velocity perturbations are combined into a single efficient flowline model to study tidal forcing of grounded ice. The magnitude and timing of icestream response to tidally driven changes in hydrostatic pressure and/or basal drag are found to depend significantly on bed rheology, with only a perfectly plastic bed allowing instantaneous velocity response at the grounding line. The model can reasonably reproduce GPS observations near the grounding zone of Bindschadler Ice Stream (formerly Ice Stream D) on semidiurnal time scales; however, other forcings such as tidally driven ice-shelf slope transverse to the flowline and flexurally driven till deformation must also be considered if diurnal motion is to be matched

  13. STS-48 ESC Earth observation of ice pack, Antarctic Ice Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    STS-48 Earth observation taken aboard Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, is of the breakup of pack ice along the periphery of the Antarctic Ice Shelf. Strong offshore winds, probably associated with katabatic downdrafts from the interior of the continent, are seen peeling off the edges of the ice shelf into long filaments of sea ice, icebergs, bergy bits, and growlers to flow northward into the South Atlantic Ocean. These photos are used to study ocean wind, tide and current patterns. Similar views photographed during previous missions, when analyzed with these recent views may yield information about regional ice drift and breakup of ice packs. The image was captured using an electronic still camera (ESC), was stored on a removable hard disk or small optical disk, and was converted to a format suitable for downlink transmission. The ESC documentation was part of Development Test Objective (DTO) 648, Electronic Still Photography.

  14. Past and Future Vulnerability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to Surface Ice-Shelf Melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.; Kowalewski, D. E.

    2011-12-01

    New sediment core records from the Ross Embayment (ANDRILL) imply dramatic, orbitally paced variability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) over the last five million years (Naish et al., 2009). Time-continuous model simulations of the coupled Antarctic ice sheet-shelf system over this interval are capable of simulating this implied WAIS variability, including sudden, orbitally triggered retreats and subsequent regrowth of nearly all marine ice in West Antarctica. In the model, simulated episodes of WAIS retreat are common during the warm Pliocene, but they also occur during some of the strongest interglacials of the colder Pleistocene. Clearly, the magnitude and millennial timescale of simulated WAIS retreat in response to relatively modest past forcing hints at the potential future vulnerability of the ice sheet. In previous long-term simulations (Pollard and DeConto, 2009), the ice-sheet model was driven by parameterized climatologies (surface temperature, precipitation, sea level, and oceanic sub-ice shelf melt), scaled mainly to deep- sea benthic oxygen isotope records. The model WAIS was found to be highly sensitive to sub-ice-shelf melt rates, with modest increases (~2 m/yr) capable of triggering sudden grounding-line retreat and dynamic thinning in the Ross, Weddell and Amundsen Sea sectors - largely in response to reduced ice-shelf buttressing. Here we present new ice sheet-shelf simulations of specific Pliocene and Pleistocene interglacials, using atmospheric climatologies from a new high-resolution Regional Climate Model. The results show that in addition to increased sub-ice-shelf melt rates, surface melting on ice-shelf surfaces could have been a contributing factor to past episodes of WAIS retreat, providing a simple explanation (orbital forcing of Antarctic surface air temperatures) for the orbital pacing of the events. Simulated increases in surface ice-shelf melt rates in response to elevated greenhouses gas levels are also evaluated, to assess

  15. Bathymetric and oceanic controls on Abbot Ice Shelf thickness and stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cochran, J. R.; Jacobs, S. S.; Tinto, K. J.; Bell, R. E.

    2014-05-01

    Ice shelves play key roles in stabilizing Antarctica's ice sheets, maintaining its high albedo and returning freshwater to the Southern Ocean. Improved data sets of ice shelf draft and underlying bathymetry are important for assessing ocean-ice interactions and modeling ice response to climate change. The long, narrow Abbot Ice Shelf south of Thurston Island produces a large volume of meltwater, but is close to being in overall mass balance. Here we invert NASA Operation IceBridge (OIB) airborne gravity data over the Abbot region to obtain sub-ice bathymetry, and combine OIB elevation and ice thickness measurements to estimate ice draft. A series of asymmetric fault-bounded basins formed during rifting of Zealandia from Antarctica underlie the Abbot Ice Shelf west of 94° W and the Cosgrove Ice Shelf to the south. Sub-ice water column depths along OIB flight lines are sufficiently deep to allow warm deep and thermocline waters observed near the western Abbot ice front to circulate through much of the ice shelf cavity. An average ice shelf draft of ~200 m, 15% less than the Bedmap2 compilation, coincides with the summer transition between the ocean surface mixed layer and upper thermocline. Thick ice streams feeding the Abbot cross relatively stable grounding lines and are rapidly thinned by the warmest inflow. While the ice shelf is presently in equilibrium, the overall correspondence between draft distribution and thermocline depth indicates sensitivity to changes in characteristics of the ocean surface and deep waters.

  16. Seismic Excitation of the Ross Ice Shelf by Whillans Ice Stream Stick-Slip Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wiens, D.; Pratt, M. J.; Aster, R. C.; Nyblade, A.; Bromirski, P. D.; Stephen, R. A.; Gerstoft, P.; Diez, A.; Cai, C.; Anthony, R. E.; Shore, P.

    2015-12-01

    Rapid variations in the flow rate of upstream glaciers and ice streams may cause significant deformation of ice shelves. The Whillans Ice Stream (WIS) represents an extreme example of rapid variations in velocity, with motions near the grounding line consisting almost entirely of once or twice-daily stick-slip events with a displacement of up to 0.7 m (Winberry et al, 2014). Here we report observations of compressional waves from the WIS slip events propagating hundreds of kilometers across the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) detected by broadband seismographs deployed on the ice shelf. The WIS slip events consist of rapid basal slip concentrated at three high friction regions (often termed sticky-spots or asperities) within a period of about 25 minutes (Pratt et al, 2014). Compressional displacement pulses from the second and third sticky spots are detected across the entire RIS up to about 600 km away from the source. The largest pulse results from the third sticky spot, located along the northwestern grounding line of the WIS. Propagation velocities across the ice shelf are significantly slower than the P wave velocity in ice, as the long period displacement pulse is also sensitive to velocities of the water and sediments beneath the ice shelf. Particle motions are, to the limit of resolution, entirely within the horizontal plane and roughly radial with respect to the WIS sticky-spots, but show significant complexity, presumably due to differences in ice velocity, thickness, and the thickness of water and sediment beneath. Study of this phenomenon should lead to greater understanding of how the ice shelf responds to sudden forcing around the periphery.

  17. Ambient noise correlation on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhan, Zhongwen; Tsai, Victor C.; Jackson, Jennifer M.; Helmberger, Don

    2014-03-01

    The structure of ice shelves is important for modelling the dynamics of ice flux from the continents to the oceans. While other, more traditional techniques provide many constraints, passive imaging with seismic noise is a complementary tool for studying and monitoring ice shelves. As a proof of concept, here we study noise cross-correlations and autocorrelations on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. We find that the noise field on the ice shelf is dominated by energy trapped in a low-velocity waveguide caused by the water layer below the ice. Within this interpretation, we explain spectral ratios of the noise cross-correlations as P-wave resonances in the water layer, and obtain an independent estimate of the water-column thickness, consistent with other measurements. For stations with noise dominated by elastic waves, noise autocorrelations also provide similar results. High-frequency noise correlations also require a 50-m firn layer near the surface with P-wave velocity as low as 1 km s-1. Our study may also provide insight for future planetary missions that involve seismic exploration of icy satellites such as Titan and Europa.

  18. Ambient Noise Correlation on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, V. C.; Zhan, Z.; Jackson, J. M.; Helmberger, D. V.

    2013-12-01

    The structure of ice shelves is important for modeling the dynamics of ice flux from the continents to the oceans. While other, more traditional techniques provide important constraints, passive imaging with seismic noise is a complimentary tool for studying and monitoring ice shelves. As a proof of concept, here we study noise cross-correlations and auto-correlations on the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. We find that the noise field on the ice shelf is dominated by energy trapped in a low-velocity waveguide caused by the water layer below the ice. Within this interpretation, we explain spectral ratios of the noise cross-correlations as P-wave resonances in the water layer, and obtain an independent estimate of the water-column thickness, consistent with other measurements. For stations with low levels of incoherent noise, noise auto-correlations also provide similar results. High-frequency noise correlations also require a 50-m firn layer near the surface with P-wave velocities as low as 1 km/s. Our results also have implications for the experimental designs of future seismological missions to icy satellites such as Titan and Europa.

  19. Ground surface temperature and humidity, ground temperature cycles and the ice table depths in University Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisher, David A.; Lacelle, Denis; Pollard, Wayne; Davila, Alfonso; McKay, Christopher P.

    2016-11-01

    In the upper McMurdo Dry Valleys, 90% of the measured ice table depths range from 0 to 80 cm; however, numerical models predict that the ice table is not in equilibrium with current climate conditions and should be deeper than measured. This study explored the effects of boundary conditions (air versus ground surface temperature and humidity), ground temperature cycles, and their diminishing amplitude with depth and advective flows (Darcy flow and wind pumping) on water vapor fluxes in soils and ice table depths using the REGO vapor diffusion model. We conducted a series of numerical experiments that illustrated different hypothetical scenarios and estimated the water vapor flux and ice table depth using the conditions in University Valley, a small high elevation valley. In situ measurements showed that while the mean annual ground surface temperature approximates that in the air, the mean annual ground surface relative humidity (>85%ice) was significantly higher than in the atmosphere ( 50%ice). When ground surface temperature and humidity were used as boundary conditions, along with damping diurnal and annual temperature cycles within the sandy soil, REGO predicted that measured ice table depths in the valley were in equilibrium with contemporary conditions. Based on model results, a dry soil column can become saturated with ice within centuries. Overall, the results from the new soil data and modeling have implications regarding the factors and boundary conditions that affect the stability of ground ice in cold and hyperarid regions where liquid water is rare.

  20. Ice-shelf damming in the glacial Arctic Ocean: dynamical regimes of a basin-covering kilometre-thick ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nilsson, Johan; Jakobsson, Martin; Borstad, Chris; Kirchner, Nina; Björk, Göran; Pierrehumbert, Raymond T.; Stranne, Christian

    2017-07-01

    Recent geological and geophysical data suggest that a 1 km thick ice shelf extended over the glacial Arctic Ocean during Marine Isotope Stage 6, about 140 000 years ago. Here, we theoretically analyse the development and equilibrium features of such an ice shelf, using scaling analyses and a one-dimensional ice-sheet-ice-shelf model. We find that the dynamically most consistent scenario is an ice shelf with a nearly uniform thickness that covers the entire Arctic Ocean. Further, the ice shelf has two regions with distinctly different dynamics: a vast interior region covering the central Arctic Ocean and an exit region towards the Fram Strait. In the interior region, which is effectively dammed by the Fram Strait constriction, there are strong back stresses and the mean ice-shelf thickness is controlled primarily by the horizontally integrated mass balance. A narrow transition zone is found near the continental grounding line, in which the ice-shelf thickness decreases offshore and approaches the mean basin thickness. If the surface accumulation and mass flow from the continental ice masses are sufficiently large, the ice-shelf thickness grows to the point where the ice shelf grounds on the Lomonosov Ridge. As this occurs, the back stress increases in the Amerasian Basin and the ice-shelf thickness becomes larger there than in the Eurasian Basin towards the Fram Strait. Using a one-dimensional ice-dynamic model, the stability of equilibrium ice-shelf configurations without and with grounding on the Lomonosov Ridge are examined. We find that the grounded ice-shelf configuration should be stable if the two Lomonosov Ridge grounding lines are located on the opposites sides of the ridge crest, implying that the downstream grounding line is located on a downward sloping bed. This result shares similarities with the classical result on marine ice-sheet stability of Weertman, but due to interactions between the Amerasian and Eurasian ice-shelf segments the mass flux at the

  1. Ocean variability contributing to basal melt rate near the ice front of Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arzeno, Isabella B.; Beardsley, Robert C.; Limeburner, Richard; Owens, Breck; Padman, Laurie; Springer, Scott R.; Stewart, Craig L.; Williams, Michael J. M.

    2014-07-01

    Basal melting of ice shelves is an important, but poorly understood, cause of Antarctic ice sheet mass loss and freshwater production. We use data from two moorings deployed through Ross Ice Shelf, ˜6 and ˜16 km south of the ice front east of Ross Island, and numerical models to show how the basal melting rate near the ice front depends on sub-ice-shelf ocean variability. The moorings measured water velocity, conductivity, and temperature for ˜2 months starting in late November 2010. About half of the current velocity variance was due to tides, predominantly diurnal components, with the remainder due to subtidal oscillations with periods of a few days. Subtidal variability was dominated by barotropic currents that were large until mid-December and significantly reduced afterward. Subtidal currents were correlated between moorings but uncorrelated with local winds, suggesting the presence of waves or eddies that may be associated with the abrupt change in water column thickness and strong hydrographic gradients at the ice front. Estimated melt rate was ˜1.2 ± 0.5 m a-1 at each site during the deployment period, consistent with measured trends in ice surface elevation from GPS time series. The models predicted similar annual-averaged melt rates with a strong annual cycle related to seasonal provision of warm water to the ice base. These results show that accurately modeling the high spatial and temporal ocean variability close to the ice-shelf front is critical to predicting time-dependent and mean values of meltwater production and ice-shelf thinning.

  2. Dissolved gases in perennially ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Andersen, D. T.; McKay, C. P.; Wharton, R. A. Jr; Wharton RA, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Measurements of dissolved N2, O2, Ar, CO2, and CH4 were made in perennially ice-covered Lake Hoare. Results confirm previous reports that O2 concentrations in the upper water column exceed atmospheric equilibrium and that N2 and Ar are supersaturated throughout the water column. The mean supersaturation of N2 was found to be 2.0 (+/- 0.37) and Ar was 3.8 (+/- 1.1). The ratios of N2/Ar (20.3 +/- 13.8), and O2/Ar (22.5 +/- 4.0) at the ice-water interface are consistent with those previously measured, suggesting that bubble formation is the main process for removing gas from the lake. However, the saturations of N2 and Ar greatly exceed those previously predicted for degassing by bubble formation only at the ice-water interface. The data support the hypothesis that removal of gas by bubbles occurs in the water column to a depth of 11 m in Lake Hoare. CO2 concentration increases from near zero at the ice-water interface to 80-100 times saturation at and below the chemocline at c. 28 m. There is considerable variability in the gas concentrations throughout the water column; samples separated in depth by one metre may vary by more than 50% in gas content. It is likely that this phenomenon results from the lack of turbulent mixing in the water column. Methane (c. 2 micrograms l-1) was detected below the chemocline and immediately above the sediment/water interface at a depth of 30 m. Samples from lakes Vanda, Joyce, and Miers, also show supersaturations of O2, N2, and Ar at levels similar to levels found in Lake Hoare.

  3. Dissolved gases in perennially ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Andersen, D. T.; McKay, C. P.; Wharton, R. A. Jr; Wharton RA, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Measurements of dissolved N2, O2, Ar, CO2, and CH4 were made in perennially ice-covered Lake Hoare. Results confirm previous reports that O2 concentrations in the upper water column exceed atmospheric equilibrium and that N2 and Ar are supersaturated throughout the water column. The mean supersaturation of N2 was found to be 2.0 (+/- 0.37) and Ar was 3.8 (+/- 1.1). The ratios of N2/Ar (20.3 +/- 13.8), and O2/Ar (22.5 +/- 4.0) at the ice-water interface are consistent with those previously measured, suggesting that bubble formation is the main process for removing gas from the lake. However, the saturations of N2 and Ar greatly exceed those previously predicted for degassing by bubble formation only at the ice-water interface. The data support the hypothesis that removal of gas by bubbles occurs in the water column to a depth of 11 m in Lake Hoare. CO2 concentration increases from near zero at the ice-water interface to 80-100 times saturation at and below the chemocline at c. 28 m. There is considerable variability in the gas concentrations throughout the water column; samples separated in depth by one metre may vary by more than 50% in gas content. It is likely that this phenomenon results from the lack of turbulent mixing in the water column. Methane (c. 2 micrograms l-1) was detected below the chemocline and immediately above the sediment/water interface at a depth of 30 m. Samples from lakes Vanda, Joyce, and Miers, also show supersaturations of O2, N2, and Ar at levels similar to levels found in Lake Hoare.

  4. Phenology of the McMurdo Sound Spring Bloom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, K. L.; Kim, S.; Broadbent, H.; Saenz, B.; Ainley, D. G.; Ballard, G.; Pitman, R.; DiTullio, G. R.

    2016-02-01

    The phenology of spring blooms in most cases has important consequences for the food web that supports upper trophic level predators. An investigation during spring/summer of 2012/13 and 2014/15 of the McMurdo Sound ecosystem, at the southern end of the Ross Sea, revealed that maximum concentrations of fast ice algae occurred during November, with higher concentrations on the eastern side of the Sound near Ross Island and lower concentrations on the western side in the cold water outflow from under the Ross Ice Shelf. In early to mid-December, warming surface water ablated the undersurface of the fast ice and ice algae likely sank rapidly out of the water column to provide food for the benthos. Also in early to mid-December, the McMurdo system transitioned to a phytoplankton bloom at the fast ice edge and under the ice, which co-occurred with the timing of Adelie penguin reproduction (chick hatching) at Cape Royds and the arrival of minke whales and fish-eating killer whales at the fast ice edge. The phytoplankton bloom was initially advected from the Ross Sea into the eastern side of McMurdo Sound and then spread across the Sound to the western side. The phytoplankton community, which was dominated by diatoms and Phaeocystis, was not grazed down by zooplankton and appeared to sink out of the water column. Results support recent findings that a wasp-waist food web structure exists in the Ross Sea, whereby upper trophic levels are not closely coupled to phytoplankton dynamics.

  5. Life Detection and Characterization of Subsurface Ice and Brine in the McMurdo Dry Valleys Using an Ultrasonic Gopher: A NASA ASTEP Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doran, P. T.; Bar-Cohen, Y.; Fritsen, C.; Kenig, F.; McKay, C. P.; Murray, A.; Sherrit, S.

    2003-01-01

    Evidence for the presence of ice and fluids near the surface of Mars in both the distant and recent past is growing with each new mission to the Planet. One explanation for fluids forming springlike features on Mars is the discharge of subsurface brines. Brines offer potential refugia for extant Martian life, and near surface ice could preserve a record of past life on the planet. Proven techniques to get underground to sample these environments, and get below the disruptive influence of the surface oxidant and radiation regime, will be critical for future astrobiology missions to Mars. Our Astrobiology for Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) project has the goal to develop and test a novel ultrasonic corer in a Mars analog environment, the McMurdo Dry valleys, Antarctica, and to detect and describe life in a previously unstudied extreme ecosystem; Lake Vida (Fig. 1), an ice-sealed lake.

  6. Geophysical Survey of McMurdo Ice Shelf to Determine Infrastructure Stability and for Future Planning

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2017-01-01

    Campbell, Zoe Courville, and Samantha Sinclair U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Cold Regions Research and Engineering...threaten research in Antarctica. Researchers at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory collected approximately 1300 km of...Engineer Research and Development Center, Cold Regions Re- search and Engineering Laboratory (ERDC-CRREL), and the Department of Geology, Middlebury

  7. Recent changes in the flow of the Ross Ice Shelf, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hulbe, Christina L.; Scambos, Ted A.; Lee, Choon-Ki; Bohlander, Jennifer; Haran, Terry

    2013-08-01

    Comparison of surface velocities measured during the Ross Ice Shelf Geophysical and Glaciological Survey (RIGGS, 1973 to 1978) and velocities measured via feature tracking between two Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) mosaics (compiled from 2003/4 and 2008/9 images) reveals widespread slowing and minor areas of acceleration in the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) over the approximately 30 year interval. The largest changes (-13 ma) occur near the Whillans and Mercer Ice Streams grounding line in the southernmost part of the ice shelf. Speed has increased over the interval (up to 5 ma) between the MacAyeal Ice Stream grounding line and the shelf front, and along the eastern shelf front. Changes in ice thickness computed using ICESat laser altimetry are used together with a well-tested model of the ice shelf to investigate underlying causes of change in the flow of the ice shelf over time. The observed transients represent a combination of recent forcings and ongoing response to ice stream discharge variations over the past millennium. While evidence of older events may be present, the modern signal is dominated by shorter time scale events, including the stagnation of Kamb Ice Stream about 160 years ago, recent changes in basal drag on the Whillans Ice Stream ice plain and, perhaps, iceberg calving. Details in embayment geometry, for example the shallow sea floor below Crary Ice Rise, modulate the spatial pattern of ice shelf response to boundary condition perturbations.

  8. Sea-ice and surface water circulation, Alaskan continental shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, F. F.; Sharma, G. D.; Burns, J. J. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Over 1500 water samples from surface and from standard hydrographic depths were collected during June and July 1973 from Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The measurement of temperature, salinity, and productivity indicated that various distinct water masses cover the Bering Sea Shelf. The suspended load in surface waters will be correlated with the ERTS-1 imagery as it becomes available to delineate the surface water circulation. The movement of ice floes in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea indicated that movement of ice varies considerably and may depend on wind stress as well as ocean currents.

  9. Glider observations of the Dotson Ice Shelf outflow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miles, Travis; Lee, Sang Hoon; Wåhlin, Anna; Ha, Ho Kyung; Kim, Tae Wan; Assmann, Karen M.; Schofield, Oscar

    2016-01-01

    The Amundsen Sea is one of the most productive polynyas in the Antarctic per unit area and is undergoing rapid changes including a reduction in sea ice duration, thinning ice sheets, retreat of glaciers and the potential collapse of the Thwaites Glacier in Pine Island Bay. A growing body of research has indicated that these changes are altering the water mass properties and associated biogeochemistry within the polynya. Unfortunately difficulties in accessing the remote location have greatly limited the amount of in situ data that has been collected. In this study data from a Teledyne-Webb Slocum glider was used to supplement ship-based sampling along the Dotson Ice Shelf (DIS). This autonomous underwater vehicle revealed a detailed view of a meltwater laden outflow from below the western flank of the DIS. Circumpolar Deep Water intruding onto the shelf drives glacial melt and the supply of macronutrients that, along with ample light, supports the large phytoplankton blooms in the Amundsen Sea Polynya. Less well understood is the source of micronutrients, such as iron, necessary to support this bloom to the central polynya where chlorophyll concentrations are highest. This outflow region showed decreasing optical backscatter with proximity to the bed indicating that particulate matter was sourced from the overlying glacier rather than resuspended sediment. This result suggests that particulate iron, and potentially phytoplankton primary productivity, is intrinsically linked to the magnitude and duration of sub-glacial melt from Circumpolar Deep Water intrusions onto the shelf.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Ice flow velocities and elevation change at Fleming Glacier, Wordie Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendt, A.; Wendt, J.; Bown, F.; Rivera, A.; Zamora, R.; Bravo, C.; Casassa, G.

    2009-04-01

    Glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula have been responding to the pronounced atmospheric warming in the region (Vaughan et al. 2003) with frontal retreat (Cook et al. 2005), ice shelf collapse (Rott et al. 1996) and ice flow acceleration and thinning (Rignot et al. 2004; Shepherd et al. 2003; Pritchard & Vaughan 2007). These trends have progressively migrated southwards along the Antarctic Peninsula causing, for instance, a substantial retreat of Wilkins Ice Shelf (70.2˚ S) in 2008. At 69.3˚ S, but 300 km to the east, Wordie Ice Shelf experienced a major reduction in size in the 1980s (Doake & Vaughan 1991). Available information about this ice shelf and its feeding glaciers dates back to the 1970s when ice thickness and velocity measurements were carried out on Fleming Glacier (Doake 1975). Although initially it was thought that the post-collapse conditions of the feeding glaciers remained unchanged (Vaughan 1993), more recent evidence shows that glaciers accelerated after the ice shelf collapse and substantial glacier thinning has occurred (Rignot et al. 2005). We present data acquired during two field expeditions to Fleming Glacier. During the first season in November 2007, we installed an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) and a permanent GPS site. Additional data including a local GPS network, ground penetrating radar measurements and snow densities were collected. In December 2008, during the second field campaign, surface elevation data were acquired using an airborne laser scanner along a trajectory between Gibbs Glacier and Airy Glacier, along the ice divide between both sides of the Peninsula and on Fleming Glacier. The AWS was found protruding only 20 cm above the snow surface, demonstrating the high snow accumulation in the area, which was sufficient to cover the 4 m high tower installed in 2007 and that annual variability in the mass accumulation is significant. The station collected data for 250 days. The permanent GPS stopped collecting data after

  13. Ice and firn heterogeneity within Larsen C Ice Shelf from borehole optical televiewing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashmore, David W.; Hubbard, Bryn; Luckman, Adrian; Kulessa, Bernd; Bevan, Suzanne; Booth, Adam; Munneke, Peter Kuipers; O'Leary, Martin; Sevestre, Heidi; Holland, Paul R.

    2017-05-01

    We use borehole optical televiewing (OPTV) to explore the internal structure of Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS). We report a suite of five 90 m long OPTV logs, recording a light-emitting diode-illuminated, geometrically correct image of the borehole wall, from the northern and central sectors of LCIS collected during austral spring 2014 and 2015. We use a thresholding-based technique to estimate the refrozen ice content of the ice column and exploit a recently calibrated density-luminosity relationship to reveal its structure. All sites are dense and strongly influenced by surface melt, with frequent refrozen ice layers and mean densities, between the depths of 1.87 and 90 m, ranging from 862 to 894 kg m-3. We define four distinct units that comprise LCIS and relate these to ice provenance, dynamic history, and past melt events. These units are in situ meteoric ice with infiltration ice (U1), meteoric ice which has undergone enhanced densification (U2), thick refrozen ice (U3), and advected continental ice (U4). We show that the OPTV-derived pattern of firn air content is consistent with previous estimates, but that a significant proportion of firn air is contained within U4, which we interpret to have been deposited inland of the grounding line. The structure of LCIS is strongly influenced by the E-W gradient in föhn-driven melting, with sites close to the Antarctic Peninsula being predominantly composed of refrozen ice. Melting is also substantial toward the ice shelf center with >40% of the overall imaged ice column being composed of refrozen ice.

  14. Susceptibility of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to Changes in Ice Shelf Buttressing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fürst, J. J.; Durand, G.; Gillet-chaulet, F.; Tavard, L.; Gagliardini, O.

    2014-12-01

    Higher surface air temperatures over the Antarctic Peninsula are hypothesised to have caused melt-pond formation, destabilisation and sudden disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002. The almost total removal of the shelf resulted in an acceleration of the extant glacier fronts, upstream thinning and unabated ice loss up to this day. Similar thinning is observed for Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector, but here, ocean warming is suspected for enhancing the shelf melting. In both cases, shelf geometries were altered in a way that upstream buttressing was reduced, an explanation for the observed accelerations. Since more than half of all Antarctic glaciers extend into floating shelves and since most of them showed no significant accelerations in the recent past, it remains unclear how susceptible the upstream ice sheet is to geometric changes of the corresponding shelves under further warming in the future. In this context, we aim at quantifying the dynamic susceptibility using ice geometry and surface velocities inferred from observations. To obtain the stress distribution near the grounding line, the shelf viscosity field is determined using a variational inverse method that optimises the mismatch between observed and modelled surface velocities. This allows us to compute a buttressing factor along the grounding line. Using this factor as one criterion, we succeed to a priori discern the segments of the grounding line in the Amundsen Sea sector that, in fact, retreated by now. An abrupt drop-off in buttressing across the main trunk of Thwaites Glacier can explain its asymmetric retreat pattern. Moreover, other regions in this sector are recognised as susceptible to further loss of shelf buttressing, where, for now, perturbations remain too weak for a distinct migration of the grounding line. With the chosen criteria, we are able to localise the regions that are prone to changes in the downstream shelves. This identification enables

  15. Susceptibility of the Antarctic ice sheet to changes in ice shelf buttressing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fürst, Johannes J.; Durand, Gaël; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien; Tavard, Laure; Gagliardini, Olivier

    2015-04-01

    Higher surface air temperatures over the Antarctic Peninsula are hypothesised to have caused melt-pond formation, destabilisation and sudden disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002. The almost total removal of the shelf resulted in an acceleration of the extant glacier fronts, upstream thinning and unabated ice loss up to this day. Similar thinning is observed for Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector, but here, ocean warming is suspected for enhancing the shelf melting. In both cases, shelf geometries were altered in a way that upstream buttressing was reduced, an explanation for the observed accelerations. Since more than half of all Antarctic glaciers extend into floating shelves and since most of them showed no significant accelerations in the recent past, it remains unclear how susceptible the upstream ice sheet is to geometric changes of the corresponding shelves under further warming in the future. In this context, we aim at quantifying the dynamic susceptibility using ice geometry and surface velocities inferred from observations. To obtain the stress distribution near the grounding line, the shelf viscosity field is determined using a variational inverse method that optimises the mismatch between observed and modelled surface velocities. This allows us to compute a buttressing factor along the grounding line. Using this factor as one criterion, we succeed to a priori discern the segments of the grounding line in the Amundsen Sea sector that, in fact, retreated by now. An abrupt drop-off in buttressing across the main trunk of Thwaites Glacier can explain its asymmetric retreat pattern. Moreover, other regions in this sector are recognised as susceptible to further loss of shelf buttressing, where, for now, perturbations remain too weak for a distinct migration of the grounding line. With the chosen criteria, we are able to localise the regions that are prone to changes in the downstream shelves. This identification enables

  16. A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Ice-Shelf Flow Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wearing, M.; Worster, G.; Hindmarsh, R. C. A.

    2015-12-01

    Ice-shelf buttressing is a major control on the rate of ice discharged from fast-flowing ice streams that drain the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The collapse of an ice shelf can lead to dramatic acceleration and thinning of the ice streams and glaciers that flowed into the former shelf. The magnitude of the buttressing force depends on the shelf geometry and confinement. This geometry is determined by the ice-shelf extent, resulting from retreat due to iceberg calving and shelf advance due to flow. In contrast to large-scale ice-sheet models, which require high resolution datasets, we aim to gain insight using simple idealized models, focusing on the transition from lateral confinement to non-confinement. By considering a confined shelf with lateral shear stresses controlling the flow, steady-state analytical solutions can be calculated. These solutions are then compared to a numerical model for a confined flow, which incorporates both shear and extensional stresses. A boundary layer close to the calving front is identified, where both extensional and shear stresses control the dynamics. We test these idealized models against fluid-mechanical laboratory experiments, designed to simulate the flow of an ice shelf in a narrow channel. From these experiments velocity fields and altimetry for the ice-shelf are collected, allowing for comparison with the theoretical models and geophysical data.

  17. Perchlorate and chlorate biogeochemistry in ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, W. Andrew; Davila, Alfonso F.; Estrada, Nubia; Berry Lyons, W.; Coates, John D.; Priscu, John C.

    2012-12-01

    We measured chlorate (ClO3-) and perchlorate (ClO4-) concentrations in ice covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs) of Antarctica, to evaluate their role in the ecology and geochemical evolution of the lakes. ClO3- and ClO4- are present throughout the MDV Lakes, streams, and other surface water bodies. ClO3- and ClO4- originate in the atmosphere and are transported to the lakes by surface inflow of glacier melt that has been differentially impacted by interaction with soils and aeolian matter. Concentrations of ClO3- and ClO4- in the lakes and between lakes vary based on both total evaporative concentration, as well as biological activity within each lake. All of the lakes except the East lobe of Lake Bonney support biological reduction of ClO3- and ClO4- either in the anoxic bottom waters or sediment. The younger less saline lakes (Miers and Hoare), have surface ClO3- and ClO4- concentrations, and ratios of ClO3-/Cl- and ClO4-/Cl-, similar to source streams, while Lake Fryxell has concentrations similar to input streams but much lower ClO3-/Cl- and ClO4-/Cl- ratios, reflecting the influence of a large Cl- source in bottom sediments. ClO3- and ClO4- in Lake Bonney are the highest of all the lakes reflecting the lake's greater age and higher concentration of Cl-. ClO4- appears to be stable in the East Lobe and its concentration is highly correlated with Cl- concentration suggesting that some ClO4- at depth is a remnant of the initial seawater that formed Lake Bonney. ClO3- and ClO4- concentrations provide a simple and sensitive means to evaluate microbial activity in these lakes due to their relatively low concentrations and lack of biological sources, unlike NO3-, NO2-, and SO4-2.

  18. A 10Be Based Deglacial Chronology of the McMurdo Sound Region, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bill, N. S.; Clark, P. U.; Kurz, M. D.; Marcott, S. A.

    2013-12-01

    The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf on Antarctica and is fed primarily by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Surface exposure dates from till and moraines in the McMurdo Sound and Dry Valleys region indicate that the Ross Ice Shelf thickened during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), due to extensive grounding on the continental shelf, which led to ice sheet advance into the Dry Valleys. Since the Ross Ice Shelf is fed by the WAIS, understanding the deglacial history of this region provides better constraints on the glacial history of the WAIS since the LGM. We sampled nearly 200 erratics from glacial deposits around McMurdo Sound to develop a 10Be based glacial chronology to address the following questions. (1) What was the upper limit of grounded ice in the region during the LGM? (2) When did ice begin to retreat from its LGM extent? (3) What were the rates of thinning during deglaciation? New constraints on the timing and geometry of WAIS deglaciation since the LGM will help determine Antarctic ice sheet contributions to global sea level rise since the late Pleistocene, and in particular whether this region of WAIS contributed to the period of rapid sea level rise referred to as Meltwater Pulse 1A (20 meters of global sea level rise in less than 500 years at 14.6 kya). We will present preliminary ages that address each of the three main issues associated with the last deglaciation. The chronology from this study will provide novel dates for this region due to its focus on large granite erratic boulders and the use of 10Be in its exposure ages.

  19. Actively evolving subglacial conduits and eskers initiate ice shelf channels at an Antarctic grounding line

    PubMed Central

    Drews, R.; Pattyn, F.; Hewitt, I. J.; Ng, F. S. L.; Berger, S.; Matsuoka, K.; Helm, V.; Bergeot, N.; Favier, L.; Neckel, N.

    2017-01-01

    Ice-shelf channels are long curvilinear tracts of thin ice found on Antarctic ice shelves. Many of them originate near the grounding line, but their formation mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we use ice-penetrating radar data from Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, to infer that the morphology of several ice-shelf channels is seeded upstream of the grounding line by large basal obstacles indenting the ice from below. We interpret each obstacle as an esker ridge formed from sediments deposited by subglacial water conduits, and calculate that the eskers' size grows towards the grounding line where deposition rates are maximum. Relict features on the shelf indicate that these linked systems of subglacial conduits and ice-shelf channels have been changing over the past few centuries. Because ice-shelf channels are loci where intense melting occurs to thin an ice shelf, these findings expose a novel link between subglacial drainage, sedimentation and ice-shelf stability. PMID:28485400

  20. Draft Genome Sequence of Paenisporosarcina sp. Strain TG-14, a Psychrophilic Bacterium Isolated from Sediment-Laden Stratified Basal Ice from Taylor Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Koh, Hye Yeon; Lee, Sung Gu; Lee, Jun Hyuck; Doyle, Shawn; Christner, Brent C.

    2012-01-01

    The psychrophilic bacterium Paenisporosarcina sp. TG-14 was isolated from sediment-laden stratified basal ice from Taylor Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Here we report the draft genome sequence of this strain, which may provide useful information on the cold adaptation mechanism in extremely variable environments. PMID:23144403

  1. Draft genome sequence of Paenisporosarcina sp. strain TG-14, a psychrophilic bacterium isolated from sediment-laden stratified basal ice from Taylor Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Koh, Hye Yeon; Lee, Sung Gu; Lee, Jun Hyuck; Doyle, Shawn; Christner, Brent C; Kim, Hak Jun

    2012-12-01

    The psychrophilic bacterium Paenisporosarcina sp. TG-14 was isolated from sediment-laden stratified basal ice from Taylor Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Here we report the draft genome sequence of this strain, which may provide useful information on the cold adaptation mechanism in extremely variable environments.

  2. Change Detection of the Amery Ice Shelf Front (2004-2012) Using ENVISAT ASAR Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, C.; Cheng, X.; Liu, Y.

    2012-12-01

    Antarctic ice shelves are prominent constituent parts of ice sheets due to their ice-ocean-atmosphere interface and their vulnerability to regional and global changes in atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. The majority of mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet occurs at the ice shelves via either iceberg calving or basal melting. To fully understand the complex process of ice shelf mass balance, it is necessary to monitor the ice shelf changes over an extended period of time. The Amery Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in East Antarctica. Understanding the changes of the Amery Ice Shelf front are crucial for making accurate predictions about the response of ice sheets to global climate change. Here we use the time series of ENVISAT images from 2004 to 2012 and the ice flow lines in Antarctic to monitor the changes of 11 test areas in the Amery Ice Shelf front (Fig. 1). Each image was linearly stretched to enhance the edges and then filtered according to an efficient image denoising scheme. We then extracted the coastlines semi-automatically by combining an artificial drawing method with an improved watershed algorithm. The 11 test areas are chosen according to the ice flow lines of the Antarctic. The results show that the Amery Ice Shelf has been expanding obviously. The rate in the middle of the Amery Ice Shelf front is higher than that on both sides of the front. The highest average propagation rate is 3.36 m/day and the lowest rate is 1.65 m/day in the past 9 years. The rates of 11 test areas during 2009 and 2010 are generally lower than those in other periods. It indicates that the propagation rate would be influenced by the climate environment. Additionally, the short-term environmental forces, such as calving events, tidal bending, ocean swell and so on would influence the ice shelf propagation. In conclusion, the rapid propagation of the Amery Ice Shelf has confirmed the fact that the East Antarctic has been expanding. Once some large iceberg calving

  3. Benthic microbial communities of coastal terrestrial and ice shelf Antarctic meltwater ponds

    PubMed Central

    Archer, Stephen D. J.; McDonald, Ian R.; Herbold, Craig W.; Lee, Charles K.; Cary, Craig S.

    2015-01-01

    The numerous perennial meltwater ponds distributed throughout Antarctica represent diverse and productive ecosystems central to the ecological functioning of the surrounding ultra oligotrophic environment. The dominant taxa in the pond benthic communities have been well described however, little is known regarding their regional dispersal and local drivers to community structure. The benthic microbial communities of 12 meltwater ponds in the McMurdo Sound of Antarctica were investigated to examine variation between pond microbial communities and their biogeography. Geochemically comparable but geomorphologically distinct ponds were selected from Bratina Island (ice shelf) and Miers Valley (terrestrial) (<40 km between study sites), and community structure within ponds was compared using DNA fingerprinting and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. More than 85% of total sequence reads were shared between pooled benthic communities at different locations (OTU0.05), which in combination with favorable prevailing winds suggests aeolian regional distribution. Consistent with previous findings Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were the dominant phyla representing over 50% of total sequences; however, a large number of other phyla (21) were also detected in this ecosystem. Although dominant Bacteria were ubiquitous between ponds, site and local selection resulted in heterogeneous community structures and with more than 45% of diversity being pond specific. Potassium was identified as the most significant contributing factor to the cosmopolitan community structure and aluminum to the location unique community based on a BEST analysis (Spearman's correlation coefficient of 0.632 and 0.806, respectively). These results indicate that the microbial communities in meltwater ponds are easily dispersed regionally and that the local geochemical environment drives the ponds community structure. PMID:26074890

  4. Feedbacks between ice and ocean dynamics at the West Antarctic Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in future global warming scenarios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goeller, Sebastian; Timmermann, Ralph

    2016-04-01

    The ice flow at the margins of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is moderated by large ice shelves. Their buttressing effect substantially controls the mass balance of the WAIS and thus its contribution to sea level rise. The stability of these ice shelves results from the balance of mass gain by accumulation and ice flow from the adjacent ice sheet and mass loss by calving and basal melting due to the ocean heat flux. Recent results of ocean circulation models indicate that warm circumpolar water of the Southern Ocean may override the submarine slope front of the Antarctic Continent and boost basal ice shelf melting. In particular, ocean simulations for several of the IPCC's future climate scenarios demonstrate the redirection of a warm coastal current into the Filchner Trough and underneath the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf within the next decades. In this study, we couple the finite elements ocean circulation model FESOM and the three-dimensional thermomechanical ice flow model RIMBAY to investigate the complex interactions between ocean and ice dynamics at the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. We focus on the impact of a changing ice shelf cavity on ocean dynamics as well as the feedback of the resulting sub-shelf melting rates on the ice shelf geometry and implications for the dynamics of the adjacent marine-based Westantarctic Ice Sheet. Our simulations reveal the high sensitivity of grounding line migration to ice-ocean interactions within the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and emphasize the importance of coupled model studies for realistic assessments of the Antarctic mass balance in future global warming scenarios.

  5. Ecosystems on ice: the microbial ecology of Markham Ice Shelf in the high Arctic.

    PubMed

    Vincent, Warwick F; Mueller, Derek R; Bonilla, Sylvia

    2004-04-01

    Microbial communities occur throughout the cryosphere in a diverse range of ice-dominated habitats including snow, sea ice, glaciers, permafrost, and ice clouds. In each of these environments, organisms must be capable of surviving freeze-thaw cycles, persistent low temperatures for growth, extremes of solar radiation, and prolonged dormancy. These constraints may have been especially important during global cooling events in the past, including the Precambrian glaciations. One analogue of these early Earth conditions is the thick, landfast sea ice that occurs today at certain locations in the Arctic and Antarctic. These ice shelves contain liquid water for a brief period each summer, and support luxuriant microbial mat communities. Our recent studies of these mats on the Markham Ice Shelf (Canadian high Arctic) by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) showed that they contain high concentrations of chlorophylls a and b, and several carotenoids notably lutein, echinenone and beta-carotene. The largest peaks in the HPLC chromatograms were two UV-screening compounds known to be produced by cyanobacteria, scytonemin, and its decomposition product scytonemin-red. Microscopic analyses of the mats showed that they were dominated by the chlorophyte genera cf. Chlorosarcinopsis, Pleurastrum, Palmellopsis, and Bracteococcus, and cyanobacteria of the genera Nostoc, Phormidium, Leptolyngbya, and Gloeocapsa. From point transects and localized sampling we estimated a total standing stock on this ice shelf of up to 11,200 tonnes of organic matter. These observations underscore the ability of microbial communities to flourish despite the severe constraints imposed by the cryo-ecosystem environment.

  6. SAR observations of the Nansen Ice Shelf fracture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moctezuma-Flores, M.; Parmiggiani, F.

    2016-11-01

    This paper presents a study, by means of of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images, of the fracture of the Nansen Ice Shelf, from its first appearance in SAR images to the final collapse on 7 April 2016. Both Sentinel-1 and Cosmo-SkyMed images have been used. First, the images were remapped onto an equidistant cylindrical projection; from these a subset, or imagette, only covering the fracture was extracted. A segmentation scheme was then applied to the sequence of imagettes in order to produce a sequence of binary imagettes with only the fracture area enhanced; from these, the computation of fracture area became a trivial task.

  7. Strong thermodynamic coupling between sub-ice-shelf melting and sea ice in a high-resolution global sea-ice-ocean isopycnal model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sergienko, O. V.

    2015-12-01

    Sub-ice-shelf melting(freezing) of the Antarctic ice shelves acts as a source(sink) of freshwater, therefore, affects ocean water properties and circulation. In its turn, sub-ice-shelf melting/freezing is controlled by the ocean water properties that reach the sub-ice-shelf cavities. The properties of these water masses are determined by heat and fresh-water exchange with sea ice and atmosphere. Simulations of a high-resolution (1/8 deg) global sea-ice-ocean isopycnal model capable to resolve the ocean circulation in sub-ice-shelf cavities of Antarctic ice shelves and account for the thermodynamic interaction of the circulation with ice shelves show that melting/freezing rates have a strong seasonal cycle with highest melting rates observed in the Austral Fall. On the continental shelf, subsurface ocean temperatures (100-300 m) have a similar seasonal cycle which is lagged with respect to the surface. Shelf temperatures peak in the summertime, followed by rapid cooling towards the freezing point as seasonal ice cover increases. The lagged warming in the subsurface is attributable to reduced heat loss to the atmosphere in the presence of seasonal sea ice. This suggests that the seasonal cycle in melt rates is controlled by the phasing of subsurface temperatures on the continental shelf, which is in turn dominated by sea ice. The outflowing fresh, cold and light meltwater formed in sub-ice-shelf cavities remains in the mixed layer and promotes formation of sea ice and its longer persistence into the Austral Summer. These processes suggest the presence of strong mutual feedbacks between sub-ice-shelf melting and sea ice formation around Antarctic ice shelves.

  8. Stability of the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula during the Holocene epoch.

    PubMed

    Domack, Eugene; Duran, Diana; Leventer, Amy; Ishman, Scott; Doane, Sarah; McCallum, Scott; Amblas, David; Ring, Jim; Gilbert, Robert; Prentice, Michael

    2005-08-04

    The stability of the Antarctic ice shelves in a warming climate has long been discussed, and the recent collapse of a significant part, over 12,500 km2 in area, of the Larsen ice shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula has led to a refocus toward the implications of ice shelf decay for the stability of Antarctica's grounded ice. Some smaller Antarctic ice shelves have undergone periodic growth and decay over the past 11,000 yr (refs 7-11), but these ice shelves are at the climatic limit of ice shelf viability and are therefore expected to respond rapidly to natural climate variability at century to millennial scales. Here we use records of diatoms, detrital material and geochemical parameters from six marine sediment cores in the vicinity of the Larsen ice shelf to demonstrate that the recent collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf is unprecedented during the Holocene. We infer from our oxygen isotope measurements in planktonic foraminifera that the Larsen B ice shelf has been thinning throughout the Holocene, and we suggest that the recent prolonged period of warming in the Antarctic Peninsula region, in combination with the long-term thinning, has led to collapse of the ice shelf.

  9. Application of antimicrobial ice for extending shelf life of fish.

    PubMed

    Oral, Nebahat; Gülmez, Murat; Vatansever, Leyla; Güven, Abamüslüm

    2008-01-01

    In this study, we investigated whether wild-thyme (Thymus serpyllum) hydrosol had a preserving effect against spoilage of freshwater fish. Sensorial characteristics, chemical freshness indicator contents, and microbial counts (total aerobes, psychrotrophics, Enterobacteriaceae, fecal coliform bacteria, Aeromonas spp., and Pseudomonas spp.) of whole ungutted and gutted Transcaucasian barb (Capoeta capoeta capoeta Guldenstaedt, 1772) stored on ice produced from wild-thyme hydrosol and tap water at 4 degrees C for 20 days were compared. The results did not reveal any significant (P > 0.05) differences in the microbial counts, sensorial characteristics, pH, and total volatile basic nitrogen values between gutted and ungutted groups. Sensory evaluation and microbiological and chemical analyses indicated that the storage of the fish on ice produced from wild-thyme hydrosol had a significant increase in shelf life by at least 15 to 20 days.

  10. Breaking Ice 2: A rift system on the Ross Ice Shelf as an analog for tidal tectonics on icy moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brunt, K. M.; Hurford, T., Jr.; Schmerr, N. C.; Sauber, J. M.; MacAyeal, D. R.

    2016-12-01

    Ice shelves are the floating regions of the polar ice sheets. Outside of the influence of the narrow region of their grounding zone, they are fully hydrostatic and strongly influenced by the ocean tides. Recent observational and modeling studies have assessed the effect of tides on ice shelves, including: the tidal influence on the ice-shelf surface height, which changes by as much as 6 to 7 m on the southern extreme of the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf; the tidal modulation of the ice-shelf horizontal flow velocities, which changes the mean ice-flow rate by as much as two fold on the Ross Ice Shelf; and the tidal contribution to fracture and rift propagation, which eventually leads to iceberg calving. Here, we present the analysis of 16 days of continuous GPS data from a rift system near the front of the Ross Ice Shelf. While the GPS sites were installed for a different scientific investigation, and not optimized to assess tidal rifting mechanics, they provide a first-order sense of the tidal evolution of the rift system. These analyses can be used as a terrestrial analog for tidal activity on icy satellites, such as Europa and Enceladus, moons of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively. Using remote sensing and modeling of the Ross Ice Shelf rift system, we can investigate the geological processes observed on icy satellites and advance modeling efforts of their tidal-tectonic evolution.

  11. Response to a warming inflow in a coupled model of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf cavity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Timmermann, Ralph; Goeller, Sebastian

    2017-04-01

    To study the interaction between the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic ice sheet, a Regional Antarctic and Global Ocean (RAnGO) model has been developed. The coupled model is based on a global implementation of the Finite Element Sea ice—Ocean Model (FESOM) with a mesh refinement in the Southern Ocean, particularly in its marginal seas and in the sub-ice shelf cavities. The cryosphere is represented by a regional setup of the ice flow model RIMBAY, which comprises the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and the grounded ice in its catchment area up to the ice divides. At the base of the RIMBAY ice shelf, melt rates from FESOM's ice shelf component are prescribed. RIMBAY returns ice thickness and the position of the grounding line. Model runs with a 20th-century climate forcing yield realistic basal melt rates and a quasi-stable grounding line position close to the presently observed state. In a centennial-scale warm-water-inflow scenario, the model suggests a substantial thinning of the ice shelf and a gradual retreat of the grounding line. A more dramatic response is prevented by the steep topography upstream from most of current grounding lines in this area. The potentially negative feedback from ice shelf thinning through a rising in-situ freezing temperature is more than outweighed by the increase of deep-drafted ice shelf area. Compared to a control simulation with fixed ice shelf geometry, the coupled model thus yields a slightly stronger increase of ice shelf basal melt rates.

  12. Antarctic ice shelf potentially stabilized by export of meltwater in surface river.

    PubMed

    Bell, Robin E; Chu, Winnie; Kingslake, Jonathan; Das, Indrani; Tedesco, Marco; Tinto, Kirsty J; Zappa, Christopher J; Frezzotti, Massimo; Boghosian, Alexandra; Lee, Won Sang

    2017-04-19

    Meltwater stored in ponds and crevasses can weaken and fracture ice shelves, triggering their rapid disintegration. This ice-shelf collapse results in an increased flux of ice from adjacent glaciers and ice streams, thereby raising sea level globally. However, surface rivers forming on ice shelves could potentially export stored meltwater and prevent its destructive effects. Here we present evidence for persistent active drainage networks-interconnected streams, ponds and rivers-on the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica that export a large fraction of the ice shelf's meltwater into the ocean. We find that active drainage has exported water off the ice surface through waterfalls and dolines for more than a century. The surface river terminates in a 130-metre-wide waterfall that can export the entire annual surface melt over the course of seven days. During warmer melt seasons, these drainage networks adapt to changing environmental conditions by remaining active for longer and exporting more water. Similar networks are present on the ice shelf in front of Petermann Glacier, Greenland, but other systems, such as on the Larsen C and Amery Ice Shelves, retain surface water at present. The underlying reasons for export versus retention remain unclear. Nonetheless our results suggest that, in a future warming climate, surface rivers could export melt off the large ice shelves surrounding Antarctica-contrary to present Antarctic ice-sheet models, which assume that meltwater is stored on the ice surface where it triggers ice-shelf disintegration.

  13. Antarctic Ice Shelf Potentially Stabilized by Export of Meltwater in Surface River

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, Robin E.; Chu, Winnie; Kingslake, Jonathan; Das, Indrani; Tedesco, Marco; Tinto, Kirsty J.; Zappa, Christopher J.; Frezzotti, Massimo; Boghosian, Alexandra; Lee, Won Sang

    2017-01-01

    Meltwater stored in ponds and crevasses can weaken and fracture ice shelves, triggering their rapid disintegration. This ice-shelf collapse results in an increased flux of ice from adjacent glaciers and ice streams, thereby raising sea level globally. However, surface rivers forming on ice shelves could potentially export stored meltwater and prevent its destructive effects. Here we present evidence for persistent active drainage networks-interconnected streams, ponds and rivers-on the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica that export a large fraction of the ice shelf's meltwater into the ocean. We find that active drainage has exported water off the ice surface through waterfalls and dolines for more than a century. The surface river terminates in a 130-metre-wide waterfall that can export the entire annual surface melt over the course of seven days. During warmer melt seasons, these drainage networks adapt to changing environmental conditions by remaining active for longer and exporting more water. Similar networks are present on the ice shelf in front of Petermann Glacier, Greenland, but other systems, such as on the Larsen C and Amery Ice Shelves, retain surface water at present. The underlying reasons for export versus retention remain unclear. Nonetheless our results suggest that, in a future warming climate, surface rivers could export melt off the large ice shelves surrounding Antarctica-contrary to present Antarctic ice-sheet models, which assume that meltwater is stored on the ice surface where it triggers ice-shelf disintegration.

  14. Widespread collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf during the late Holocene

    PubMed Central

    Yokoyama, Yusuke; Anderson, John B.; Yamane, Masako; Simkins, Lauren M.; Miyairi, Yosuke; Yamazaki, Takahiro; Koizumi, Mamito; Suga, Hisami; Kusahara, Kazuya; Prothro, Lindsay; Hasumi, Hiroyasu; Southon, John R.; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2016-01-01

    The stability of modern ice shelves is threatened by atmospheric and oceanic warming. The geologic record of formerly glaciated continental shelves provides a window into the past of how ice shelves responded to a warming climate. Fields of deep (−560 m), linear iceberg furrows on the outer, western Ross Sea continental shelf record an early post-Last Glacial Maximum episode of ice-shelf collapse that was followed by continuous retreat of the grounding line for ∼200 km. Runaway grounding line conditions culminated once the ice became pinned on shallow banks in the western Ross Sea. This early episode of ice-shelf collapse is not observed in the eastern Ross Sea, where more episodic grounding line retreat took place. More widespread (∼280,000 km2) retreat of the ancestral Ross Ice Shelf occurred during the late Holocene. This event is recorded in sediment cores by a shift from terrigenous glacimarine mud to diatomaceous open-marine sediment as well as an increase in radiogenic beryllium (10Be) concentrations. The timing of ice-shelf breakup is constrained by compound specific radiocarbon ages, the first application of this technique systematically applied to Antarctic marine sediments. Breakup initiated around 5 ka, with the ice shelf reaching its current configuration ∼1.5 ka. In the eastern Ross Sea, the ice shelf retreated up to 100 km in about a thousand years. Three-dimensional thermodynamic ice-shelf/ocean modeling results and comparison with ice-core records indicate that ice-shelf breakup resulted from combined atmospheric warming and warm ocean currents impinging onto the continental shelf. PMID:26884201

  15. Widespread collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf during the late Holocene.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Yusuke; Anderson, John B; Yamane, Masako; Simkins, Lauren M; Miyairi, Yosuke; Yamazaki, Takahiro; Koizumi, Mamito; Suga, Hisami; Kusahara, Kazuya; Prothro, Lindsay; Hasumi, Hiroyasu; Southon, John R; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2016-03-01

    The stability of modern ice shelves is threatened by atmospheric and oceanic warming. The geologic record of formerly glaciated continental shelves provides a window into the past of how ice shelves responded to a warming climate. Fields of deep (-560 m), linear iceberg furrows on the outer, western Ross Sea continental shelf record an early post-Last Glacial Maximum episode of ice-shelf collapse that was followed by continuous retreat of the grounding line for ∼200 km. Runaway grounding line conditions culminated once the ice became pinned on shallow banks in the western Ross Sea. This early episode of ice-shelf collapse is not observed in the eastern Ross Sea, where more episodic grounding line retreat took place. More widespread (∼280,000 km(2)) retreat of the ancestral Ross Ice Shelf occurred during the late Holocene. This event is recorded in sediment cores by a shift from terrigenous glacimarine mud to diatomaceous open-marine sediment as well as an increase in radiogenic beryllium ((10)Be) concentrations. The timing of ice-shelf breakup is constrained by compound specific radiocarbon ages, the first application of this technique systematically applied to Antarctic marine sediments. Breakup initiated around 5 ka, with the ice shelf reaching its current configuration ∼1.5 ka. In the eastern Ross Sea, the ice shelf retreated up to 100 km in about a thousand years. Three-dimensional thermodynamic ice-shelf/ocean modeling results and comparison with ice-core records indicate that ice-shelf breakup resulted from combined atmospheric warming and warm ocean currents impinging onto the continental shelf.

  16. Boundary condition of grounding lines prior to collapse, Larsen-B Ice Shelf, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Rebesco, M; Domack, E; Zgur, F; Lavoie, C; Leventer, A; Brachfeld, S; Willmott, V; Halverson, G; Truffer, M; Scambos, T; Smith, J; Pettit, E

    2014-09-12

    Grounding zones, where ice sheets transition between resting on bedrock to full floatation, help regulate ice flow. Exposure of the sea floor by the 2002 Larsen-B Ice Shelf collapse allowed detailed morphologic mapping and sampling of the embayment sea floor. Marine geophysical data collected in 2006 reveal a large, arcuate, complex grounding zone sediment system at the front of Crane Fjord. Radiocarbon-constrained chronologies from marine sediment cores indicate loss of ice contact with the bed at this site about 12,000 years ago. Previous studies and morphologic mapping of the fjord suggest that the Crane Glacier grounding zone was well within the fjord before 2002 and did not retreat further until after the ice shelf collapse. This implies that the 2002 Larsen-B Ice Shelf collapse likely was a response to surface warming rather than to grounding zone instability, strengthening the idea that surface processes controlled the disintegration of the Larsen Ice Shelf.

  17. Nitrate analysis of snow and ice core samples collected in the vicinity of a waste detonation event, McMurdo Station, Antarctica

    SciTech Connect

    White, G.J.; Lugar, R.M.; Crockett, A.B.

    1994-07-01

    On December 30, 1991, a small quantity of hazardous materials was detonated at a site near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The materials involved in the detonation represented highly reactive or explosive wastes that could not be transported safely for disposal in the United States. Detonation was therefore considered the safest and most effective means for disposing these hazardous materials. One concern regarding the detonation of these substances was that the process could generate or distribute measurable quantities of contaminants to the area surrounding the detonation site. Nitrate was selected as a tracer to document the distribution of contaminants from the detonation. Snow and ice cores were collected about 4 months after the event. These cores were analyzed for nitrate concentrations in May 1993, and a map was generated to show the extent of nitrate contamination. This report describes the collection of these samples and summarizes the analytical results.

  18. Chemotrophic Ecosystem Beneath the Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leventer, A.; Domack, E.; Ishman, S.; Sylva, S.; Willmott, V.; Huber, B.; Padman, L.

    2005-12-01

    The first living chemotrophic ecosystem in the Southern Ocean was discovered in a region of the seafloor previously occupied by the Larsen-B Ice Shelf. A towed video survey documents an ecosystem characterized by a bottom-draping white mat that appears similar to mats of Begiattoa, hydrogen sulfide oxidizing bacteria, and bivalves, 20-30 cm large, similar to vesicomyid clams commonly found at cold seeps. The carbon source is unknown; three potential sources are hypothesized. First, thermogenically-produced methane may occur as the marine shales of this region are similar to hydrocarbon-bearing rocks to the north in Patagonia. The site occurs in an 850 m deep glacially eroded trough located along the contact between Mesozoic-Tertiary crystalline basement and Cretaceous-Tertiary marine rocks; decreased overburden could have induced upward fluid flow. Also possible is the dissociation of methane hydrates, a process that might have occurred as a result of warming oceanic bottom waters. This possibility will be discussed in light of the distribution of early diagenetic ikaite in the region. Third, the possibility of a biogenic methane source will be discussed. A microstratigraphic model for the features observed at the vent sites will be presented; the system is comprised of mud mounds with central vents and surrounding mud flow channels. A series of still image mosaics record the dynamic behavior of the system, which appears to demonstrate episodic venting. These images show the spatial relationship between more and less active sites, as reflected in the superposition of several episodes of mud flow activity and the formation of mud channels. In addition, detailed microscale features of the bathymetry of the site will be presented, placing the community within the context of glacial geomorphologic features. The Larsen-B Ice Shelf persisted through the entire Holocene, limiting carbon influx from a photosynthetic source. Tidal modeling of both pre and post breakup

  19. The relevance of buttressing for Filchner-Ronne and Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reese, Ronja; Gudmundsson, Hilmar; Levermann, Anders; Winkelmann, Ricarda

    2016-04-01

    Sub-shelf melting is an important component of Antarctica's mass budget. Although thinning of ice shelves does not directly contribute to sea-level rise, it may have a significant indirect impact through the potential of ice shelves to buttress their adjacent ice sheet. This is clearly seen in recent observations, e.g. in the Amundsen region (Pritchard et al., 2012) or at the Southern Antarctic Peninsula (Wouters et al, 2015) where increased ice loss of the adjacent upstream drainage basins is attributed to enhanced sub-shelf melting. In the extreme case, the complete disintegration of an ice shelf, e.g. during the calving events of Larsen A and B in 1995 and 2002, respectively, the adjacent ice streams subsequently accelerated significantly (Scambos et al., 2014). Here, we investigate the importance of buttressing using the finite-element, shallow-stream approximation numerical model Úa. We derive transfer functions for an idealized setup (Gudmundsson et al. 2012) and the Filchner-Ronne and Ross Ice Shelf. They allow for the computation of instantaneous changes in velocities to thickness perturbation patterns. Based on the transfer functions, we calculate the sensitivity of flux across the grounding line to regional varying melting patterns for the idealized setup and for Filchner-Ronne and Ross Ice Shelf. We find that the immediate response of velocities in the ice shelf-ice sheet system to changes in sub-shelf melting can be understood as the interaction of two effects: On the one hand, the spreading rate is a function of local ice thickness, indicating that a thinning of the ice shelf reduces velocities. On the other hand, ice shelf thinning weakens its ability to buttress, and thus enhances velocities. These two processes compete, leading to a complex pattern of velocity changes within the ice shelf. We find - both in the idealized setup and for Ross and Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelves - that the reduction in buttressing is dominating the velocity changes in the

  20. Sea ice and oceanic processes on the Ross Sea continental shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jacobs, S. S.; Comiso, J. C.

    1989-01-01

    The spatial and temporal variability of Antarctic sea ice concentrations on the Ross Sea continental shelf have been investigated in relation to oceanic and atmospheric forcing. Sea ice data were derived from Nimbus 7 scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR) brightness temperatures from 1979-1986. Ice cover over the shelf was persistently lower than above the adjacent deep ocean, averaging 86 percent during winter with little month-to-month of interannual variability. The large spring Ross Sea polynya on the western shelf results in a longer period of summer insolation, greater surface layer heat storage, and later ice formation in that region the following autumn.

  1. A constitutive framework for predicting weakening and reduced buttressing of ice shelves based on observations of the progressive deterioration of the remnant Larsen B Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borstad, Chris; Khazendar, Ala; Scheuchl, Bernd; Morlighem, Mathieu; Larour, Eric; Rignot, Eric

    2016-03-01

    The increasing contribution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to sea level rise is linked to reductions in ice shelf buttressing, driven in large part by basal melting of ice shelves. These ocean-driven buttressing losses are being compounded as ice shelves weaken and fracture. To date, model projections of ice sheet evolution have not accounted for weakening ice shelves. Here we present the first constitutive framework for ice deformation that explicitly includes mechanical weakening, based on observations of the progressive degradation of the remnant Larsen B Ice Shelf from 2000 to 2015. We implement this framework in an ice sheet model and are able to reproduce most of the observed weakening of the ice shelf. In addition to predicting ice shelf weakening and reduced buttressing, this new framework opens the door for improved understanding and predictions of iceberg calving, meltwater routing and hydrofracture, and ice shelf collapse.

  2. Accelerated ice shelf rifting and retreat at Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeong, Seongsu; Howat, Ian M.; Bassis, Jeremy N.

    2016-11-01

    Pine Island Glacier has undergone several major iceberg calving events over the past decades. These typically occurred when a rift at the heavily fractured shear margin propagated across the width of the ice shelf. This type of calving is common on polar ice shelves, with no clear connection to ocean-ice dynamic forcing. In contrast, we report on the recent development of multiple rifts initiating from basal crevasses in the center of the ice shelf, resulted in calving further upglacier than previously observed. Coincident with rift formation was the sudden disintegration of the ice mélange that filled the northern shear margin, resulting in ice sheet detachment from this margin. Examination of ice velocity suggests that this internal rifting resulted from the combination of a change in ice shelf stress regime caused by disintegration of the mélange and intensified melting within basal crevasses, both of which may be linked to ocean forcing.

  3. Firn structure of Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, from in-situ geophysical surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kulessa, B.; Brisbourne, A.; Kuipers Munneke, P.; Bevan, S. L.; Luckman, A. J.; Hubbard, B. P.; Ashmore, D.; Holland, P.; Jansen, D.; King, E. C.; O'Leary, M.; McGrath, D.

    2015-12-01

    Rising surface temperatures have been causing firn layers on Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves to compact, a process that is strongly implicated in ice shelf disintegration. Firn compaction is expected to warm the ice column and given sufficiently wet and compacted firn layers, to allow meltwater to penetrate into surface crevasses and thus enhance the potential for hydrofracture. On Larsen C Ice Shelf a compacting firn layer has previously been inferred from airborne radar and satellite data, with strongly reduced air contents in Larsen C's north and north-west. The hydrological processes governing firn compaction, and the detailed firn structures they produce, have so far remained uncertain however. Using integrated seismic refraction, MASW (Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves), seismoelectric and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data, we reveal vertical and horizontal changes in firn structure across Larsen C Ice Shelf. Particular attention is paid to the spatial prevalence of refrozen meltwaters within firn, such as the massive subsurface ice layer discovered recently by the NERC-funded MIDAS project in Cabinet Inlet in Larsen C's extreme northwest. Such ice layers or lenses are particularly dramatic manifestations of increased ice shelf densities and temperatures, and contrast sharply with the relatively uncompacted firn layers present in the ice shelf's southeast. We consider our observations in the context of a one-dimensional firn model for Larsen C Ice Shelf that includes melt percolation and refreezing, and discuss temporal changes in firn layer structures due to surface melt and ponding.

  4. Antarctic ice shelf potentially stabilized by export of meltwater in surface river

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, Robin E.; Chu, Winnie; Kingslake, Jonathan; Das, Indrani; Tedesco, Marco; Tinto, Kirsty J.; Zappa, Christopher J.; Frezzotti, Massimo; Boghosian, Alexandra; Lee, Won Sang

    2017-04-01

    Meltwater stored in ponds and crevasses can weaken and fracture ice shelves, triggering their rapid disintegration. This ice-shelf collapse results in an increased flux of ice from adjacent glaciers and ice streams, thereby raising sea level globally. However, surface rivers forming on ice shelves could potentially export stored meltwater and prevent its destructive effects. Here we present evidence for persistent active drainage networks—interconnected streams, ponds and rivers—on the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica that export a large fraction of the ice shelf’s meltwater into the ocean. We find that active drainage has exported water off the ice surface through waterfalls and dolines for more than a century. The surface river terminates in a 130-metre-wide waterfall that can export the entire annual surface melt over the course of seven days. During warmer melt seasons, these drainage networks adapt to changing environmental conditions by remaining active for longer and exporting more water. Similar networks are present on the ice shelf in front of Petermann Glacier, Greenland, but other systems, such as on the Larsen C and Amery Ice Shelves, retain surface water at present. The underlying reasons for export versus retention remain unclear. Nonetheless our results suggest that, in a future warming climate, surface rivers could export melt off the large ice shelves surrounding Antarctica—contrary to present Antarctic ice-sheet models, which assume that meltwater is stored on the ice surface where it triggers ice-shelf disintegration.

  5. Observed rift propagation in the Larsen C Ice Shelf from Sentinel 1-A radar data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jansen, Daniela; Helm, Veit; Neckel, Niklas; Luckman, Adrian; Bevan, Suzanne

    2016-04-01

    The Larsen C Ice Shelf is the most northerly of the remaining major Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves and is vulnerable to changes in both to ocean and atmospheric forcing. It is the largest ice shelf in the region and its loss would lead to a significant drawdown of ice from the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet. There have been observations of widespread thinning, melt ponding in the northern inlets, and, in the northern part, a speed-up in ice flow, all processes which have been linked to former ice shelf collapses. Previous studies have also highlighted the vulnerability of Larsen C Ice Shelf to specific potential changes in its geometry including a retreat from the Bawden and Gipps Ice Rise. In a change from the usual pattern, a northwards-propagating rift from Gipps Ice Rise has recently advanced towards the center of the ice shelf. It is now more than halfway towards calving a large section of the ice shelf and continues to widen. We followed the rift propagation on MODIS and Landsat imagery and, during the austral winter 2015, on Sentinel-1A radar data. Due to the very cloudy weather conditions during the austral Summer 2015 / 2016 the Sentinel data became an essential part of the monitoring. By calculating differential interferograms it was possible to clearly identify the active tip of the rift, which was not always obvious on the Landsat images. Further, surface velocities were derived from recent Sentinel-1A acquisitions by means of offset intensity tracking. In order to investigate a possible speed-up of the ice shelf we extended the study area to the north including Bawden ice rise.

  6. A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Ice-Shelf Flow Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wearing, Martin; Worster, Grae; Hindmarsh, Richard

    2015-11-01

    Ice-shelf buttressing is a major control on the rate of ice discharged from fast-flowing ice streams that drain the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The magnitude of the buttressing force depends on the shelf geometry and confinement. This geometry is determined by the ice-shelf extent, resulting from retreat due to iceberg calving and shelf advance due to flow. In contrast to large-scale ice-sheet models, which require high resolution datasets, we aim to gain insight using simple idealized models, focusing on the transition from lateral confinement to non-confinement. By considering a confined shelf with lateral shear stresses controlling the flow, steady-state analytical solutions can be calculated. These solutions are then compared to a numerical model for a confined flow, which incorporates both shear and extensional stresses. A boundary layer close to the calving front is identified, where both extensional and shear stresses control the dynamics. We test these idealized models against fluid-mechanical laboratory experiments, designed to simulate the flow of an ice shelf in a narrow channel. From these experiments velocity fields and altimetry for the ice-shelf are collected, allowing for comparison with the theoretical models and geophysical data.

  7. 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

  8. An East Siberian ice shelf during the Late Pleistocene glaciations: Numerical reconstructions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colleoni, Florence; Kirchner, Nina; Niessen, Frank; Quiquet, Aurélien; Liakka, Johan

    2016-09-01

    A recent data campaign in the East Siberian Sea has revealed evidence of grounded and floating ice dynamics in regions of up to 1000 m water depth, and which are attributed to glaciations older than the Last Glacial Maximum (21 kyrs BP). The main hypothesis based on this evidence is that a small ice cap developed over Beringia and expanded over the East Siberian continental margin during some of the Late Pleistocene glaciations. Other similar evidence of ice dynamics that have been previously collected on the shallow continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean have been attributed to the penultimate glaciation, i.e. Marine Isotopes Stage 6 (≈140 kyrs BP). We use an ice sheet model, forced by two previously simulated MIS 6 glacial maximum climates, to carry out a series of sensitivity experiments testing the impact of dynamics and mass-balance related parameters on the geometry of the East Siberian ice cap and ice shelf. Results show that the ice cap developing over Beringia connects to the Eurasian ice sheet in all simulations and that its volume ranges between 6 and 14 m SLE, depending on the climate forcing. This ice cap generates an ice shelf of dimensions comparable with or larger than the present-day Ross ice shelf in West Antarctica. Although the ice shelf extent strongly depends on the ice flux through the grounding line, it is particularly sensitive to the choice of the calving and basal melting parameters. Finally, inhibiting a merging of the Beringia ice cap with the Eurasian ice sheet affects the expansion of the ice shelf only in the simulations where the ice cap fluxes are not large enough to compensate for the fluxes coming from the Eurasian ice sheet.

  9. Structural map of flow variability and propagation behavior in the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LeDoux, C. M.; Hulbe, C. L.

    2011-12-01

    Fracture geometries in the Ross Ice Shelf, observable using visible band satellite imagery from the MODIS Mosaic of Antarctica (MOA) and the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) provide a unique opportunity to study fracture propagation behavior and discharge variability in the ice streams and outlet glaciers feeding the shelf. Propagation is driven by changes in fracture length, near-field stress conditions, and the material properties of the ice. Changes in ice stream discharge and the development of "sticky spots," in both ice streams and within the shelf, lead to redirection of flow, changes in lateral gradients of ice velocity, and the propagation of fractures in response to changes in near-field stresses. The propagation behaviors most commonly observed in the ice shelf are the growth in the transverse direction of a fracture that formed within a shear zone and mechanical interactions between adjacent fracture tips. We use fracture mechanics theory and remote-sensed imagery to categorize fracture patterns and longitudinal zones of fractured ice in the Ross Ice Shelf. Near current sites of formation, simple fracture geometries and principal stresses are used to illustrate physical processes related to the formation and propagation of fractures. To compute flow lines and principal stresses, we derive a velocity map of the Ross Ice Shelf by merging two velocity datasets using a combination of statistical methods. A structural map of fracture geometries, relict shear margins, and structural boundaries is constructed. Using the ice shelf features, present-day flow lines, and principal stresses, we investigate the manner in which principal stresses affect fracture formation and propagation behavior and the variability of ice stream discharge into the shelf.

  10. Impacts of warm water on Antarctic ice shelf stability through basal channel formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alley, Karen E.; Scambos, Ted A.; Siegfried, Matthew R.; Fricker, Helen Amanda

    2016-04-01

    Antarctica's ice shelves provide resistance to the flow of grounded ice towards the ocean. If this resistance is decreased as a result of ice shelf thinning or disintegration, acceleration of grounded ice can occur, increasing rates of sea-level rise. Loss of ice shelf mass is accelerating, especially in West Antarctica, where warm seawater is reaching ocean cavities beneath ice shelves. Here we use satellite imagery, airborne ice-penetrating radar and satellite laser altimetry spanning the period from 2002 to 2014 to map extensive basal channels in the ice shelves surrounding Antarctica. The highest density of basal channels is found in West Antarctic ice shelves. Within the channels, warm water flows northwards, eroding the ice shelf base and driving channel evolution on annual to decadal timescales. Our observations show that basal channels are associated with the development of new zones of crevassing, suggesting that these channels may cause ice fracture. We conclude that basal channels can form and grow quickly as a result of warm ocean water intrusion, and that they can structurally weaken ice shelves, potentially leading to rapid ice shelf loss in some areas.

  11. Variability of Basal Melt Beneath the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, West Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, Robert; Vaughan, David G.; Vornberger, Patricia

    2011-01-01

    Observations from satellite and airborne platforms are combined with model calculations to infer the nature and efficiency of basal melting of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, West Antarctica, by ocean waters. Satellite imagery shows surface features that suggest ice-shelf-wide changes to the ocean s influence on the ice shelf as the grounding line retreated. Longitudinal profiles of ice surface and bottom elevations are analyzed to reveal a spatially dependent pattern of basal melt with an annual melt flux of 40.5 Gt/a. One profile captures a persistent set of surface waves that correlates with quasi-annual variations of atmospheric forcing of Amundsen Sea circulation patterns, establishing a direct connection between atmospheric variability and sub-ice-shelf melting. Ice surface troughs are hydrostatically compensated by ice-bottom voids up to 150m deep. Voids form dynamically at the grounding line, triggered by enhanced melting when warmer-than-average water arrives. Subsequent enlargement of the voids is thermally inefficient (4% or less) compared with an overall melting efficiency beneath the ice shelf of 22%. Residual warm water is believed to cause three persistent polynyas at the ice-shelf front seen in Landsat imagery. Landsat thermal imagery confirms the occurrence of warm water at the same locations.

  12. Using radar to determine the mechanical and thermodynamic effect of tides on an ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Makinson, K.; Nicholls, K. W.; Østerhus, S.; Lok, L. B.; Brennan, P. V.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding how fast the ocean melts Antarctic ice shelves, which are known to restrain the flow of ice from the continental interior, is important to future ice sheet contributions to global sea level rise. Dependant on oceanographic processes delivering ocean heat from the Southern Ocean to the ice, changing rates of ice shelf basal melting ultimately contribute to variations in ice shelf thickness that can affect the discharge of grounded ice into the ocean. Being able to understanding and then predict the way basal melting responds to a changing ocean, requires ocean models that include fully interactive ice shelves and melting processes within their domain. Although such ocean models exist, their performance in the sub-ice shelf part of the domain is very difficult to optimise and validate. Highly accurate measurements of melt rates can be provided by phase-sensitive radars (e.g. pRES), although these have been limited to long term averages. Recent developments by BAS and UCL however, have provided a lightweight, low-power and relatively low cost radar for year-round autonomous operation (ApRES), delivering long time series of ice thickness changes. At tidal time scales however, ice shelves respond elastically to tilting, with significant fluctuations in vertical strain that will appear as apparent basal melting or even freezing. To determine the true basal melt rate at tidal time scales these radar observed vertical strain fluctuations must be removed. At Site 5 on Ronne Ice Shelf, the combined availability of radar-derived melt rates, independent measurements from oceanographic instruments beneath the ice shelf, and GPS strain observations provide a powerful test of both how the ocean interacts with the ice shelf base and the tidally induced melt rates. Using these data we will discuss our ability to accurately predict the temporal details of melt rates beneath ice shelves using ApRES radar.

  13. Mass budget of the grounded ice in the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiahong, Wen; Yafeng, Wang; Jiying, Liu; Jezek, Kenneth C.; Huybrechts, Philippe; Csathó, Beata M.; Farness, Katy L.; Bo, Sun

    We used remote-sensing and in situ measurements of surface accumulation rate, ice surface velocity, thickness and elevation to evaluate the mass budgets of grounded ice-flow regimes that form the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system. Three distinct drainage regimes are considered: the western and eastern margins of the ice shelf, and the southern grounding line at the major outlet glacier confluence, which can be identified with drainage zones 9, 11 and 10 respectively of Giovinetto and Zwally (2000). Our findings show the entire grounded portion of the basin is approximately in balance, with a mass budget of -4.2±9.8 Gta-1. Drainages 9, 10 and 11 are within balance to the level of our measurement uncertainty, with mass budgets of -2.5±2.8 Gta-1, -2.6±7.8 Gta-1 and 0.9±2.3 Gta-1, respectively. The region upstream of the Australian Lambert Glacier basin (LGB) traverse has a net mass budget of 4.4±6.3 Gta-1, while the downstream region has -8.9±9.9 Gta-1. These results indicate that glacier drainages 9, 10 and 11, upstream and downstream of the Australian LGB traverse, are in balance to within our measurement error.

  14. NASA MISR Tracks Growth of Rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-04-11

    A rift in Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf has grown to 110 miles (175 km) long, making it inevitable that an iceberg larger than Rhode Island will soon calve from the ice shelf. Larsen C is the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, with an area of almost 20,000 square miles (50,000 square kilometers). The calving event will remove approximately 10 percent of the ice shelf's mass, according to the Project for Impact of Melt on Ice Shelf Dynamics and Stability (MIDAS), a UK-based team studying the ice shelf. Only 12 miles (20 km) of ice now separates the end of the rift from the ocean. The rift has grown at least 30 miles (50 km) in length since August, but appears to be slowing recently as Antarctica returns to polar winter. Project MIDAS reports that the calving event might destabilize the ice shelf, which could result in a collapse similar to what occurred to the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured views of Larsen C on August 22, 2016, when the rift was 80 miles (130 km) in length; December 8, 2016, when the rift was approximately 90 miles (145 km) long; and April 6, 2017. The MISR instrument has nine cameras, which view the Earth at different angles. The overview image, from December 8, shows the entire Antarctic Peninsula -- home to Larsen A, B, and C ice shelves -- in natural color (similar to how it would appear to the human eye) from MISR's vertical-viewing camera. Combining information from several MISR cameras pointed at different angles gives information about the texture of the ice. The accompanying GIF depicts the inset area shown on the larger image and displays data from all three dates in false color. These multiangular views -- composited from MISR's 46-degree backward-pointing camera, the nadir (vertical-viewing) camera, and the 46-degree forward-pointing camera -- represent variations in ice texture as changes in color, such that areas of rough ice appear

  15. Gradual slowdown and thickening of Fimbulisen ice shelf, East Antarctica, over the past decade

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Oostveen, Jelte; Moholdt, Geir; Kääb, Andreas; Matsuoka, Kenichi

    2017-04-01

    Fimbulisen is a fast-flowing (up to 780±10 ma-1) ice shelf in the Dronning Maud Land region of East Antarctica. Fed by one of the few major outlet glaciers along that coast, Jutulstraumen, the ice shelf has the potential to affect the stability of a considerable part of the inland ice sheet. Here we present evidence of a slowdown and thickening of Fimbulisen over the last decade. We derive ice shelf velocities using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from Envisat in 2008 and Radarsat-2 in 2015. We find that the speeds of Fimbulisen have decreased by 10±2 ma-1 over the last 7 years, which is confirmed with repeated GPS stake readings from 2010-2011. The slow-down of Fimbulisen coincides with a gradual ice shelf thickening that we infer from ICESat (2003-2009) and CryoSat-2 (2010-2016) altimetry. Available surface mass balance data from Fimbulisen show no clear trends over the past decades, suggesting that ice dynamics is the main explanation for the observed thickening. Considering that Fimbulisen is in a long-term phase of advance after its main tongue calved off in 1967, it is plausible that the slowdown is cyclic and related to the longitudinal expansion of the ice shelf. In support of this theory we have found several uncharted ice rumples and stationary icebergs near the eastern front of the ice shelf, indicating the presence of shallow bathymetry that might affect the ice shelf dynamics considerably in the event of ice shelf grounding or ungrounding.

  16. High basal melting forming a channel at the grounding line of Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marsh, Oliver J.; Fricker, Helen A.; Siegfried, Matthew R.; Christianson, Knut; Nicholls, Keith W.; Corr, Hugh F. J.; Catania, Ginny

    2016-01-01

    Antarctica's ice shelves are thinning at an increasing rate, affecting their buttressing ability. Channels in the ice shelf base unevenly distribute melting, and their evolution provides insight into changing subglacial and oceanic conditions. Here we used phase-sensitive radar measurements to estimate basal melt rates in a channel beneath the currently stable Ross Ice Shelf. Melt rates of 22.2 ± 0.2 m a-1 (>2500% the overall background rate) were observed 1.7 km seaward of Mercer/Whillans Ice Stream grounding line, close to where subglacial water discharge is expected. Laser altimetry shows a corresponding, steadily deepening surface channel. Two relict channels to the north suggest recent subglacial drainage reorganization beneath Whillans Ice Stream approximately coincident with the shutdown of Kamb Ice Stream. This rapid channel formation implies that shifts in subglacial hydrology may impact ice shelf stability.

  17. Morphological evidence and direct estimates of rapid melting beneath Totten Glacier Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenbaum, Jamin; Schroeder, Dustin; Grima, Cyril; Habbal, Feras; Dow, Christine; Roberts, Jason; Gwyther, David; van Ommen, Tas; Siegert, Martin; Blankenship, Donald

    2017-04-01

    Totten Glacier drains at least 3.5 meters of eustatic sea level potential from marine-based ice in the Aurora Subglacial Basin (ASB) in East Antarctica, more than the combined total of all glaciers in West Antarctica. Totten Glacier has been the most rapidly thinning glacier in East Antarctica since satellite altimetry time series began and the nature of the thinning suggests that it is driven by enhanced basal melting due to ocean processes. While grounded ice thinning rates have been steady, recent work has shown that Totten's floating ice shelf may not have the same thinning behavior; as a result, it is critical to observe ice shelf and cavity boundary conditions and basal processes to understand this apparent discrepancy. Warm Modified Circumpolar Deep Water (MCDW), which has been linked to glacier retreat in West Antarctica, has been observed in summer and winter on the nearby Sabrina Coast continental shelf and deep depressions in the seafloor provide access for MCDW to reach the ice shelf cavity. Given its northern latitude, numerical ice sheet modeling indicates that Totten Glacier may be prone to retreat caused by hydrofracture in a warming climate, so it is important to understand how intruding MCDW is affecting thinning of Totten Glacier's ice shelf. Here we use post-processed, focused airborne radar observations of the Totten Glacier Ice Shelf to delineate multi-km wide basal channels and flat basal terraces associated with high basal reflectivity and specularity (flatness) anomalies and correspondingly large ice surface depressions that indicate active basal melting. Using a simple temperature-attenuation model, and basal roughness corrections, we present basal melt rates associated with the radar reflection and specularity anomalies and compare them to those derived from numerical ocean circulation modeling and an ice flow divergence calculation. Sub-ice shelf ocean circulation modeling and under-ice robotic observations of Pine Island Glacier Ice

  18. Coulman High Project Site Survey Interdisciplinary Outcomes: What Lies Beneath The Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rack, F. R.; Zook, R.; Mahacek, P.; Carroll, D.; Levy, R. H.; Limeburner, R.; Williams, M.; Stewart, C.; C/O Andrill Smo, A.

    2011-12-01

    The ANDRILL Coulman High (CH) Project Site Surveys were an international effort conducted from November 2010 through January 2011. These surveys achieved all their primary and secondary objectives and resulted in an unexpected biological discovery at the lower boundary of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS), which demonstrates the role of serendipity in scientific research. The surveys followed a safe traverse route to CH across the RIS using a ground-penetrating radar system supplemented by previously collected airborne radar. Four GPS stations and a weather station were established to monitor lateral and vertical ice motions and environmental conditions. A series of combined US-NZ field camps on the RIS were occupied and the ANDRILL hot water drill (HWD) system was used to melt numerous holes through 250-275 meters of ice shelf. Oceanographic moorings comprised of inductive sensors were deployed through the RIS at two sites and were recovered to the ice surface after two months. The NZ mooring was redeployed to conduct long-term observations through the water column at CH. Video camera observations of the interior and basal surface of the ice shelf and benthic observations of the seafloor were integrated with conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) measurements at each site. The Submersible Capable of under-Ice Navigation and Imaging (SCINI) underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was deployed at two sites through 260 meters of ice to explore the underside of the ice shelf while conducting operational testing. This was the first time that SCINI was deployed through an ice shelf. SCINI discovered an unusual biological community living in the ice at the lower surface of the ice shelf and recovered biological samples using an improvised suction pump sampler. These samples and extensive imagery are being further investigated to determine the nature of this newly discovered ecosystem. The biological discovery at the base of the RIS highlights the importance of continued

  19. Fun at Antarctic grounding lines: Ice-shelf channels and sediment transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drews, Reinhard; Mayer, Christoph; Eisen, Olaf; Helm, Veit; Ehlers, Todd A.; Pattyn, Frank; Berger, Sophie; Favier, Lionel; Hewitt, Ian H.; Ng, Felix; Fürst, Johannes J.; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien; Bergeot, Nicolas; Matsuoka, Kenichi

    2017-04-01

    Meltwater beneath the polar ice sheets drains, in part, through subglacial conduits. Landforms created by such drainages are abundant in areas formerly covered by ice sheets during the last glacial maximum. However, observations of subglacial conduit dynamics under a contemporary ice sheet are lacking. We present results from ice-penetrating radar to infer the existence of subglacial conduits upstream of the grounding line of Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, Antarctica. The conduits are aligned with ice-shelf channels, and underlain by esker ridges formed from sediment deposition due to reduced water outflow speed near the grounding line. In turn, the eskers modify local ice flow to initiate the bottom topography of the ice-shelf channels, and create small surface ridges extending onto the shelf. Relict features on the shelf are interpreted to indicate a history of these interactions and variability of past subglacial drainages. Because ice-shelf channels are loci where intense melting occurs to thin an ice shelf, these findings expose a novel link between subglacial drainage, sedimentation, and ice-shelf stability. To investigate the role of sediment transport beneath ice sheets further, we model the sheet-shelf system of the Ekstömisen catchment, Antarctica. A 3D finite element model (Elmer/ICE) is used to solve the transients full Stokes equation for isotropic, isothermal ice with a dynamic grounding line. We initialize the model with surface topography from the TanDEM-X satellites and by inverting simultaneously for ice viscosity and basal drag using present-day surface velocities. Results produce a flow field which is consitent with sattelite and on-site observations. Solving the age-depth relationship allows comparison with radar isochrones from airborne data, and gives information about the atmospheric/dynamic history of this sector. The flow field will eventually be used to identify potential sediment sources and sinks which we compare with more than 400 km of

  20. Millennial-scale variability of the George VI Sound Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, S.; Bentley, M.; Hodgson, D.; Bryant, C.; Carmicheal, E.; Noon, P.; Smith, J.; Sugden, D.; Verleyen, E.

    2003-04-01

    This project provides a Late Quaternary perspective of Antarctic ice shelf variability by examining sediment records from epishelf lakes dammed on the eastern side of Alexander Island by George VI Ice Shelf. In recent decades, vast areas of ice shelves on the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have fragmented in a series of large break-up events, while others have disintegrated progressively. The global significance of current ice shelf loss is difficult to judge as similar variations may be a feature of the last 10,000 years. George VI Ice Shelf is currently close to the limit for ice shelf stability; hence, a two-season sediment-coring programme was undertaken to establish its palaeo-stability record. Recent results are presented from two principal study sites, Moutonnée and Ablation, with preliminary data from Cannonball and Citadel Bastion. These lakes are almost unique in Antarctica because they possess a continuous palaeolacustrine record of ice shelf history that can be linked to a geomorphological record of ice shelf variability. Most significant thus far, is the discovery of benthic foram-rich zones in the Moutonnée basin cores, representing at least one occasion when the ice shelf withdrew and open marine conditions existed in the sound. To determine when this occurred, mono-specific radiocarbon ages and oxygen and carbon isotope data are being obtained from forams, algal mat material and sediments. Physical, chemical and isotope analysis of cores reveals cyclic patterns that potentially match sections of ice core records.

  1. Response of Antarctic ice shelf melt to SAM trend and possible feedbacks with the ice-dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Donat-Magnin, Marion; Jourdain, Nicolas C.; Gallée, Hubert; Spence, Paul; Cornford, Stephen L.; Le Sommer, Julien; Durand, Gaël

    2017-04-01

    The observed positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) may warm the Southern Ocean sub-surface through decreased Ekman downward pumping. Subsequent change in ice-shelves melt has been suggested to trigger glacier acceleration in West Antarctica. Here we use a regional ocean model configuration of the Amundsen Sea that includes interactive ice-shelf cavities. Our results show that the inclusion of ice-shelves changes the ocean response to the projected SAM trend, i.e. it typically inhibits a part of the SAM-induced subsurface warming. Heat budget analysis has been used to propose responsible mechanisms. Regarding Thwaites and Pine Island, sub ice-shelf melt increases above 400m by approximately 40% for Thwaites and 10% for Pine Island and decreases by up to 10% below in response to ocean temperature changes driven by the projected SAM trend. The melt sensitivity to poleward shifting winds is nonetheless small compared to the sensitivity to an ice-sheet instability, i.e. to a projected change in the shape of ice-shelf cavities. For instance, the sub ice-shelf melt are doubled near the grounding line of some glaciers in response to the largest grounding line retreat projected for 2100. Large increase in basal melt close to the grounding line could largely impact instability and glacier acceleration. Our work suggests the need for including ice shelves into ocean models, and to couple ocean models to ice-sheet models in climate projections.

  2. Statistical modeling of a former Arctic Ocean ice shelf complex using Antarctic analogies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchner, N.; Furrer, R.; Jakobsson, M.; Zwally, H. J.; Robbins, J. W.

    2013-06-01

    Geophysical mapping and coring of the central Arctic Ocean seafloor provide evidence for repeated occurrences of ice sheet/ice shelf complexes during previous glacial periods. Several ridges and bathymetric highs shallower than present water depths of ˜1000m show signs of erosion from deep-drafting (armadas of) icebergs, which originated from thick outlet glaciers and ice shelves. Mapped glacigenic landforms and dates of cored sediments suggest that the largest ice shelf complex was confined to the Amerasian sector of the Arctic Ocean during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6. However, the spatial extent of ice shelves can not be well reconstructed from occasional groundings on bathymetric highs. Therefore, we apply a statistical approach to provide independent support for an extensive MIS 6 ice shelf complex, which previously was inferred only from interpretation of geophysical and geological data. Specifically, we assess whether this ice shelf complex comprises a likely source of the deep-draft icebergs responsible for the mapped scour marks. The statistical modeling is based on exploiting relations between contemporary Antarctic ice shelves and their local physical environments and the assumption that Arctic Ocean MIS6 ice shelves scale similarly. Analyzing ice thickness data along the calving front of contemporary ice shelves, a peak over threshold method is applied to determine sources of deep-drafting icebergs in the Arctic Ocean MIS6 ice shelf complex. This approach is novel to modeling Arctic paleoglacial configurations. Predicted extreme calving front drafts match observed deep-draft iceberg scours if the ice shelf complex is sufficiently large.

  3. The Recent Nansen's Ice-Shelf Calving Event : Comparison with Meteo-Climatic and Marine Conditions.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fusco, G.; Cannito, A. C. C.; Marinangeli, L.; Cardinale, M.; Pompilio, L.

    2015-12-01

    Ice shelves are important elements of the Cryosphere representing the interface between ice, atmosphere and ocean. They are also the mean to discharge ice from the interior ice sheets contributing to the continental ice mass balance. A sudden change in volume and extension of both ice shelves and floating glacier tongues can rapidly increase the ice streams speed and the ice sheets flow variability.The Nansen ice shelf represent a particular sensible interface between the floating ice and the Terra Nova Bay polynya, a sea area that remains ice-free for almost all the winter time , thus being one of the major responsible of the production of the Antarctic bottom water. Remote sensing technologies gave us the opportunity to observe and investigate on the formation and evolution of an incipient crevasse on the Nansen Ice Shelf, starting from 1999. The crack showed a steady and slow increase in length and rotation up to 2011 and then underwent an abrupt evolution. During the 2014 winter season, the crack reached its maximum elongation and the detachment of large tabular bergs seems to be very close. This should be the first observation of a detachment of large tabular bergs from the Nansen Ice Shelf since the beginning of satellite observations and is an opportunity to investigate complex processes. We analyzed the last ten years record of climate data over the Southern ocean to evaluate the relationships between the intense cyclonic activity, synoptic and mesoscale systems, ocean swells and calving events. We used ECMWF ERA-interim global atmospheric reanalysis model, Landsat images and in situ weather observations from AWS of the Italian Antarctic Program deployed over the Terra Nova Bay cost. Our preliminary results show a strong correlation between the occurrence of some anomalous meteorological configurations over the Southern Ocean and the sudden grow of the monitored crack in the ice shelf. If confirmed, together with this new arrangement of the cryosphere, some

  4. The structure and effect of suture zones in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, Daniel; Steffen, Konrad; Holland, Paul R.; Scambos, Ted; Rajaram, Harihar; Abdalati, Waleed; Rignot, Eric

    2014-03-01

    Ice shelf fractures frequently terminate where they encounter suture zones, regions of material heterogeneity that form between meteoric inflows in ice shelves. This heterogeneity can consist of marine ice, meteoric ice with modified rheological properties, or the presence of fractures. Here, we use radar observations on the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica, to investigate (i) the termination of a 25 km long rift in the Churchill Peninsula suture zone, which was found to contain 60 m of accreted marine ice, and (ii) the along-flow evolution of a suture zone originating at Cole Peninsula. We determine a steady state field of basal melting/freezing rates and apply it to a flowline model to delineate the along-flow evolution of layers within the ice shelf. The thickening surface wedge of locally accumulated meteoric ice, which likely has limited lateral variation in its mechanical properties, accounts for 60% of the total ice thickness near the calving front. Thus, we infer that the lower 40% of the ice column and the material heterogeneities present there are responsible for resisting fracture propagation and thereby delaying tabular calving events, as demonstrated in the >40 year time series leading up to the 2004/2005 calving event for Larsen C. This likely represents a highly sensitive aspect of ice shelf stability, as changes in the oceanic forcing may lead to the loss of this heterogeneity.

  5. Insights into ice shelf buttressing and ice rheology on Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, from synoptic-scale observations of tidally driven ice flow variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minchew, Brent; Simons, Mark; Riel, Bryan; Millio, Pietro

    2016-04-01

    Synoptic-scale observations of the response of ice streams to well-constrained forcing functions provide unique insights into ice stream dynamics and the underlying mechanics of glacier flow. Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, is one of the few recognized ice streams with strong, observed, periodic ice-flow variability (e.g., Gudmundsson, 2006; Murray et al., 2007); numerous in situ observations of the subglacial environment (e.g., Smith et al., 2015); and extensive modeling efforts focused on understanding the mechanisms that drive the observed variations in glacier flow (e.g. Thompson et al., 2014; Rosier et al., 2014; 2015). Despite these efforts, the processes underlying the ~20% modulation in horizontal ice flow at Msf (14.77-day) periods - which corresponds to the beat frequency of the lunar and solar semi-diurnal ocean tides - remain a mystery. To help resolve the salient processes, we contribute a first-of-its-kind observational dataset that provides ice-stream-scale measurements of 3D secular and time-varying ice flow on Rutford with ~40-m spatial resolution. These data were inferred from 9 months of continuous synthetic aperture radar observations collected with the COSMO-SkyMed 4-satellite constellation from multiple satellite viewing geometries. The resulting velocity fields provide constraints on ice flow in all three spatial dimensions and in time, making them true 4D surface velocity fields. The time-varying velocity field components elucidate the spatial characteristics of the response of ice flow on Rutford to ocean tidal forcing and agree with collocated GPS measurements. We show that the response of horizontal ice flow to ocean tidal forcing is most pronounced over the ice shelf and subsequently propagates through the grounded ice stream at ~29 km/day, decaying quasi-linearly with distance over ~85 km upstream of the grounding zone. We observe multiple regions over the ice shelf whose motion is consistent with subglacial pinning points and that

  6. Rheology of the Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Inferred from Satellite Radar Interferometry Data using an Inverse Control Method

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larour, E.; Rignot, E.; Joughin, I.; Aubry, D.

    2005-01-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet is surrounded by large floating ice shelves that spread under their own weight into the ocean. Ice shelf rigidity depends on ice temperature and fabrics, and is influenced by ice flow and the delicate balance between bottom and surface accumulation. Here, we use an inverse control method to infer the rigidity of the Ronne Ice Shelf that best matches observations of ice velocity from satellite radar interferometry. Ice rigidity, or flow law parameter B, is shown to vary between 300 and 900 kPa a(sup 1/3). Ice is softer along the side margins due to frictional heating, and harder along the outflow of large glaciers, which advect cold continental ice. Melting at the bottom surface of the ice shelf increases its rigidity, while freezing decreases it. Accurate numerical modelling of ice shelf flow must account for this spatial variability in mechanical characteristics.

  7. Rheology of the Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Inferred from Satellite Radar Interferometry Data using an Inverse Control Method

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larour, E.; Rignot, E.; Joughin, I.; Aubry, D.

    2005-01-01

    The Antarctic Ice Sheet is surrounded by large floating ice shelves that spread under their own weight into the ocean. Ice shelf rigidity depends on ice temperature and fabrics, and is influenced by ice flow and the delicate balance between bottom and surface accumulation. Here, we use an inverse control method to infer the rigidity of the Ronne Ice Shelf that best matches observations of ice velocity from satellite radar interferometry. Ice rigidity, or flow law parameter B, is shown to vary between 300 and 900 kPa a(sup 1/3). Ice is softer along the side margins due to frictional heating, and harder along the outflow of large glaciers, which advect cold continental ice. Melting at the bottom surface of the ice shelf increases its rigidity, while freezing decreases it. Accurate numerical modelling of ice shelf flow must account for this spatial variability in mechanical characteristics.

  8. Modelling Tidally Induced Vertical Mixing Beneath Filchner-ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Makinson, K.

    One of the warmest water masses beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf is dense, High Salinity Shelf Water which flows into the sub-ice shelf cavity from the ice front and occupies the lower portion of the water column. A one-dimensional turbulence clo- sure ocean model has been applied to this sub-ice shelf environment to demonstrate that tidal currents with a range of ellipse polarizations, mix High Salinity Shelf Water vertically through the water column and cause melting at the ice shelf base. Signifi- cantly the ice shelf lies near the critical latitude for the semi-diurnal tide, where the Coriolis frequency equals the tidal frequency, resulting in a strongly depth depen- dent tidal current and thick boundary layers. The model shows that vertical mixing and basal melting are sensitive to tidal ellipse polarization with anticlockwise rotating tidal currents (positive polarizations) maintaining the highest melt rates. This sensi- tivity is due, in large part, to the proximity of the critical latitude. For many areas beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf the polarization ranges from -0.3 to +0.3; here the modelled pycnocline development is sensitive to polarization, though the effect on the time-averaged melt rate is subdued for positive polarizations. However, in key areas where the polarization exceeds +/-0.3 and the ellipses are more open and circular, and the effects of polarization are significant. Levels of tidal mixing and associated melt- ing vary by more than an order of magnitude over the whole tidal ellipse polarization range, showing that very different mixing and melting regimes are present beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.

  9. Explicit representation and parametrised impacts of under ice shelf seas in the z∗ coordinate ocean model NEMO 3.6

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathiot, Pierre; Jenkins, Adrian; Harris, Christopher; Madec, Gurvan

    2017-07-01

    Ice-shelf-ocean interactions are a major source of freshwater on the Antarctic continental shelf and have a strong impact on ocean properties, ocean circulation and sea ice. However, climate models based on the ocean-sea ice model NEMO (Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean) currently do not include these interactions in any detail. The capability of explicitly simulating the circulation beneath ice shelves is introduced in the non-linear free surface model NEMO. Its implementation into the NEMO framework and its assessment in an idealised and realistic circum-Antarctic configuration is described in this study. Compared with the current prescription of ice shelf melting (i.e. at the surface), inclusion of open sub-ice-shelf cavities leads to a decrease in sea ice thickness along the coast, a weakening of the ocean stratification on the shelf, a decrease in salinity of high-salinity shelf water on the Ross and Weddell sea shelves and an increase in the strength of the gyres that circulate within the over-deepened basins on the West Antarctic continental shelf. Mimicking the overturning circulation under the ice shelves by introducing a prescribed meltwater flux over the depth range of the ice shelf base, rather than at the surface, is also assessed. It yields similar improvements in the simulated ocean properties and circulation over the Antarctic continental shelf to those from the explicit ice shelf cavity representation. With the ice shelf cavities opened, the widely used three equation ice shelf melting formulation, which enables an interactive computation of melting, is tested. Comparison with observational estimates of ice shelf melting indicates realistic results for most ice shelves. However, melting rates for the Amery, Getz and George VI ice shelves are considerably overestimated.

  10. Ocean circulation and basal melting below the Fimbul Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hattermann, T.; Nøst, O. A.; Smedsrud, L. H.; Lilly, J. M.

    2012-04-01

    The mechanisms by which oceanic heat is delivered to Antarctic ice shelves are a major source of uncertainty when assessing the response of the Antarctic ice sheet to climate change. Here, we combine observations below the Fimbul Ice Shelf with high resolution ocean modeling to study the heat exchange of the ice shelf cavity with the open ocean and quantify ice shelf basal melting. Situated at the prime meridian, the Fimbul Ice Shelf is the sixth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, being fed by Jutulstraumen, the largest ice stream in western Dronning Maud Land. Its oceanographic configuration is typical for the ice shelves along the coast of the Eastern Weddell Sea, where only a narrow continental shelf protects the glaciated coast from intrusions of Warm Deep Water and estimates of melting has varied widely over a number of studies. Our results reveal an unexpected level of complexity to supply of oceanic heat for basal melting. Two different water masses reach the ice base at different times of the year: (i) bursts of Modified Warm Deep Water access the cavity at depth in late winter and, (ii) fresher surface water flushes large parts of the ice base with temperatures above freezing during late summer. This suggests a "bi-modal" cavity circulation, rather than a steady ice-pump mechanism, where the strength of basal melting is controlled by both solar heating at the surface as well as by the eddy-driven on-shore transport of warm water at depth. Hence, we find that that successful modeling of basal melt rates in this sector of Antarctica crucially depends achieving a more realistic representation of the coastal processes and water masses involved.

  11. Important role for ocean warming and increased ice-shelf melt in Antarctic sea-ice expansion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bintanja, R.; Oldenborgh, G. V.; Drijhout, S.; Wouters, B.; Katsman, C. A.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in sea ice significantly modulate climate change because of its high reflective and strong insulating nature. In contrast to Arctic sea ice, sea ice surrounding Antarctica has expanded, with record extent in 2010. This ice expansion has previously been attributed to dynamical atmospheric changes that induce atmospheric cooling. Here we show that accelerated basal melting of Antarctic ice shelves is likely to have contributed significantly to sea-ice expansion. Specifically, we present observations indicating that melt water from Antarctica's ice shelves accumulates in a cool and fresh surface layer that shields the surface ocean from the warmer deeper waters that are melting the ice shelves. Simulating these processes in a coupled climate model we find that cool and fresh surface water from ice-shelf melt indeed leads to expanding sea ice in austral autumn and winter. This powerful negative feedback counteracts Southern Hemispheric atmospheric warming. Although changes in atmospheric dynamics most likely govern regional sea-ice trends, our analyses indicate that the overall sea-ice trend is dominated by increased ice-shelf melt. We suggest that cool sea surface temperatures around Antarctica could offset projected snowfall increases in Antarctica, with implications for estimates of future sea-level rise.

  12. Important role for ocean warming and increased ice-shelf melt in Antarctic sea-ice expansion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bintanja, R.; van Oldenborgh, G. J.; Drijfhout, S. S.; Wouters, B.; Katsman, C. A.

    2013-05-01

    Changes in sea ice significantly modulate climate change because of its high reflective and strong insulating nature. In contrast to Arctic sea ice, sea ice surrounding Antarctica has expanded, with record extent in 2010. This ice expansion has previously been attributed to dynamical atmospheric changes that induce atmospheric cooling. Here we show that accelerated basal melting of Antarctic ice shelves is likely to have contributed significantly to sea-ice expansion. Specifically, we present observations indicating that melt water from Antarctica's ice shelves accumulates in a cool and fresh surface layer that shields the surface ocean from the warmer deeper waters that are melting the ice shelves. Simulating these processes in a coupled climate model we find that cool and fresh surface water from ice-shelf melt indeed leads to expanding sea ice in austral autumn and winter. This powerful negative feedback counteracts Southern Hemispheric atmospheric warming. Although changes in atmospheric dynamics most likely govern regional sea-ice trends, our analyses indicate that the overall sea-ice trend is dominated by increased ice-shelf melt. We suggest that cool sea surface temperatures around Antarctica could offset projected snowfall increases in Antarctica, with implications for estimates of future sea-level rise.

  13. Crevasse Extent and Lateral Shearing of the McMurdo Shear Zone, Antarctica, Using GPR and GPS Observations, and Numerical Modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaluzienski, L. M.; Hamilton, G. S.; Koons, P. O.; Arcone, S. A.; Ray, L.; Lever, J.; Fastook, J.; Walker, B.

    2015-12-01

    Sub-ice-shelf circulation plays a fundamental role in ice shelf mass budget. The shape of the underside of an ice shelf is important, such that the presence of basal crevasses can significantly modulate the transfer of heat at the ice-ocean interface. In situ observations of basal crevasses are challenging to obtain, but surface-based ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys can be used to determine crevasse location and orientation. Here, we use GPR methods to map the internal structures in the McMurdo Shear Zone (SZ) which marks the boundary between the Ross Ice Shelf and the slower-moving McMurdo Ice Shelf. Radar surveys with 200 MHz and 400 MHz antennas reveal the presence of crevasses both in the upper firn and within a zone of accreted marine ice at a depth of approximately 170 meters. A spatial correspondence between near-surface and basal crevasses suggests that both are formed locally by lateral shearing. A combination of three dimensional higher order and Shallow Shelf Approximation ice flow equations within the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) are used to test this hypothesis. This model estimates the detailed velocity field of the SZ and is constrained by GPS-derived observations of surface motion. The distribution and orientations of surface crevasses is consistent with the gradients in velocity field predicted by the model. Though a wider range of orientation angles exists for crevasses within the basal regime, the average strike angle is consistent with firn crevassing and we conclude that the marine ice coevally fractured with the firn layer.

  14. Velocity change of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, during the period 1968-1999

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, Matt A.; Coleman, Richard; Morgan, Peter J.; Hurd, Rachael S.

    2007-03-01

    Historic velocity measurements of Antarctica's ice sheet represent vital baseline values that allow ice flow velocity variations to be observed over multidecadal timescales, such as those due to climate change. Using velocity values derived from geodetic quality measurements made in the 1960s and from more recent GPS and remote sensing studies during the 1990s, we examine the variability of ice flow velocities of the northern Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, over the 30-year period, 1968-1999. The historic ice shelf velocities are reexamined using original field notes and the previous data analyses are shown to be erroneous, yielding positional and velocity errors of up to 4 km and 150 m/yr respectively. Once corrected, these historic measurements are shown to be in close (1-5 m/yr) general agreement with GPS-derived velocities from the 1990s at similar geographical locations, providing one of the first precise constraints on multidecadal ice shelf velocity variations on a large Antarctic ice shelf. Comparison of the terrestrial and GPS velocities with spatially dense velocity measurements from remote sensing imagery reveals a systematic bias in the latter of up to ±30 m/yr, mostly due to propagation of unmodeled vertical ice shelf motion due to tides and atmospheric pressure variations. We therefore excluded the remote sensing velocities from further comparison and suggest caution in the interpretation of similarly derived ice shelf velocities. Velocity differences between the GPS and terrestrial surveys were compared at nine geographical locations suggesting a small (˜2.2 m/yr or ˜0.6%), but statistically significant, slowdown of the ice shelf.

  15. Larsen C Ice Shelf rheology inferred by combining InSAR observations and numerical modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khazendar, A.; Rignot, E. J.; Larour, E. Y.

    2009-12-01

    Larsen C Ice Shelf presents a valuable setting for investigating the many connected processes involved in the evolution of ice shelves in a warming climate. The stability of this ice shelf has become a topic of keen interest, especially following the disintegration of Larsen B and other Peninsular ice shelves, and the consequent increase in continental ice flow to the ocean. We are addressing this complex question in a multi-disciplinary manner by combining remote sensing and numerical modeling. Thus, we analyzed satellite InSAR observations of Larsen C obtained in the years 2000 and 2007 which revealed that ice shelf flow velocity in some areas have had some changes. We then applied inverse modeling, combining the observed velocity field with numerical flow models, to infer a spatial distribution of the flow parameter for the ice shelf, which is indispensable for accurately modeling ice shelf flow and evolution. The inferred rheology field allowed us to detect zones of weakness, including a large area in the middle of the ice shelf, many of which are associated with fracture features. Our similar previous analysis of Larsen B at the eve of its disintegration in 2002 emphasizes the significant interaction and interdependence among frontal calving, flow acceleration, variable rheology including fracture zones, and the ultimate destabilization of the ice shelf. Therefore, this work, by measuring any recent acceleration in the flow of Larsen C and inferring its rheology provides essential tools to evaluate its stability and long-term prospects. This work was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cryospheric Sciences Program.

  16. Arctic continental shelf morphology related to sea-ice zonation, Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reimnitz, E.; Toimil, L.; Barnes, P.

    1978-01-01

    Landsat-1 and NOAA satellite imagery for the winter 1972-1973, and a variety of ice and sea-floor data were used to study sea-ice zonation and dynamics and their relation to bottom morphology and geology on the Beaufort Sea continental shelf of arctic Alaska. In early winter the location of the boundary between undeformed fast ice and westward-drifting pack ice of the Pacific Gyre is controlled by major coastal promontories. Pronounced linear pressure- and shear-ridges, as well as hummock fields, form along this boundary and are stabilized by grounding, generally between the 10- and 20-m isobaths. Slippage along this boundary occurs intermittently at or seaward of the grounded ridges, forming new grounded ridges in a widening zone, the stamukhi zone, which by late winter extends out to the 40-m isobath. Between intermittent events along the stamukhi zone, pack-ice drift and slippage is continuous along the shelf edge, at average rates of 3-10 km/day. Whether slippage occurs along the stamukhi zone or along the shelf edge, it is restricted to a zone several hundred meters wide, and ice seaward of the slip face moves at uniform rates without discernible drag effects. A causal relationship is seen between the spatial distribution of major ice-ridge systems and offshore shoals downdrift of major coastal promontories. The shoals appear to have migrated shoreward under the influence of ice up to 400 m in the last 25 years. The sea floor seaward of these shoals within the stamukhi zone shows high ice-gouge density, large incision depths, and a high degree of disruption of internal sedimentary structures. The concentration of large ice ridges and our sea floor data in the stamukhi zone indicate that much of the available marine energy is expended here, while the inner shelf and coast, where the relatively undeformed fast ice grows, are sheltered. There is evidence that anomalies in the overall arctic shelf profile are related to sea-ice zonation, ice dynamics, and bottom

  17. Surface and subsurface meltwater ponding and refreezing on the Bach Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haggard, Emily; Willis, Ian; Benedek, Corinne; Banwell, Alison

    2017-04-01

    There is growing concern about the stability and fate of Antarctic ice shelves, particularly those on the Antarctic Peninsula. Over the past few decades, of the original 12 major ice shelves, 4 have totally disintegrated, 3 have retreated significantly and 5 have remained relatively stable. It has been suggested that the boundary between instability and stability is marked by the -9oC mean annual temperature isotherm, that this isotherm is moving south, and that the Bach Ice Shelf (72°S 72°W), lying between Wilkins Ice Shelf and the southern ice front of George VI Ice Shelf, both of which have undergone major retreat in recent years, might be the next one under threat. The proximal causes of ice shelf instability are not fully known but an increase in surface melting leading to ponding, flexure, fracture and calving has been implicated. This study documents the changing surface hydrology of the Bach Ice Shelf over the last decade using a combination of Landsat optical and Sentinal-1A/B SAR data. It offers an opportunity to investigate the inter-annual variability in the area and volume of surface meltwater ponds, the area of subsurface ponds, the dates of pond onset and refreezing, and how this variability relates to climate. It provides a background against which future changes may be benchmarked.

  18. Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Amery Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1961–2004

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Foley, Kevin M.; Ferrigno, Jane G.; Swithinbank, Charles; Williams, Richard S.; Orndorff, Audrey L.

    2013-01-01

    Reduction in the area and volume of Earth’s two polar ice sheets is intricately linked to changes in global climate and to the resulting rise in sea level. Measurement of changes in area and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet was given a very high priority in recommendations by the Polar Research Board of the National Research Council. On the basis of these recommendations, the U.S. Geological Survey used its archive of satellite images to document changes in the cryospheric coastline of Antarctica and analyze the glaciological features of the coastal regions. Amery Ice Shelf, lying between 67.5° and 75° East longitude and 68.5° and 73.2° South latitude, is the largest ice shelf in East Antarctica. The latest measurements of the area of the ice shelf range between 62,620 and 71,260 square kilometers. The ice shelf is fed primarily by Lambert, Mellor, and Fisher Glaciers; its thickness ranges from 3,000 meters in the center of the grounding line to less than 300 meters at the ice front. Lambert Glacier is considered to be the largest glacier in the world, and its drainage basin is more than 1 million square kilometers in area. It is possible to see some coastal change on the outlet glaciers along the coast, but most of the noticeable change occurs on the Amery Ice Shelf front.

  19. Evidence against a late Wisconsinan ice shelf in the Gulf of Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oldale, R.N.; Williams, R.S.; Colman, Steven M.

    1990-01-01

    Proposals for the formation of a late Wisconsinan ice shelf in the Gulf of Maine during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet are considered to be inappropriate. An Antarctic-type ice shelf does not fit the field data that indicate temperate glacial, terrestrial, and marine climates for the region between 18 ka and 12 ka. A temperate ice shelf has no modern analogues and may be physically impossible. The preponderance of stratified drift in the Gulf of Maine region supports temperate climates during late Wisconsinan time. It also indicates that glacial meltwater, rather than ice in either an ice sheet or ice shelf, was the primary transport mechanism of glacial sediment and the source for the glaciomarine mud. For these reasons we have proposed glacial analogues for the deglaciation of the Gulf of Maine that consist of temperate or subpolar marine-based glaciers, characterized by depositional environments dominated by meltwater discharge directly to the sea or the sea by way of subaerial meltwater streams. These analogues include Alaskan fjord glaciers, glaciers on the Alaskan continental shelf that discharged meltwater directly into the sea in the not too distant past, and Austfonna (Nordaustandet, Svalbard, Norway) that is presently discharging meltwater in the sea along a grounded ice wall. This last example is the best modern-day analogue for the depositional environment for most of the glaciomarine mud in the Gulf of Maine and deglaciation of the Gulf. 

  20. Fives decades of strong temporal variability in the flow of the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Rydt, Jan; Gudmundsson, Hilmar; Nagler, Thomas

    2017-04-01

    The Brunt Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, is a complex conglomerate of meteoric and marine ice, weakly connected to the much larger and faster-flowing Stancomb Wills Glacier Tongue to the east, and pinned down to the seabed in a small area around the McDonalds Ice Rumples in the north. The ice shelf is home to the UK research station Halley, from which changes to the ice shelf have been monitored closely since the 1960s. A unique 50-year record of the flow speed and an intense surveying programme over the past 10 years, have revealed a strong temporal variability in the flow. In particular, the speed of the ice shelf has increased by 10% each year over the past few years. In order to understand these rapid changes, we use a state-of-the-art flow model in combination with a range of satellite, ground-based and airborne radar data, to accurately simulate the historical flow and recent changes. In particular, we model the effects of a recently formed rift that is propagating at a speed of up to 600m/day and threatens to dislodge the ice shelf from its pinning point at the McDonalds Ice Rumples. We also report on the recent reactivation of a large chasm which has prompted the relocation of the station during the 2016/17 austral summer.

  1. Evidence against a late Wisconsinan ice shelf in the Gulf of Maine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oldale, R. N.; Williams, R. S.; Colman, S. M.

    Proposals for the formation of a late Wisconsinan ice shelf in the Gulf of Maine during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet are considered to be inappropriate. An Antarctic-type ice shelf does not fit the field data that indicate temperate glacial, terrestrial, and marine climates for the region between 18 ka and 12 ka. A temperate ice shelf has no modern analogues and may be physically impossible. The preponderance of stratified drift in the Gulf of Maine region supports temperate climates during late Wisconsinan time. It also indicates that glacial meltwater, rather than ice in either an ice sheet or ice shelf, was the primary transport mechanism of glacial sediment and the source for the glaciomarine mud. For these reasons we have proposed glacial analogues for the deglaciation of the Gulf of Maine that consist of temperate or subpolar marine-based glaciers, characterized by depositional environments dominated by meltwater discharge directly to the sea or the sea by way of subaerial meltwater streams. These analogues include Alaskan fjord glaciers, glaciers on the Alaskan continental shelf that discharged meltwater directly into the sea in the not too distant past, and Austfonna (Nordaustandet, Svalbard, Norway) that is presently discharging meltwater in the sea along a grounded ice wall. This last example is the best modern-day analogue for the depositional environment for most of the glaciomarine mud in the Gulf of Maine and deglaciation of the Gulf.

  2. 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

  3. Sensitivity of the Weddell Sea sector ice streams to sub-shelf melting and surface accumulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, A. P.; Le Brocq, A. M.; Cornford, S. L.; Bingham, R. G.; Corr, H. F. J.; Ferraccioli, F.; Jordan, T. A.; Payne, A. J.; Rippin, D. M.; Ross, N.; Siegert, M. J.

    2014-11-01

    A recent ocean modelling study indicates that possible changes in circulation may bring warm deep-ocean water into direct contact with the grounding lines of the Filchner-Ronne ice streams, suggesting the potential for future ice losses from this sector equivalent to ~0.3 m of sea-level rise. Significant advancements have been made in our knowledge of both the basal topography and ice velocity in the Weddell Sea sector, and the ability to accurately model marine ice sheet dynamics, thus enabling an assessment to be made of the relative sensitivities of the diverse collection of ice streams feeding the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. Here we use the BISICLES ice sheet model, which employs adaptive-mesh refinement to resolve grounding line dynamics, to carry out such an assessment. The impact of realistic perturbations to the surface and sub-shelf mass balance forcing fields from our 2000-year "reference" model run indicate that both the Institute and Möller ice streams are highly sensitive to changes in basal melting either near to their respective grounding lines, or in the region of the ice rises within the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. These same perturbations have little impact, however, on the Rutford, Carlson or Foundation ice streams, while the Evans Ice Stream is found to enter a phase of unstable retreat only after melt at its grounding line has increased by 50% of likely present-day values.

  4. RTopo-2: A global high-resolution dataset of ice sheet topography, ice shelf cavity geometry and ocean bathymetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Timmermann, Ralph; Schaffer, Janin

    2016-04-01

    The RTopo-1 data set of Antarctic ice sheet/shelf geometry and global ocean bathymetry has proven useful not only for modelling studies of ice-ocean interaction in the southern hemisphere. Following the spirit of this data set, we introduce a new product (RTopo-2) that contains consistent maps of global ocean bathymetry, upper and lower ice surface topographies for Greenland and Antarctica, and global surface height on a spherical grid with now 30 arc seconds resolution. We used the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO_2014) as the backbone and added the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean version 3 (IBCAOv3) and the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) version 1. To achieve a good representation of the fjord and shelf bathymetry around the Greenland continent, we corrected data from earlier gridded products in the areas of Petermann Glacier, Hagen Bræ and Helheim Glacier assuming that sub-ice and fjord bathymetries roughly follow plausible Last Glacial Maximum ice flow patterns. For the continental shelf off northeast Greenland and the floating ice tongue of Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Glacier at about 79°N, we incorporated a high-resolution digital bathymetry model including all available multibeam survey data for the region. Radar data for ice surface and ice base topographies of the floating ice tongues of Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Glacier and Zachariæ Isstrøm have been obtained from the data centers of Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Operation Icebridge (NASA/NSF) and Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). For the Antarctic ice sheet/ice shelves, RTopo-2 largely relies on the Bedmap-2 product but applies corrections for the geometry of Getz, Abbot and Fimbul ice shelf cavities. The data set is available in full and in regional subsets in NetCDF format from the PANGAEA database.

  5. Insights into supraglacial lake evolution on the Larsen-B ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leeson, A.; Shepherd, A.; Gilbert, L.; Ligtenberg, S.; van den Broeke, M.

    2015-12-01

    The Larsen-B ice shelf was the second largest component of the Larsen ice shelf system in the Antarctic Peninsula. It collapsed in 2002, losing an area more than double the size of London (~3200 km2) to the sea. The collapse of Larsen-B has been attributed to a range of factors, although the dominant control over the fidelity of the ice shelf is thought to be climatological (melting on the ice shelf was three times higher in 2002 than the 1998-2001 average). Supraglacial lakes in particular have been implicated in the collapse; by repeatedly filling and draining, they likely weaken an ice shelf and precondition it for disintegration. However, abundant supraglacial lake coverage has been observed on Larsen-B for many years prior to its break-up and, in fact, surface conditions have been conducive to lake formation for several decades. Here, we use satellite observations and a hydrological model forced with estimates of melting and runoff from a regional climate model in order to investigate the response of supraglacial lakes to extreme melting in 2002 specifically, in contrast with typical supraglacial lake evolution in previous years. We also use state-of-the-art observations of ice shelf topography acquired by CryoSat-2 to examine the potential role of supraglacial lakes on the fate of the Larsen remnant, currently thought to be at risk of collapse by 2020.

  6. Strong sensitivity of Pine Island ice-shelf melting to climatic variability.

    PubMed

    Dutrieux, Pierre; De Rydt, Jan; Jenkins, Adrian; Holland, Paul R; Ha, Ho Kyung; Lee, Sang Hoon; Steig, Eric J; Ding, Qinghua; Abrahamsen, E Povl; Schröder, Michael

    2014-01-10

    Pine Island Glacier has thinned and accelerated over recent decades, significantly contributing to global sea-level rise. Increased oceanic melting of its ice shelf is thought to have triggered those changes. Observations and numerical modeling reveal large fluctuations in the ocean heat available in the adjacent bay and enhanced sensitivity of ice-shelf melting to water temperatures at intermediate depth, as a seabed ridge blocks the deepest and warmest waters from reaching the thickest ice. Oceanic melting decreased by 50% between January 2010 and 2012, with ocean conditions in 2012 partly attributable to atmospheric forcing associated with a strong La Niña event. Both atmospheric variability and local ice shelf and seabed geometry play fundamental roles in determining the response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to climate.

  7. East-Antarctic outlet-glacier susceptibility from a data-driven ice-sheet/ice-shelf modelling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, F.; Favier, L.; Drews, R.; Berger, S.; Sun, S.; Van Liefferinge, B.

    2016-12-01

    Understanding the future behaviour of marine sections of the Antarctic ice sheet requires high-resolution data coverage, extended with measurements enabling the validation and initialization of ice-sheet models. Short-term (decades, centuries) projections of ice mass change are generally based on data assimilation methods, requiring accurate knowledge of surface and bed topography, surface velocities and englacial temperatures. Steady-state thermodynamical modelling enables to retrieve englacial temperatures, which are in turn highly dependent on the knowledge of the geothermal heat flow, ice geometry, ice velocity and surface accumulation rates. We present different modelling strategies that enable evaluating the impact of uncertainties in datasets on model performance and ice-sheet susceptibility to change. We established a comprehensive geophysical dataset of the Roi Baudouin ice shelf (East Antarctica) based on, amongst others, radar (high and low frequency, phase-sensitive) and GNSS measurements. Comparison of our measurements with global satellite-derived datasets of surface elevation, ice-flow speed, grounding-line position and ice thickness clearly depict pitfalls as small-scale features, such as pinning points, ice-shelf channels and errors in bathymetry. Our model analysis demonstrates that uncertainties in ice thickness leads to large differences in calculated basal temperatures and basal melt rates. In peripheral areas of the Antarctic ice sheet, uncertainties in surface elevation (precise dome positions) hamper model initializations driven by surface velolocity data. Finally, errors in the initialization of ice-shelf viscosity due to inaccurate mapping of pinning points significantly delays grounding-line retreat in response to ocean perturbation, hence making outlet glaciers seemingly more stable than expected. The analysis led to the identification of crucial data needs (temporal, spatial) for initialization of ice-sheet models.

  8. Interannual Variability in Amundsen Sea Ice-Shelf Height Change Linked to ENSO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paolo, F. S.; Fricker, H. A.; Padman, L.

    2015-12-01

    Atmospheric and sea-ice conditions around Antarctica, particularly in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas, respond to climate dynamics in the tropical Pacific Ocean on interannual time scales including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It has been hypothesized that the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, including its floating ice shelves, also responds to this climate signal; however, this has not yet been unambiguously demonstrated. We apply multivariate singular spectrum analysis (MSSA) to our 18-year (1994-2012) time series of ice-shelf height in the Amundsen Sea (AS) region. This advanced spectral method distinguishes between regular deterministic behavior ("cycles") at sub-decadal time scale and irregular behavior ("noise") at shorter time scales. Although the long-term trends of AS ice-shelf height changes are much larger than the range of interannual variability, the short-term rate of change dh/dt can vary about the trend by more than 50%. The mode of interannual variability in the AS ice-shelf height is strongly correlated with the low-frequency mode of ENSO (periodicity of ~4.5 years) as represented by the Southern Oscillation Index. The ice-shelf height in the AS is expected to respond to changes in precipitation and inflows of warm subsurface Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) into the ocean cavities under the ice shelves, altering basal melt rates. Since both of these processes affecting ice-shelf mass balance respond to changes in wind fields for different ENSO states, we expect some correlation between them. We will describe the spatial structure of AS ice-shelf height response to ENSO, and attempt to distinguish the precipitation signal from basal mass balance due to changing CDW inflows.

  9. Sea ice and the ocean mixed layer over the Antarctic shelf seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petty, A.; Holland, P.; Feltham, D. L.

    2013-12-01

    An ocean mixed layer model has been incorporated into the Los Alamos sea ice model CICE, to investigate regional variations in the surface-driven formation of Antarctic shelf sea waters. The model captures well the expected sea ice thickness distribution and produces deep (>500 m) mixed layers in the Weddell and Ross shelf seas each winter. By deconstructing the surface power input to the mixed layer, we have shown that the salt/fresh water flux from sea ice growth/melt dominates the evolution of the mixed layer in all shelf sea regions, with a smaller contribution from the mixed layer-surface heat flux. The Weddell and Ross shelf seas have the highest annual ice growth, with a large fraction exported northwards each year, whereas the Bellingshausen shelf sea experiences the highest annual ice melt, driven by the advection of ice from the northeast. Forcing the model with ERA-Interim (1980-2011) and hadGEM2-ES (1980-2099) atmospheric data allows us to look at the impact of atmospheric trends on the sea ice and ocean mixed layer. Both simulations show a shallowing of the wintertime mixed layer in the Amundsen & Bellingshausen seas, potentially increasing the access of warm CDW to ice shelves in both regions. The ERA-I hindcast simulation shows a significant freshening in the Ross and salinification in the Weddell due to surface driven trends (primarily through changes in the sea ice). The Ross freshening is smaller than observed however, highlighting the important role of ice shelf melt in the Amundsen Sea.

  10. Ice Shelf behaviour and the velocity of Cook Glacier, East Antarctica 1989-2016

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miles, Bertie; Stokes, Chris; Jamieson, Stewart

    2017-04-01

    Cook Glacier, East Antarctica, discharges around 40 km3 of ice per year, which is one of the highest rates of all outlet glaciers in both East and West Antarctica. It is also significant because a large proportion of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin drains through Cook Glacier, which is thought to have been destabilized during the Pliocene, resulting in a significant sea level contribution of several meters. Modelling studies have also suggested that the removal of a relatively small section of its coastal ice could lead to self-sustaining retreat of a large proportion of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin. These studies, combined with observed thinning of its ice shelf since 1998, suggests that Cook Glacier may be particularly vulnerable to near-future changes in climate. However, despite its large ice discharge and potential vulnerability there very few observations of the velocity of Cook Glacier and how changes in the ice shelf might be impacting on inland ice. Here, we use feature tracking on Landsat and ASTER imagery to create the first time series of velocity changes on Cook Glacier from 1989 to 2016. This reveals a ˜20% increase in its velocity since 1989, which we link to the long-term thinning trend of its buttressing ice shelf. We also observe strong annual variability in glacier velocity throughout the 2000s which are consistent with annual variations in the rate of thickness change of its ice shelf. Our results highlight sensitivity of glacier velocity to ice shelf behavior and the need to improve our understanding of the processes driving changes in ice shelf thickness.

  11. A diverse benthic assemblage 100 km from open water under the Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riddle, M. J.; Craven, M.; Goldsworthy, P. M.; Carsey, F.

    2007-03-01

    A hot water drill was used to penetrate 480 m of ice to reveal a diverse benthic assemblage, dominated by suspension-feeding invertebrates, under the Amery Ice Shelf (East Antarctica) at a location 100 km from open water and at a depth of 775 m below sea level (840 m below the ice shelf surface). This is the first record of a benthic assemblage of this type found at this distance under an ice shelf. The few previous reports of life under ice shelves describe assemblages with very different trophic strategies (e.g., sparse assemblages of mobile scavengers or chemotrophs) or are in circumstances in which in situ photosynthesis at tide cracks or through the ice cannot be ruled out as a potential source of primary production. The physical characteristics of the Amery Ice Shelf and the feeding strategies represented together indicate that the only likely source of primary production to sustain the benthic assemblage is material advected from open water. This suggestion is supported by observed current speeds in the vicinity and reported rates of particle settling. The observation under an ice shelf of a benthic assemblage that is very similar to those found elsewhere in Antarctica, in locations dominated by annual sea ice or at depths below the photic zone, has implications for the interpretation of sediment paleorecords to represent the history of ice shelf advance and retreat. Without observations of this living assemblage in situ, the remnants of its component species in the sediment record, such as sponge spicules, echinoderm ossicles, and bryozoan fragments, could be interpreted reasonably, but erroneously, to represent open water conditions.

  12. Kinematic first-order calving law implies potential for abrupt ice-shelf retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levermann, A.; Albrecht, T.; Winkelmann, R.; Martin, M. A.; Haseloff, M.; Joughin, I. R.

    2012-12-01

    Recently observed large-scale disintegration of Antarctic ice shelves has moved their fronts closer towards grounded ice. In response, ice-sheet discharge into the ocean has accelerated, contributing to global sea-level rise and emphasizing the importance of calving-front dynamics. The position of the ice front strongly influences the stress field within the entire sheet-shelf-system and thereby the mass flow across the grounding line. While theories for an advance of the ice-front are readily available, no general rule exists for its retreat, making it difficult to incorporate the retreat in predictive models. Here we extract the first-order large-scale kinematic contribution to calving which is consistent with large-scale observation. We emphasize that the proposed equation does not constitute a comprehensive calving law but represents the first-order kinematic contribution which can and should be complemented by higher order contributions as well as the influence of potentially heterogeneous material properties of the ice. When applied as a calving law, the equation naturally incorporates the stabilizing effect of pinning points and inhibits ice shelf growth outside of embayments. It depends only on local ice properties which are, however, determined by the full topography of the ice shelf. In numerical simulations the parameterization reproduces multiple stable fronts as observed for the Larsen A and B Ice Shelves including abrupt transitions between them which may be caused by localized ice weaknesses. We also find multiple stable states of the Ross Ice Shelf at the gateway of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with back stresses onto the sheet reduced by up to 90% compared to the present state. Eigencalving: Universal kinematic contribution to iceberg calving of ice shelves. Calving rate C is proportional to the eigenvalues of the horizontal spreading rate tensor.

  13. The effects of ocean circulation on ocean-ice interaction and potential feedbacks in an idealized shelf cavity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, S. P.; Thompson, A. F.; Schodlok, M.

    2016-02-01

    The West Antarctic ice sheet is melting at unprecedented rates, which will impact global sea level rise. The ocean may be playing the dominant role in this ice melt through the upwelling of warm and salty Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) in regions such as Pine Island Glacier (PIG). There is evidence that the Antarctic Slope Front at the continental shelf constrains shoreward transport of CDW by mesoscale eddies. However, little is known about the ocean-ice interaction and potential feedbacks that take place once this water is advected into ice shelf cavities. In this talk we use MITgcm to simulate an idealized setup of the PIG ice shelf cavity, similar to the setup in De Rydt et al. 2014, to understand the effects of ocean circulation and potential feedbacks of ice-shelf melt on the ocean circulation. To do this we run the model in two different configurations with and without a wind-driven current at the northern edge of the ice shelf and annually updating the geometry of the ice shelf based on the parameterized ice-shelf melt. Eddy heat and potential vorticity fluxes are diagnosed and presented for each of the simulations and compared with control simulations where the ice-shelf cavity is not modified. Results show high ice shelf melt during the first year with maximum values in excess of 60 meters near the grounding line, but settle to tens of meters during the following years.

  14. A Halophilic Bacterium Inhabiting the Warm, CaCl2-Rich Brine of the Perennially Ice-Covered Lake Vanda, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Tregoning, George S.; Kempher, Megan L.; Jung, Deborah O.; Samarkin, Vladimir A.; Joye, Samantha B.

    2015-01-01

    Lake Vanda is a perennially ice-covered and stratified lake in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. The lake develops a distinct chemocline at about a 50-m depth, where the waters transition from cool, oxic, and fresh to warm, sulfidic, and hypersaline. The bottom water brine is unique, as the highly chaotropic salts CaCl2 and MgCl2 predominate, and CaCl2 levels are the highest of those in any known microbial habitat. Enrichment techniques were used to isolate 15 strains of heterotrophic bacteria from the Lake Vanda brine. Despite direct supplementation of the brine samples with different organic substrates in primary enrichments, the same organism, a relative of the halophilic bacterium Halomonas (Gammaproteobacteria), was isolated from all depths sampled. The Lake Vanda (VAN) strains were obligate aerobes and showed broad pH, salinity, and temperature ranges for growth, consistent with the physicochemical properties of the brine. VAN strains were halophilic and quite CaCl2 tolerant but did not require CaCl2 for growth. The fact that only VAN strain-like organisms appeared in our enrichments hints that the highly chaotropic nature of the Lake Vanda brine may place unusual physiological constraints on the bacterial community that inhabits it. PMID:25576606

  15. A halophilic bacterium inhabiting the warm, CaCl2-rich brine of the perennially ice-covered Lake Vanda, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Tregoning, George S; Kempher, Megan L; Jung, Deborah O; Samarkin, Vladimir A; Joye, Samantha B; Madigan, Michael T

    2015-03-01

    Lake Vanda is a perennially ice-covered and stratified lake in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. The lake develops a distinct chemocline at about a 50-m depth, where the waters transition from cool, oxic, and fresh to warm, sulfidic, and hypersaline. The bottom water brine is unique, as the highly chaotropic salts CaCl2 and MgCl2 predominate, and CaCl2 levels are the highest of those in any known microbial habitat. Enrichment techniques were used to isolate 15 strains of heterotrophic bacteria from the Lake Vanda brine. Despite direct supplementation of the brine samples with different organic substrates in primary enrichments, the same organism, a relative of the halophilic bacterium Halomonas (Gammaproteobacteria), was isolated from all depths sampled. The Lake Vanda (VAN) strains were obligate aerobes and showed broad pH, salinity, and temperature ranges for growth, consistent with the physicochemical properties of the brine. VAN strains were halophilic and quite CaCl2 tolerant but did not require CaCl2 for growth. The fact that only VAN strain-like organisms appeared in our enrichments hints that the highly chaotropic nature of the Lake Vanda brine may place unusual physiological constraints on the bacterial community that inhabits it. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  16. Multi-temporal satellite analysis of Wilkins Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, and consequences for its stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rankl, Melanie; Fürst, Johannes; Helm, Veit; Humbert, Angelika; Braun, Matthias

    2016-04-01

    Antarctic Peninsula (AP) ice shelves have been affected by ice front retreat and surface lowering over the past decades. 12 major ice shelves have disintegrated or significantly retreated and have been affected by volume loss. Longterm ice shelf thinning is twice as high at western AP ice shelves than at eastern AP ice shelves. Wilkins Ice Shelf (WIS), located at the western AP, has undergone considerable ice front retreat since the 1990s. It lost ~ 5000 km² of its size since then. Surface lowering at WIS was found to be the largest at AP ice shelves between 1978 and 2008. Here, we analyze time-series of satellite data in order to assess dynamic changes of WIS following the ice front retreat between 1994 and 2010. We present multi-temporal changes in surface velocities and deduced products, such as strain rate and stress regimes. Surface flow was derived from SAR intensity offset tracking applied to ALOS PALSAR image pairs. In addition, we show variations in ice thickness between 2003 and 2012 derived from TanDEM-X satellite acquisitions and altimetry datasets (CryoSAT-2, ICESat). The bistatic TanDEM-X acquisitions are very suitable for interferometric processing due to highly coherent image pairs. The results showed surface velocity speed up during break-up of an ice bridge between two confining islands in 2006-2008, when an area of ~ 1800 km² broke off. A sharp transition between compressive and extensive in-flow strain rates evolved at the narrowest part of the ice bridge, which contributed to the formation of a crack and hence, failure of the ice bridge in April 2009. First principal stresses were estimated to amount to ~ 250 kPa in the vicinity of the crack formation. The imaging TanDEM-X radar geometry allowed for a comprehensive ice thickness mapping of the ice shelf in 2012 and resolved many details due to the high spatial resolution. The ice thickness at WIS was found to be very heterogeneous. Thickness changes between 2003 and 2012 revealed increased

  17. Growing Crack in Antarctica Larsen C Ice Shelf Spotted by NASA MISR

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2016-08-31

    Project MIDAS, a United Kingdom-based group that studies the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica, reported Aug. 18, 2016, that a large crack in the Larsen C shelf has grown by another 13 miles (22 kilometers) in the past six months. The crack is now more than 80 miles (130 kilometers) long. Larsen C is the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, with an area of about 19,300 square miles (50,000 square kilometers), greater than the size of Maryland. Computer modeling by Project MIDAS predicts that the crack will continue to grow and eventually cause between nine and twelve percent of the ice shelf to collapse, resulting in the loss of 2,300 square miles (6,000 square kilometers) of ice -- more than the area of Delaware. This follows the collapse of the Larsen B shelf in 2002 and the Larsen A shelf in 1995, which removed about 1,255 square miles (3,250 square kilometers) and 580 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) of ice, respectively. The Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite flew over Larsen C on Aug. 22, 2016. The MISR instrument views Earth with nine cameras pointed at different angles, which provides information about the texture of the surface. On the left is a natural-color image of the shelf from MISR's vertical-viewing camera. Antarctica is slowly emerging from its polar night, and the low light gives the scene a bluish tint. The Larsen C shelf is on the left, while thinner sea ice is present on the right. A variety of cracks are visible in the Larsen C shelf, all appearing roughly the same. The image is about 130 by 135 miles (210 by 220 kilometers) in size. On the right is a composite image made by combining data from MISR's 46-degree backward-pointing camera (plotted as blue), the vertical-pointing camera (plotted as green), and the 46-degree forward-pointing camera (plotted as red). This has the effect of highlighting surface roughness; smooth surfaces appear as blue-purple, while rough surfaces appear as

  18. Late Quaternary glaciation history of northernmost Greenland - Evidence of shelf-based ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Kjær, Kurt H.; Funder, Svend; Möller, Per; van der Meer, Jaap J. M.; Schomacker, Anders; Linge, Henriette; Darby, Dennis A.

    2010-12-01

    We present the mapping of glacial landforms and sediments from northernmost Greenland bordering 100 km of the Arctic Ocean coast. One of the most important discoveries is that glacial landforms, sediments, including till fabric measurements, striae and stoss-lee boulders suggest eastward ice-flow along the coastal plain. Volcanic erratic boulders document ice-transport from 80 to 100 km west of the study area. We argue that these findings are best explained by local outlet glaciers from the Greenland Ice Sheet and local ice caps that merged to form a shelf-based ice in the Arctic Ocean and possibly confirming an extensive ice shelf in the Lincoln Sea between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. It is speculated that the shelf-based ice was largely affected by the presence of thick multiyear sea ice in the Arctic Ocean that prevented it from breaking up and forced the outlet glaciers to flow eastwards. During the initial retreat the coastal area was dammed by the shelf-based ice and kame and glaciolacustrine sediments were deposited up to 50 m above the marine limit before the final deglaciation and marine transgression. The timing of the shelf-based ice is constrained on land by dating glaciolacustrine sediments with OSL and marine molluscs with radiocarbon and by re-evaluating IRD events in cores from the Fram Strait. Results show that the shelf-based ice started to build-up as early as 30 cal ka BP and reached a maximum during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The shelf-based ice began to retreat ca 16 ka to 10.3 cal ka BP before the final break-up, which took place ca 10.1 cal ka BP probably as a combined result of increased inflow of warm Atlantic water through the Fram Strait, a shallower halocline and higher summer temperatures, corresponding to orbital maximum solar insolation at this time. The existence of extensive shelf-based ice north of Greenland provides an important contribution to the understanding of the LGM glaciation history of the Arctic Ocean.

  19. The response of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to ocean warming beneath the Filchner Ronne Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goeller, Sebastian; Timmermann, Ralph; Thoma, Malte

    2015-04-01

    The ice flow at the margins of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is moderated by large ice shelves. Their buttressing effect substantially controls the mass balance of the WAIS and thus its contribution to sea level rise. The stability of these ice shelves results from the balance of mass gain by accumulation and ice flow from the adjacent ice sheet and mass loss by calving and basal melting due to the ocean heat flux. Recent results of ocean circulation models indicate that warm circumpolar water of the Southern Ocean may override the submarine slope front of the Antarctic Continent and boost basal ice shelf melting. In particular, ocean simulations for several of the IPCC's future climate scenarios demonstrate the redirection of a warm coastal current into the Filchner Trough and underneath the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS) within the next decades. In this study, we couple the finite elements ocean circulation model FESOM and the three-dimensional thermomechanical ice flow model RIMBAY to investigate the sensitivity of the ice dynamics within the entire FRIS catchment to simulated future basal shelf melt rates. Our simulations indicate a high sensitivity of the ice dynamics for the Möller and the Institute Ice Stream but only very little response of other ice streams like Rutford, Foundation and Recovery Ice Stream to enhanced basal shelf melting. The grounding line between the Möller and Institute Ice Streams is located on a submarine ridge in front of a deep trough further inland. In this area, basal shelf melting causes a local thinning of the FRIS. The consequent initial retreat of the grounding line continues once it reaches the adjacent reverse-sloped bedrock. We state, that a possible 'point of no return' for a vast grounding line retreat along this steep reverse bedrock slope might have been crossed already even for simulated present-day melt rates, indicating that the WAIS is currently not in equlibrium. Furthermore, our simulations show an

  20. The effect of basal friction on melting and freezing in ice shelf-ocean models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gwyther, David E.; Galton-Fenzi, Benjamin K.; Dinniman, Michael S.; Roberts, Jason L.; Hunter, John R.

    2015-11-01

    The ocean is an important control on the mass budget of the Antarctic ice sheet, through basal melting and refreezing underneath the floating extensions of the ice sheet known as ice shelves. The effect of the ice surface roughness (basal roughness) on melting and refreezing is investigated with idealised ice shelf-ocean numerical simulations. Both "hot" ocean forcing (e.g. Pine Island Glacier; high basal melting) and "cold" ocean forcing (e.g. Amery Ice Shelf; low basal melting, stronger refreezing) environments are investigated. The interaction between the ocean and ice shelf is further explored by examining the contributions to melt from heat exchange across the ice-ocean interface and across the boundary layer-ocean interior, with a varying drag coefficient. Simulations show increasing drag strengthens melting. Refreezing increases with drag in the cold cavity environment, while in the hot cavity environment, refreezing is small in areal extent and decreases with drag. Furthermore, melting will likely be focussed where there are strong boundary layer currents, rather than at the deep grounding line. The magnitude of the thermal driving of the basal melt decreases with increasing drag, except for in cold cavity refreeze zones where it increases. The friction velocity, a function of the upper layer ocean velocity and the drag coefficient, monotonically increases with drag. We find friction-driven mixing into the boundary layer is important for representing the magnitude and distribution of refreezing and without this effect, refreezing is underestimated. Including a spatially- and temporally-varying basal roughness (that includes a more realistic, rougher refreezing drag coefficient) alters circulation patterns and heat and salt transport. This leads to increased refreezing, altered melt magnitude and distribution, and a pattern of altered vertical flow across the entire ice shelf. These results represent a summary of melting and freezing beneath ice shelves and

  1. Measuring Changes in the Vicinity of the Seal Nunataks Ice Shelf Remnant from Imagery and Altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shuman, C. A.; Berthier, E.; Scambos, T.

    2015-12-01

    Analysis of repeated imagery and ICESat laser altimetry has enabled the ongoing losses from the northern Larsen ice shelf remnant to be assessed in detail. The remnant, the Seal Nunataks ice shelf (SNIS), has four ICESat tracks that cross it as well as adjacent tracks that cross Robertson Island (RI) and its remaining tributary, Rogosh Glacier (RG), on the Antarctic Peninsula. The altimetry data from ICESat (2003-2009) shows that elevation losses increase from west to east across the SNIS. Ice elevation differences suggest mean ice shelf thinning rates of up to 1.6 m a-1 and reveal processes impacting the remaining shelf ice as well. Limited altimetry data across RG suggests elevation losses of almost 1 m a-1 inland from the grounding zone with smaller losses further up the evolving tributary. Farther east, asymmetric elevation changes across RI suggest the magnitude of regional climate impacts vary distinctly depending on slope aspect. Imagery analysis using Landsat 7 and ASTER images from 2001-2013 shows that ice area losses continued on the shelf remnant following the Larsen A break up in 1995 as well as after the Larsen B break up in 2002. The largest losses (~350 km2) occurred on the north side of the remnant in late 2004 into 2005 with smaller losses along the remaining margins. Despite a slight regional cooling recently and more persistent sea ice since early 2008 as seen in MODIS imagery, the SNIS is still losing ice along its margins and appears to be retreating past its pinning nunataks. In contrast to SNIS, RI has experienced minor ice area losses that suggest most of its ice is grounded and thus less directly impacted by ocean interactions. Combining these remote sensing data sets provides additional insights about ongoing ice loss processes in this part of the Antarctic Peninsula.

  2. Late holocene fluctuations in the front of the Muller Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    SciTech Connect

    Domack, E.W. ); Stein, A.B. )

    1993-01-01

    Ice shelves are important environmental indicators along the antarctic Peninsula. This study investigates the fluctuation of the Muller Ice Shelf by collecting and analysing surface sediment samples, piston cores, and kasten cores close to the present calving line. 3 refs., 3 figs.

  3. Two years of oceanic observations below the Fimbul Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hattermann, Tore; Nøst, Ole Anders; Lilly, Jonathan M.; Smedsrud, Lars H.

    2012-06-01

    The mechanisms by which heat is delivered to Antarctic ice shelves are a major source of uncertainty when assessing the response of the Antarctic ice sheet to climate change. Direct observations of the ice shelf-ocean interaction are extremely scarce and in many regions melt rates from ice shelf-ocean models are not constrained by measurements. Our two years of data (2010 and 2011) from three oceanic moorings below the Fimbul Ice Shelf in the Eastern Weddell Sea show cold cavity waters, with average temperatures of less than 0.1°C above the surface freezing point. This suggests low basal melt rates, consistent with remote sensing-based, steady-state mass balance estimates for this sector of the Antarctic coast. Oceanic heat for basal melting is found to be supplied by two sources of warm water entering below the ice: (i) eddy-like bursts of Modified Warm Deep Water that access the cavity at depth for eight months of the record; and (ii) fresh surface water that flushes parts of the ice base with temperatures above freezing during late summer and fall. This interplay of processes implies that basal melting at the Fimbul Ice Shelf cannot simply be parameterized by coastal deep ocean temperatures, but instead appears directly linked to both solar forcing at the surface as well as to the dynamics of the coastal current system.

  4. Soil temperatures and stability of ice-cemented ground in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    McKay, C; Mellon, M T; Friedmann, E I

    1998-03-01

    Year-round temperature measurements at 1600 m elevation during 1994 in the Asgard Range Antarctica, indicate that the mean annual frost point of the ice-cemented ground, 25 cm below the surface, is -21.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C and the mean annual frost point of the atmosphere is -27.5 +/- 1.0 degrees C. The corresponding mean annual temperatures are -24.9 degrees C and -23.3 degrees C. These results imply that there is a net flux of water vapour from the ice to the atmosphere resulting in a recession of the ice-cemented ground by about 0.4-0.6 mm yr-1. The level of the ice-cemented permafrost is about 12 cm below the level of dry permafrost. The summer air temperatures would have to increase about 7 degrees C for thawing temperatures to just reach the top of the subsurface ice. Either subsurface ice at this location is evaporating over time or there are sporadic processes that recharge the ice and maintain equilibrium over long timescales.

  5. Soil temperatures and stability of ice-cemented ground in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, C.; Mellon, M. T.; Friedmann, E. I.

    1998-01-01

    Year-round temperature measurements at 1600 m elevation during 1994 in the Asgard Range Antarctica, indicate that the mean annual frost point of the ice-cemented ground, 25 cm below the surface, is -21.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C and the mean annual frost point of the atmosphere is -27.5 +/- 1.0 degrees C. The corresponding mean annual temperatures are -24.9 degrees C and -23.3 degrees C. These results imply that there is a net flux of water vapour from the ice to the atmosphere resulting in a recession of the ice-cemented ground by about 0.4-0.6 mm yr-1. The level of the ice-cemented permafrost is about 12 cm below the level of dry permafrost. The summer air temperatures would have to increase about 7 degrees C for thawing temperatures to just reach the top of the subsurface ice. Either subsurface ice at this location is evaporating over time or there are sporadic processes that recharge the ice and maintain equilibrium over long timescales.

  6. Ice shelf basal melt rates around Antarctica from simulations and observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schodlok, M. P.; Menemenlis, D.; Rignot, E. J.

    2016-02-01

    We introduce an explicit representation of Antarctic ice shelf cavities in the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II (ECCO2) ocean retrospective analysis; and compare resulting basal melt rates and patterns to independent estimates from satellite observations. Two simulations are carried out: the first is based on the original ECCO2 vertical discretization; the second has higher vertical resolution particularly at the depth range of ice shelf cavities. The original ECCO2 vertical discretization produces higher than observed melt rates and leads to a misrepresentation of Southern Ocean water mass properties and transports. In general, thicker levels at the base of the ice shelves lead to increased melting because of their larger heat capacity. This strengthens horizontal gradients and circulation within and outside the cavities and, in turn, warm water transports from the shelf break to the ice shelves. The simulation with more vertical levels produces basal melt rates (1735 ± 164 Gt/a) and patterns that are in better agreement with observations. Thinner levels in the sub-ice-shelf cavities improve the representation of a fresh/cold layer at the ice shelf base and of warm/salty water near the bottom, leading to a sharper pycnocline and reduced vertical mixing underneath the ice shelf. Improved water column properties lead to more accurate melt rates and patterns, especially for melt/freeze patterns under large cold-water ice shelves. At the 18 km grid spacing of the ECCO2 model configuration, the smaller, warm-water ice shelves cannot be properly represented, with higher than observed melt rates in both simulations.

  7. Dilution-to-extinction culturing of psychrotolerant planktonic bacteria from permanently ice-covered lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Stingl, U; Cho, J-C; Foo, W; Vergin, K L; Lanoil, B; Giovannoni, S J

    2008-04-01

    Lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are characterized by a permanent ice cover and little or no anthropogenic influence. Although bacterial cultures have been obtained from these habitats, recent culture-independent studies indicate that the most abundant microbes in these systems are not yet cultivated. By using dilution-to-extinction cultivation methods with sterilized and nutrient-amended lake water as media, we isolated 148 chemotrophic psychrotolerant bacterial cultures from fresh surface water of Lake Fryxell and the east lobe of Lake Bonney and the hypersaline, suboxic bottom water from the west lobes of Lake Bonney. Screening of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) genes of the cultures by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) yielded 57 putatively pure psychrotolerant, slow growing cultures grouped into 18 clusters. The sequencing of 16S rRNA genes of randomly selected representatives of each RFLP cluster revealed that the corresponding isolates belong to the Alphaproteobacteria (six RFLP patterns), Betaproteobacteria (six RFLP patterns), Bacteroidetes (four RFLP patterns), and Actinobacteria (two RFLP patterns). Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences showed that the vast majority of the isolates were not closely related to previously described species. Thirteen of 18 RFLP patterns shared a 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid sequence similarity of 97% or less with the closest described species, and four isolates had a sequence similarity of 93% or less with the nearest described species. Phylogenetic analysis showed that these sequences were representatives of deeply branching organisms in the respective phylum. A comparison of the isolates with 16S rRNA clone libraries prepared from the same environments showed substantial overlap, indicating that dilution-to-extinction culturing in natural lake water media can help isolate some of the most abundant organisms in these perennially ice-covered lakes.

  8. An Isotopic Map of Dust Source Areas in the McMurdo Sound Sector of Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blakowski, M. A.; Aciego, S.; Delmonte, B.; Baroni, C.; Salvatore, M. C.

    2014-12-01

    The McMurdo Sound sector of Antarctica features a unique, polar desert ecosystem characterized by low temperatures, hyper-aridity, and high-speed winds. These climatic conditions result in limited water sources, sparse vegetation, underdeveloped soils, and abundant unconsolidated sediment easily influenced by wind-driven transport. Radiogenic isotopes (87Sr/86Sr, 143Nd/144Nd) provide constant signatures of dust from source- to sink-areas. Accordingly, aeolian dust derived from arid regions has been recognized in many studies as an important tracer of atmospheric circulation, as well as a tool for deciphering past climatic conditions in dust source regions. However, while major global dust sources (e.g. from South America, Africa, and Asia) are well studied and easily identifiable via distinct isotopic signatures when encountered in different depositional environments (e.g. Antarctic ice cores), local material from sources in and around the ice-free Dry Valleys and surrounding areas have remained in need of further documentation. We analyzed 40 samples of silt, sand, glacial drift, and weathered regolith material in both fine (<5μm) and coarse fractions collected from Victoria Land and the McMurdo Sound sector, including Cape Royds, Cape Bird, and the McMurdo Ice Shelf. Here we present an ArcGIS-generated, high-precision geochemical map of Antarctic PSAs synthesized from our data and combined with geomorphological and stratigraphic information on the studied sites. We believe that our expanded isotopic catalogue and map can be used to enhance and/or prompt regional studies in a variety of disciplines, such as by providing greater constraints on models of regional dust variability and transport pathways and of the melting history of the Antarctic ice sheet, and by determining the provenance of dust archived in ice cores, lake sediment, soil records, and impurities in Antarctic sea-ice.

  9. Integration of airborne altimetry and in situ radar measurements to estimate marine ice thickness beneath the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, D.; Steffen, K.; Rodriguez Lagos, J.

    2010-12-01

    Observed atmospheric and oceanic warming is driving significant retreat and / or collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula totaling over 25,000 km2 in the past five decades. Basal melting of meteoric ice can occur near the grounding line of deep glacier inflows if the ocean water is above the pressure melting point. Buoyant meltwater will develop thermohaline circulation, rising beneath the ice shelf, where it may become supercooled and subsequently refreeze in ice draft minima. Marine ice, due to its warm and thus relatively viscous nature, is hypothesized to suture parallel flow bands, increasing ice shelf stability by arresting fracture propagation and controlling iceberg calving dimensions. Thus efforts to model ice shelf stability require accurate estimates of marine ice location and thickness. Ice thickness of a floating ice shelf can be determined in two manners: (1) from measurements of ice elevation above sea level and the calculation of ice thickness from assumptions of hydrostatic equilibrium, and (2) from radar echo measurements of the ice-water interface. Marine ice can confound the latter because its high dielectric constant and strong absorptive properties attenuate the radar energy, often preventing a return signal from the bottom of the ice shelf. These two methods are complementary for determining the marine ice component though because positive anomalies in (1) relative to (2) suggest regions of marine ice accretion. Nearly 350 km of ice penetrating radar (25 MHz) surveys were collected on the Larsen C ice shelf, in conjunction with kinematic GPS measurements and collocated with surface elevation data from the NASA Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) as part of the ICE Bridge mission in 2009. Basal ice topography and total ice thickness is accurately mapped along the survey lines and compared with calculated ice thickness from both the kinematic GPS and ATM elevation data. Positive anomalies are discussed in light of visible imagery and

  10. The surface climatology of the Ross Ice Shelf Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Lazzara, Matthew A.; Keller, Linda M.; Cassano, John J.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The University of Wisconsin‐Madison Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) project has been making meteorological surface observations on the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) for approximately 30 years. This network offers the most continuous set of routine measurements of surface meteorological variables in this region. The Ross Island area is excluded from this study. The surface climate of the RIS is described using the AWS measurements. Temperature, pressure, and wind data are analysed on daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual time periods for 13 AWS across the RIS. The AWS are separated into three representative regions – central, coastal, and the area along the Transantarctic Mountains – in order to describe specific characteristics of sections of the RIS. The climatology describes general characteristics of the region and significant changes over time. The central AWS experiences the coldest mean temperature, and the lowest resultant wind speed. These AWSs also experience the coldest potential temperatures with a minimum of 209.3 K at Gill AWS. The AWS along the Transantarctic Mountains experiences the warmest mean temperature, the highest mean sea‐level pressure, and the highest mean resultant wind speed. Finally, the coastal AWS experiences the lowest mean pressure. Climate indices (MEI, SAM, and SAO) are compared to temperature and pressure data of four of the AWS with the longest observation periods, and significant correlation is found for most AWS in sea‐level pressure and temperature. This climatology study highlights characteristics that influence the climate of the RIS, and the challenges of maintaining a long‐term Antarctic AWS network. Results from this effort are essential for the broader Antarctic meteorology community for future research. PMID:28008213

  11. The surface climatology of the Ross Ice Shelf Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Costanza, Carol A; Lazzara, Matthew A; Keller, Linda M; Cassano, John J

    2016-12-01

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) project has been making meteorological surface observations on the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) for approximately 30 years. This network offers the most continuous set of routine measurements of surface meteorological variables in this region. The Ross Island area is excluded from this study. The surface climate of the RIS is described using the AWS measurements. Temperature, pressure, and wind data are analysed on daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual time periods for 13 AWS across the RIS. The AWS are separated into three representative regions - central, coastal, and the area along the Transantarctic Mountains - in order to describe specific characteristics of sections of the RIS. The climatology describes general characteristics of the region and significant changes over time. The central AWS experiences the coldest mean temperature, and the lowest resultant wind speed. These AWSs also experience the coldest potential temperatures with a minimum of 209.3 K at Gill AWS. The AWS along the Transantarctic Mountains experiences the warmest mean temperature, the highest mean sea-level pressure, and the highest mean resultant wind speed. Finally, the coastal AWS experiences the lowest mean pressure. Climate indices (MEI, SAM, and SAO) are compared to temperature and pressure data of four of the AWS with the longest observation periods, and significant correlation is found for most AWS in sea-level pressure and temperature. This climatology study highlights characteristics that influence the climate of the RIS, and the challenges of maintaining a long-term Antarctic AWS network. Results from this effort are essential for the broader Antarctic meteorology community for future research.

  12. Icepod Plus Potential Field: An Integrated Approach For Understanding Ice Shelf Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frearson, N.

    2015-12-01

    Warm water flowing beneath the large floating ice shelves in Antarctica will play an important role in how fast sea level rises. The lack of detailed bathymetry beneath the large ice shelves and lack of understanding of their internal structure inherently limits our knowledge of how ice shelves will thin and collapse. Understanding the bathymetry beneath the remaining ice shelves is critical to understanding how ice shelves will thin in the future and how that will impact the flux of ice into the global ocean. The Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf remaining on our planet, buttresses the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The bathymetry beneath the Ross Ice Shelf is the least explored piece of ocean floor on our planet. The IcePod is a compact integrated ice imaging system developed for use on any C-130 aircraft developed with NSF support. The initial development program was targeted towards investigating glacial and ice-sheet processes. In this program, deep and shallow ice radars were developed. Optical instruments, including a scanning laser, Infra-red camera and visible wave camera were integrated into the pod. We have expanded the IcePod instrument suite to include the potential field measurements of magnetic and gravity anomalies with support from the Moore Foundation. During the development, a total field cesium sensor magnetometer and 3-axis fluxgate from previously funded work were also incorporated into the pod. Their behavioral response to being located close to high-frequency electronics, power supplies and metallic objects were studied. We describe in part some of that development process and the positive findings that resulted. The Icepod group is also actively pursuing the development, modification and incorporation of a new gravimeter into the suite of instruments available to the program and is investigating reduction in size of this that may eventually lead to incorporating the gravimeter into the pod itself. As part of this program we are also

  13. Modelling Antarctic ice shelf melting under LGM and doubled CO2 climate using ice shelf-ocean model and climate model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Obase, T.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Kusahara, K.; Hasumi, H.

    2014-12-01

    Ice-ocean interaction is thought to be a responsible process on long-term Antarctic ice sheet variations, such as retreat of West Antarctic Ice Sheet during Eemian interglacial. Numerical simulation of Antarctic ice sheet require melt rate at ice shelf base as a boundary condition, but the relation between climate and melt rate is unclear. We calculate Antarctic ocean and basal melting of Antarctic ice shelves under Last Glacial Maximum(LGM) and doubled CO2(2xCO2) climate at equilibrium as well as present-day(CTL). We use circumpolar ice shelf-ocean general circulation model(OGCM, based on COCO) and outputs of climate model(MIROC). For the CTL case, we drive OGCM with surface atmospheric climatology based on reanalysis(OMIP) and present-day ocean temperature and salinity for restoration at northern boundary, placed at around latitude of 40S. The surface boundary conditions for LGM(or 2xCO2) is computed from the outputs from climate model simulations. Annual mean marine 2m air temperature anomaly averaged for south of 60S is -7.3℃ for LGM and +6.0℃ for 2xCO2. LGM (or 2xCO2) anomalies of surface atmospheric variables are superimposed to OMIP to make LGM (or 2xCO2) atmospheric boundary conditions. We modify the ocean temperature and salinity column for restoration at northern boundary by superimposing anomaly to present-day ocean climatology. Present-day geometry of ice sheet and ice shelf is used in all experiments to test the sensitivity to climate. We show that melting amount of Antarctic ice shelves show 23% reduction for the LGM and 3.5 times increase for the 2xCO2 compared to the CTL case. We perform a series of additional sensitivity experiments to investigate the role of surface change in sea surface atmospheric variables (temperature, wind) and ocean structures in the Southern Ocean on melt rate of ice shelves. Water mass, ocean circulation and sea ice production on continental shelf are analyzed.

  14. Persistent Surface River on Nansen Ice Shelf Drains Meltwater Preventing Collapse for Decades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, R. E.; Chu, W.; Kingslake, J.; Das, I.; Tedesco, M.; Tinto, K. J.; Zappa, C. J.; Frezzotti, M.

    2016-12-01

    Meltwater ponding on the surface of Antarctic ice shelves has been advanced as the trigger for their collapse through loading and hydrofracturing. While ponding was associated with the Larsen B Ice Shelf collapse, draining meltwater off an ice shelf could limit the destructive role of increasing surface melt in the future. In this regard, we present the first evidence of the presence and evolution of a persistent active network of streams, ponds, and rivers on the Nansen Ice Shelf, Antarctica. This active drainage system has delivered meltwater into the Ross Sea since at least 1908, reducing the volume of water seasonally stored on the ice surface and protecting the ice shelf from collapsing. We integrated early 20th century observations with modern airborne and satellite imagery to identify three distinct surface hydrology systems on the Nansen Ice Shelf. Near the calving front, surface meltwater coalesces into surface streams and ponds that grow over days to weeks, eventually connecting to a shear margin river that drains at a large waterfall into the Ross Sea. Between 1989 and 2016, the shear margin river drained into a rift associated with a large calving event in 2016. The second system forms close to the grounding line where surface meltwater drains into regions of rifted mélange, possibly explaining the low salinity of the ice drilled in these regions. This surface meltwater is injected into the ice shelf cavity through the mélange and may foster basal melting beneath the shear margins. The third system develops on the steeper Priestly Glacier flow where surface melt is produced adjacent to exposed bedrock and moraines and then is transported by surface streams that terminate in firn-covered regions. Ice shelf hydrology is spatially complex, sensitive to glaciological and climatic conditions, and evolves seasonally. Surface streams that coalesce melt and rivers that export water off the ice shelf will limit the damage from ponding-induced hydrofracturing

  15. McMurdo Dry Valleys

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    One of the few areas of Antarctica not covered by thousands of meters of ice, the McMurdo Dry Valleys stand out in this satellite image. For a few weeks each summer temperatures are warm enough to melt glacial ice, creating streams that feed freshwater lakes that lie at the bottom of the valleys. Beneath a cap of ice these lakes remains unfrozen year-round, supporting colonies of bacteria and phytoplankton. Over the past 14 years, however, summers have been colder than usual, and the lakes are becoming more and more frozen. If the trend continues, the biological communities they support may go into hibernation. Most of Antarctica has cooled along with the Dry Valleys, in contrast to much of the rest of the Earth, which has warmed over the past 100 years. No one knows if the trend is related to global climate, or just a quirk in the weather. This image was acquired by Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) instrument on December 18, 1999. For more information, visit: National Public Radio's Mixed Signals from Antarctica Declassified Satellite Imagery of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Image by Robert Simmon, based on data provided by the NASA GSFC Oceans and Ice Branch and the Landsat 7 Science Team

  16. Characterizing Microbial Mat Morphology with Structure from Motion Techniques in Ice-Covered Lake Joyce, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mackey, T. J.; Leidman, S. Z.; Allen, B.; Hawes, I.; Lawrence, J.; Jungblut, A. D.; Krusor, M.; Coleman, L.; Sumner, D. Y.

    2015-12-01

    Structure from Motion (SFM) techniques can provide quantitative morphological documentation of otherwise inaccessible benthic ecosystems such as microbial mats in Lake Joyce, a perennially ice-covered lake of the Antarctic McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV). Microbial mats are a key ecosystem of MDV lakes, and diverse mat morphologies like pinnacles emerge from interactions among microbial behavior, mineralization, and environmental conditions. Environmental gradients can be isolated to test mat growth models, but assessment of mat morphology along these gradients is complicated by their inaccessibility: the Lake Joyce ice cover is 4-5 m thick, water depths containing diverse pinnacle morphologies are 9-14 m, and relevant mat features are cm-scale. In order to map mat pinnacle morphology in different sedimentary settings, we deployed drop cameras (SeaViewer and GoPro) through 29 GPS referenced drill holes clustered into six stations along a transect spanning 880 m. Once under the ice cover, a boom containing a second GoPro camera was unfurled and rotated to collect oblique images of the benthic mats within dm of the mat-water interface. This setup allowed imaging from all sides over a ~1.5 m diameter area of the lake bottom. Underwater lens parameters were determined for each camera in Agisoft Lens; images were reconstructed and oriented in space with the SFM software Agisoft Photoscan, using the drop camera axis of rotation as up. The reconstructions were compared to downward facing images to assess accuracy, and similar images of an object with known geometry provided a test for expected error in reconstructions. Downward facing images identify decreasing pinnacle abundance in higher sedimentation settings, and quantitative measurements of 3D reconstructions in KeckCAVES LidarViewer supplement these mat morphological facies with measurements of pinnacle height and orientation. Reconstructions also help isolate confounding variables for mat facies trends with measurements

  17. Evolution of basal crevasses links ice shelf stability to ocean forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassis, J. N.

    2013-12-01

    Basal melting and iceberg calving are the primary mechanisms responsible for transferring mass from the ice shelves to the ocean. Although the connection between basal melting and ocean forcing is clear, the effect of ocean forcing on iceberg calving remains more controversial with conflicting hypothesis about whether a warming ocean will increase or decrease iceberg production. Previous theories of iceberg calving have often relied on various flavors of fracture mechanics, assuming that iceberg calving is a brittle process. Here I use a perturbation analysis to show that the strain weakening nature of ice allows initially narrow basal crevasses with width much smaller than the ice thickness to seed a visco-plastic instability that gives rise to locally enhanced ductile deformation and ice shelf thinning over length scales that are compared to the ice thickness. This process, called plastic necking, widens crevasses and allows crevasses to penetrate an increasing fraction of the ice thickness as they advect downstream. This instability progresses slowly, however, and enhanced melting or accretion of marine ice within crevasses as they advect downstream will either enhance or decrease crevasse penetration depth thereby exerting a strong control on ice shelf stability. Despite large uncertainty in ice-ocean interaction on the scale of individual crevasses, this model is able to explain the difference between the quasi-steady short (<15 km long) Erebus Glacier Tongue and much longer (>80 km long) Drygalski Ice Tongue. Moreover, application of the model to the four largest Antarctic ice shelves predicts that without marine ice accumulation in basal crevasses, deep crevasses form downstream of the grounding line that correspond to locations of fractures visible in satellite imagery. However, accumulation of marine ice within basal crevasses can substantially decrease crevasse penetration heights, increasing ice shelf stability, providing a strong link between iceberg

  18. Marine ice sheet model performance depends on basal sliding physics and sub-shelf melting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladstone, Rupert Michael; Warner, Roland Charles; Galton-Fenzi, Benjamin Keith; Gagliardini, Olivier; Zwinger, Thomas; Greve, Ralf

    2017-01-01

    Computer models are necessary for understanding and predicting marine ice sheet behaviour. However, there is uncertainty over implementation of physical processes at the ice base, both for grounded and floating glacial ice. Here we implement several sliding relations in a marine ice sheet flow-line model accounting for all stress components and demonstrate that model resolution requirements are strongly dependent on both the choice of basal sliding relation and the spatial distribution of ice shelf basal melting.Sliding relations that reduce the magnitude of the step change in basal drag from grounded ice to floating ice (where basal drag is set to zero) show reduced dependence on resolution compared to a commonly used relation, in which basal drag is purely a power law function of basal ice velocity. Sliding relations in which basal drag goes smoothly to zero as the grounding line is approached from inland (due to a physically motivated incorporation of effective pressure at the bed) provide further reduction in resolution dependence.A similar issue is found with the imposition of basal melt under the floating part of the ice shelf: melt parameterisations that reduce the abruptness of change in basal melting from grounded ice (where basal melt is set to zero) to floating ice provide improved convergence with resolution compared to parameterisations in which high melt occurs adjacent to the grounding line.Thus physical processes, such as sub-glacial outflow (which could cause high melt near the grounding line), impact on capability to simulate marine ice sheets. If there exists an abrupt change across the grounding line in either basal drag or basal melting, then high resolution will be required to solve the problem. However, the plausible combination of a physical dependency of basal drag on effective pressure, and the possibility of low ice shelf basal melt rates next to the grounding line, may mean that some marine ice sheet systems can be reliably simulated at

  19. Dynamics of surface melting over Amery and Ross ice shelf in Antarctic using OSCAT data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bothale, R. V.; Rao, P. V. N.; Dutt, C. B. S.; Dadhwal, V. K.

    2014-11-01

    Antarctic sea ice sheets play an important role in modulating the climate system. The present study investigates the dynamics of melt/freeze over Amery and Ross ice shelf located in Eastern and Southern part of continent using OSCAT, the microwave scatterometer data from OCEANSAT2. The study utilizes the sensitivity of backscatter coefficient values of scatterometer data to presence of liquid water in the snow caused due to melt conditions. The analysis carried out for four austral winters from 2010-2013 and five austral summer from 2009-2014 showed spatial and temporal variations in average backscatter coefficient over Amery and Ross shelf areas. A dynamic threshold based on the austral winter mean and standard deviation of HH polarization is considered for pixel by pixel analysis for the shelf area. There is significant spatio-temporal variability in melt extent, duration and melt index as observed in the analysis. Spatially, the melt over Amery shelf moves from South to North along coast and West towards inner shelf area. Maximum mean melt occurs on 9th January with January 1-15 fortnight accounting for 80 % of the melt. Extreme low melt conditions were observed during summer 2010-11 and 2011-12 indicating cold summer. Summer 2012-13 and 2013-14 were warm summer. Year 2014 experienced melt only in the month of January with entire shelf under melt conditions. Practically no melt was observed over Ross ice shelf.

  20. Bimodal pattern of seismicity detected at the ocean margin of an Antarctic ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lombardi, Denis; Benoit, Lionel; Camelbeeck, Thierry; Martin, Olivier; Meynard, Christophe; Thom, Christian

    2016-08-01

    In Antarctica, locally grounded ice, such as ice rises bordering floating ice shelves, plays a major role in the ice mass balance as it stabilizes the ice sheet flow from the hinterland. When in direct contact with the ocean, the ice rise buttressing effect may be altered in response of changing ocean forcing. To investigate this vulnerable zone, four sites near the boundary of an ice shelf with an ice rise promontory in Dronning Maud Land, East-Antarctica were monitored for a month in early 2014 with new instruments that include both seismic and GPS sensors. Our study indicated that this transition zone experiences periodic seismic activity resulting from surface crevassing during oceanic tide-induced flexure of the ice shelf. The most significant finding is the observation of apparent fortnightly tide-modulated low-frequency, long-duration seismic events at the seaward front of the ice rise promontory. A basal origin of these events is postulated with the ocean water surge at each new spring tide triggering basal crevassing or basal slip on a local bedrock asperity. Detection and monitoring of such seismicity may help identifying ice rise zones vulnerable to intensified ocean forcing.

  1. Sea ice and surface water circulation, Alaskan Continental Shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, F. F. (Principal Investigator); Sharma, G. D.; Burn, J. J.

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The boundaries of land-fast ice, distribution of pack ice, and major polynya were studied in the vicinity of the Bering Strait. Movement of pack ice during 24 hours was determined by plotting the distinctly identifiable ice floes on ERTS-1 imagery obtained from two consecutive passes. Considerably large shallow area along the western Seward Peninsula just north of the Bering Strait is covered by land fast ice. This ice hinders the movement of ice formed in eastern Chukchi Sea southward through the Bering Strait. The movement of ice along the Russian coast is relatively faster. Plotting of some of the ice floes indicated movement of ice in excess of 30 km in and south of the Bering Strait between 6 and 7 March, 1973. North of the Bering Strait the movement approached 18 km. The movement of ice observed during March 6 and 7 considerably altered the distribution and extent of polynya. These features when continually plotted should be of considerable aid in navigation of ice breakers. The movement of ice will also help delineate the migration and distribution of sea mammals.

  2. Ocean heat drives rapid basal melt of the Totten Ice Shelf

    PubMed Central

    Rintoul, Stephen Rich; Silvano, Alessandro; Pena-Molino, Beatriz; van Wijk, Esmee; Rosenberg, Mark; Greenbaum, Jamin Stevens; Blankenship, Donald D.

    2016-01-01

    Mass loss from the West Antarctic ice shelves and glaciers has been linked to basal melt by ocean heat flux. The Totten Ice Shelf in East Antarctica, which buttresses a marine-based ice sheet with a volume equivalent to at least 3.5 m of global sea-level rise, also experiences rapid basal melt, but the role of ocean forcing was not known because of a lack of observations near the ice shelf. Observations from the Totten calving front confirm that (0.22 ± 0.07) × 106 m3 s−1 of warm water enters the cavity through a newly discovered deep channel. The ocean heat transport into the cavity is sufficient to support the large basal melt rates inferred from glaciological observations. Change in ocean heat flux is a plausible physical mechanism to explain past and projected changes in this sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea level. PMID:28028540

  3. Ocean heat drives rapid basal melt of the Totten Ice Shelf.

    PubMed

    Rintoul, Stephen Rich; Silvano, Alessandro; Pena-Molino, Beatriz; van Wijk, Esmee; Rosenberg, Mark; Greenbaum, Jamin Stevens; Blankenship, Donald D

    2016-12-01

    Mass loss from the West Antarctic ice shelves and glaciers has been linked to basal melt by ocean heat flux. The Totten Ice Shelf in East Antarctica, which buttresses a marine-based ice sheet with a volume equivalent to at least 3.5 m of global sea-level rise, also experiences rapid basal melt, but the role of ocean forcing was not known because of a lack of observations near the ice shelf. Observations from the Totten calving front confirm that (0.22 ± 0.07) × 10(6) m(3) s(-1) of warm water enters the cavity through a newly discovered deep channel. The ocean heat transport into the cavity is sufficient to support the large basal melt rates inferred from glaciological observations. Change in ocean heat flux is a plausible physical mechanism to explain past and projected changes in this sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and its contribution to sea level.

  4. Observations of amplified roughness from crystal accretion in the sub-ice ocean boundary layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robinson, N. J.; Stevens, C. L.; McPhee, M. G.

    2017-02-01

    Ice crystal accretion on the underside of sea ice and ice shelves, a signature of pressure-induced supercooling, has the potential to alter the energy balance in the ocean boundary layer through enhanced hydrodynamic roughness. Here we present estimates of crystal-driven ocean boundary layer roughness in supercooled water beneath sea ice adjacent to the McMurdo/Ross Ice Shelf. Data were collected from four sites in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, between 2007 and 2015, and represent a range of ice shelf-affected conditions. The results show that drag of the rough ice underside in the presence of platelets is 6-30 times larger than typical levels homogeneously applied in ice-ocean interaction models. The crystal-enhanced drag promotes increased entrainment into the boundary layer from the upper ocean, which has the potential to affect ice shelf evolution and sea ice growth through enhanced turbulent exchange of heat and momentum.

  5. New evidence for ice shelf flow across the Alaska and Beaufort margins, Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Engels, Jennifer L.

    The Arctic Ocean may act as a lynchpin for global climate change due to its unique physiography as a mediterranean sea located in polar latitudes. In our modern warming climate, debate over the bounds of natural versus anthropogenically-induced climate variability necessitates a comprehensive understanding of Arctic ice extent and configuration over the last interglacial cycle. Longstanding controversy exists as to the volume, timing, and flow trajectories of ice in the Arctic Ocean during glacial maxima when continental ice sheets mantled circum-arctic landmasses. As a result of the Science Ice Exercise surveys of the Arctic Ocean in 1999, new evidence for ice grounding at depths down to 980 m on the Lomonosov Ridge and 750 m on the Chukchi Borderland indicates the likelihood that large ice shelves flowed into the ocean from both the Barents/Kara Sea and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago or eastern Alaska. Sidescan imagery of ˜14100 km2 of seafloor along the Alaska and Beaufort margins in water depths from 250--2800 m maps a repetitive association of recognizable sub-glacially generated bedforms, ice carved-bathymerry, and ice-marginal turbidite gullies over a 640 km stretch of the margin between Point Barrow and the MacKenzie River delta. Glaciogenic bedforms occur across the surface of a flattened bathymetric bench or 'second shelf break' that is interpreted to have been formed by an ice shelf eroding the continental slope. The glacial geology of surrounding areas suggests that an ice shelf on the Alaska and Beaufort margins likely flowed from the mouths of overdeepened glacial troughs in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago westward and across the Chukchi Borderland due to an obstruction in the central Canadian basin. Evidence for an ice shelf along the Alaska and Beaufort margins supports an expanded interpretation of ice volume and extent during Pleistocene glacial periods. This has far-reaching implications for Arctic climate studies, ocean circulation, sediment

  6. Impact of surface melt and ponding on the stability of Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kulessa, Bernd; Luckman, Adrian; Hubbard, Bryn; Bevan, Suzanne; O'Leary, Martin; Ashmore, David; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Jansen, Daniela; Booth, Adam; Sevestre, Heidi; Holland, Paul; McGrath, Daniel; Brisbourne, Alex; Rutt, Ian

    2017-04-01

    Several ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula have disintegrated rapidly in recent decades, and surface meltwater is strongly implicated as a driver. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf on the peninsula and one of the largest in Antarctica, and is subject to pronounced surface melting and meltwater ponding, especially in the northern sectors and landward inlets. As part of the MIDAS project we have investigated the structure and physical properties of the firn and ice layers in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 austral summers, using a combination of radar and seismic geophysical surveys together with hot water drilling and borehole optical televiewing and temperature measurements. We found that Larsen C's firn column and ice temperatures are modified strongly by surface melting and ponding, including the presence of massive ice bodies in the Cabinet and Whirlwind inlets. Numerical modelling reveals that these modifications have been altering ice shelf deformation, flow and fracture significantly. The findings from our MIDAS project thus suggest that the response of Antarctic ice shelves to climatic warming is more complex than previously thought.

  7. Spatial Variability in Basal Mass Balance of the Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berger, Sophie; Drews, Reinhard; Helm, Veit; Sun, Sainan; Pattyn, Frank

    2017-04-01

    Ice-shelf buttressing is an important component controlling the dynamic mass loss of ice sheets. The basal mass balance (BMB, i.e. the sum of melting/refreezing beneath ice shelves), and spatio-temporal variations thereof, critically impact the ice-shelf buttressing strength. Therefore, it is important to pinpoint BMB area-wide from space which is challenging because many input parameters are typically not well resolved. Here, we present the BMB field of the Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica at 10 m gridding, based on mass conservation in a Lagrangian framework using interferometric elevations and surface velocities along with atmospheric modelling. We apply the total variation differentiation to account for noisy input data, which circumnavigates spatial averaging with corresponding loss of spatial resolution. At the core of our analysis is a high-resolution surface elevation model from the TandDEM-X satellites (consisting out of 43 scenes), from which we derive the hydrostatic ice thickness in 2013 and 2014. This dataset clearly resolves small-scale features such as ice-shelf channels, resulting in a yearly-averaged BMB field revealing much detail. Our satellite-based BMB field shows good agreement with on-site measurements from phase-sensitive radar over a two-week time period, and we compare the hydrostatic thickness with measurements from ground-penetrating radar highlighting unresolved spatial variations of firn density. Our BMB field ranges from -14.8 to 8.6 m/yr, with an average of -0.8 m/yr. Highest melting is found close to the grounding line, where ice thickness changes are most prominent. As an example for the small-scale variability in the BMB field, we investigate a previously identified englacial lake at 30 m depth extending over an area of 0.7 by 1.3 km. Using the TanDEM-X DEMs and kinematic GNSS we find localized surface lowering of 5 to 10 m/yr which we tentatively attribute to a transient adaptation to hydrostatic

  8. Ice-shelf height variability in Amundsen Sea linked to ENSO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paolo, Fernando; Fricker, Helen; Padman, Laurie

    2016-04-01

    Atmospheric and sea-ice conditions around Antarctica, particularly in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas, respond to climate dynamics in the tropical Pacific Ocean on interannual time scales including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It has been hypothesized that the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, including its floating ice shelves, also responds to this climate signal; however, this has not yet been unambiguously demonstrated. We apply multivariate singular spectrum analysis (MSSA) to 18-year (1994-2012) time series of ice-shelf height derived from satellite radar altimetry in the Amundsen Sea (AS) region. This advanced spectral method distinguishes between regular deterministic behavior ("cycles") at sub-decadal time scale and irregular behavior ("noise") at shorter time scales. Although the long-term trends in ice-shelf height change are much larger than the range of interannual variability in the AS region, the short-term rate of change dh/dt can vary about the trend by more than 50%. We extract the principal modes of variability (EOFs) based on common spectral properties from a set of 140 height time series. The mode of interannual variability in the AS ice-shelf height is strongly correlated with the low-frequency mode of ENSO (periodicity of ~4.5 years) as represented by the Southern Oscillation Index. This interannual mode in ice-shelf height, represented by the two leading EOFs, is responsible for about 25% of the variance in the de-trended data set. The ice-shelf height in the AS is expected to respond to changes in precipitation and inflows of warm subsurface Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) into the ocean cavities under the ice shelves, altering basal melt rates. While we find a correlation between modeled precipitation anomalies and ice-shelf height, we are investigating (a) errors in model precipitation, (b) radar backscatter and firn-density issues, and (c) ocean contribution correlated with atmosphere through wind-stress forcing. We

  9. Chain-Reaction Drainage of Supraglacial Lakes Triggered the Larsen B Ice Shelf Break-Up

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banwell, A. F.; MacAyeal, D. R.; Sergienko, O. V.

    2013-12-01

    Progress in understanding how and why the Larsen B Ice Shelf (LBIS) explosively disintegrated in March 2002 hinges on two unresolved questions: 1) What process drove the ice shelf to separate into thousands of fragments possessing aspect ratios (horizontal length to ice thickness) that are less than the critical value necessary for capsize; and 2) what process synchronized the widespread fragmentation of the ice shelf over such a short time period? With the use of a numerical model, we show that the answer to both questions is related to the densely configured array of ~2750 lakes which emerged as dominant surface features in the decade prior to the 2002 break-up. Supraglacial lakes (and drained lakes) are mass loads (or deficits) that create flexure stresses on ice shelves and glaciers. Fractures occur when these imposed flexure stresses exceed the flexure strength of the ice shelf, with the spacing of the fractures determined by the spatial distribution and depths of lakes. We suggest that the spacing of these fractures caused a large proportion of the LBIS fragments to be unstable and to capsize. We also show that the filling or drainage of a single ';starter' lake can cause multiple fractures able to drain hundreds of surrounding lakes through a chain-reaction process, and we argue that such a process initiated the explosive disintegration of the LBIS.

  10. Mounting evidence for intense ocean interaction with the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bindschadler, R.; Holland, D.; Vaughan, D.; Vornberger, P.

    2008-12-01

    The spatial signature of thinning and acceleration of the Pine Island Glacier has led to the inference that these changes originate at the seaward end of the glacier, possibly within or under the ice shelf (Payne et al., 2004; Shepherd et al., 2004). We present new analyses resulting from both new and archived satellite imagery of the ice shelf that supports this inference and provides new insights into strong seasonal and intra- annual characters of ocean-ice shelf interaction. Strong longitudinal variations in both thickness and surface elevation measured by British Antarctic Survey airborne radars (Vaughan et al., 2006) have wavelengths that correspond roughly to the annual motion of the ice shelf. These could be caused by seasonal variations in flow speed, but such variations of flow speed have never been reported and are not seen in the most recent continuous GPS observations of the ice shelf. We suggest that these strong variations in ice thickness, as large as 200 meters in an average thickness of 600 meters, are caused by seasonal variations in the properties of the water circulating underneath the ice shelf. One likely explanation is that the dominant water mass reaching the deepest parts of the ice shelf alternates between cold High Salinity Shelf Water in the winter and warm Circumpolar Deep Water in the summer. Evidence for recent strengthening of the sub- shelf circulation is the sudden occurrence of three persistent polynyas immediately adjacent to the ice front. These are located in precisely the locations expected from modeled sub-shelf circulation (Payne et al., 2007). This mode was never observed in any satellite imagery prior to the 1999-2000 austral summer (data of 7 summers since 1973 were available), but has occurred in 7 of the 9 summers since and persists throughout the summer. Payne, A.J., A. Vieli, A.P. Shepherd, D.J. Wingham and E. Rignot, 2004. Recent dramatic thinning of largest West Antarctic ice stream triggered by oceans, Geophysical

  11. Modelling tidal modulations in flow of the entire Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and adjoining ice streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosier, Sebastian; Gudmundsson, Hilmar

    2017-04-01

    Ocean tides are known to affect the flow of ice shelves and ice streams, even far upstream of their grounding lines. In many places around the Weddel Sea, which is characterised by strong semidiurnal tides, this flow modulation is strongest at a fortnightly period that is absent in the tidal forcing. Explaining the distances that these signals can penetrate and the change in frequency from their tidal origins can provide unique insights into ice rheology and subglacial processes. We present results from a new 3D full-Stokes viscoelastic model of the entire Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and its major adjoining ice streams. We employ an inverse Robin approach to invert for basal slipperiness beneath grounded ice. By modelling the entire ice shelf we can include, for the first time, the complete rotating tidal system in a unified way that will implicitly include phase behaviour such as tidal tilting. This model enables us to test whether our current understanding of tidal modulation of ice flow is sufficient to reproduce the complex spatial variations that we observe with an extensive array of both old and new GPS data.

  12. The Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) Project - Did the Ross Ice Shelf Collapse During MIS 5e?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bertler, N. A. N.; Conway, H.; Dahl-Jensen, D.; Blunier, T.; Brook, E.; Dadic, R.; Delmonte, B.; Dongqi, Z.; Edwards, R.; Emanuelsson, D. B.; Fudge, T. J.; Golledge, N.; Hindmarsh, R. C. A.; Hawley, R. L.; Kipfstuhl, S.; Kjær, H. A.; Kurbatov, A.; Lee, J.; Mayewski, P. A.; Naish, T.; Neff, P. D.; Scherer, R. P.; Severinghaus, J. P.; Simonsen, M. F.; Steig, E. J.; Tuohy, A.; Vallelonga, P. T.; Waddington, E. D.

    2014-12-01

    Geological evidence and modelling experiments suggest that the removal of ice shelves from marine based ice sheets can lead to catastrophic collapse. Roosevelt and Ross Islands are thought to be key stabilization anchors for the Ross Ice Shelf and thus the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. As part of the Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) project, a 763m deep ice core was recovered during 2011-2013 from Roosevelt Island, at the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The ice at Roosevelt Island is grounded 210m below sea level and accumulates in situ, with the Ross Ice Shelf flowing around the rise. High resolution radar surveys show a well developed Raymond Bump at the divide of the ice dome. With the conclusion of the RICE core processing campaign in July 2014, a preliminary age model is developed using annual layer count, volcanic ash layers; and high resolution methane data tied to the WAIS Divide ice core record, and a glacial flow model. Here we show preliminary data spanning over 100 ka including evidence of ice from the Eemian period (MIS 5e) at the base of the core. The presence of Eemian ice in the RICE record raises the question: how much of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed during the last interglacial, when global sea level was 4-8m higher than today? We discuss reconstructions of sea surface and air temperature, sea ice extent, atmospheric circulation patterns, and ice shelf retreat. An ensemble of sensitivity modelling experiments is used to determine thresholds for the removal of ice on Roosevelt Island and correlated grounding line and ice volume changes of the Ross Ice Shelf and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

  13. Response to Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf cavity warming in a coupled ocean-ice sheet model - Part 1: The ocean perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Timmermann, Ralph; Goeller, Sebastian

    2017-09-01

    The Regional Antarctic ice and Global Ocean (RAnGO) model has been developed to study the interaction between the world ocean and the Antarctic ice sheet. The coupled model is based on a global implementation of the Finite Element Sea-ice Ocean Model (FESOM) with a mesh refinement in the Southern Ocean, particularly in its marginal seas and in the sub-ice-shelf cavities. The cryosphere is represented by a regional setup of the ice flow model RIMBAY comprising the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and the grounded ice in its catchment area up to the ice divides. At the base of the RIMBAY ice shelf, melt rates from FESOM's ice-shelf component are supplied. RIMBAY returns ice thickness and the position of the grounding line. The ocean model uses a pre-computed mesh to allow for an easy adjustment of the model domain to a varying cavity geometry. RAnGO simulations with a 20th-century climate forcing yield realistic basal melt rates and a quasi-stable grounding line position close to the presently observed state. In a centennial-scale warm-water-inflow scenario, the model suggests a substantial thinning of the ice shelf and a local retreat of the grounding line. The potentially negative feedback from ice-shelf thinning through a rising in situ freezing temperature is more than outweighed by the increasing water column thickness in the deepest parts of the cavity. Compared to a control simulation with fixed ice-shelf geometry, the coupled model thus yields a slightly stronger increase in ice-shelf basal melt rates.

  14. Model intercomparison of sea-level response to sudden Antarctic ice-shelf collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, Frank; Sun, Sainan; Golledge, Nicholas

    2017-04-01

    The magnitude of the Antarctic ice sheet's contribution to global sea level is dominated by the potential of its marine sectors to become unstable and collapse to ocean (and atmospheric) forcing. Ice shelf buttressing is a key element in the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet. Therefore, a useful model experiment to test this stability is the sudden removal of all floating ice shelves. It serves several purposes: (i) investigating an upper bound of Antarctic mass loss, and (ii) testing numerical ice sheet models on their sensitivity to grounding line migration and marine ice sheet instability (MISI). Two types of de-buttressing are investigated, i.e., (i) sudden removal followed by ice-shelf regrowth due to increased ice discharge across the grounding line, and (ii) without ice shelf regrowth after de-buttressing (so-called float-kill). Experiments are carried out with two state-of-the-art marine ice sheet models (f.ETISh and PISM) and different settings of grounding-line treatment. For the f.ETISh model these settings pertain to grounding-line flux conditions according to power-law basal sliding and Coulomb friction; for PISM this includes different settings on transition zone width and grounding-line interpolation. Results of the experiments show that regrowth of ice shelves after sudden de-buttressing stabilizes grounding lines and reduces the effect of MISI. Float-kill conditions lead to significant mass loss, which is further exacerbated by the type of grounding-line treatment, i.e., Coulomb friction renders grounding lines more sensitive (Tsai et al., 2015). However, compared to recent model studies where effects of hydro-fracturing and cliff-failure are considered (DeConto and Pollard, 2016), similar amounts of ice loss are only obtained when the highest grounding-line sensitivity is considered.

  15. Evolution of basal crevasses links ice shelf stability to ocean forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassis, J. N.; Ma, Y.

    2015-01-01

    Iceberg calving is one of the primary mechanisms responsible for transferring ice from the Antarctic ice shelves to the ocean, but remains poorly understood. Previous theories of calving have sought to explain the calving process as a brittle phenomenon that occurs rapidly when surface or basal crevasses penetrate the entire ice thickness. Here we show that the strain-rate-weakening nature of ice permits initially narrow basal crevasses to seed an instability that gives rise to locally enhanced ductile deformation and thinning over length scales that are large compared to the ice thickness. This ductile failure process, called necking, amplifies long wavelength features of bottom topography and allows basal crevasses to penetrate an increasing fraction of the ice thickness as they advect downstream. Application of the model to the four largest Antarctic ice shelves shows that necking occurs downstream of pinning points and sharp protrusions in the ice shelf embayment where stress is highly concentrated. However, model predictions are sensitive to assumptions about basal melting and refreezing within crevasses, suggesting that the combination of mechanical instability and ice-ocean interaction on the scale of an individual crevasse may play a leading role in controlling ice shelf stability.

  16. Fish, crustaceans, and the sea floor under the ross ice shelf.

    PubMed

    Bruchhausen, P M; Raymond, J A; Jacobs, S S; Devries, A L; Thorndike, E M; Dewitt, H H

    1979-02-02

    Baited traps and a camera lowered through the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, at a point 475 kilometers from the open Ross Sea and to 597 meters below sea level revealed the presence of fish, many amphipods, and one isopod. Biological or current markings were not evident on a soft bottom littered with subangular lumps. A fish was caught through a crevasse 80 kilometers from the shelf edge.

  17. Future sea-level rise from tidewater and ice-shelf tributary glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schannwell, Clemens; Barrand, Nicholas E.; Radić, Valentina

    2016-11-01

    Iceberg calving and increased ice discharge from ice-shelf tributary glaciers contribute significant amounts to global sea-level rise (SLR) from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). Owing to ongoing ice dynamical changes (collapse of buttressing ice shelves), these contributions have accelerated in recent years. As the AP is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, further ice dynamical adjustment (increased ice discharge) is expected over the next two centuries. In this paper, the first regional SLR projection of the AP from both iceberg calving and increased ice discharge from ice-shelf tributary glaciers in response to ice-shelf collapse is presented. An ice-sheet model forced by temperature output from 13 global climate models (GCMs), in response to the high greenhouse gas emission scenario (RCP8.5), projects AP contribution to SLR of 28 ± 16 to 32 ± 16 mm by 2300, partitioned approximately equally between contributions from tidewater glaciers and ice-shelf tributary glaciers. In the RCP4.5 scenario, sea-level rise projections to 2300 are dominated by tidewater glaciers (∼8-18 mm). In this cooler scenario, 2.4 ± 1 mm is added to global sea levels from ice-shelf tributary drainage basins as fewer ice-shelves are projected to collapse. Sea-level projections from ice-shelf tributary glaciers are dominated by drainage basins feeding George VI Ice Shelf, accounting for ∼70% of simulated SLR. Combined total ice dynamical SLR projections to 2300 from the AP vary between 11 ± 2 and 32 ± 16 mm sea-level equivalent (SLE), depending on the emission scenario used. These simulations suggest that omission of tidewater glaciers could lead to a substantial underestimation of the ice-sheet's contribution to regional SLR.

  18. Integrating satellite, airborne, and in situ observations to assess the stability of the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, D.; Steffen, K.; Scambos, T. A.; Rajaram, H.; Rignot, E. J.; Abdalati, W.

    2012-12-01

    The collapse of the Larsen A and B ice shelves has been attributed to meltwater driven crevasse propagation, rendering the ice shelf into numerous, elongate icebergs which rapidly overturned during the final disintegration. The rapid nature of this style of disintegration overshadows the role structural features, such as crevasses and rifts, and processes, such as thinning and firn densification, play in 'pre-conditioning' the ice shelf in the years and decades preceding these events, whereby making it increasingly susceptible to collapse. We assess the stability of the Larsen C ice shelf, which, at ~50,000 km2, is the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). We examine, in detail, three specific structural features of the ice shelf: marine ice, basal crevasses, and ice rises, through the integration of historic defense, moderate and high-resolution satellite imagery, NASA IceBridge airborne altimetry, and in situ ground penetrating radar (GPR). In particular, (1) we examine the termination of rift tips along coherent flow domains, assumed to be of marine provenance, and assess the properties of these domains with GPR, (2) highlight the prevalence of basal crevasses across the ice shelf, and consider how these features, by inducing both surface crevassing and depressions, may play an important role in hydrofracture, and (3) assess the two primary ice rises, the Bawden and Gipps, and their role in past and potentially future calving events. Lastly, we calculate current grounding line ice fluxes delineated by ice shelf domain, and compare this flux to the total ice volume within each domain, thereby calculating a "replacement time." We consider, based on observed grounding line flux increases following the collapse of Larsen B, the potential future contribution to sea level rise if the Larsen C ice shelf were to collapse.

  19. Biodiversity change after climate-induced ice-shelf collapse in the Antarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutt, Julian; Barratt, Iain; Domack, Eugene; d'Udekem d'Acoz, Cédric; Dimmler, Werner; Grémare, Antoine; Heilmayer, Olaf; Isla, Enrique; Janussen, Dorte; Jorgensen, Elaina; Kock, Karl-Hermann; Sophia Lehnert, Linn; López-Gonzáles, Pablo; Langner, Stephanie; Linse, Katrin; Eugenia Manjón-Cabeza, Maria; Meißner, Meike; Montiel, Americo; Raes, Maarten; Robert, Henri; Rose, Armin; Sañé Schepisi, Elisabet; Saucède, Thomas; Scheidat, Meike; Schenke, Hans-Werner; Seiler, Jan; Smith, Craig

    2011-03-01

    The marine ecosystem on the eastern shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula was surveyed 5 and 12 years after the climate-induced collapse of the Larsen A and B ice shelves. An impoverished benthic fauna was discovered, that included deep-sea species presumed to be remnants from ice-covered conditions. The current structure of various ecosystem components appears to result from extremely different response rates to the change from an oligotrophic sub-ice-shelf ecosystem to a productive shelf ecosystem. Meiobenthic communities remained impoverished only inside the embayments. On local scales, macro- and mega-epibenthic diversity was generally low, with pioneer species and typical Antarctic megabenthic shelf species interspersed. Antarctic Minke whales and seals utilised the Larsen A/B area to feed on presumably newly established krill and pelagic fish biomass. Ecosystem impacts also extended well beyond the zone of ice-shelf collapse, with areas of high benthic disturbance resulting from scour by icebergs discharged from the Larsen embayments.

  20. Sub-ice-shelf sediments record history of twentieth-century retreat of Pine Island Glacier.

    PubMed

    Smith, J A; Andersen, T J; Shortt, M; Gaffney, A M; Truffer, M; Stanton, T P; Bindschadler, R; Dutrieux, P; Jenkins, A; Hillenbrand, C-D; Ehrmann, W; Corr, H F J; Farley, N; Crowhurst, S; Vaughan, D G

    2017-01-05

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is one of the largest potential sources of rising sea levels. Over the past 40 years, glaciers flowing into the Amundsen Sea sector of the ice sheet have thinned at an accelerating rate, and several numerical models suggest that unstable and irreversible retreat of the grounding line-which marks the boundary between grounded ice and floating ice shelf-is underway. Understanding this recent retreat requires a detailed knowledge of grounding-line history, but the locations of the grounding line before the advent of satellite monitoring in the 1990s are poorly dated. In particular, a history of grounding-line retreat is required to understand the relative roles of contemporaneous ocean-forced change and of ongoing glacier response to an earlier perturbation in driving ice-sheet loss. Here we show that the present thinning and retreat of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is part of a climatically forced trend that was triggered in the 1940s. Our conclusions arise from analysis of sediment cores recovered beneath the floating Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, and constrain the date at which the grounding line retreated from a prominent seafloor ridge. We find that incursion of marine water beyond the crest of this ridge, forming an ocean cavity beneath the ice shelf, occurred in 1945 (±12 years); final ungrounding of the ice shelf from the ridge occurred in 1970 (±4 years). The initial opening of this ocean cavity followed a period of strong warming of West Antarctica, associated with El Niño activity. Thus our results suggest that, even when climate forcing weakened, ice-sheet retreat continued.

  1. Coupled ice shelf-ocean modeling and complex grounding line retreat from a seabed ridge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Rydt, J.; Gudmundsson, G. H.

    2016-05-01

    Recent observations and modeling work have shown a complex mechanical coupling between Antarctica's floating ice shelves and the adjacent grounded ice sheet. A prime example is Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, which has a strong negative mass balance caused by a recent increase in ocean-induced melting of its ice shelf. The mass loss coincides with the retreat of the grounding line from a seabed ridge, on which it was at least partly grounded until the 1970s. At present, it is unclear what has caused the onset of this retreat and how feedback mechanisms between the ocean and ice shelf geometry have influenced the ice dynamics. To address these questions, we present the first results from an offline coupling between a state-of-the-art shallow-ice flow model with grounding line resolving capabilities and a three-dimensional ocean general circulation model with a static implementation of the ice shelf. A series of idealized experiments simulate the retreat from a seabed ridge in response to changes in the ocean forcing, and we show that the retreat becomes irreversible after 20 years of warm ocean conditions. A comparison to experiments with a simple depth-dependent melt rate parameterization demonstrates that such parameterizations are unable to capture the details of the retreat process, and they overestimate mass loss by more than 40% over a 50 year timescale.

  2. Bathymetry Beneath Abbot Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, From Inversion Of Icebridge Gravity Data: Glaciological And Tectonic Implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cochran, J. R.; Tinto, K. J.; Bell, R. E.

    2012-12-01

    The Abbot Ice Shelf, with a surface area of just over 30,000 km2, extends for about 400 km along the Eights Coast of West Antarctica between 103°W and 89°W. Thurston Island forms the seaward side of the western portion of the ice shelf, while the eastern portion opens onto the Bellingshausen Sea. The very western edge of the ice shelf opens into the Amundsen Embayment. Operation IceBridge radar data show that the ice thickness over most of the ice shelf varies from 180-350 m. Numerous islands and ice rises imply a complex bathymetry beneath the ice shelf. NASA's Operation IceBridge obtained ten north-south low-altitude airborne geophysical profiles across Abbot Ice Shelf and an east-west line along the ice shelf during the 2009 OIB Antarctic campaign. We inverted the gravity data from these flights to obtain the bathymetry and water cavity geometry on a set of cross sections. Coincident radar data provided control on ice thickness and the location of the bed in grounded regions. The inversion shows that the ice shelf is underlain by a series of east-west trending, apparently fault-bounded, basins. The individual basins are less than 75 km long and vary from 15 to 35 km wide. The ice shelf is pinned on the rift shoulders and intra-rift highs, which results in low (50-150 m/yr) flow rates compared to other ice shelves. The basins do not extend the entire length of the ice shelf but are discontinuous or offset along accommodation zones. This complex geometry may inhibits circulation in the water cavity beneath the ice shelf and contribute to its stability. The structure beneath the Abbot Ice Shelf indicates minor crustal extension. The extension may be related to Latest Cretaceous intra-plate deformation or the presence of a distributed southern plate boundary of the Bellingshausen microplate that is thought to have been active from about 79 Ma to 61 Ma.

  3. Stromatolites Record Changing Primary Productivity in Perennially Ice-Covered Lake Joyce, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mackey, T. J.; Sumner, D. Y.; Hawes, I.; Jungblut, A. D.; Leidman, S. Z.; Andersen, D. T.

    2016-12-01

    Calcite-rich dm-scale columnar stromatolites grew in perennially ice-covered Lake Joyce, Antarctica, and their calcite contains carbon isotopic records of microbial activity during recent lake level rise. Stromatolite growth initiated in water depths < 10 m based on the presence of bubble molds in calcite, and growth ended prior to 2009 when stromatolites were at 20-22 m water depth and received insufficient irradiance for net photosynthetic growth. Some calcite layers in the stromatolites contain cyanobacterial microfossils as well as sediment laminae, which indicate that this calcite precipitated at the stromatolite surface in association with photosynthesizing communities. The innermost stromatolite layers have variable δ13C values ranging from 3.9 to 9.6‰ in coeval calcite. Regions such as topographic highs and parts of stromatolites growing into open water have both thicker calcite layers and δ13C values that are 0.3 to 1.0‰ higher than other areas. Outer stromatolite layers have a smaller range of δ13Ccalcite values spanning 1.3‰. Variations in carbon isotopes can be attributed to photosynthetic effects. Photosynthetic shallow modern mats in Lake Joyce have pH up to 0.4 units higher than the water column, and pH increases and decreases with irradiance through diurnal cycles. Irradiance also varies laterally; light transmission through the Lake Joyce ice cover varied over 500% laterally in 2014. If the modern mats reflect conditions present during early stromatolite growth, high photosynthetic rates likely enhanced calcite precipitation and produced a photosynthetic δ13C signature in stromatolitic calcite. Variability in innermost stromatolite δ13C values is consistent with different rates of photosynthesis due to laterally variable light transmission through the ice. With lake level rise, incident irradiance decreased and became more uniform, leading to more consistent δ13Ccalcite values. Lake Joyce stromatolites thus record the effects of

  4. Effect of rapid grounding line migration investigated with 3D ice sheet-ice shelf models (MISMIP3d)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, F.; Docquier, D.; Durand, G.; Favier, L.; Gagliardini, O.; Hindmarsh, R.; Zwinger, T.; Mismip3d Participants

    2012-04-01

    Understanding and attributing future sea-level changes demands serious efforts on the development of efficient ice sheet-ice shelf models that capture the essential physics and mechanics of grounding line behavior. While semi-analytical solutions for grounding line behavior are available for the flowline case, such solution fails to exist for more complex three-dimensional geometries. A way of evaluating the quality of ice sheet models is to verify them against more complex model solutions under controlled conditions (Marine Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison - MISMIP). Given the computational demands of such models, it is extremely attractive from a computational point of view to use flux/thickness parameterizations in 3d models. Here we investigated the transition between ice sheet and ice shelf with series of different numerical models, ranging from full Stokes (Elmer/Ice) models, pseudo-spectral methods to a 2d vertically integrated finite-difference 'shelfy-stream' model, taking into account grounding line dynamics, and using parameterizations by Schoof (2007) and Pollard and DeConto (2009). Rapid grounding line migration was provoked by changing sliding at the grounding line, resulting in curved grounding lines influenced by lateral effects. We tested whether flux parameterizations are still valid under such conditions, especially when buttressing effects are taken into account. Results of other participants in the intercomparison exercise are presented alongside the initial benchmark results.

  5. A linear algorithm for solving non-linear isothermal ice-shelf equations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sargent, A.; Fastook, J. L.

    2014-03-01

    A linear non-iterative algorithm is suggested for solving nonlinear isothermal steady-state Morland-MacAyeal ice shelf equations. The idea of the algorithm is in replacing the problem of solving the non-linear second order differential equations for velocities with a system of linear first order differential equations for stresses. The resulting system of linear equations can be solved numerically with direct methods which are faster than iterative methods for solving corresponding non-linear equations. The suggested algorithm is applicable if the boundary conditions for stresses can be specified. The efficiency of the linear algorithm is demonstrated for one-dimensional and two-dimensional ice shelf equations by comparing the linear algorithm and the traditional iterative algorithm on derived manufactured solutions. The linear algorithm is shown to be as accurate as the traditional iterative algorithm but significantly faster. The method may be valuable as the way to increase the efficiency of complex ice sheet models a part of which requires solving the ice shelf model as well as to solve efficiently two-dimensional ice-shelf equations.

  6. Antarctic ice shelf thickness from CryoSat-2 radar altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chuter, Stephen; Bamber, Jonathan

    2016-04-01

    The Antarctic ice shelves provide buttressing to the inland grounded ice sheet, and therefore play a controlling role in regulating ice dynamics and mass imbalance. Accurate knowledge of ice shelf thickness is essential for input-output method mass balance calculations, sub-ice shelf ocean models and buttressing parameterisations in ice sheet models. Ice shelf thickness has previously been inferred from satellite altimetry elevation measurements using the assumption of hydrostatic equilibrium, as direct measurements of ice thickness do not provide the spatial coverage necessary for these applications. The sensor limitations of previous radar altimeters have led to poor data coverage and a lack of accuracy, particularly the grounding zone where a break in slope exists. We present a new ice shelf thickness dataset using four years (2011-2014) of CryoSat-2 elevation measurements, with its SARIn dual antennae mode of operation alleviating the issues affecting previous sensors. These improvements and the dense across track spacing of the satellite has resulted in ˜92% coverage of the ice shelves, with substantial improvements, for example, of over 50% across the Venable and Totten Ice Shelves in comparison to the previous dataset. Significant improvements in coverage and accuracy are also seen south of 81.5° for the Ross and Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelves. Validation of the surface elevation measurements, used to derive ice thickness, against NASA ICESat laser altimetry data shows a mean bias of less than 1 m (equivalent to less than 9 m in ice thickness) and a fourfold decrease in standard deviation in comparison to the previous continental dataset. Importantly, the most substantial improvements are found in the grounding zone. Validation of the derived thickness data has been carried out using multiple Radio Echo Sounding (RES) campaigns across the continent. Over the Amery ice shelf, where extensive RES measurements exist, the mean difference between the datasets is 3

  7. Contrasts in Arctic shelf sea-ice regimes and some implications: Beaufort Sea versus Laptev Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reimnitz, E.; Dethleff, D.; Nurnberg, D.

    1994-01-01

    The winter ice-regime of the 500 km) from the mainland than in the Beaufort Sea. As a result, the annual freeze-up does not incorporate old, deep-draft ice, and with a lack of compression, such deep-draft ice is not generated in situ, as on the Beaufort Sea shelf. The Laptev Sea has as much as 1000 km of fetch at the end of summer, when freezing storms move in and large (6 m) waves can form. Also, for the first three winter months, the polynya lies inshore at a water depth of only 10 m. Turbulence and freezing are excellent conditions for sediment entrainment by frazil and anchor ice, when compared to conditions in the short-fetched Beaufort Sea. We expect entrainment to occur yearly. Different from the intensely ice-gouged Beaufort Sea shelf, hydraulic bedforms probably dominate in the Laptev Sea. Corresponding with the large volume of ice produced, more dense water is generated in the Laptev Sea, possibly accompanied by downslope sediment transport. Thermohaline convection at the midshelf polynya, together with the reduced rate of bottom disruption by ice keels, may enhance benthic productivity and permit establishment of open-shelf benthic communities which in the Beaufort Sea can thrive only in the protection of barrier islands. Indirect evidence for high benthic productivity is found in the presence of walrus, who also require year-round open water. By contrast, lack of a suitable environment restricts walrus from the Beaufort Sea, although over 700 km farther to the south. We could speculate on other consequences of the different ice regimes in the Beaufort and Laptev Seas, but these few examples serve to point out the dangers of exptrapolating from knowledge gained in the North American Arctic to other shallow Arctic shelf settings. ?? 1994.

  8. On the Structure of the Ice-Shelf-Ocean Boundary Layer and Current

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, A.

    2015-12-01

    Ocean-forced basal melting has been implicated in the widespread thinning of Antarctic ice shelves that has been causally linked with acceleration in the outflow of grounded ice. What determines the distribution and rates of basal melting and freezing beneath an ice shelf and how these respond to changes in the ocean temperature or circulation are therefore key questions. Recent years have seen major progress in our ability to observe basal melting and the ocean conditions that drive it, but data on the latter remain sparse, limiting our understanding of the key processes of ice-ocean heat transfer. In particular, we have no observations of current profiles through the buoyancy- and frictionally-controlled flows along the ice shelf base that drive mixing through the ice-ocean boundary layer. This presentation represents an attempt to address this gap in our knowledge through the application of a very simple model of such boundary flows that considers only the spatial dimension perpendicular to the boundary. Results indicate that for the purely buoyancy-driven flow two possible regimes exist: a weakly-stratified, geostrophic cross-slope current with an embedded Ekman layer; or a strongly-stratified upslope jet with weak cross-slope flow. The latter regime, while well-known to students of katabatic winds, has no analogue in the ocean, and is most appropriate when the ice-ocean interface is very steep. For the gentle slopes typical of ice shelves the buoyant Ekman regime provides some useful insight. When combined with a background flow a range of possible near-ice current profiles emerges as a result of arrest or enhancement of the upslope Ekman transport. Furthermore a simple expression for the upslope transport can be formed that is analogous to that for the wind-forced surface Ekman layer, with the curvature of the ice shelf base replacing the wind-stress curl in driving Ekman pumping to and from the geostrophic flow.

  9. A Simple Diagnostic Model of the Circulation Beneath an Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, Adrian; Nøst, Ole Anders

    2017-04-01

    The ocean circulation beneath ice shelves supplies the heat required to melt ice and exports the resulting freshwater. It therefore plays a key role in determining the mass balance and geometry of the ice shelves and hence the restraint they impose on the outflow of grounded ice from the interior of the ice sheet. Despite this critical role in regulating the ice sheet's contribution to eustatic sea level, an understanding of some of the most basic features of the circulation is lacking. The conventional paradigm is one of a buoyancy-forced overturning circulation, with inflow of warm, salty water along the seabed and outflow of cooled and freshened waters along the ice base. However, most sub-ice-shelf cavities are broad relative to the internal Rossby radius, so a horizontal circulation accompanies the overturning. Primitive equation ocean models applied to idealised geometries produce cyclonic gyres of comparable magnitude, but in the absence of a theoretical understanding of what controls the gyre strength, those solutions can only be validated against each other. Furthermore, we have no understanding of how the gyre circulation should change given more complex geometries. To begin to address this gap in our theoretical understanding we present a simple, linear, steady-state model for the circulation beneath an ice shelf. Our approach in analogous to that of Stommel's classic analysis of the wind-driven gyres, but is complicated by the fact that his most basic assumption of homogeneity is inappropriate. The only forcing on the flow beneath an ice shelf arises because of the horizontal density gradients set up by melting. We thus arrive at a diagnostic model which gives us the depth-dependent horizontal circulation that results from an imposed geometry and density distribution. We describe the development of the model and present some preliminary solutions for the simplest cavity geometries.

  10. Ice-shelf collapse from subsurface warming as a trigger for Heinrich events

    PubMed Central

    Marcott, Shaun A.; Clark, Peter U.; Padman, Laurie; Klinkhammer, Gary P.; Springer, Scott R.; Liu, Zhengyu; Otto-Bliesner, Bette L.; Carlson, Anders E.; Ungerer, Andy; Padman, June; He, Feng; Cheng, Jun; Schmittner, Andreas

    2011-01-01

    Episodic iceberg-discharge events from the Hudson Strait Ice Stream (HSIS) of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, referred to as Heinrich events, are commonly attributed to internal ice-sheet instabilities, but their systematic occurrence at the culmination of a large reduction in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) indicates a climate control. We report Mg/Ca data on benthic foraminifera from an intermediate-depth site in the northwest Atlantic and results from a climate-model simulation that reveal basin-wide subsurface warming at the same time as large reductions in the AMOC, with temperature increasing by approximately 2 °C over a 1–2 kyr interval prior to a Heinrich event. In simulations with an ocean model coupled to a thermodynamically active ice shelf, the increase in subsurface temperature increases basal melt rate under an ice shelf fronting the HSIS by a factor of approximately 6. By analogy with recent observations in Antarctica, the resulting ice-shelf loss and attendant HSIS acceleration would produce a Heinrich event. PMID:21808034

  11. Competing connections between the Ross Ice Shelf with the Southern Ocean.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jendersie, Stefan

    2016-04-01

    The stability of the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) is critical to both the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Results from a climatological ice shelf-ocean coupled numerical model (ROMS) suggest a new circulation mechanism associated with High Salinity Water (HSSW) production in the Ross Sea Polynya (RSP) that controls oceanic heat access to the RIS cavity. Within the RSP the dense water-saturated water column contracts during winter and causes a seasonal drop in Sea Surface Height (SSH) localised to a convection chimney under the RSP. The SSH gradients of up to 1.5 mm per km are sufficient to generate a barotropic pressure gradient that can counteract the wide scale horizontal baroclinic force and reverse the geostrophic circulation. In water depths between 600 and 800 m north of the western RIS the effect causes the seasonal occurrence of a cyclonic circulation cell with transports greater than 1Sv. Appearing with the beginning of winter sea ice formation in the RSP it significantly changes the dynamics at the ice shelf front. The new mechanism is described as one element in a framework of oceanographic processes that mitigate the exchange between the deep ocean and the ocean cavity under the RIS. Our study links local circulation features that are known from observation and previous model studies, and for the first time establishes a coherent system of responsible physical forcing processes in the Ross Sea.​

  12. Ice-shelf collapse from subsurface warming as a trigger for Heinrich events.

    PubMed

    Marcott, Shaun A; Clark, Peter U; Padman, Laurie; Klinkhammer, Gary P; Springer, Scott R; Liu, Zhengyu; Otto-Bliesner, Bette L; Carlson, Anders E; Ungerer, Andy; Padman, June; He, Feng; Cheng, Jun; Schmittner, Andreas

    2011-08-16

    Episodic iceberg-discharge events from the Hudson Strait Ice Stream (HSIS) of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, referred to as Heinrich events, are commonly attributed to internal ice-sheet instabilities, but their systematic occurrence at the culmination of a large reduction in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) indicates a climate control. We report Mg/Ca data on benthic foraminifera from an intermediate-depth site in the northwest Atlantic and results from a climate-model simulation that reveal basin-wide subsurface warming at the same time as large reductions in the AMOC, with temperature increasing by approximately 2 °C over a 1-2 kyr interval prior to a Heinrich event. In simulations with an ocean model coupled to a thermodynamically active ice shelf, the increase in subsurface temperature increases basal melt rate under an ice shelf fronting the HSIS by a factor of approximately 6. By analogy with recent observations in Antarctica, the resulting ice-shelf loss and attendant HSIS acceleration would produce a Heinrich event.

  13. Efficient Flowline Simulations of Ice Shelf-Ocean Interactions: Sensitivity Studies with a Fully Coupled Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walker, Ryan Thomas; Holland, David; Parizek, Byron R.; Alley, Richard B.; Nowicki, Sophie M. J.; Jenkins, Adrian

    2013-01-01

    Thermodynamic flowline and plume models for the ice shelf-ocean system simplify the ice and ocean dynamics sufficiently to allow extensive exploration of parameters affecting ice-sheet stability while including key physical processes. Comparison between geophysically and laboratory-based treatments of ice-ocean interface thermodynamics shows reasonable agreement between calculated melt rates, except where steep basal slopes and relatively high ocean temperatures are present. Results are especially sensitive to the poorly known drag coefficient, highlighting the need for additional field experiments to constrain its value. These experiments also suggest that if the ice-ocean interface near the grounding line is steeper than some threshold, further steepening of the slope may drive higher entrainment that limits buoyancy, slowing the plume and reducing melting; if confirmed, this will provide a stabilizing feedback on ice sheets under some circumstances.

  14. Thermohaline circulation below the Ross Ice Shelf - A consequence of tidally induced vertical mixing and basal melting

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macayeal, D. R.

    1984-01-01

    The warmest water below parts of the Ross Ice Shelf resides in the lowest portion of the water column because of its high salinity. Vertical mixing caused by tidal stirring can thus induce ablation by lifting the warm but dense water into contact with the ice shelf. A numerical tidal simulation indicates that vertically well-mixed conditions predominate in the southeastern part of the sub-ice shelf cavity, where the water column thickness is small. Basal melting in this region is expected to be between 0.05 and 0.5 m/yr and will drive a thermohaline circulation having the following characteristics: high salinity shelf water (at - 1.8 C), formed by winter sea ice production in the open Ross Sea, flows along the seabed toward the tidal mixing fronts below the ice shelf; and meltwater (at -2.2 C), produced in the well-mixed region, flows out of the sub-ice shelf cavity along the ice shelf bottom. Sensitivity of this ablation process to climatic change is expected to be small because high salinity shelf water is constrained to have the sea surface freezing temperature.

  15. Thermohaline circulation below the Ross Ice Shelf - A consequence of tidally induced vertical mixing and basal melting

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macayeal, D. R.

    1984-01-01

    The warmest water below parts of the Ross Ice Shelf resides in the lowest portion of the water column because of its high salinity. Vertical mixing caused by tidal stirring can thus induce ablation by lifting the warm but dense water into contact with the ice shelf. A numerical tidal simulation indicates that vertically well-mixed conditions predominate in the southeastern part of the sub-ice shelf cavity, where the water column thickness is small. Basal melting in this region is expected to be between 0.05 and 0.5 m/yr and will drive a thermohaline circulation having the following characteristics: high salinity shelf water (at - 1.8 C), formed by winter sea ice production in the open Ross Sea, flows along the seabed toward the tidal mixing fronts below the ice shelf; and meltwater (at -2.2 C), produced in the well-mixed region, flows out of the sub-ice shelf cavity along the ice shelf bottom. Sensitivity of this ablation process to climatic change is expected to be small because high salinity shelf water is constrained to have the sea surface freezing temperature.

  16. Effects of rapid grounding line retreat investigated with three-dimensional ice sheet-ice shelf models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, F.; Docquier, D.; Durand, G.; Favier, L.; Gagliardini, O.; Hindmarsh, R. C.; Zwinger, T.

    2011-12-01

    Understanding and attributing future sea-level changes demands serious efforts on the development of efficient ice sheet - ice shelf models that capture the essential physics and mechanics of grounding line behavior. While semi-analytical solutions for grounding line behavior are available for the flowline case, such solution fails to exist for more complex three-dimensional geometries. A way of evaluating the quality of ice sheet models is to verify them against more complex model solutions under controlled conditions. Given the computational demands of such models, it is extremely attractive from a computational point of view to use flux/thickness parameterizations in 3d models. Here we investigated the transition between ice sheet and ice shelf with series of different numerical models, ranging from full Stokes (Elmer/Ice) models, pseudo-spectral methods to a 2d vertically integrated finite-difference 'shelfy-stream' model, taking into account grounding line dynamics, and using parameterizations by Schoof (2007) and Pollard and DeConto (2009). Rapid grounding line migration was provoked by changing sliding at the grounding line, resulting in curved grounding lines influenced by lateral effects. We tested whether flux parameterizations are still valid under such conditions, especially when buttressing effects are taken into account.

  17. Observed vulnerability of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to wind-driven inflow of warm deep water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darelius, E.; Fer, I.; Nicholls, K. W.

    2016-08-01

    The average rate of melting at the base of the large Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in the southern Weddell Sea is currently low, but projected to increase dramatically within the next century. In a model study, melt rates increase as changing ice conditions cause a redirection of a coastal current, bringing warm water of open ocean origin through the Filchner Depression and into the Filchner Ice Shelf cavity. Here we present observations from near Filchner Ice Shelf and from the Filchner Depression, which show that pulses of warm water already arrive as far south as the ice front. This southward heat transport follows the eastern flank of the Filchner Depression and is found to be directly linked to the strength of a wind-driven coastal current. Our observations emphasize the potential sensitivity of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf melt rates to changes in wind forcing.

  18. Observed vulnerability of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to wind-driven inflow of warm deep water

    PubMed Central

    Darelius, E.; Fer, I.; Nicholls, K. W.

    2016-01-01

    The average rate of melting at the base of the large Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in the southern Weddell Sea is currently low, but projected to increase dramatically within the next century. In a model study, melt rates increase as changing ice conditions cause a redirection of a coastal current, bringing warm water of open ocean origin through the Filchner Depression and into the Filchner Ice Shelf cavity. Here we present observations from near Filchner Ice Shelf and from the Filchner Depression, which show that pulses of warm water already arrive as far south as the ice front. This southward heat transport follows the eastern flank of the Filchner Depression and is found to be directly linked to the strength of a wind-driven coastal current. Our observations emphasize the potential sensitivity of Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf melt rates to changes in wind forcing. PMID:27481659

  19. Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of Larsen C Ice-Shelf thinning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland, P. R.; Brisbourne, A.; Corr, H. F. J.; Mcgrath, Daniel; Purdon, K.; Paden, J.; Fricker, H. A.; Paolo, F. S.; Fleming, A.H.

    2015-01-01

    The catastrophic collapses of Larsen A and B ice shelves on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula have caused their tributary glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise and freshening the Antarctic Bottom Water formed nearby. The surface of Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS), the largest ice shelf on the peninsula, is lowering. This could be caused by unbalanced ocean melting (ice loss) or enhanced firn melting and compaction (englacial air loss). Using a novel method to analyse eight radar surveys, this study derives separate estimates of ice and air thickness changes during a 15-year period. The uncertainties are considerable, but the primary estimate is that the surveyed lowering (0.066 ± 0.017 m yr−1) is caused by both ice loss (0.28 ± 0.18 m yr−1) and firn-air loss (0.037 ± 0.026 m yr−1). The ice loss is much larger than the air loss, but both contribute approximately equally to the lowering because the ice is floating. The ice loss could be explained by high basal melting and/or ice divergence, and the air loss by low surface accumulation or high surface melting and/or compaction. The primary estimate therefore requires that at least two forcings caused the surveyed lowering. Mechanisms are discussed by which LCIS stability could be compromised in the future. The most rapid pathways to collapse are offered by the ungrounding of LCIS from Bawden Ice Rise or ice-front retreat past a "compressive arch" in strain rates. Recent evidence suggests that either mechanism could pose an imminent risk.

  20. Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of Larsen C Ice-Shelf thinning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, P. R.; Brisbourne, A.; Corr, H. F. J.; McGrath, D.; Purdon, K.; Paden, J.; Fricker, H. A.; Paolo, F. S.; Fleming, A. H.

    2015-05-01

    The catastrophic collapses of Larsen A and B ice shelves on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula have caused their tributary glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise and freshening the Antarctic Bottom Water formed nearby. The surface of Larsen C Ice Shelf (LCIS), the largest ice shelf on the peninsula, is lowering. This could be caused by unbalanced ocean melting (ice loss) or enhanced firn melting and compaction (englacial air loss). Using a novel method to analyse eight radar surveys, this study derives separate estimates of ice and air thickness changes during a 15-year period. The uncertainties are considerable, but the primary estimate is that the surveyed lowering (0.066 ± 0.017 m yr-1) is caused by both ice loss (0.28 ± 0.18 m yr-1) and firn-air loss (0.037 ± 0.026 m yr-1). The ice loss is much larger than the air loss, but both contribute approximately equally to the lowering because the ice is floating. The ice loss could be explained by high basal melting and/or ice divergence, and the air loss by low surface accumulation or high surface melting and/or compaction. The primary estimate therefore requires that at least two forcings caused the surveyed lowering. Mechanisms are discussed by which LCIS stability could be compromised in the future. The most rapid pathways to collapse are offered by the ungrounding of LCIS from Bawden Ice Rise or ice-front retreat past a "compressive arch" in strain rates. Recent evidence suggests that either mechanism could pose an imminent risk.

  1. Subsurface Assessment at McMurdo Station, Antarctica

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2017-02-01

    and moisture during austral summers. The presented results are important for designs of new engineered structures at McMurdo Station. DISCLAIMER...The discussion section (Section 5) high- lights ground temperature, the interaction of soil with water and ice, the importance of eliminating the...surface geotechnical information that is important for designs of new engineered structures at McMurdo Station. ERDC/CRREL TR-17-4 1 1

  2. The Effect of Ice Shelf Meltwater on Antarctic Sea Ice and the Southern Ocean in an Earth System Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pauling, A.; Bitz, C. M.; Smith, I.; Langhorne, P.

    2015-12-01

    It has been suggested that recent Antarctic sea ice expansion resulted from an increase in fresh water reaching the Southern Ocean. This presentation investigates this conjecture in an Earth System Model. The freshwater flux from ice sheet and ice shelf mass imbalance is largely missing in models that participated in the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). However, CMIP5 models do account for the fresh water from precipitation minus evaporation (P-E). On average in CMIP5 models P- E reaching the Southern Ocean has increased to a present value of about 2600 Gt yr-1 greater than pre-industrial times and 3-8 times larger than estimates of the mass imbalance of Antarctic ice sheets and shelves. Two sets of model experiments were conducted from 1980-2013 in CESM1-CAM5 artificially distributing fresh water either at the ocean surface according to an estimate of iceberg melt, or at the ice shelf fronts at depth. An anomalous reduction in vertical advection of heat into the surface mixed layer resulted in sea surface cooling at high southern latitudes, and an associated increase in sea ice area. A freshwater enhancement of 1780 Gt yr-1 (approximately 1.3 times either present day basal melt or iceberg calving freshwater fluxes) raised the sea ice total area by 1×106 km2. Yet, even a freshwater enhancement up to 2670 Gt yr-1 was insufficient to offset the sea ice decline due to anthropogenic forcing for any period of 20 years or longer. Further, the sea ice response was found to be insensitive to the depth of fresh water injection.

  3. Sub-ice-shelf sediments record history of twentieth-century retreat of Pine Island Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, J. A.; Andersen, T. J.; Shortt, M.; Gaffney, A. M.; Truffer, M.; Stanton, T. P.; Bindschadler, R.; Dutrieux, P.; Jenkins, A.; Hillenbrand, C.-D.; Ehrmann, W.; Corr, H. F. J.; Farley, N.; Crowhurst, S.; Vaughan, D. G.

    2016-11-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is one of the largest potential sources of rising sea levels. Over the past 40 years, glaciers flowing into the Amundsen Sea sector of the ice sheet have thinned at an accelerating rate, and several numerical models suggest that unstable and irreversible retreat of the grounding line—which marks the boundary between grounded ice and floating ice shelf—is underway. Understanding this recent retreat requires a detailed knowledge of grounding-line history, but the locations of the grounding line before the advent of satellite monitoring in the 1990s are poorly dated. In particular, a history of grounding-line retreat is required to understand the relative roles of contemporaneous ocean-forced change and of ongoing glacier response to an earlier perturbation in driving ice-sheet loss. Here we show that the present thinning and retreat of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is part of a climatically forced trend that was triggered in the 1940s. Our conclusions arise from analysis of sediment cores recovered beneath the floating Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, and constrain the date at which the grounding line retreated from a prominent seafloor ridge. We find that incursion of marine water beyond the crest of this ridge, forming an ocean cavity beneath the ice shelf, occurred in 1945 (±12 years); final ungrounding of the ice shelf from the ridge occurred in 1970 (±4 years). The initial opening of this ocean cavity followed a period of strong warming of West Antarctica, associated with El Niño activity. Thus our results suggest that, even when climate forcing weakened, ice-sheet retreat continued.

  4. RTOPO-1: A consistent dataset for Antarctic ice shelf topography and global ocean bathymetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Timmermann, Ralph

    2010-05-01

    Sub-ice shelf circulation and freezing/melting rates depend critically on an accurate and consistent representation of cavity geometry (i.e. ice-shelf draft and ocean bathymetry). Existing global or pan-Antarctic data sets have turned out to contain various inconsistencies and inaccuracies. The goal of this work is to compile independent regional fields into a global data set. We use the S-2004 global 1-minute bathymetry as the backbone and add an improved version of the BEDMAP topography for an area that roughly coincides with the Antarctic continental shelf. Locations of the merging line have been carefully adjusted in order to get the best out of each data set. High-resolution gridded data for the Amery, Fimbul, Filchner-Ronne, Larsen C and George VI Ice Shelves and for Pine Island Glacier have been carefully merged into the ambient ice and ocean topographies. Multibeam ship survey data for bathymetry in the former Larsen B cavity and the southeastern Bellingshausen Sea have been obtained from the data centers of Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), gridded, and again carefully merged into the existing bathymetry map. The resulting global 1-minute data set contains consistent masks for open ocean, grounded ice, floating ice, and bare land surface. The Ice Shelf Cavern Geometry Team: Anne Le Brocq, Tara Deen, Eugene Domack, Pierre Dutrieux, Ben Galton-Fenzi, Dorothea Graffe, Hartmut Hellmer, Angelika Humbert, Daniela Jansen, Adrian Jenkins, Astrid Lambrecht, Keith Makinson, Fred Niederjasper, Frank Nitsche, Ole Anders Nøst, Lars Henrik Smedsrud, and Walter Smith

  5. Validation of the Antarctic Snow Accumulation and Ice Discharge Basal Stress Boundary in the South Eastern Region of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nelson, C. B.; King, K.

    2015-12-01

    The largest ice shelf in Antarctic, Ross Ice Shelf, was investigated over the years of (1970-2015). Near the basal stress boundary between the ice shelf and the West Antarctic ice sheet, ice velocity ranges from a few meters per year to several hundred meters per year in ice streams. Most of the drainage from West Antarctica into the Ross Ice Shelf flows down two major ice streams, each of which discharges more than 20 km3 of ice each year. Along with velocity changes, the warmest water below parts of the Ross Ice Shelf resides in the lowest portion of the water column because of its high salinity. Vertical mixing caused by tidal stirring can thus induce ablation by lifting the warm water into contact with the ice shelf. This process can cause melting over a period of time and eventually cause breakup of ice shelf. With changes occurring over many years a validation is needed for the Antarctic Snow Accumulation and Ice Discharge (ASAID) basal stress boundary created in 2003. After the 2002 Larsen B Ice Shelf disintegration, nearby glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula accelerated up to eight times their original speed over the next 18 months. Similar losses of ice tongues in Greenland have caused speed-ups of two to three times the flow rates in just one year. Rapid changes occurring in regions surrounding Antarctica are causing concern in the polar science community to research changes occurring in coastal zones over time. During the research, the team completed study on the Ross Ice Shelf located on the south western coast of the Antarctic. The study included a validation of the ABSB vs. the natural basal stress boundary (NBSB) along the Ross Ice Shelf. The ASAID BSB was created in 2003 by a team of researchers headed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA GSFC), with an aim of studying coastal deviations as it pertains to the mass balance of the entire continent. The point data file was aimed at creating a replica of the

  6. The dynamics of idealized katabatic flow over a moderate slope and ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Renfrew, A. Ian

    2004-04-01

    A non-hydrostatic numerical weather prediction model has been employed to simulate idealized katabatic flows over a moderate slope and adjoining ice shelf. The topography of Coats Land and the adjoining Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, has been used; this is typical of much of the Antarctic coastline. The Regional Atmospheric Modeling System Version 4.3 has been adapted for simulations over compacted snow, most notably through changes to the multi-layer soil model. The simulations are initialized using clear-sky conditions and at rest. On the slope, a shallow katabatic flow develops, the winds becoming approximately steady on the slope by ~ 12 h. The peak downslope winds are about 7 m s-1 at 30 m above the snow surface. The katabatic flow depth ranges from 50 to 100 m down the slope. Over the ice shelf the katabatic flow peters out, while a pool of cold air develops, primarily through sensible-heat loss into the surface and partially balancing the net radiative-heat loss to space. Near-surface and sounding data from the model simulations compare well with archetypal and typical katabatic flow observations, especially after some tuning of the model's turbulence parametrization. An analysis of the downslope flow dynamics shows the buoyancy force is generally balanced by the inertial force, except towards the foot of the slope where it is balanced by upslope forces related to gradients in the potential-temperature deficit and katabatic-layer height, caused by the pool of cold air over the ice shelf. Over time, the cooling of the ice shelf boundary layer leads to an apparent retreat of the katabatic flow from the ice shelf and some way up the slope. The dynamical analysis explains the surface climatology observed, such that the persistent katabatic winds of Coats Land rarely reach the Brunt Ice Shelf. The simulated katabatic flow moves from 'shooting' to 'tranquil' towards the foot of the slope. This transition acts to trigger a train of internal gravity waves which

  7. Ocean Heat Delivery Mechanisms Beneath Antarctic Ice Shelves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, Alon

    Ocean currents around Antarctica are responsible for transporting heat under the Antarctic ice shelves and exporting cold melt-water out into the open ocean. These ocean currents are important for the determining the melt rates beneath the Antarctica ice shelves. This thesis explores the three modes of melting beneath Antarctic ice shelves using laboratory experiments, analysis of field observations, and both of complex and simple numerical models. In Chapter 1, we construct a laboratory experiment to simulate the density driven circulation under an idealized Antarctic ice shelf (mode 1). Results confirm that the ice front can act as a dynamic barrier that partially inhibits fluid from entering or exiting the ice shelf cavity, away from two wall-trapped boundary currents. The strength of the dynamic barrier is sensitive to changes in the ice shelf geometry and changes in the buoyancy fluxes which drive the flow. Chapter 2 explores how instabilities in topographically steered jets could be responsible for the exchange of warm Circumpolar Deep Water across the continental shelf break in West Antarctica (mode 2). Results show that the majority of mixing occurs in discrete mixing events which coincide with the shelf break jet becoming baroclinically unstable. The largest instability events display a intermittent low frequency variability with instabilities occurring up to 50 years apart. Chapter 3 uses observational data to study the summer intrusion of surface waters below McMurdo Ice Shelf (mode 3). A six month temperature record collected below the ice shelf in 2011-2012 shows the temporal and spatial structure of the summertime warm water signal that penetrates beneath the ice shelf. A Ross Sea numerical model demonstrates a seasonal warm water pathway leading from the west side of the Ross Sea Polynya (RSP) towards McMurdo Sound.

  8. Two Decades of Variability in Nutrient Budgets for Ice-Covered, Closed Basin Lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truhlar, A. M.; Gooseff, M. N.; McKnight, D. M.; Priscu, J. C.; Doran, P. T.

    2013-12-01

    The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MCM) of Antarctica represent one of the world's driest deserts. A collection of permanently ice-covered lakes in the MCM provide an important refuge for microorganisms. Thus, it is of interest to understand the nutrient dynamics of these lakes and how these dynamics have changed over time. One to two decade-long records of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics in the East Lobe of Lake Bonney (ELB), Lake Fryxell (FRX), and Lake Hoare (HOR) allowed for development of annual nutrient budgets and analysis of possible causes of variability. Annual nutrient budgets were built by accounting for total seasonal streamflow and average seasonal nutrient concentration in streamflow, as well as nutrient diffusion across the chemocline, which roughly coincides with the bottom of the photic zone. Unaccounted-for changes in nutrient content were assumed to be caused by processes internal to the lake. Changes to the proportion of lake volume in the photic zone, seasonal streamflow, and biological activity, represented by chlorophyll-a (CHL) concentration, were considered as potential explanations. For all three lakes, nutrient diffusion either into or out of the photic zone was minimal compared to nutrient inputs from streamflow. The sole exception to this was NH4 inputs to FRX; for eight of the nine years considered, diffusive inputs of NH4 to the photic zone were greater than streamflow inputs. In most cases, internal processes appeared to dominate over streamflow inputs; this is likely because seasonal streamflow represented less than 8% of the photic zone volume in all three lakes. Three exceptions to this trend were the phosphorus budget in ELB, and the NH4 and NO3 budgets in HOR; in these cases, streamflow inputs represented a notable portion of the annual nutrient budgets. The MCM lakes decreased in volume from the early 1990s to the early 2000s; they have since been increasing in volume. The volume of the photic zone was positively

  9. Detailed Ar-Ar Geochronology of Volcanism at Minna Bluff, Antarctica: Two-Phased Growth and Influence on Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ross, J. I.; McIntosh, W. C.; Wilch, T. I.

    2012-12-01

    Minna Bluff has been a significant topographic barrier to the flow of the Ross Ice Shelf since the mid-Miocene. Detailed Ar-Ar analyses of kaersutite and sanidine phenocrysts, and groundmass concentrates from volcanic units indicate an overall west to east progression of volcanic activity. Eruptions of basaltic to intermediate lavas, domes, and scoria cones started at ~12 Ma in at what is now the eastern most point of Minna Bluff, "Minna Hook." Activity was centered in this area for ~4 Ma, constructing a pre-Minna Bluff island. Multiple glacial unconformities found at Minna Hook suggest repeated interaction with large warm-based, erosive ice sheets. Activity migrated westward from Minna Bluff Island at 7-8 Ma closing the gap created by the island and the mainland. Significant edifice construction continued until 4-5 Ma with sporadic and parasitic scoria cone eruptions, possibly associated with Mt. Discovery activity, continuing until 2 Ma. The orientations of Minna Bluff's two major axes are strongly controlled by regional tectonic features. Minna Bluff's E-W axis, McIntosh Cliffs, is sub-parallel to the Radial Lineament and the N-S axis, Minna Hook, appears as extension of faulting bounding the Terror Rift. The constructional evolution of the 70km long volcanic complex has an important role in interpreting the climate signals recovered by the ANDRILL Project. Minna Bluff influenced the material delivered to the AND-1B drill site (ANDRILL MIS 2006-2007) in three critical ways: 1) Minna Bluff diverted upstream material, 2) provided a pinning and stabilizing point for the Ross Ice Shelf, possible controlling the calving line prior to the emergence of Ross Island, and 3) was a significant source of fresh volcanic material throughout much of the period recovered by ANDRILL MIS. For example, a kaersutite-bearing clast recovered from 822.78 mbsf in AND-1B yielded an age of 8.53±0.51 Ma, and was likely derived from Minna Bluff. The results from this study can be

  10. Dating the undatable: novel techniques for 14C dating of sub-ice shelf Antarctic sediments near the Larsen C ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Subt, C.; Yoon, H. I.; Yoo, K. C.; Lee, J. I.; Leventer, A.; Domack, E. W.; Rosenheim, B. E.

    2016-12-01

    Sub-ice shelf sediments proximal to the grounding line of the Larsen C ice shelf show fine-scale rhythmic laminations that could provide a near-continuous seasonal resolution record of regional ice mass changes. Despite the great potential of these sediments, a good Late Quaternary chronology is difficult to achieve. As with many marginal Antarctic sediments, in the absence of preserved carboniferous microfossils, the reliability of radiocarbon chronologies is often questioned. Bulk acid insoluble organic (AIO) 14C dating has been used frequently as a result, but works best where high productivity and sedimentation rates reign, and not too well in condensed sequences where high proportions of detritus are present. Ramped PyrOx 14C dating has progressively been shown to improve upon bulk AIO 14C dates and chronologies, and even match the accuracy afforded by carbonate 14C dating, through thermochemical degradation of organic components within a given sample. But what of highly detrital sediments such as subglacial sediments near the Larsen C ice shelf, where the proportion of contemporaneously deposited material is too small for a radiocarbon date fully separated from other detrital components? We present two novel modifications of the Ramped PyrOx 14C approach that can be applied to such sediments to maximize accuracy while minimizing the cost in uncertainty from utilizing ultra-small fractions of the highly detrital bulk sample. By applying these techniques, we can now generate chronologies for cores that would otherwise go undated and push the limits of radiocarbon dating to regions and core depth intervals where large amounts of ancient detritus overwrite the age of the autochthonous material. With a wider use of these techniques, the limitations of constraining chronologies will be lessened, enabling more coordinated a priori coring efforts to constrain regional glacial responses to rapid warming.

  11. Glacial geomorphology of the northwestern Weddell Sea, eastern Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf: Shifting ice flow patterns during deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campo, Jennifer M.; Wellner, Julia S.; Domack, Eugene; Lavoie, Caroline; Yoo, Kyu-Cheul

    2017-03-01

    During the Last Glacial Maximum, grounded ice from the expanded Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet extended across the continental shelf. Grounded and flowing ice created a distinctive array of glacial geomorphic features on the sea floor, which were then exposed as the ice sheet retreated. The recent disintegration of the northern parts of the Larsen Ice Shelf (Larsen A and B) have permitted acquisition of marine geophysical data in previously inaccessible and unmapped areas. We present a reconstruction of the evolving ice-flow path and ice sheet geometry of the eastern Antarctic Peninsula, with particular focus paid to newly surveyed areas that shed light on the dynamics of a marine-terminating glacial geomorphic environment, where ice shelves play a major role in grounding line stability. Shifting flow directions were mapped in several areas, including across the Seal Nunataks, which divide Larsen A and B, and offshore of Larsen C, indicating flow reorientation that reflects the changing ice sheet geometry as retreat neared the modern coastline. The measured flow indicators in this area reveal comparatively high elongation ratios (> 20), indicating rapid ice flow. Evidence of possible previous ice-shelf collapses are noted near the shelf break, further illustrating the critical, protective effect that ice shelves impart to marine-terminating glacial environments. Modern ice retreat is governed in part by reorganization of flow patterns accompanying grounding line movement; such reorganizations happened in the past and can aid understanding of modern processes.

  12. In-situ aircraft observations of ice concentrations within clouds over the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grosvenor, D. P.; Choularton, T. W.; Lachlan-Cope, T.; Gallagher, M. W.; Crosier, J.; Bower, K. N.; Ladkin, R. S.; Dorsey, J. R.

    2012-07-01

    In-situ aircraft observations of ice crystal concentrations in Antarctic clouds are presented for the first time. Orographic, layer and wave clouds around the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen Ice shelf regions were penetrated by the British Antarctic Survey's Twin Otter Aircraft, which was equipped with modern cloud physics probes. The clouds studied were mostly in the free troposphere and hence ice crystals blown from the surface are unlikely to have been a major source for the ice phase. The temperature range covered by the experiments was 0 to -21°C. The clouds were found to contain supercooled liquid water in most regions and at heterogeneous ice formation temperatures ice crystal concentrations (60 s averages) were often less than 0.07 l-1, although values up to 0.22 l-1 were observed. Estimates of observed aerosol concentrations were used as input into the DeMott et al., 2010 ice nuclei (IN) parameterisation. The observed ice crystal number concentrations were generally in broad agreement with the IN predictions, although on the whole the predicted values were higher. Possible reasons for this are discussed and include the lack of IN observations in this region with which to characterise the parameterisation, and/or problems in relating ice concentration measurements to IN concentrations. Other IN parameterisations significantly overestimated the number of ice particles. Generally ice particle concentrations were much lower than found in clouds in middle latitudes for a given temperature. Higher ice crystal concentrations were sometimes observed at temperatures warmer than -9 °C, with values of several per litre reached. These were attributable to secondary ice particle production by the Hallett Mossop process. Even in this temperature range it was observed that there were regions with little or no ice that were dominated by supercooled liquid water. It is likely that in some cases this was due to a lack of seeding ice crystals to act as rimers to initiate

  13. In-situ aircraft observations of ice concentrations within clouds over the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grosvenor, D. P.; Choularton, T. W.; Lachlan-Cope, T.; Gallagher, M. W.; Crosier, J.; Bower, K. N.; Ladkin, R. S.; Dorsey, J. R.

    2012-12-01

    In-situ aircraft observations of ice crystal concentrations in Antarctic clouds are presented for the first time. Orographic, layer and wave clouds around the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen Ice shelf regions were penetrated by the British Antarctic Survey's Twin Otter aircraft, which was equipped with modern cloud physics probes. The clouds studied were mostly in the free troposphere and hence ice crystals blown from the surface are unlikely to have been a major source for the ice phase. The temperature range covered by the experiments was 0 to -21 °C. The clouds were found to contain supercooled liquid water in most regions and at heterogeneous ice formation temperatures ice crystal concentrations (60 s averages) were often less than 0.07 l-1, although values up to 0.22 l-1 were observed. Estimates of observed aerosol concentrations were used as input into the DeMott et al. (2010) ice nuclei (IN) parameterisation. The observed ice crystal number concentrations were generally in broad agreement with the IN predictions, although on the whole the predicted values were higher. Possible reasons for this are discussed and include the lack of IN observations in this region with which to characterise the parameterisation, and/or problems in relating ice concentration measurements to IN concentrations. Other IN parameterisations significantly overestimated the number of ice particles. Generally ice particle concentrations were much lower than found in clouds in middle latitudes for a given temperature. Higher ice crystal concentrations were sometimes observed at temperatures warmer than -9 °C, with values of several per litre reached. These were attributable to secondary ice particle production by the Hallett Mossop process. Even in this temperature range it was observed that there were regions with little or no ice that were dominated by supercooled liquid water. It is likely that in some cases this was due to a lack of seeding ice crystals to act as rimers to initiate

  14. Mass Balance of the Northern Antarctic Peninsula and its Ongoing Response to Ice Shelf Loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scambos, T. A.; Berthier, E.; Haran, T. M.; Shuman, C. A.; Cook, A. J.; Bohlander, J. A.

    2012-12-01

    An assessment of the most rapidly changing areas of the Antarctic Peninsula (north of 66°S) shows that ice mass loss for the region is dominated by areas affected by eastern-Peninsula ice shelf losses in the past 20 years. Little if any of the mass loss is compensated by increased snowfall in the northwestern or far northern areas. We combined satellite stereo-image DEM differencing and ICESat-derived along-track elevation changes to measure ice mass loss for the Antarctic Peninsula north of 66°S between 2001-2010, focusing on the ICESat-1 period of operation (2003-2009). This mapping includes all ice drainages affected by recent ice shelf loss in the northeastern Peninsula (Prince Gustav, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, and Larsen B) as well as James Ross Island, Vega Island, Anvers Island, Brabant Island and the adjacent west-flowing glaciers. Polaris Glacier (feeding the Larsen Inlet, which collapsed in 1986) is an exception, and may have stabilized. Our method uses ASTER and SPOT-5 stereo-image DEMs to determine dh/dt for elevations below 800 m; at higher elevations ICESat along-track elevation differencing is used. To adjust along-track path offsets between its 2003-2009 campaigns, we use a recent DEM of the Peninsula to establish and correct for cross-track slope (Cook et al., 2012, doi:10.5194/essdd-5-365-2012; http://nsidc.org/data/nsidc-0516.html) . We reduce the effect of possible seasonal variations in elevation by using only integer-year repeats of the ICESat tracks for comparison. Mass losses are dominated by the major glaciers that had flowed into the Prince Gustav (Boydell, Sjorgren, Röhss), Larsen A (Edgeworth, Bombardier, Dinsmoor, Drygalski), and Larsen B (Hektoria, Jorum, and Crane) embayments. The pattern of mass loss emphasizes the significant and multi-decadal response to ice shelf loss. Areas with shelf losses occurring 30 to 100s of years ago seem to be relatively stable or losing mass only slowly (western glaciers, northernmost areas). The

  15. Ice interaction with the Arctic shelf and coast: Constraints on and implication for petroleum development

    SciTech Connect

    Barnes, P.W.; Reimnitz, E. )

    1990-05-01

    Along the Arctic coast of Alaska sea ice affects structures placed on and under the sea bed and influences the erosion and dispersal patterns of sedimentary particulates and pollutants. Most directly, ice gouges the sea floor to depths of a few meters, with return periods on the inner shelf of tens of years and, in places, annually, primarily during freezeup and breakup. These sea-floor ice-gouge patterns provide information on the motion and characteristics of the local ice canopy. The design and alignment of pipelines and coast structures should consider that ice gouging extends to the coast and onto the beaches; however, ice gouging is less apparent on beaches owing to lower gouge intensities and vigorous wave reworking. In the long term, gouging contributes to high rates of coastal and shelf erosion. Protruding ice keels extending downward from the sea-ice canopy divert and focus currents causing increased sea-floor scour to depths of a few meters below the sea floor. Sea-ice freezing during the commonly turbulent fall storms causes large volumes of sediment and pollutants to be sorted, resuspended, and, ultimately, incorporated into the ice canopy. Most entrained material is re-released to the nearshore the following open-water season however, some material may be transported offshore to become part of the Arctic pack. During freezeup and breakup (4-5 months/yr) when these processes are most active, trafficability in the Arctic nearshore is nil owing to the instability of the ice canopy, and so our comprehension of this processes is limited.

  16. Hemispheric atmospheric variations and oceanographic impacts associated with katabatic surges across the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bromwich, David H.; Carrasco, Jorge F.; Liu, Zhong; Tzeng, Ren-Yow

    1993-07-01

    Numerical simulations and surface-based observations show that katabatic winds persistently converge toward and blow across the Siple Coast part of West Antarctica onto the Ross Ice Shelf. About 14% of the time during winter (April to August 1988), thermal infrared satellite images reveal the horizontal propagation of this negatively buoyant katabatic airstream for about 1000 km across the ice shelf to its northwestern edge, a trajectory that nearly parallels the Transantarctic Mountains. This takes place when the pressure field supports such airflow, and is caused by synoptic scale cyclones that decay near and/or over Marie Byrd Land. The northwestward propagation of the katabatic winds is accompanied by other changes in the hemispheric long wave pattern. An upper level ridge develops over Wilkes Land, resulting in an enhancement of the split jet in the Pacific Ocean. Then, more frequent and/or intensified synoptic scale cyclones are steered toward Marie Byrd Land where they become nearly stationary to the northeast of the climatological location. The resulting isobaric configuration accelerates the katabatic winds crossing Siple Coast and supports their horizontal propagation across the Ross Ice Shelf. An immediate impact of this katabatic airflow, that crosses from the ice shelf to the Ross Sea, is expansion of the persistent polynya that is present just to the east of Ross Island. This polynya is a conspicuous feature on passive microwave images of Antarctic sea ice and plays a central role in the salt budget of water masses over the Ross Sea continental shelf. The impact of this katabatic airflow upon mesoscale cyclogenesis over the South Pacific Ocean is also discussed.

  17. Ice stream reorganization and glacial retreat on the northwest Greenland shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newton, A. M. W.; Knutz, P. C.; Huuse, M.; Gannon, P.; Brocklehurst, S. H.; Clausen, O. R.; Gong, Y.

    2017-08-01

    Understanding conditions at the grounding-line of marine-based ice sheets is essential for understanding ice sheet evolution. Offshore northwest Greenland, knowledge of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ice sheet extent in Melville Bugt was previously based on sparse geological evidence. This study uses multibeam bathymetry, combined with 2-D and 3-D seismic reflection data, to present a detailed landform record from Melville Bugt. Seabed landforms include mega-scale glacial lineations, grounding-zone wedges, iceberg scours, and a lateral shear margin moraine, formed during the last glacial cycle. The geomorphology indicates that the LGM ice sheet reached the shelf edge before undergoing flow reorganization. After retreat of 80 km across the outer shelf, the margin stabilized in a mid-shelf position, possibly during the Younger Dryas (12.9-11.7 ka). The ice sheet then decoupled from the seafloor and retreated to a coast-proximal position. This landform record provides an important constraint on deglaciation history offshore northwest Greenland.

  18. Surface energy budget of the Larsen C Ice Shelf, and its relation to atmospheric circulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuipers Munneke, P.; King, J. C.; Gray, T.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Reijmer, C. H.

    2012-04-01

    Ponding of melt water has played a pivotal role in the breakup of ice shelves in the past decades. In-situ observations are important to determine the relation between meltwater production and the atmospheric circulation over the ice shelves. Data collected by two automatic weather stations (AWS) on the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica, between 22 January 2009 and 1 February 2011 are analyzed and used as input for a model that computes the surface energy budget (SEB), including melt energy. The two AWSs are separated by about 70 km in the north-south direction, and both the near-surface meteorology and the SEB show similarities, although small differences in all components (most notably the melt flux) can be seen. In winter, longwave cooling of the surface is entirely compensated by a downward turbulent transport of sensible heat. In summer, the positive net radiative flux is compensated by melt, and quite frequently by upward turbulent diffusion of heat and moisture, leading to sublimation and weak convection over the ice shelf. The month of November 2010 is highlighted, when strong westerly flow over the Antarctic Peninsula led to a dry and warm föhn wind over the ice shelf, resulting in warm and sunny conditions. Under these conditions the increase in shortwave and sensible heat fluxes is larger than the reduction of net longwave and latent heat fluxes, providing energy for significant melt.

  19. The effect of basal channels on oceanic ice-shelf melting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Millgate, Thomas; Holland, Paul R.; Jenkins, Adrian; Johnson, Helen L.

    2013-12-01

    The presence of ice-shelf basal channels has been noted in a number of Antarctic and Greenland ice shelves, but their impact on basal melting is not fully understood. Here we use the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model to investigate the effect of ice-shelf basal channels on oceanic melt rate for an idealized ice shelf resembling the floating tongue of Petermann Glacier in Greenland. The introduction of basal channels prevents the formation of a single geostrophically balanced boundary current; instead the flow is diverted up the right-hand (Coriolis-favored) side of each channel, with a return flow in the opposite direction on the left-hand side. As the prescribed number of basal channels is increased the mean basal melt rate decreases, in agreement with previous studies. For a small number of relatively wide channels the subice flow is found to be a largely geostrophic horizontal circulation. The reduction in melt rate is then caused by an increase in the relative contribution of weakly melting channel crests and keels. For a larger number of relatively narrow channels, the subice flow changes to a vertical overturning circulation. This change in circulation results in a weaker sensitivity of melt rates to channel size. The transition between the two regimes is governed by the Rossby radius of deformation. Our results explain why basal channels play an important role in regulating basal melting, increasing the stability of ice shelves.

  20. The kinematic response of Petermann Glacier, Greenland to ice shelf perturbation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, A.; Box, J. E.; Bates, R.; Nick, F.; Luckman, A. J.; van de Wal, R.; Doyle, S. H.

    2010-12-01

    The acceleration and dynamic thinning of interior zones of the polar ice sheets due to outlet/ice shelf retreat has been identified as a factor hastening their demise and contribution to global sea-level rise. The detachment of a 275 square km area of the Petermann Glacier ice shelf in August, 2010 presents a natural experiment to investigate the timing, mechanisms and efficacy of upstream dynamic feedbacks resulting from a singular but potentially significant frontal perturbation. In 2009, a permanent geodetic/differential GPS strain network logging every 10 seconds was deployed along a 200 km longitudinal profile from the ice front across the grounding line extending into the interior of Petermann Glacier to characterize the system’s state before, during and after any such event. We present an overview of the geophysical measurements conducted and analyze the kinematics of the shelf detachment in relation to local environmental forcing. Finally, we discuss the postulated instantaneous and ongoing evolution in force-balance and concomitant dynamic response resulting from the perturbation along with its implications for Petermann's ongoing stability. Petermann Glacier GNSS base & telemetric GPS facility: community AA & rehab meet point. On ice geodetic-GPS station flat out & reading 0 Volts

  1. Outlet glacier response to the 2012 collapse of the Matusevich Ice Shelf, Severnaya Zemlya, Russian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willis, Michael J.; Melkonian, Andrew K.; Pritchard, Matthew E.

    2015-10-01

    The Matusevich Ice Shelf (MIS), located within the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago in the Russian Arctic, rapidly broke apart between 10 August and 7 September 2012. We examine the response of the outlet glaciers that fed the MIS from local ice caps to the removal of the ice shelf. We use spaceborne laser altimetry and multiple optically derived digital elevation models to track ice surface elevation change rates (dh/dt) between 1984 and 2014. Glacier speeds are measured by pixel-tracking from optical and RADAR imagery between 2010 and 2014 and interferometric synthetic aperture radar in 1995 to compare precollapse and postcollapse velocities. We find that the three main outlet glaciers that fed the MIS are thinning an order of magnitude more rapidly than most of the rest of Severnaya Zemyla, based upon ICESat data from 2003 to 2009. Recent, 2012 to 2014 thinning rates are three to four times faster than the 30 year average thinning rate, calculated between 1984 and 2014. The springtime speeds of the largest outlet glacier (Issledovateley) have increased more than 200% at the terminus between April 2010 and April 2014. To date, changes in surface elevation (dh/dt) and velocity at the outlet glaciers near MIS are smaller than glacier responses to ice shelf collapse in Antarctica. It is possible that the MIS was already very weak prior to the 2012 collapse and unable to support back stress. Further observations are required to assess whether the thinning and nonmelt season glacier speeds are continuing to accelerate.

  2. Trend of melt under Pine Island Glacier ice shelf modulated by high variability in ocean temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutrieux, Pierre; De Rydt, Jan; Jenkins, Adrian; Holland, Paul R.; Ha, Ho Kyung; Lee, Sang Hoon; Povl Abrahamsen, E.; Jacobs, Stanley S.

    2013-04-01

    Pine Island Glacier and neighbouring outlet glaciers of West Antarctica have thinned and accelerated over the last 2 decades, significantly contributing to global sea level rise. Increased ocean heat transport beneath Pine Island Glacier ice shelf and unpinning from a seabed ridge are thought to be the primary drivers of such changes. However, the acceleration of the glacier paused since 2009, renewing questions about the main processes presently affecting the ice/ocean system, the future behaviour of the glacier and the associated impacts. Here, we present ocean observations taken in austral Spring 2012 to show a 200 m lowering of the thermocline at the glacier calving front and a 50% decrease of meltwater production from 2009. High-resolution simulations of the ocean circulation in the cavity beneath the floating tongue of the glacier demonstrate that for the present ice geometry, the seabed ridge blocks the warmest deep waters from reaching the ice and strongly ties meltwater production to thermocline depth above the ridge, hereby making it susceptible to relatively high variability in time, from intraseasonal to interannual. These results highlight the role of climatic variability in glacial ice loss and the fundamental importance of local ice shelf and seabed geometry for determining ice-ocean dynamics.

  3. Grounding Zone and Tidal Response of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fricker, Helen A.; Sandwell, David; Coleman, Richard; Minster, Bernard

    2005-01-01

    This report summarizes the main findings of the research project. Unfortunately, it turned out that there was not a great deal of SAR data over the Amery Ice Shelf that we were able to work with on the project; nevertheless, we did make considerable progress on this project, with both the existing SAR data and new field measurements that were collected under this grant. In total we had constructed two SAR interferograms (SSIs), and four SSIs. The latter were combined them to construct two differential SAR interferograms (DSIs;). DSIs are useful because the contribution to the SAR phase from horizontal ice motion is eliminated, since the time difference between the first and second pass within both image pairs used to make the DSI is the same for each pair. The SSIs and DSIs have revealed several interesting glaciological features, and have added to our knowledge of the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS).

  4. Southern ocean controls on current ice shelf evolution. Annual progress report, September 1, 1993--August 31, 1994

    SciTech Connect

    Hellmer, H.H.; Jacobs, S.S.

    1994-04-01

    A seasonal cycle of shelf water temperatures and salinities observed at the eastern Ross Ice Shelf edge was used to force a two-dimensional thermohaline circulation model adapted to two different sub-ice cavity paths around Roosevelt Island. Model results verified by current meter measurements reveal that shelf water flowing into the cavity west of Roosevelt Island might follow a sub-ice path with nearly constant water column thickness of 200 m. This would largely exclude the grounding line of the northern Siple Coast from the contact with open ocean water masses. In contrast to the forcing with time-independent summer profiles, seasonal forcing causes a higher spatial and temporal variability of the cavity`s circulation and property distribution. At the model`s open boundaries the intermitted inflow of shelf water displaces the meltwater outflow originating from the interior ice shelf base to greater depth and initiates an additional shallow meltwater plume. The average melting along the ice shelf base increases from 0.07 m/a to 0.38.m/a due to seasonality in shelf water characteristics, and to 2.3 m/a, if we introduce a 100-year temperature rise of 1{degree}C. The rate decreases, if salinity simultanously decreases; a possible scenario, if the enhanced meltwater outflow mixes with shelf water in front of the ice shelves.

  5. Anomalously-dense firn in an ice-shelf channel revealed by wide-angle radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drews, R.; Brown, J.; Matsuoka, K.; Witrant, E.; Philippe, M.; Hubbard, B.; Pattyn, F.

    2015-10-01

    The thickness of ice shelves, a basic parameter for mass balance estimates, is typically inferred using hydrostatic equilibrium for which knowledge of the depth-averaged density is essential. The densification from snow to ice depends on a number of local factors (e.g. temperature and surface mass balance) causing spatial and temporal variations in density-depth profiles. However, direct measurements of firn density are sparse, requiring substantial logistical effort. Here, we infer density from radio-wave propagation speed using ground-based wide-angle radar datasets (10 MHz) collected at five sites on Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf (RBIS), Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Using a novel algorithm including traveltime inversion and raytracing with a prescribed shape of the depth-density relationship, we show that the depth to internal reflectors, the local ice thickness and depth-averaged densities can reliably be reconstructed. For the particular case of an ice-shelf channel, where ice thickness and surface slope change substantially over a few kilometers, the radar data suggests that firn inside the channel is about 5 % denser than outside the channel. Although this density difference is at the detection limit of the radar, it is consistent with a similar density anomaly reconstructed from optical televiewing, which reveals 10 % denser firn inside compared to outside the channel. The denser firn in the ice-shelf channel should be accounted for when using the hydrostatic ice thickness for determining basal melt rates. The radar method presented here is robust and can easily be adapted to different radar frequencies and data-acquisition geometries.

  6. Sea ice and surface water circulation, Alaskan continental shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, F. F. (Principal Investigator); Sharma, G. D.; Burns, J. J.

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Sediments contributed by the Copper River in the Gulf of Alaska are carried westward along the shore as a distinct plume. Oceanic water relatively poor in suspended material appears to intrude near Montague Island, and turbid water between Middleton Island and Kayak Island is the result of Ekman between transport. An anticlockwise surface water circulation is observed in this region. Ground truth data indicate striking similarity with ERTS-1 imagery obtained on October 12, 1972. Observations of ERTS-1 imagery reveal that various characteristics and distribution of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean can be easily studied. Formation of different types of sea ice and their movement is quite discrenible. Sea ice moves parallel to the cost in near shore areas and to the northerly direction away from the coast.

  7. Modeling the tidal ice drift and ice-induced changes in tidal dynamics on the Siberian continental shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kagan, B. A.; Romanenkov, D. A.; Sofina, E. V.

    2007-12-01

    The tidal ice drift is treated as an element of the three-dimensional tidal dynamics in a sea covered by ice. This dynamics is described by the QUODDY-4 finite-element model, and the tidal ice drift is described by a continuous viscous-elastic approximation. We present the results of modeling not only the tidal ice drift ( M 2 wave) (its velocity, direction, and tidal variations in the concentration and pressure of ice compression) but also ice-induced changes in tidal dynamics and the residual tidal ice drift. The modeling results indicate that the maximum velocity of tidal ice drift, which is determined by a combination of various factors responsible for ice evolution and primarily by the horizontal gradient of the level and local tidal velocity, can be higher or lower than the velocity of the surface tidal current in the ice-free sea. This depends on the sign of deviations of tidal sea level elevations in the sea covered by ice from their values in the ice-free sea. In addition, it has been found that ice cover has a stronger effect on the energetics of tides than on their dynamics: the area-mean relative deviations constitute 1.5% for the density of the total tidal energy, 61.5% for the dissipation, 0.1% for the amplitudes of tidal sea level elevations, and 0.9% for the amplitudes of maximum barotropic tidal velocity. In this sense, the conclusion that the role of sea ice is insignificant in the formation of tides can be justified only partially. The main results of this paper are as follows: (1) the development of a module for tidal ice drift, (2) the inclusion of this module into the three-dimensional finite-element hydrothermodynamic model QUODDY-4 to extend its capabilities, and (3) the reproduction (on the basis of the modified model) of qualitative features of the practically important tidal ice drift and ice-induced changes in the tidal dynamics of marginal seas on the Siberian continental shelf.

  8. Finite element analysis of surface cracks in the Wilkins Ice Shelf using fracture mechanics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Plate, Carolin; Müller, Ralf; Gross, Dietmar; Humbert, Angelika; Braun, Matthias

    2010-05-01

    Ice shelves, located between the warming atmosphere and the ocean, are sensitive elements of the climate system. The Wilkins Ice Shelf is situated in the south-western part of the Antarctic Peninsula, a well known hot spot of global warming. Recent break-up events exemplified the potential of disintegration of the ice shelf. A multi interdisciplinary project consisting of remote sensing, modeling of the ice dynamics and fracture mechanics intends to improve the understanding of the impacts of temperature increase on ice shelf stability. As a part of this project the aim of this presentation is to demonstrate the fracture mechanical approach using finite elements and configurational forces. For fracture mechanical purposes the material behavior of ice is treated as a brittle solid, and linear fracture mechanics is used. Crucial to all methods in linear fracture mechanics is the evaluation of the stress intensity factor K which is a measure for the load concentration at the crack tip and which depends on the geometry of the body and on the applied loading. The computed value of K can be compared to the critical stress intensity factor Kc, a material property obtained from experimental examinations, to judge whether a crack will propagate. One very effective procedure to obtain the stress intensity factor takes advantage of configurational forces, which can be easily obtained in the finite element analysis. An initial investigation is based on a 2-dimensional analysis of a single crack with a mode-I load type using a static plane strain model in the finite element analysis software COMSOL and additional routines to compute and evaluate the configurational forces. Analytical solutions of simple geometry and load cases are called on in comparison. The application to the Wilkins Ice Shelf follows by using material parameters, geometries and loading situations, which are obtained from literature values, remote sensing data analysis and modeling of the ice dynamics

  9. Invisible polynyas: Modulation of fast ice thickness by ocean heat flux on the Canadian polar shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melling, Humfrey; Haas, Christian; Brossier, Eric

    2015-02-01

    Although the Canadian polar shelf is dominated by thick fast ice in winter, areas of young ice or open water do recur annually at locations within and adjacent to the fast ice. These polynyas are detectable by eye and sustained by wind or tide-driven ice divergence and ocean heat flux. Our ice-thickness surveys by drilling and towed electromagnetic sounder reveal that visible polynyas comprise only a subset of thin-ice coverage. Additional area in the coastal zone, in shallow channels and in fjords is covered by thin ice which is too thick to be discerned by eye. Our concurrent surveys by CTD reveal correlation between thin fast ice and above-freezing seawater beneath it. We use winter time series of air and ocean temperatures and ice and snow thicknesses to calculate the ocean-to-ice heat flux as 15 and 22 W/m2 at locations with thin ice in Penny Strait and South Cape Fjord, respectively. Near-surface seawater above freezing is not a sufficient condition for ocean heat to reach the ice; kinetic energy is needed to overcome density stratification. The ocean's isolation from wind under fast ice in winter leaves tides as the only source. Two tidal mechanisms driving ocean heat flux are discussed: diffusion via turbulence generated by shear at the under-ice and benthic boundaries, and the internal hydraulics of flow over topography. The former appears dominant in channels and the coastal zone and the latter in some silled fjords where and when the layering of seawater density permits hydraulically critical flow.

  10. Divergent trajectories of Antarctic ice shelf surface melt under 21st century climate scenarios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trusel, L. D.; Frey, K. E.; Das, S. B.; Kuipers Munneke, P.; van Meijgaard, E.

    2014-12-01

    Antarctic ice shelves represent a critical interface between continental ice masses and the surrounding ocean. Breakup events of several ice shelves in recent decades have been linked to an increase in intense surface melting, and have in turn lead to cascading effects including accelerated glacier discharge into the ocean. In this study, we utilized sophisticated regional and global climate models (GCMs) to assess potential future surface melt trajectories across Antarctica under two climate scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). RACMO2.1, a polar-adapted regional atmospheric climate model, was forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis (1980-2010) and by two GCMs, EC-EARTH and HadGEM2-ES (2007-2100). Using RACMO2.1, we observed an exponential growth function well represents the relationship between ice shelf surface meltwater production and mean summer (DJF) 2-meter air temperature (t2m). We employed this melt-t2m relationship to project melt using t2m output from an ensemble of five CMIP5-based GCMs incorporating the NCAR Community Land Model 4 (CLM4), following spatial downscaling and bias correction using t2m from ERA-Interim-forced RACMO2.1. Our resulting GCM-derived melt projections provide an independent and methodologically unique perspective into potential future melt pathways, complementary to those derived from RACMO2.1. Most notably, both RACMO2.1 and the CMIP5 ensemble reveal divergent trajectories of meltwater production beyond 2050 under the two climate scenarios. For many ice shelves in RCP4.5, meltwater production through 2100 remains at levels comparable to present. Conversely, under RCP8.5 all methods indicate non-linear melt intensification, resulting in a four-fold increase in the Antarctic-wide meltwater volume by the end of the 21st century. For some ice shelves, including Larsen C and Wilkins (Antarctic Peninsula), and Shackleton and West (Wilkes Land), spatially averaged end-of-century meltwater production within RCP8.5 approaches or surpasses levels

  11. The crucial influence of different material models on ice shelf calving

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christmann, Julia; Müller, Ralf; Humbert, Angelika

    2015-04-01

    The aim of this study is to investigate the position and rate of small scale calving from Antarctic ice shelves. Thereby small scale calving happens on rather continuous timescales of several days to few years and contribute to the mass balance of an ice shelf. For a better understanding of the calving behavior, the stress and deformation states at the ice front are analyzed. The influence of geometry, material parameters and some model assumptions are discussed. The ice shelf is modeled as a two, respectively three, dimensional body loaded by gravity and water pressure. There are two responses of ice to load: on long time scales ice reacts like a viscous fluid, and on short time scale like an elastic solid. Until now it is not obviously verified, if small scale calving is related to a purely elastic, a viscous or a visco-elastic material behavior. Therefore, the stresses and deformations due to these material models and their applicability on ice shelf calving are demonstrated. The maximum tensile stress respectively strain serve as a calving criterion, namely if one of these values exceed a critical bound at some point, a crack originates and the position of calving is determined. The position of calving for a linear elastic material is unique, due to an instantaneous time-independent answer on the load situation. In this case, the determination of a calving rate is only possible, if a rate dependent geometry, loading or boundary conditions exist. Directly after a calving event the ice front is nearly vertical, however after a certain time interval the exposure, due to melting, waves and water flow, leads to time-dependent geometry variations whose influences on position and calving rate is indicated. Also the analysis of calving with a rate dependent material model leads to a calving rate, incorporating the position of maximum stress, detachment time and flow velocity of the ice shelf. The comparison of these results are established and the advantages and

  12. Vigorous lateral export of the meltwater outflow from beneath an Antarctic ice shelf.

    PubMed

    Garabato, Alberto C Naveira; Forryan, Alexander; Dutrieux, Pierre; Brannigan, Liam; Biddle, Louise C; Heywood, Karen J; Jenkins, Adrian; Firing, Yvonne L; Kimura, Satoshi

    2017-02-09

    The instability and accelerated melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are among the foremost elements of contemporary global climate change. The increased freshwater output from Antarctica is important in determining sea level rise, the fate of Antarctic sea ice and its effect on the Earth's albedo, ongoing changes in global deep-ocean ventilation, and the evolution of Southern Ocean ecosystems and carbon cycling. A key uncertainty in assessing and predicting the impacts of Antarctic Ice Sheet melting concerns the vertical distribution of the exported meltwater. This is usually represented by climate-scale models as a near-surface freshwater input to the ocean, yet measurements around Antarctica reveal the meltwater to be concentrated at deeper levels. Here we use observations of the turbulent properties of the meltwater outflows from beneath a rapidly melting Antarctic ice shelf to identify the mechanism responsible for the depth of the meltwater. We show that the initial ascent of the meltwater outflow from the ice shelf cavity triggers a centrifugal overturning instability that grows by extracting kinetic energy from the lateral shear of the background oceanic flow. The instability promotes vigorous lateral export, rapid dilution by turbulent mixing, and finally settling of meltwater at depth. We use an idealized ocean circulation model to show that this mechanism is relevant to a broad spectrum of Antarctic ice shelves. Our findings demonstrate that the mechanism producing meltwater at depth is a dynamically robust feature of Antarctic melting that should be incorporated into climate-scale models.

  13. Mixing at the fringes of a rapidly melting Antarctic ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naveira Garabato, A.; Forryan, A.; Dutrieux, P.; Brannigan, L.; Biddle, L. C.; Heywood, K. J.; Jenkins, A.; Firing, Y. L.; Kimura, S.

    2016-02-01

    The processes regulating the physical exchanges across the front of the Pine Island Ice Shelf (one of the most rapidly melting Antarctic ice shelves) in the Amundsen Sea are investigated through the analysis of an extensive set of full-depth hydrographic, velocity and microstructure measurements, obtained as part of the ISTAR expedition in February 2014, and an idealised high-resolution numerical circulation model. The outflows of Ice Cavity Water (ICW), which contains elevated concentrations of meltwater from the ice shelf, are shown to be subject to very intense small-scale turbulent mixing within 5 kilometres of the ice front. The rates of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation and diapycnal mixing in the outflows are enhanced by up to four orders of magnitude relative to those in surrounding waters, which are characterised by turbulence levels typical of the open ocean. An investigation of the causes of the intensified turbulence reveals that it is sustained by centrifugal instability of the ICW outflows. The instability drives a secondary ageostrophic circulation that induces rapid lateral mixing between ICW and pycnocline waters offshore, thereby preventing the ICW outflows from reaching the upper-ocean mixed layer and directly influencing surface climate in the region. The significance of this process for the fate of meltwater outflows from other Antarctic ice shelves will be discussed.

  14. Coupled ice shelf-ocean modeling and complex grounding line retreat for Pine Island Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Rydt, Jan; Gudmundsson, Hilmar

    2016-04-01

    Recent observations and modeling work have shown a complex mechanical coupling between Antarctica's floating ice shelves and the adjacent grounded ice sheet. A prime example is Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, which has a strong negative mass balance caused by a recent increase in ocean-induced melting of its ice shelf. The mass loss coincides with the retreat of the grounding line from a seabed ridge, on which it was at least partly grounded until the 1970s. At present, it is unclear what has caused the onset of this retreat, and how feedback mechanisms between the ocean and iceshelf geometry have influenced the ice dynamics. To address these questions, we present results from an offline coupling between a state-of-the-art shallow-ice flow model with grounding line resolving capabilities, and a three-dimensional ocean general circulation model with a static implementation of the ice shelf. A series of idealized experiments simulate the retreat from a seabed ridge in response to changes in the ocean forcing, and we show that the retreat becomes irreversible after 20 years of warm ocean conditions. A comparison to experiments with a simple depth-dependent meltrate parameterisation demonstrates that such parameterizations are unable to capture the details of the retreat process, and they overestimate mass loss by more than 40% over a 50-year timescale.

  15. Mapping the grounding zone of Ross Ice Shelf using ICESat laser altimetry

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brunt, Kelly M.; Fricker, Helen A.; Padman, Laurie; Scambos, Ted A.; O'Neel, Shad

    2010-01-01

    We use laser altimetry from the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) to map the grounding zone (GZ) of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, at 491 locations where ICESat tracks cross the grounding line (GL). Ice flexure in the GZ occurs as the ice shelf responds to short-term sea-level changes due primarily to tides. ICESat repeat-track analysis can be used to detect this region of flexure since each repeated pass is acquired at a different tidal phase; the technique provides estimates for both the landward limit of flexure and the point where the ice becomes hydrostatically balanced. We find that the ICESat-derived landward limits of tidal flexure are, in many places, offset by several km (and up to ∼60 km) from the GL mapped previously using other satellite methods. We discuss the reasons why different mapping methods lead to different GL estimates, including: instrument limitations; variability in the surface topographic structure of the GZ; and the presence of ice plains. We conclude that reliable and accurate mapping of the GL is most likely to be achieved when based on synthesis of several satellite datasets

  16. Meltwater produced by wind-albedo interaction stored in an East Antarctic ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenaerts, J. T. M.; Lhermitte, S.; Drews, R.; Ligtenberg, S. R. M.; Berger, S.; Helm, V.; Smeets, C. J. P. P.; Broeke, M. R. Van Den; van de Berg, W. J.; van Meijgaard, E.; Eijkelboom, M.; Eisen, O.; Pattyn, F.

    2017-01-01

    Surface melt and subsequent firn air depletion can ultimately lead to disintegration of Antarctic ice shelves causing grounded glaciers to accelerate and sea level to rise. In the Antarctic Peninsula, foehn winds enhance melting near the grounding line, which in the recent past has led to the disintegration of the most northerly ice shelves. Here, we provide observational and model evidence that this process also occurs over an East Antarctic ice shelf, where meltwater-induced firn air depletion is found in the grounding zone. Unlike the Antarctic Peninsula, where foehn events originate from episodic interaction of the circumpolar westerlies with the topography, in coastal East Antarctica high temperatures are caused by persistent katabatic winds originating from the ice sheet’s interior. Katabatic winds warm and mix the air as it flows downward and cause widespread snow erosion, explaining >3 K higher near-surface temperatures in summer and surface melt doubling in the grounding zone compared with its surroundings. Additionally, these winds expose blue ice and firn with lower surface albedo, further enhancing melt. The in situ observation of supraglacial flow and englacial storage of meltwater suggests that ice-shelf grounding zones in East Antarctica, like their Antarctic Peninsula counterparts, are vulnerable to hydrofracturing.

  17. Vigorous lateral export of the meltwater outflow from beneath an Antarctic ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garabato, Alberto C. Naveira; Forryan, Alexander; Dutrieux, Pierre; Brannigan, Liam; Biddle, Louise C.; Heywood, Karen J.; Jenkins, Adrian; Firing, Yvonne L.; Kimura, Satoshi

    2017-01-01

    The instability and accelerated melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are among the foremost elements of contemporary global climate change. The increased freshwater output from Antarctica is important in determining sea level rise, the fate of Antarctic sea ice and its effect on the Earth’s albedo, ongoing changes in global deep-ocean ventilation, and the evolution of Southern Ocean ecosystems and carbon cycling. A key uncertainty in assessing and predicting the impacts of Antarctic Ice Sheet melting concerns the vertical distribution of the exported meltwater. This is usually represented by climate-scale models as a near-surface freshwater input to the ocean, yet measurements around Antarctica reveal the meltwater to be concentrated at deeper levels. Here we use observations of the turbulent properties of the meltwater outflows from beneath a rapidly melting Antarctic ice shelf to identify the mechanism responsible for the depth of the meltwater. We show that the initial ascent of the meltwater outflow from the ice shelf cavity triggers a centrifugal overturning instability that grows by extracting kinetic energy from the lateral shear of the background oceanic flow. The instability promotes vigorous lateral export, rapid dilution by turbulent mixing, and finally settling of meltwater at depth. We use an idealized ocean circulation model to show that this mechanism is relevant to a broad spectrum of Antarctic ice shelves. Our findings demonstrate that the mechanism producing meltwater at depth is a dynamically robust feature of Antarctic melting that should be incorporated into climate-scale models.

  18. Ross ice shelf cavity circulation, residence time, and melting: Results from a model of oceanic chlorofluorocarbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reddy, Tasha E.; Holland, David M.; Arrigo, Kevin R.

    2010-04-01

    Despite their harmful effects in the upper atmosphere, anthropogenic chlorofluorocarbons dissolved in seawater are extremely useful for studying ocean circulation and ventilation, particularly in remote locations. Because they behave as a passive tracer in seawater, and their atmospheric concentrations are well-mixed, well-known, and have changed over time, they are ideal for gaining insight into the oceanographic characteristics of the isolated cavities found under Antarctic ice shelves, where direct observations are difficult to obtain. Here we present results from a modeling study of air-sea chlorofluorocarbon exchange and ocean circulation in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. We compare our model estimates of oceanic CFC-12 concentrations along an ice shelf edge transect to field data collected during three cruises spanning 16 yr. Our model produces chlorofluorocarbon concentrations that are quite similar to those measured in the field, both in magnitude and distribution, showing high values near the surface, decreasing with depth, and increasing over time. After validating modeled circulation and air-sea gas exchange through comparison of modeled temperature, salinity, and chlorofluorocarbons with field data, we estimate that the residence time of water in the Ross Ice Shelf cavity is approximately 2.2 yr and that basal melt rates for the ice shelf average 10 cm yr -1. The model predicts a seasonal signature to basal melting, with highest melt rates in the spring and also the fall.

  19. Antarctic ice shelf thickness from CryoSat-2 radar altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chuter, S. J.; Bamber, J. L.

    2015-12-01

    Ice shelf thickness for the whole of Antarctica is derived from 4 years (2011-2014) of CryoSat-2 (CS2) radar altimetry measurements using the assumption that the shelves are in hydrostatic equilibrium. The satellite orbit and novel synthetic aperture radar interferometric mode of CS2 results in 92.3% data coverage over the ice shelves, with particular improvements around the grounding zone. When compared to ICESat data, surface elevations have a mean bias of less than 1 m and a fourfold reduction in standard deviation compared with the previous data set. Over the Amery Ice Shelf there is a mean thickness difference of 3.3% between radio echo sounding measurements and the CS2-derived thicknesses, rising to 4.7% within 10 km of the grounding line. Our new data set provides key improvements in accuracy and coverage, especially in the grounding zone, allowing for reduced uncertainties in mass budget calculations, subshelf ocean and ice sheet-shelf modeling.

  20. Large Trajectory Ensembles for understanding Snow Accumulation over the Ross Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dale, Ethan; McDonald, Adrian; Rack, Wolfgang

    2017-04-01

    We investigate how differing synoptic weather patterns over Antarctica affect the rate of precipitation. During the 2015/16 field season a 16m firn core was drilled on the Ross Ice Shelf (80.7o S 174.5o E). Oxygen (δ18O) and Deuterium (δ2H) isotope analysis of this core allow a 40 year record of snow accumulation and therefore precipitation over the Ross Ice Shelf to be produced. The resulting precipitation record differs significantly in magnitude and trend from climate model precipitation over a similar period of time. In an effort to interpret this core we have attempted to identify distinctive weather patterns impacting snow accumulation. Lagrangian back trajectories are calculated from reanalysis wind fields to examine the origin of the air. The spatial distribution of trajectories as a function of time over the period of the ice core record are examined in an attempt to relate specific periods of large and small snow accumulation to particular pathways. We also examine how large scale modes of variability (Southern Annular Mode, El Nino Southern Oscillation and the Amundsen Sea Low) impact the spatial distribution of trajectories. Re-analysis humidity data along each trajectory is also considered allowing a more comprehensive identification of the origin of moist air, also helping to identify a representative 'residence time' of moisture for which our trajectory analysis is completed. Similar to previous studies we find that during periods of precipitation, air over the Ross Ice Shelf more frequently originates in the Ross and Amundsen Seas. While during dry periods over the Ross Ice Shelf we find the air originates more frequently from the Bellingshausen and Weddell seas, as well as continental Antarctica.

  1. Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica: Bathymetry, Structural Geology and Ocean Circulation from New IcePod Airborne Geophysical Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siddoway, C. S.; Tinto, K. J.; Bell, R. E.; Padman, L.; Fricker, H. A.; Springer, S. R.

    2016-12-01

    Rock exposures in the Ford Ranges, Marie Byrd Land (MBL), on the eastern margin of the Ross Embayment, contain direct evidence of the geological processes that led to formation of West Antarctica's continental lithosphere. Processes include wide regional extension, volcanism, and thermal reequilibration, with creation of crustal structures that are prone to reactivation today. Marie Byrd Land is tectonically active, as is evident from Late Pleistocene to Holocene eruptive centers, englacial volcanic tephra as young as 2200 years, a site of magma propagation inferred from POLEnet seismic records, and the occurrence of a 2012 earthquake cluster of magnitude M4.4 to M5.5 north of Edward VII Peninsula. However, the lithosphere underlying the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) is poorly known due to the thick cover of shelf ice floating on the ocean, difficult to penetrate by satellite remote sensing or other methods. Airborne geophysical data for the Ford Ranges and the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) suggest that the rock formations and structures that underlie MBL continue beneath the RIS. Notable features known in outcrop and detected/inferred from potential fields data are Pleistocene or younger mafic volcanic centers and Cretaceous core complexes, both likely associated with wrench faults. The Ford Ranges legacy dataset that now provides a fundamental basis for sub-RIS geological interpretation is a product of research in coastal MBL led by B.P. Luyendyk from 1989 - 2006. To improve our knowledge of lithospheric evolution, identify active faults and prospective zones of volcanism/heat flow, and to determine the sub-RIS bathymetry, the RIS sector is being explored via new Icepod aerogeophysics acquisition during the ROSETTA-Ice project (Ross Ocean and ice Shelf Environment, and Tectonic setting Through Aerogeophysical surveys and modeling), now underway over this vast under-explored sector of the Ross Embayment. ROSETTA-Ice collects and employs new gravity data with magnetics to delineate

  2. Amundsen Sea sector ice shelf thickness, melt rates, and inland response from annual high-resolution DEM mosaics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shean, D. E.; Joughin, I. R.; Smith, B. E.; Alexandrov, O.; Moratto, Z.; Porter, C. C.; Morin, P. J.

    2014-12-01

    Significant grounding line retreat, acceleration, and thinning have occurred along the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica in recent decades. These changes are driven primarily by ice-ocean interaction beneath ice shelves, but existing observations of the spatial distribution, timing, and magnitude of ice shelf melt are limited. Using the NASA Ames Stereo Pipeline, we generated digital elevation models (DEMs) with ~2 m posting from all ~450 available WorldView-1/2 along-track stereopairs for the Amundsen Sea sector. A novel iterative closest point algorithm was used to coregister DEMs to filtered Operation IceBridge ATM/LVIS data and ICESat-1 GLAS data, offering optimal sub-meter horizontal/vertical accuracy. The corrected DEMs were used to produce annual mosaics for the entire ~500x700 km region with focused, sub-annual products for ice shelves and grounding zones. These mosaics provide spatially-continuous measurements of ice shelf topography with unprecedented detail. Using these data, we derive estimates of ice shelf thickness for regions in hydrostatic equilibrium and map networks of sub-shelf melt channels for the Pine Island (PIG), Thwaites, Crosson, and Dotson ice shelves. We also document the break-up of the Thwaites ice shelf and PIG rift evolution leading up to the 2013 calving event. Eulerian difference maps document 2010-2014 thinning over fast-flowing ice streams and adjacent grounded ice. These data reveal the greatest thinning rates over the Smith Glacier ice plain and slopes beyond the margins of the fast-flowing PIG trunk. Difference maps also highlight the filling of at least two subglacial lakes ~30 km upstream of the PIG grounding line in 2011. Lagrangian difference maps reveal the spatial distribution of ice shelf thinning, which can primarily be attributed to basal melt. Preliminary results show focused ice shelf thinning within troughs and large basal channels, especially along the western margin of the Dotson ice shelf. These new data

  3. Rapid glass sponge expansion after climate-induced Antarctic ice shelf collapse.

    PubMed

    Fillinger, Laura; Janussen, Dorte; Lundälv, Tomas; Richter, Claudio

    2013-07-22

    Over 30% of the Antarctic continental shelf is permanently covered by floating ice shelves, providing aphotic conditions for a depauperate fauna sustained by laterally advected food. In much of the remaining Antarctic shallows (<300 m depth), seasonal sea-ice melting allows a patchy primary production supporting rich megabenthic communities dominated by glass sponges (Porifera, Hexactinellida). The catastrophic collapse of ice shelves due to rapid regional warming along the Antarctic Peninsula in recent decades has exposed over 23,000 km(2) of seafloor to local primary production. The response of the benthos to this unprecedented flux of food is, however, still unknown. In 2007, 12 years after disintegration of the Larsen A ice shelf, a first biological survey interpreted the presence of hexactinellids as remnants of a former under-ice fauna with deep-sea characteristics. Four years later, we revisited the original transect, finding 2- and 3-fold increases in glass sponge biomass and abundance, respectively, after only two favorable growth periods. Our findings, along with other long-term studies, suggest that Antarctic hexactinellids, locked in arrested growth for decades, may undergo boom-and-bust cycles, allowing them to quickly colonize new habitats. The cues triggering growth and reproduction in Antarctic glass sponges remain enigmatic.

  4. Glacier Acceleration and Thinning after Ice Shelf Collapse in the Larsen B Embayment, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scambos, T. A.; Bohlander, J. A.; Shuman, C. A.; Skvarca, P.

    2004-01-01

    Ice velocities derived from five Landsat 7 images acquired between January 2000 and February 2003 show a two- to six-fold increase in centerline speed of four glaciers flowing into the now-collapsed section of the Larsen B Ice Shelf. Satellite laser altimetry from ICEsat indicates the surface of Hektoria Glacier lowered by up to 38 +/- 6 m a six-month period beginning one year after the break-up in March 2002. Smaller elevation losses are observed for Crane and Jorum glaciers over a later 5-month period. Two glaciers south of the collapse area, Flask and Leppard, show little change in speed or elevation. Seasonal variations in speed preceding the large post-collapse velocity increases suggest that both summer melt percolation and changes in the stress field due to shelf removal play a major role in glacier dynamics.

  5. Antarctic ice sheet response to combined surface and oceanic sub-ice shelf melt during past interglacials and in the future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.; Kowalewski, D.

    2012-04-01

    New sediment core records from the Ross Embayment (ANDRILL; Naish et al., Nature, 2009) and time-continuous modeling of the Antarctic ice sheet-shelf system (Pollard and DeConto, Nature, 2009) imply dramatic, orbitally paced variability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) through the Plio-Pleistocene. Model-simulated episodes of WAIS retreat are common during the warm Pliocene, but they also occur during some interglacials in the colder Pleistocene. The relatively modest forcing of these simulated past retreats hints at the future vulnerability of the ice sheet. In our previous long-term simulations, the ice-sheet model was driven by parameterized climatologies (surface temperature, precipitation, sea level, and oceanic sub-ice shelf melt) scaled mainly to deep-sea benthic oxygen isotope records. In the model, WAIS was found to be highly sensitive to sub-ice-shelf melt rates, with modest increases (~2 m/yr) capable of triggering sudden grounding-line retreat and dynamic thinning in the Ross, Weddell and Amundsen Sea sectors- largely in response to reduced ice-shelf buttressing. Here we present new ice sheet-shelf simulations of specific past interglacials and future scenarios with elevated greenhouse gasses. The model is driven by atmospheric climatologies from a new high-resolution Regional Climate Model adapted to the South Polar region and modest increases in circum-Antarctic ocean temperatures. The model (accounting for past greenhouse gas and orbital forcing) shows that melt on ice-shelf surfaces played a contributing role in prior Pleistocene WAIS retreats, but increased oceanic sub ice-shelf melt was likely the dominant mechanism driving those past retreats. At levels of atmospheric CO2 exceeding 2x preindustrial levels (560 ppmv), surface melt on ice-shelf surfaces becomes increasingly important. As CO2 levels approach 4x preindustrial levels, surface melt on ice shelves and the low-elevation flanks of WAIS is sufficient to cause near complete WAIS

  6. Community dynamics of nematodes after Larsen ice-shelf collapse in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Hauquier, Freija; Ballesteros-Redondo, Laura; Gutt, Julian; Vanreusel, Ann

    2016-01-01

    Free-living marine nematode communities of the Larsen B embayment at the eastern Antarctic Peninsula were investigated to provide insights on their response and colonization rate after large-scale ice-shelf collapse. This study compares published data on the post-collapse situation from 2007 with new material from 2011, focusing on two locations in the embayment that showed highly divergent communities in 2007 and that are characterized by a difference in timing of ice-shelf breakup. Data from 2007 exposed a more diverse community at outer station B.South, dominated by the genus Microlaimus. On the contrary, station B.West in the inner part of Larsen B was poor in both numbers of individuals and genera, with dominance of a single Halomonhystera species. Re-assessment of the situation in 2011 showed that communities at both stations diverged even more, due to a drastic increase in Halomonhystera at B.West compared to relatively little change at B.South. On a broader geographical scale, it seems that B.South gradually starts resembling other Antarctic shelf communities, although the absence of the genus Sabatieria and the high abundance of Microlaimus still set it apart nine years after the main Larsen B collapse. In contrast, thriving of Halomonhystera at B.West further separates its community from other Antarctic shelf areas.

  7. Sea, ice and surface water circulation, Alaskan continental shelf

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharma, G. D.; Wright, F. F.; Burns, J. J. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. ERTS-1 imagery has been extremely useful in understanding the tidal water movements in a large estuary such as Cook Inlet. As more imagery obtained during various tidal stages become available it appears that complex and fast changing micro-circulation patterns develop in various regions of Cook Inlet during each advancing and receding tide. More ERTS-1 synoptic imagery is needed to fully understand the effect of the approach of tidal front on the water movements in the various regions through the estuary. The conventional onboard ship data gathered during various cruises although revealed the overall circulation pattern in Cook Inlet but failed to show micro-subgyres which develop in various regions during each tide which are discernible on ther ERTS-1 imagery. Suspended load distribution in the Bering Sea during summer varies significantly. In areas of phytoplankton bloom and at the river mouths the suspended load is higher than the 1 mg/1 which is found over most areas. The influence of major rivers on temperature, salinity, and suspended load in surface water as well as at shallow depth is apparent. On the Bering shelf a strong pycnocline generally at depth 10-20 m is formed by surface fresh water flow which retains sediment in suspension over extended periods.

  8. The influence of continental shelf bathymetry on Antarctic Ice Sheet response to climate forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bart, Philip J.; Mullally, Dan; Golledge, Nicholas R.

    2016-07-01

    We investigated whether shelf-depth changes would have influenced Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) response to climate forcing using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM). The simulations confirm that this would have indeed been the case. For the last-glacial-cycle (LGC) type forcing we prescribed, a modern-like polar AIS surrounded by shallow and intermediate bathymetries experiences rapid grounding-line advance early during the transition from interglacial to glacial forcing. This is in contrast to our baseline simulation of AIS response on the currently overdeepened bathymetry, which showed the expected gradual advance of grounding lines to the same climatic forcing. In the simulation, the more-positive mass balance for the shallower bathymetry is primarily a result of significantly lower calving fluxes from smaller-area ice shelves. On the basis of these results, we suggest that shelf bathymetry is an important boundary condition that should be considered when reconstructing AIS behavior since at least the middle Miocene. We note that caution should be used when applying these concepts because the particular way in which AIS mass balance is altered by shelf depth depends on how the changes in accumulation and ablation at the marine terminations combine with accumulation and ablation on land.

  9. Near-surface climate and surface energy budget of Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuipers Munneke, P.; van den Broeke, M. R.; King, J. C.; Gray, T.; Reijmer, C. H.

    2011-10-01

    Data collected by two automatic weather stations (AWS) on the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica, between 22 January 2009 and 1 February 2011 are analyzed and used as input for a model that computes the surface energy budget (SEB), including melt energy. The two AWSs are separated by about 70 km in the north-south direction, and both the near-surface meteorology and the SEB show similarities, although small differences in all components (most notably the melt flux) can be seen. The impact of subsurface absorption of shortwave radiation on melt and snow temperature is significant, and discussed. In winter, longwave cooling of the surface is entirely compensated by a downward turbulent transport of sensible heat. In summer, the positive net radiative flux is compensated by melt, and quite frequently by upward turbulent diffusion of heat and moisture, leading to sublimation and weak convection over the ice shelf. The month of November 2010 is highlighted, when strong westerly flow over the Antarctic Peninsula led to a dry and warm föhn wind over the ice shelf, resulting in warm and sunny conditions. Under these conditions the increase in shortwave and sensible heat fluxes is larger than the reduction of net longwave and latent heat fluxes, providing energy for significant melt.

  10. Near-surface climate and surface energy budget of Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuipers Munneke, P.; van den Broeke, M. R.; King, J. C.; Gray, T.; Reijmer, C. H.

    2012-03-01

    Data collected by two automatic weather stations (AWS) on the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica, between 22 January 2009 and 1 February 2011 are analyzed and used as input for a model that computes the surface energy budget (SEB), which includes melt energy. The two AWSs are separated by about 70 km in the north-south direction, and both the near-surface meteorology and the SEB show similarities, although small differences in all components (most notably the melt flux) can be seen. The impact of subsurface absorption of shortwave radiation on melt and snow temperature is significant, and discussed. In winter, longwave cooling of the surface is entirely compensated by a downward turbulent transport of sensible heat. In summer, the positive net radiative flux is compensated by melt, and quite frequently by upward turbulent diffusion of heat and moisture, leading to sublimation and weak convection over the ice shelf. The month of November 2010 is highlighted, when strong westerly flow over the Antarctic Peninsula led to a dry and warm föhn wind over the ice shelf, resulting in warm and sunny conditions. Under these conditions the increase in shortwave and sensible heat fluxes is larger than the decrease of net longwave and latent heat fluxes, providing energy for significant melt.

  11. The influence of continental shelf bathymetry on Antarctic Ice Sheet response to climate forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bart, Phil; Mullally, Dan; Golledge, Nick

    2017-04-01

    We investigated whether shelf-depth changes would have influenced Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) response to climate forcing using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM). The simulations confirm that this would have indeed been the case. For the last-glacial-cycle (LGC) type forcing we prescribed, a modern-like polar AIS surrounded by shallow and intermediate bathymetries experiences rapid grounding-line advance early during the transition from interglacial to glacial forcing. This is in contrast to our baseline simulation of AIS response on the currently overdeepened bathymetry, which showed the expected gradual advance of grounding lines to the same climatic forcing. In the simulation, the more-positive mass balance for the shallower bathymetry is primarily a result of significantly lower calving fluxes from smaller-area ice shelves. On the basis of these results, we suggest that shelf bathymetry is an important boundary condition that should be considered when reconstructing AIS behavior since at least the middle Miocene. We note that caution should be used when applying these concepts because the particular way in which AIS mass balance is altered by shelf depth depends on how the changes in accumulation and ablation at the marine terminations combine with accumulation and ablation on land.

  12. Bathymetry of Grounding Zones and Sub-Ice Shelf Cavities of the Amundsen Sea, from Operation IceBridge Gravity Inversions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tinto, K. J.; Cochran, J. R.; Bell, R. E.

    2012-12-01

    In order to understand the observed changes in thinning and grounding line position of outlet glaciers it is essential to have accurate maps of the bathymetry of the sea floor within and around the grounding zone. This bathymetry controls the stability of the grounding line as well as access and circulation of seawater under their stabilizing ice shelves. Since 2009 Operation IceBridge has flown gridded surveys over four of the ice shelves of the Amundsen Sea embayment. We present a 3D inversion of the gravity from the region, supplemented by 2D profile models across the ice shelves to provide a self-consistent bathymetric model of the grounding zone and sub ice cavity of Pine Island, Thwaites, Dotson and Crosson ice shelves. Much attention has been paid to the largest outlet glaciers of the Amundsen Sea, and to the bathymetry beneath the floating ice in front of their grounding zones. Considerable changes have also been observed from the smaller Amundsen ice shelves, Crosson and Dotson, which flow to the east and north respectively, between Thwaites Glacier and Getz ice shelf, but little is known about their sub-ice bathymetry. The Amundsen Sea region is vulnerable to the influence of relatively warm circumpolar deep water encroaching on to the continental shelf. The influence of these waters at the grounding zone of the glaciers in the region is dictated by the depth and orientation of bathymetric features of the sea floor. The dominant geological fabric of the region is a NE-SW trending series of ridges and troughs, formed in association with the rifting of the Amundsen Sea region. The bathymetry models from OIB gravity inversions reveal the continuation of the deep (~1500 m) trough of the Kohler Glacier under Crosson Ice Shelf. At the eastern end of the trough, at the front of Crosson ice shelf, the sea floor rises to an average of ~500 m depth over a broad, 50 km wide region. Further east from here the NE-SW fabric is continued in a previously reported ridge

  13. Recent Antarctic Peninsula warming relative to Holocene climate and ice-shelf history.

    PubMed

    Mulvaney, Robert; Abram, Nerilie J; Hindmarsh, Richard C A; Arrowsmith, Carol; Fleet, Louise; Triest, Jack; Sime, Louise C; Alemany, Olivier; Foord, Susan

    2012-09-06

    Rapid warming over the past 50 years on the Antarctic Peninsula is associated with the collapse of a number of ice shelves and accelerating glacier mass loss. In contrast, warming has been comparatively modest over West Antarctica and significant changes have not been observed over most of East Antarctica, suggesting that the ice-core palaeoclimate records available from these areas may not be representative of the climate history of the Antarctic Peninsula. Here we show that the Antarctic Peninsula experienced an early-Holocene warm period followed by stable temperatures, from about 9,200 to 2,500 years ago, that were similar to modern-day levels. Our temperature estimates are based on an ice-core record of deuterium variations from James Ross Island, off the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. We find that the late-Holocene development of ice shelves near James Ross Island was coincident with pronounced cooling from 2,500 to 600 years ago. This cooling was part of a millennial-scale climate excursion with opposing anomalies on the eastern and western sides of the Antarctic Peninsula. Although warming of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula began around 600 years ago, the high rate of warming over the past century is unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia. The connection shown here between past temperature and ice-shelf stability suggests that warming for several centuries rendered ice shelves on the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula vulnerable to collapse. Continued warming to temperatures that now exceed the stable conditions of most of the Holocene epoch is likely to cause ice-shelf instability to encroach farther southward along the Antarctic Peninsula.

  14. Strong effects of thermodynamic ice-shelf/ocean interactions in a globalsea-icea-ocean isopycnal model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sergienko, O. V.; Harrison, M.; Hallberg, R.

    2016-02-01

    Melting/refreezing of ice shelves have strong impacts both on ice shelves (through modification of their shape) and on the ocean circulation ( through modification of their water masses). Representation of ice-shelf/ocean interaction in the global ocean circulation models continues to be challenging. Using a high-resolution (1/8 deg) global isopycnal ocean model, MOM6, and a sea-ice model, SIS, we investigate the effects of thermodynamic coupling of the Antarctic ice shelves on the various aspects of ocean circulation. Such high (3-8 km) horizontal spatial resolution allows for detailed resolution of the sub-ice-shelf cavity circulations. The computed ice-shelves melt rates are in very good agreement with observationally derived melt rate estimates. The spatial distributions of simulated melting/freezing rates indicate enhanced melting in the vicinity of the grounding line and very strong melting at the ice-shelves front. Results of our simulations show strong effects of sub-ice-shelf melt water on circulation of the Southern Ocean. We also find that simulations accounting for the thermodynamic coupling of the Antarctic ice shelves produce consistently thicker sea ice compared to the uncoupled simulations.

  15. Eddy-resolving simulations of the Fimbul Ice Shelf cavity circulation: Basal melting and exchange with open ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hattermann, T.; Smedsrud, L. H.; Nøst, O. A.; Lilly, J. M.; Galton-Fenzi, B. K.

    2014-10-01

    Melting at the base of floating ice shelves is a dominant term in the overall Antarctic mass budget. This study applies a high-resolution regional ice shelf/ocean model, constrained by observations, to (i) quantify present basal mass loss at the Fimbul Ice Shelf (FIS); and (ii) investigate the oceanic mechanisms that govern the heat supply to ice shelves in the Eastern Weddell Sea. The simulations confirm the low melt rates suggested by observations and show that melting is primarily determined by the depth of the coastal thermocline, regulating deep ocean heat fluxes towards the ice. Furthermore, the uneven distribution of ice shelf area at different depths modulates the melting response to oceanic forcing, causing the existence of two distinct states of melting at the FIS. In the simulated present-day state, only small amounts of Modified Warm Deep Water enter the continental shelf, and ocean temperatures beneath the ice are close to the surface freezing point. The basal mass loss in this so-called state of “shallow melting” is mainly controlled by the seasonal inflow of solar-heated surface water affecting large areas of shallow ice in the upper part of the cavity. This is in contrast to a state of “deep melting”, in which the thermocline rises above the shelf break depth, establishing a continuous inflow of Warm Deep Water towards the deep ice. The transition between the two states is found to be determined by a complex response of the Antarctic Slope Front overturning circulation to varying climate forcings. A proper representation of these frontal dynamics in climate models will therefore be crucial when assessing the evolution of ice shelf basal melting along this sector of Antarctica.

  16. The death mask of the antarctic ice sheet: Comparison of glacial geomorphic features across the continental shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wellner, J. S.; Heroy, D. C.; Anderson, J. B.

    2006-04-01

    Multibeam swath bathymetry data, seismic lines, and shallow cores were collected seaward of all of the major drainage outlets of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from the Pennell Coast of North Victoria Land to the northwestern Weddell Sea. The results show that during the last glacial maximum, the ice sheet extended onto the outer shelf in all areas, to the shelf break in many. Swath bathymetry and deep-tow sidescan sonar data from the continental shelf also record the geomorphology left by the retreating ice sheet. Glacial troughs occur offshore of all major glacial outlets. In each drainage area except for parts of the Ross Sea, the inner shelf is characterized by acoustic basement interpreted as crystalline substrate. The geomorphology of these inner shelf areas consists of erosional features such as grooves that show that ice flow tended to follow the structural grain of the bedrock. Outer shelf areas are floored by sedimentary substrate where the direction of ice flow was more directly offshore and depositional features characterize the seafloor. In these areas the signature of the grounded ice consists of till deposits and large-scale geomorphic features, mega-scale glacial lineations. Drumlins occur within the region of contact between crystalline and sedimentary substrates. Meltwater channels also have been imaged in both inner and outer shelf settings. While the presence of meltwater across the shelf has long been suspected, we present here the first multibeam image of a meltwater channel on the outer continental shelf of Antarctica. At the shelf break gullies are in all areas where we know ice reached the shelf break. We note the remarkable similarity in form of mega-scale glacial lineations observed on the outer shelf over sedimentary substrate across all areas surveyed, typically measuring 200-600 m crest to crest. This suggests that the shape of these landforms is governed by the same process in each drainage area and that process was occurring under a large

  17. A modeling experiment on the grounding of an ice shelf in the central Arctic Ocean during MIS 6

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakobsson, M.; Siegert, M.; Paton, M.

    2003-12-01

    High-resolution chirp sonar subbottom profiles from the Lomonosov Ridge in the central Arctic Ocean, acquired from the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 1996, revealed large-scale erosion of the ridge crest down to depths of 1000 m below present sea level [Jakobsson, 1999]. Subsequent acoustic mapping during the SCICEX nuclear submarine expedition in 1999 showed glacial fluting at the deepest eroded areas and subparallel ice scours from 950 m water depth to the shallowest parts of the ridge crest [Polyak et al., 2001]. The directions of the mapped glaciogenic bed-forms and the redeposition of eroded material on the Amerasian side of the ridge indicate ice flow from the Barents-Kara Sea area. Core studies revealed that sediment drape the eroded areas from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5.5 and, thus, it was proposed that the major erosional event took place during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 [Jakobsson et al., 2001]. Glacial geological evidence suggests strongly that the Late Saalian (MIS 6) ice sheet margin reached the shelf break of the Barents-Kara Sea [Svendsen et al. in press] and this gives us two possible ways to explain the ice erosional features on the Lomonosov Ridge. One is the grounding of a floating ice shelf and the other is the scouring from large deep tabular iceberg. Here we apply numerical ice sheet modeling to test the hypothesis that an ice shelf emanating from the Barents/Kara seas grounded across part of the Lomonsov Ridge and caused the extensive erosion down to a depth of around 1000 m below present sea level. A series of model experiments was undertaken in which the ice shelf mass balance (surface accumulation and basal melting) and ice shelf strain rates were adjusted. Grounding of the Lomonosov Ridge was not achieved when the ice shelf strain rate was 0.005 yr-1 (i.e. a free flowing ice shelf). However this model produced two interesting findings. First, with basal melt rates of up to 50 cm yr-1 an ice shelf grew from the St. Anna Trough ice stream

  18. Dynamic changes on the Wilkins Ice Shelf during the 2006-2009 retreat derived from satellite observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rankl, Melanie; Fürst, Johannes Jakob; Humbert, Angelika; Holger Braun, Matthias

    2017-05-01

    The vast ice shelves around Antarctica provide significant restraint to the outflow from adjacent tributary glaciers. This important buttressing effect became apparent in the last decades, when outlet glaciers accelerated considerably after several ice shelves were lost around the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). The present study aims to assess dynamic changes on the Wilkins Ice Shelf (WIS) during different stages of ice-front retreat and partial collapse between early 2008 and 2009. The total ice-shelf area lost in these events was 2135 ± 75 km2 ( ˜ 15 % of the ice-shelf area relative to 2007). Here, we use time series of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite observations (1994-1996, 2006-2010) in order to derive variations in surface-flow speed from intensity-offset tracking. Spatial patterns of horizontal strain-rate, stress and stress-flow angle distributions are determined during different ice-front retreat stages. Prior to the final break up of an ice bridge in 2008, a strong speed up is observed, which is also discernible from other derived quantities. We identify areas that are important for buttressing and areas prone to fracturing using in-flow and first principal strain rates as well as principal stress components. Further propagation of fractures can be explained as the first principal components of strain rates and stresses exceed documented threshold values. Positive second principal stresses are another scale-free indicator for ice-shelf areas, where fractures preferentially open. Second principal strain rates are found to be insensitive to ice-front retreat or fracturing. Changes in stress-flow angles highlight similar areas as the in-flow strain rates but are difficult to interpret. Our study reveals the large potential of modern SAR satellite time series to better understand dynamic and structural changes during ice-shelf retreat but also points to uncertainties introduced by the methods applied.

  19. Foehn-induced surface melting of the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turton, Jenny; Kirchgaessner, Amelie; Ross, Andrew; King, John; Kuipers Munneke, Peter

    2017-04-01

    The Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is a steep, narrow, elongated mountain range, stretching ˜1500km from Drake's Passage in the north, to Ellsworth Land in the south. A number of ice shelves extend from both the west and east coast, and provide a stark contrast to the ˜2000m high mountains. The AP was the fastest warming region on Earth in the late 20th century. The disintegration of two east coast ice shelves, Larsen A and B, in 1995 and 2002 respectively, became a symbol for climate change in the Polar Regions. A proposed theory for ice shelf destabilisation is surface melting induced by föhn winds. The föhn winds which flow down the eastern slopes of the AP, are a feature of the interaction of the steep mountain range with the prevailing circumpolar westerlies. This work uses near-surface observations and numerical simulations to study the impacts of the föhn winds on the surface energy balance and surface melt across the Larsen C ice shelf. Observations from an automatic weather station on Larsen C ice shelf (67.02˚ S, 61.5˚ W) were ingested into a SEB model to estimate values of the energy balance components, prior to this study. Daily averaged values of all SEB components from 2009-2012 were provided for the project. Annual and seasonal analysis of these components has highlighted the impact of föhn winds on the ice shelf. The residual energy available for melt is largely due to the increased downwelling shortwave radiation from the cloud-clearing effect during föhn events, and the increased (positive) sensible heat flux. Surface melt is observed up to 100km from the foot of the AP. The frequency and duration of föhn events significantly increases the annual average melt energy. Föhn conditions during austral spring (SON) can lengthen the duration of the melt season, increase the number of melt days, and increase the intensity of surface melt. Surface melt from föhn events is greatest in years with multiple consecutive föhn events in late spring

  20. Ice shelf-ocean interactions, mechanisms of change in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutrieux, P.

    2015-12-01

    Over the length of the observational record, the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been loosing ice to the ocean, significantly contributing to global sea level rise. This signal is largely due to glacial flow acceleration in West Antarctica, driven by oceanic melting at its margin and the induced thinning of the glacier buttressing ice shelves. Pine Island Glacier is one stellar example where vigorous oceanic melting fundamentally modifies the geometry of the ice-ocean interface and the associated ice dynamics. Since the early 1970's, the glacier terminating ice shelf has thinned, its grounding line has retreated, and its speed has doubled, now reaching close to 11 m/day. During that time, oceanic melting has increased, injecting fresh and nutrient-rich waters between the surface and intermediate depth in the coastal southern ocean. Using autonomous platforms, ship-borne ocean observations, ground-based and airborne radar observations, satellite observations and numerical modelling, this talk will review the mechanisms behind this trajectory of change and open perspectives on its potential impacts in the Southern Ocean.

  1. The Turbulent Convective Plume at Ice Shelf Fronts and the Sides of Tabular Icebergs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kerr, R. C.; McConnochie, C. D.

    2015-12-01

    We present laboratory experiments and theoretical analysis that quantify the turbulent buoyant plume formed by the dissolution of a vertical ice face in homogeneous salt water. In our experiments, we vary the temperature and salinity of the salt water and measure the dissolution rate of the ice, the temperature of the ice-water interface, the maximum vertical velocity of the buoyant plume, and the rate at which the laboratory tank becomes stratified with buoyant fluid. Using this experimental information, we then construct a theoretical model of the turbulent buoyant plume as a function of height. The plume has a top-hat entrainment coefficient of 0.048 ± 0.006, and is found to have substantial drag. The plume model is used to calculate a plume width, velocity, buoyancy and Reynolds number for typical dissolving icebergs and ice shelf fronts. Our laboratory experiments also examine the effect of a linear salinity gradient on the dissolution of a vertical ice face. As the stratification is increased, the dissolution rate, the interface temperature and the maximum vertical plume velocity all decrease, and their dependence on height changes. We also outline a method of scaling the effects of stratification from our laboratory experiments to the much larger vertical scales of ice shelves and icebergs.

  2. Ice streaming in western Scotland and the deglaciation of the Hebrides Shelf and Firth of Lorn

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arosio, Riccardo; Howe, John; O'Cofaigh, Colm; Crocket, Kirsty

    2014-05-01

    Previously, numerous studies have been undertaken both onshore and offshore to decipher the morphological and sedimentological record in order to better constrain the limits and duration of the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) (Ballantyne et al. 2009, Bradwell et al. 2008b, Clark et al. 2011, Dunlop et al. 2010, Howe et al. 2012, O'Cofaigh et al., 2012). Late glacial ice sheet dynamics have been revealed to be far more rapid and responsive to climatic amelioration than had previously been considered. Notable in this debate has been the evidence that has been obtained in the inshore and, to a lesser extent, offshore on the UK continental shelf. Here new geomorphological data, principally multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data has provided imagery of previously unseen features interpreted as being glacial in origin. In the wake of these new discoveries this projects aims to investigate the extent, timing, growth and final disintegration of the BIIS across Western Scotland. This area of particular interest for the development of the glaciated North Atlantic margin has been generally neglected in past studies, especially across the mid-outer shelf, which constitutes a missing part in the jigsaw of the reconstructed BIIS during the last ~20.000yrs. We aim to mainly focus on geomorphological analyses of MBES data collected in the Firth of Lorn and Sea of Hebrides; a study of features as moraines, glacial lineations and drumlins will provide important clues on the dynamics and maximum extension of the sheet. Subsequently we will examine the geometry and composition of the shelf sediment infill, aiming to constrain the influence of ice retreat on depositional environments using multi-element geochemical (Pb-isotopes ratios, 14C and OSL dating) and sedimentological techniques. Such an investigation will also give retrospective information on the sources for these sediments, hence more indications on ice configuration. Ultimately we aim to provide a model of deglaciation for the

  3. Satellite color observations of spring blooming in Bering Sea shelf waters during the ice edge retreat in 1980

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maynard, Nancy G.; Clark, Dennis K.

    1987-01-01

    The temporal and spatial development of the ice-edge bloom and the spring open-water bloom on the eastern Bering Sea shelf was studied using CZCS images of the eastern Bering Sea between April 27 and July 22, 1980. Images of the Norton Sound area taken during the period of ice breakup show that the influence of ice melt on phytoplankton growth is particularly significant where the ice is actively melting. Significant levels (5-30 mg/cu m) of chlorophyll could be seen trailing the ice pack as it melted and moved northward and westward in late April and early May. In the ice-free eastern Bering Sea midsummer image, a northwesterly oriented band of high pigment concentration was seen in the area of the outer domain, suggesting periodic offshore movements of shelf waters.

  4. Satellite color observations of spring blooming in Bering Sea shelf waters during the ice edge retreat in 1980

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maynard, Nancy G.; Clark, Dennis K.

    1987-01-01

    The temporal and spatial development of the ice-edge bloom and the spring open-water bloom on the eastern Bering Sea shelf was studied using CZCS images of the eastern Bering Sea between April 27 and July 22, 1980. Images of the Norton Sound area taken during the period of ice breakup show that the influence of ice melt on phytoplankton growth is particularly significant where the ice is actively melting. Significant levels (5-30 mg/cu m) of chlorophyll could be seen trailing the ice pack as it melted and moved northward and westward in late April and early May. In the ice-free eastern Bering Sea midsummer image, a northwesterly oriented band of high pigment concentration was seen in the area of the outer domain, suggesting periodic offshore movements of shelf waters.

  5. Mapped Submarine Landforms in Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica, Indicate Past Ice Shelf Disintegration and Grounding line Retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakobsson, M.; Anderson, J. B.; Nitsche, F. O.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Gyllencreutz, R.; Kirchner, N.; O'Regan, M. A.; Alley, R. B.; Anandakrishnan, S.; Mohammad, R.; Eriksson, B.; Fernandez-Vasquez, R. A.; Kirshner, A. E.; Minzoni, R. L.; Stolldorf, T. D.; Majewski, W.

    2010-12-01

    Swath bathymetry images from the inner part of Pine Island Bay reveal a well-organized subglacial drainage system carved into bedrock and the termination of a cross-shelf trough has been mapped on the outer shelf. The middle part of Pine Island Bay has, however, only been sparsely mapped due to persistent sea ice cover in the area. During the 2009/2010 austral summer the bay was virtually ice free, allowing detailed swath bathymetry mapping with the Swedish Icebreaker Oden covering 4,140 km2 of the middle part of the trough. When the ice sheet was grounded in Pine Island Trough (PIT), several common glacigenic landforms were produced including mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL), indicating paleo-ice stream flow direction, and grounding line wedges marking the location where the ice stream's grounding line remained for a longer period. In addition, the multibeam data reveal two other landforms previously not described from this setting. The first of these are ridges oriented transverse the ice flow direction. They are on the order of 1-2 m from trough-to-peak and separated by about 60-200 m. They extend virtually across the entire width of PIT, but individual sets are separated by lineations that are spaced 50 to 500 m apart. The second feature comprises sediment mounds that terminate linear to curvilinear sets of ridges and furrows that are aligned parallel to the axis of the trough, similar to MSGL. These two feature sets are interpreted to indicate the disintegration of a former ice shelf in Pine Island Bay that extended from the paleo-ice stream in the PIT. The ridges mapped in PIT are referred to as “fishbone moraines” and the proposed formation model is that a former ice shelf in Pine Island Bay disintegrated, similarly as happened with Larsen A and B ice shelves, back to the grounding line where it breaks off, tilts landward and begins to drift seaward. With each tidal cycle the ice shelf remnant was lifted, moved seaward and then settling, squeezing

  6. Low melt rates with seasonal variability at the base of Fimbul Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, revealed by in situ interferometric radar measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langley, Kirsty; Kohler, Jack; Sinisalo, Anna; Øyan, Mats Jørgen; Hamran, Svein Erik; Hattermann, Tore; Matsuoka, Kenichi; Nøst, Ole Anders; Isaksson, Elisabeth

    2014-11-01

    Basal melt is a major cause of ice shelf thinning affecting the stability of the ice shelf and reducing its buttressing effect on the inland ice. The Fimbul ice shelf (FIS) in Dronning Maud Land (DML), East Antarctica, is fed by the fast-flowing Jutulstraumen glacier, responsible for 10% of ice discharge from the DML sector of the ice sheet. Current estimates of the basal melt rates of the FIS come from regional ocean models, autosub measurements, and satellite observations, which vary considerably. This discrepancy hampers evaluation of the stability of the Jutulstraumen catchment. Here, we present estimates of basal melt rates of the FIS using ground-based interferometric radar. We find a low average basal melt rate on the order of 1 m/yr, with the highest rates located at the ice shelf front, which extends beyond the continental shelf break. Furthermore, our results provide evidence for a significant seasonal variability.

  7. Variability of the oceanic environment and basal melting of the Dotson Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, 2000 to 2014

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shoosmith, Deb; Jenkins, Adrian; Dutrieux, Pierre; Jacobs, Stan; Kim, Tae Wan; Lee, Sang Hoon; Ha, Ho Kyung; Stammerjohn, Sharon

    2016-04-01

    It is well known that the ocean plays a key role in the process of mass loss from ice sheets through iceberg calving and basal melting. The Amundsen Sea, in the eastern Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean, is a region where the ice shelves are rapidly thinning. The widespread, coherent nature of the thinning suggests oceanic forcing, which has now been well documented for Pine Island Glacier. Studies using satellite data have indicated that Dotson Ice Shelf was melting at a rate of 8 m per year and thinning by about 3 m per year during the 2003 - 2008 period. This study takes a slightly longer term perspective, exploiting oceanographic observations spanning a decade and a half (2000 - 2014) that have been obtained at the Dotson Ice Front. A total of 7 hydrographic sections reveal variability in the oceanographic environment in front of the ice shelf and associated changes in meltwater production over time. We quantify the variability in circulation and net meltwater transport from beneath the ice shelf to produce estimates of the basal melt rate for this 15 year period. We find that changes in ocean heat content in front of the ice shelf drive high variability in melting on multi-annual to decadal time-scales.

  8. Recent climate tendencies on an East Antarctic ice shelf inferred from a shallow firn core network.

    PubMed

    Schlosser, E; Anschütz, H; Divine, D; Martma, T; Sinisalo, A; Altnau, S; Isaksson, E

    2014-06-16

    Nearly three decades of stable isotope ratios and surface mass balance (SMB) data from eight shallow firn cores retrieved at Fimbul Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, in the Austral summers 2009-2011 have been investigated. An additional longer core drilled in 2000/2001 extends the series back to the early eighteenth century. Isotope ratios and SMB from the stacked record of all cores were also related to instrumental temperature data from Neumayer Station on Ekström Ice Shelf. Since the second half of the twentieth century, the SMB shows a statistically significant negative trend, whereas the δ(18)O of the cores shows a significant positive trend. No trend is found in air temperature at the nearest suitable weather station, Neumayer (available since 1981). This does not correspond to the statistically significant positive trend in Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index, which is usually associated with a cooling of East Antarctica. SAM index and SMB are negatively correlated, which might be explained by a decrease in meridional exchange of energy and moisture leading to lower precipitation amounts. Future monitoring of climate change on the sensitive Antarctic ice shelves is necessary to assess its consequences for sea level change. Mass balance and stable oxygen isotope ratios from shallow firn coresDecreasing trend in surface mass balance, no trend in stable isotopesNegative correlation between SAM and SMB.

  9. Recent climate tendencies on an East Antarctic ice shelf inferred from a shallow firn core network

    PubMed Central

    Schlosser, E; Anschütz, H; Divine, D; Martma, T; Sinisalo, A; Altnau, S; Isaksson, E

    2014-01-01

    Nearly three decades of stable isotope ratios and surface mass balance (SMB) data from eight shallow firn cores retrieved at Fimbul Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, in the Austral summers 2009–2011 have been investigated. An additional longer core drilled in 2000/2001 extends the series back to the early eighteenth century. Isotope ratios and SMB from the stacked record of all cores were also related to instrumental temperature data from Neumayer Station on Ekström Ice Shelf. Since the second half of the twentieth century, the SMB shows a statistically significant negative trend, whereas the δ18O of the cores shows a significant positive trend. No trend is found in air temperature at the nearest suitable weather station, Neumayer (available since 1981). This does not correspond to the statistically significant positive trend in Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index, which is usually associated with a cooling of East Antarctica. SAM index and SMB are negatively correlated, which might be explained by a decrease in meridional exchange of energy and moisture leading to lower precipitation amounts. Future monitoring of climate change on the sensitive Antarctic ice shelves is necessary to assess its consequences for sea level change. Key Points Mass balance and stable oxygen isotope ratios from shallow firn cores Decreasing trend in surface mass balance, no trend in stable isotopes Negative correlation between SAM and SMB PMID:25821663

  10. Foehn winds link climate-driven warming to ice shelf evolution in Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cape, M. R.; Vernet, Maria; Skvarca, Pedro; Marinsek, Sebastián.; Scambos, Ted; Domack, Eugene

    2015-11-01

    Rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula over the past several decades has led to extensive surface melting on its eastern side, and the disintegration of the Prince Gustav, Larsen A, and Larsen B ice shelves. The warming trend has been attributed to strengthening of circumpolar westerlies resulting from a positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), which is thought to promote more frequent warm, dry, downsloping foehn winds along the lee, or eastern side, of the peninsula. We examined variability in foehn frequency and its relationship to temperature and patterns of synoptic-scale circulation using a multidecadal meteorological record from the Argentine station Matienzo, located between the Larsen A and B embayments. This record was further augmented with a network of six weather stations installed under the U.S. NSF LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica, project. Significant warming was observed in all seasons at Matienzo, with the largest seasonal increase occurring in austral winter (+3.71°C between 1962-1972 and 1999-2010). Frequency and duration of foehn events were found to strongly influence regional temperature variability over hourly to seasonal time scales. Surface temperature and foehn winds were also sensitive to climate variability, with both variables exhibiting strong, positive correlations with the SAM index. Concomitant positive trends in foehn frequency, temperature, and SAM are present during austral summer, with sustained foehn events consistently associated with surface melting across the ice sheet and ice shelves. These observations support the notion that increased foehn frequency played a critical role in precipitating the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf.

  11. New surface-based observations of the environment beneath Pine Island Glacier ice shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bindschadler, Robert; Truffer, Martin; Stanton, Tim; Peters, Leo; Shortt, Mike; Pomraning, Dale; Stockel, Jim; Shaw, Bill; Steinarson, Einar; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar; Wilson, Kiya; Holland, David; Bushuk, Mitch; Behar, Alberto; Cocaud, Cedric; Stam, Christina

    2013-04-01

    Extensive surface, sub-shelf cavity and seabed observations of the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) ice shelf environment were collected by a surface field team during the 2012-13 austral summer. Three sites aligned along a central, flow-aligned surface valley were occupied for about one week each during which two hot-water holes were drilled at each site. In one hole, a mast-mounted set of oceanographic sensors recorded water temperature, current and salinity in the few meters immediately below the ice-shelf bottom. In the other hole, a similarly instrumented profiler was deployed to make quasi-daily vertical transects of the sub-shelf cavity by rising and sinking along a cable suspended in the cavity. These instruments are already returning data that provide direct rates of heat and momentum transfer in the boundary layer, basal melt rates and the temporal variation of water movements on daily and longer time scales. Shallow cores of the sea bed and a photographic record of the drill holes, ocean cavity and sea bed were also collected at two of the drill sites. The geophysics program was spatially much broader and consisted of phase-sensitive radars to measure basal melt rates and active seismic instrumentation to explore the character of the sea bed. Continuous profiling between the drill sites established the previously discovered ("Autosub") sea bed ridge is asymmetric with a steeper downstream face. Spot measurements upstream of the drill sites were reached by helicopter and refined the shape of the ocean cavity where extensive melt rates were measured. The field work is concluding as this abstract is being submitted, so most results are not yet available, but will be included in the presentation as first results emerge.

  12. Twenty-first-century warming of a large Antarctic ice-shelf cavity by a redirected coastal current.

    PubMed

    Hellmer, Hartmut H; Kauker, Frank; Timmermann, Ralph; Determann, Jürgen; Rae, Jamie

    2012-05-09

    The Antarctic ice sheet loses mass at its fringes bordering the Southern Ocean. At this boundary, warm circumpolar water can override the continental slope front, reaching the grounding line through submarine glacial troughs and causing high rates of melting at the deep ice-shelf bases. The interplay between ocean currents and continental bathymetry is therefore likely to influence future rates of ice-mass loss. Here we show that a redirection of the coastal current into the Filchner Trough and underneath the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf during the second half of the twenty-first century would lead to increased movement of warm waters into the deep southern ice-shelf cavity. Water temperatures in the cavity would increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius and boost average basal melting from 0.2 metres, or 82 billion tonnes, per year to almost 4 metres, or 1,600 billion tonnes, per year. Our results, which are based on the output of a coupled ice-ocean model forced by a range of atmospheric outputs from the HadCM3 climate model, suggest that the changes would be caused primarily by an increase in ocean surface stress in the southeastern Weddell Sea due to thinning of the formerly consolidated sea-ice cover. The projected ice loss at the base of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf represents 80 per cent of the present Antarctic surface mass balance. Thus, the quantification of basal mass loss under changing climate conditions is important for projections regarding the dynamics of Antarctic ice streams and ice shelves, and global sea level rise.

  13. Shear, Stability and Mixing within the Ice-Shelf-Ocean Boundary Layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, Adrian

    2016-04-01

    Ocean-forced basal melting has been implicated in the widespread thinning of Antarctic ice shelves that has been causally linked with acceleration in the outflow of grounded ice. What determines the distribution and rates of basal melting and freezing beneath an ice shelf and how these respond to changes in the ocean temperature or circulation are therefore key questions. Recent years have seen major progress in our ability to observe basal melting and the ocean conditions that drive it, but data on the latter remain sparse, limiting our understanding of the key processes of ice-ocean heat transfer. In particular, we have no observations of current profiles through the buoyancy- and frictionally-controlled flows along the ice shelf base that drive mixing through the ice-ocean boundary layer. This presentation represents an attempt to address this gap in our knowledge through application of a very simple model of such boundary flows that considers only the spatial dimension perpendicular to the boundary. Initial results obtained with an unrealistic assumuption of constant eddy viscosity/diffusivity are nevertheless informative. For the buoyancy-driven flow two possible regimes exist: a weakly-stratified, geostrophic cross-slope current with an embedded Ekman layer, somewhat analogous to a conventional density current on a slope; or a strongly-stratified upslope jet with weak cross-slope flow, more analogous to an inverted katabatic wind. The latter is most appropriate when the ice-ocean interface is very steep, while for the gentle slopes typical of ice shelves the buoyant Ekman regime prevails. Introduction of a variable eddy viscosity/diffusivity derived from a local turbulence closure scheme modifies the current structure and stratification. There is a sharp step in properties across the surface layer, where the viscosity/diffusivity is low, weak gradients across the outer part of the boundary layer, where shear-driven mixing is strong, and a relatively strong

  14. Evaluation of Ice sheet evolution and coastline changes from 1960s in Amery Ice Shelf using multi-source remote sensing images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qiao, G.; Ye, W.; Scaioni, M.; Liu, S.; Feng, T.; Liu, Y.; Tong, X.; Li, R.

    2013-12-01

    Global change is one of the major challenges that all the nations are commonly facing, and the Antarctica ice sheet changes have been playing a critical role in the global change research field during the past years. Long time-series of ice sheet observations in Antarctica would contribute to the quantitative evaluation and precise prediction of the effects on global change induced by the ice sheet, of which the remote sensing technology would make critical contributions. As the biggest ice shelf and one of the dominant drainage systems in East Antarctic, the Amery Ice Shelf has been making significant contributions to the mass balance of the Antarctic. Study of Amery Ice shelf changes would advance the understanding of Antarctic ice shelf evolution as well as the overall mass balance. At the same time, as one of the important indicators of Antarctica ice sheet characteristics, coastlines that can be detected from remote sensing imagery can help reveal the nature of the changes of ice sheet evolution. Most of the scientific research on Antarctica with satellite remote sensing dated from 1970s after LANDSAT satellite was brought into operation. It was the declassification of the cold war satellite reconnaissance photographs in 1995, known as Declassified Intelligence Satellite Photograph (DISP) that provided a direct overall view of the Antarctica ice-sheet's configuration in 1960s, greatly extending the time span of Antarctica surface observations. This paper will present the evaluation of ice-sheet evolution and coastline changes in Amery Ice Shelf from 1960s, by using multi-source remote sensing images including the DISP images and the modern optical satellite images. The DISP images scanned from negatives were first interior-oriented with the associated parameters, and then bundle block adjustment technology was employed based on the tie points and control points, to derive the mosaic image of the research region. Experimental results of coastlines generated

  15. Climatological aspects of mesoscale cyclogenesis over the Ross Sea and Ross Ice shelf regions of Antarctica

    SciTech Connect

    Carrasco, J.F.; Bromwich, D.H.

    1994-11-01

    A one-year (1988) statistical study of mesoscale cyclogenesis near Terra Nova Bay and Byrd Glacier, Antarctica, was conducted using high-resolution digital satellite imagery and automatic weather station data. Results indicate that on average two (one) mesoscale cyclones form near Terra Nova Bay (Byrd Glacier) each week, confirming these two locations as mesoscale cyclogeneis areas. The maximum (minimum) weekly frequency of mesoscale cyclones occurred during the summer (winter). The satellite survey of mesoscale vortices was extended over the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf. Results suggest southern Marie Byrd Land as another area of mesoscale cyclone formation. Also, frequent mesoscale cyclonic activity was noted over the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf, where, on average, six and three mesoscale vortices were observed each week, respectively, with maximum (minimum) frequency during summer (winter) in both regions. The majority (70-80%) of the vortices were of comma-cloud type and were shallow. Only around 10% of the vortices near Terra Nova Bay and Byrd Glacier were classified as deep vortices, while over the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf around 20% were found to be deep. The average large-scale pattern associated with cyclogenesis days near Terra Nova Bay suggests a slight decrease in the sea level pressure and 500-hPa geopotential height to the northwest of this area with respect to the annual average. This may be an indication of the average position of synoptic-scale cyclones entering the Ross Sea region. Comparison with a similar study but for 1984-85 shows that the overall mesoscale cyclogenesis activity was similar during the three years, but 1985 was found to be the year with greater occurrence of {open_quotes}significant{close_quotes} mesoscales cyclones. The large-scale pattern indicates that this greater activity is related to a deeper circumpolar trough and 500-hPa polar vortex for 1985 in comparison to 1984 and 1988. 64 refs., 13 figs., 5 tabs.

  16. An unusual early Holocene diatom event north of the Getz Ice Shelf (Amundsen Sea): Implications for West Antarctic Ice Sheet development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esper, O.; Gersonde, R.; Hillenbrand, C.; Kuhn, G.; Smith, J.

    2011-12-01

    Modern global change affects not only the polar north but also, and to increasing extent, the southern high latitudes, especially the Antarctic regions covered by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Consequently, knowledge of the mechanisms controlling past WAIS dynamics and WAIS behaviour at the last deglaciation is critical to predict its development in a future warming world. Geological and palaeobiological information from major drainage areas of the WAIS, like the Amundsen Sea Embayment, shed light on the history of the WAIS glaciers. Sediment records obtained from a deep inner shelf basin north of Getz Ice Shelf document a deglacial warming in three phases. Above a glacial diamicton and a sediment package barren of microfossils that document sediment deposition by grounded ice and below an ice shelf or perennial sea ice cover (possibly fast ice), respectively, a sediment section with diatom assemblages dominated by sea ice taxa indicates ice shelf retreat and seasonal ice-free conditions. This conclusion is supported by diatom-based summer temperature reconstructions. The early retreat was followed by a phase, when exceptional diatom ooze was deposited around 12,500 cal. years B.P. [1]. Microscopical inspection of this ooze revealed excellent preservation of diatom frustules of the species Corethron pennatum together with vegetative Chaetoceros, thus an assemblage usually not preserved in the sedimentary record. Sediments succeeding this section contain diatom assemblages indicating rather constant Holocene cold water conditions with seasonal sea ice. The deposition of the diatom ooze can be related to changes in hydrographic conditions including strong advection of nutrients. However, sediment focussing in the partly steep inner shelf basins cannot be excluded as a factor enhancing the thickness of the ooze deposits. It is not only the presence of the diatom ooze but also the exceptional preservation and the species composition of the diatom assemblage

  17. Quantifying Ice-sheet/Ice-shelf Dynamics and Variability with Meter-scale DEM and Velocity Timeseries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shean, D. E.; Joughin, I. R.; Smith, B. E.; Moratto, Z. M.; Porter, C.; Morin, P. J.

    2012-12-01

    Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are losing mass at an increasing rate, although loss due to accelerating flow and dynamic thinning remains poorly understood. We are using complementary data from repeat satellite and airborne observations to investigate the relationship between ice-sheet/ice-shelf dynamics and geometry on seasonal to interannual timescales. High-resolution along-track stereo imagery from commercial satellite vendors DigitalGlobe and GeoEye provides unprecedented spatial (~0.5 m/px with ~17 km swath width) and temporal (weekly/monthly) resolution for these efforts. We have developed an automated pipeline using open-source software to produce orthoimage, DEM, and surface velocity products from DigitalGlobe imagery. High-contrast surface texture (e.g. sastrugi, crevasses) visible at sub-meter resolution provides near-perfect image correlation (~99% success rate) during DEM and velocity map derivation. Elevation data from IceBridge ATM/LVIS, ICESat GLAS, and GPS campaigns are used to correct DEMs and perform accuracy assessment. Preliminary tests over exposed bedrock provide relative vertical accuracy estimates of <1-2 m for Worldview-1/2 DEMs. Velocity data from TerraSAR-X and GPS campaigns provide validation for surface velocity products, with horizontal error estimates of <10 m. Velocity and elevation change products with 2-4 m/px spatial resolution allow for unprecedented 3D dynamic characterization of sub-km flow transition zones (e.g. grounding lines, shear margins), capturing both local and regional variations due to melting and dynamic thinning. We present timeseries for West Greenland (Jakobshavn front - 20 observations, Jakobshavn south catchment - 10) and West Antarctica (Pine Island and Thwaites - 5 each) from 2009-2012. These observations complement ongoing efforts to measure and model outlet glacier dynamics, with implications for future ice-sheet mass balance estimates.

  18. Autonomous ocean observations beneath Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutrieux, P.; Jenkins, A.; Jacobs, S.; Heywood, K. J.

    2015-12-01

    Warm circumpolar deep water reaching 3.5ºC above the in situ freezing point pervasively fills a network of glacially carved troughs in the Amundsen sea, West Antarctica, and melts and thins neighbouring ice shelves, including Pine Island glacier Ice Shelf (PIIS). Hydrographic, current, and microstructure observations obtained in austral summer 2009 and 2014 by an autonomous underwater vehicle beneath the PIIS are used here to detail the complex ice-ocean interaction and resulting ocean circulation. The theoretical schematic of deeply incoming warm and saline water melting the grounding line and generating a buoyant plume upwelling along the ice draft is generally consistent with observations. The cavity beneath PIIS is clearly divided in two by a seabed ridge, constraining the oceanic circulation and water masses distribution. On the seaward side of the ridge, a thick warm deep water layer circulates cyclonically and is overlaid by a thin meltwater layer. Only intermediate depth waters are allowed to overflow from the ridge top into the inner cavity, where a much thinner warm water layer is now overlaid by a thicker meltwater layer. At the ice/ocean interface, melt induced freshening is forcing an upwelling which in turn injects cyclonic vorticity and participates in creating a vigorous cyclonic recirculation in the inner cavity. The top of the ridge, where warm waters overflow in the inner cavity, is a dynamical boundary characterized by northward along-ridge currents up to 0.2 m/s and enhanced shear, thermal gradient, and mixing. Observations at two points at the ice interface indicate that the ocean remains stratified within 2 meters of the ice.

  19. Shelf ice glaciation in the Arctic Ocean? New results from northernmost Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kjaer, K.; Moller, P.; Larsen, N. K.

    2007-12-01

    Bounding on the last remaining patch of permanent sea ice and capped by an ice sheet with meltwater sufficient to disrupt the thermohaline circulation, North Greenland is strategically located for contributing to the understanding of the climate system. The coastal plain, which faces the Arctic Ocean, more than 100 km long and 15 km wide, is covered by a continuous blanket of Quaternary sediment that spans at least the period since the last deglaciation c. 9000 years ago, and is capped by an array of glacial and marine landforms. This area therefore contains an unsurpassed source for recording marine and glacial activities along the world's northernmost coast - a source which, owing to its inaccessibility, has largely remained untapped. Preliminary results from the 'LongTerm Project', which ended this summer, show that at least two major glacial events hit the coasts by the end of the last ice age. One of them was possibly a large scale expansion of the Inland Ice resulting in formation of a 100,000 km2 ice shelf in the Arctic Ocean - a type of glaciation, which has usually been thought to be an Antarctic speciality. Even more significantly, abundant accumulations of glacio- fluvial and -lacustrine sediments show that heat transfer to these extreme latitudes by the end of the last ice age was sufficient to allow massive melting of land-based ice. Finally, among the summer's surprises was the discovery of thick piles of raised marine sediments along the coast, allowing a detailed record of sea level history and faunal change, which can be correlated with a terrestrial record from cores, obtained from two lakes on the coastal plain.

  20. Distribution of water masses and meltwater on the continental shelf near the Totten and Moscow University ice shelves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silvano, Alessandro; Rintoul, Stephen R.; Peña-Molino, Beatriz; Williams, Guy D.

    2017-03-01

    Warm waters flood the continental shelf of the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas in West Antarctica, driving rapid basal melt of ice shelves. In contrast, waters on the continental shelf in East Antarctica are cooler and ice shelves experience relatively low rates of basal melt. An exception is provided by the Totten and Moscow University ice shelves on the Sabrina Coast, where satellite-derived basal melt rates are comparable to West Antarctica. Recent oceanographic observations have revealed that relatively warm (˜-0.4°C) modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) enters the cavity beneath the Totten Ice Shelf through a 1100 m deep trough, delivering sufficient heat to drive rapid basal melt. Here we use observations from a recent summer survey to show that mCDW is widespread on the continental shelf of the Sabrina Coast, forming a warm (up to 0.3°C) and saline (34.5-34.6) bottom layer overlaid by cold (˜freezing point) and fresh (salinity ˜34.3) Winter Water. Dense Shelf Water is not observed. A 1000 deep m trough allows water at -1.3°C to reach the Moscow University ice-shelf cavity to drive basal melt. Freshening by addition of glacial meltwater is widespread on the southern shelf at depths above 300-400 m, with maximum meltwater concentrations up to 4-5 ml L-1 observed in outflows from the ice-shelf cavities. Our observations indicate that the ocean properties on the Sabrina Coast more resemble those found on the continental shelf of the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas than those typical of East Antarctica.Plain Language SummaryThe Totten Glacier drains more <span class="hlt">ice</span> from the East Antarctic <span class="hlt">Ice</span> Sheet than any other glacier. The Totten holds a volume of <span class="hlt">ice</span> equivalent to more than 3.5m of global sea level rise, so changes in the glacier could have significant consequences. East Antarctic <span class="hlt">ice</span> shelves, including the Totten, were thought to be largely isolated from warm ocean waters and therefore stable. An Australian</p> </li> </ol> <div class="pull-right"> <ul class="pagination"> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_1");'>«</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_18");'>18</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_19");'>19</a></li> <li class="active"><span>20</span></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_21");'>21</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_22");'>22</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_25");'>»</a></li> </ul> </div> </div><!-- col-sm-12 --> </div><!-- row --> </div><!-- page_20 --> <div id="page_21" class="hiddenDiv"> <div class="row"> <div class="col-sm-12"> <div class="pull-right"> <ul class="pagination"> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_1");'>«</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_19");'>19</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_20");'>20</a></li> <li class="active"><span>21</span></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_22");'>22</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_23");'>23</a></li> <li><a href="#" onclick='return showDiv("page_25");'>»</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="row"> <div class="col-sm-12"> <ol class="result-class" start="401"> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015GeoRL..42.6754L','NASAADS'); return false;" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015GeoRL..42.6754L"><span>Lateral mixing across <span class="hlt">ice</span> meltwater fronts of the Chukchi Sea <span class="hlt">shelf</span></span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html">NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)</a></p> <p>Lu, K.; Weingartner, T.; Danielson, S.; Winsor, P.; Dobbins, E.; Martini, K.; Statscewich, H.</p> <p>2015-08-01</p> <p>Summer and fall hydrographic sections in the northeastern Chukchi Sea frequently capture 5-20 m thick intrapycnocline lenses or horizontal plumes of warm, moderately salty summer Bering Sea Water flowing northward from Bering Strait. These features occur within the shallow (~20 m depth) pycnocline separating cold, dilute, surface meltwater from near-freezing, salty, winter-formed waters beneath the pycnocline. An idealized numerical model suggests that the features arise from eddies and meanders generated by instability of the surface front separating meltwater from Bering Sea Water. Warm Bering Sea Water is transported across the front and into the pycnocline by the cross-frontal velocities associated with the instabilities. The accompanying lateral eddy heat fluxes may be important both in summer for promoting <span class="hlt">ice</span> melt and in fall by delaying the onset of <span class="hlt">ice</span> formation over portions of this <span class="hlt">shelf</span>. Lateral heat flux magnitudes depend upon the stratification of the Bering Sea Water.</p> </li> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1984QuRes..22...18H','NASAADS'); return false;" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1984QuRes..22...18H"><span>A 10,000 yr B.P. extensive <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> over Viscount Melville Sound, Arctic Canada</span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html">NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)</a></p> <p>Hodgson, Douglas A.; Vincent, Jean-Serge</p> <p>1984-07-01</p> <p>Late Wisconsinan age glacial landforms and deposits indicate that an <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> of at least 60,000 km 2 flowed northwestward into Viscount Melville Sound, probably from the M'Clintock Dome of the Laurentide <span class="hlt">Ice</span> Sheet. The <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> overlapped coastal areas and laid Winter Harbour Till up to 125 m above present sea level on the southern coast of Melville Island, to 135 m on Byam Martin Island, to possibly 90 m on the northeast tip of Banks Island, and to 150 m on the north coast of Victoria Island. The contemporary sea level was 50 to 100 m higher than present (it now rises eastward). A maximum age of 10,340 ± 150 yr B.P. for the till, and thus the <span class="hlt">ice-shelf</span> advance, is provided by shells in marine sediments which underlie it, whereas a minimum age of 9880 ± 150 yr B.P. is provided by overlying shells that postdate the <span class="hlt">ice</span> advance. The major advance of <span class="hlt">shelf</span> <span class="hlt">ice</span> into Viscount Melville Sound may be the result of the rapid disintegration of the M'Clintock Dome while the climate ameliorated in the western Arctic.</p> </li> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016AGUOSHE44B1503O','NASAADS'); return false;" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016AGUOSHE44B1503O"><span>Long-term variations in the mass and heat transport in the oceanic regime of the Filchner-Ronne <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span>, Antarctica</span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html">NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)</a></p> <p>Østerhus, S.</p> <p>2016-02-01</p> <p>Long term observations of the flow of dense waters from their area of formation to the abyss of the World Ocean, and the return flow of warm waters, are central to climate research. For the Weddell Sea, an important component of such a system is the formation of High Salinity <span class="hlt">Shelf</span> Water (HSSW) on the continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span> north of Ronne <span class="hlt">Ice</span> Front, the transformation to <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span> Water (ISW) by basal melting of the Filchner-Ronne <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span>, and the transport of ISW overflowing the <span class="hlt">shelf</span> break to the deep ocean. While basal melt-rates are currently low, studies have suggested that they have the potential to increase dramatically in a future, warmer world, although the underlying processes are subject to large uncertainty. We operate a number of long-term monitoring stations in the oceanic regime of Filchner-Ronne <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span>. We have yearlong oceanographic time series from the area back to 1968. In 1977 we establish the S2 observatory on the Filchner sill, today the longest existing oceanographic time serie from Antarctica. In 1999 we established Site 5 on Ronne <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span> where access to the 402 m water column was gained through the overlying 763-m thick <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> using a hot-water drill. In the 2014/15 austral summer, we reoccupied Site 5 and deployed three instrumented moorings for long term monitoring of the oceanic mass and heat transport beneath Ronne <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span>. In addition, we deployed three radars at the snow surface to monitor the melting/freezing rate at the <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> base. Results from the 1968-2015 time series show the sensitivity of the sub-<span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> circulation to changes in conditions over the continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span> and the sea <span class="hlt">ice</span> concentration in the Weddell Sea.</p> </li> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012EGUGA..1412573A','NASAADS'); return false;" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012EGUGA..1412573A"><span>Northern Hemisphere millennial-scale <span class="hlt">ice</span> discharges as a response to oceanic forcing simulated with a hybrid <span class="hlt">ice-sheet/ice-shelf</span> model</span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html">NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)</a></p> <p>Alvarez-Solas, J.; Montoya, M.; Robinson, A. J.; Banderas-Carreño, R.; Ritz, C.; Ganopolski, A.</p> <p>2012-04-01</p> <p> formation takes place (Nordic and Labrador Seas). We show that subsurface warming is a crucial mechanism to destabilize the Labrador Sea <span class="hlt">ice</span> shelves favoring the acceleration of the Laurentide <span class="hlt">ice</span> streams. Iceberg production is then enhanced during stadial periods. However, this pattern is not monotonically present through all DO events: the combination of both a characteristic <span class="hlt">ice-shelf</span> break-up and re-developing time larger than the DO forcing period and the fact that <span class="hlt">ice</span>-streams need to flow extremely fast to create major calving rates explains the different magnitude of iceberg discharge during different stadial periods. Finally, when applying a time-evolving basal melt rate of the Labrador <span class="hlt">ice</span> <span class="hlt">shelf</span> calibrated (in anti-phase) against the GRIP curve, the <span class="hlt">ice</span> sheet models produces <span class="hlt">ice</span> discharges that compare well with <span class="hlt">ice</span> rafted debris records. These results suggest that oceanic forcing can be considered as a sufficient condition for triggering the observed millennial-scale <span class="hlt">ice</span> discharges, including Heinrich events.</p> </li> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016JGRA..12110157G','NASAADS'); return false;" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016JGRA..12110157G"><span>Resonance vibrations of the Ross <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span> and observations of persistent atmospheric waves</span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html">NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)</a></p> <p>Godin, Oleg A.; Zabotin, Nikolay A.</p> <p>2016-10-01</p> <p>Recently reported lidar observations have revealed a persistent wave activity in the Antarctic middle and upper atmosphere that has no counterpart in observations at midlatitude and low-latitude locations. The unusual wave activity suggests a geographically specific source of atmospheric waves with periods of 3-10 h. Here we investigate theoretically the hypothesis that the unusual atmospheric wave activity in Antarctica is generated by the fundamental and low-order modes of vibrations of the Ross <span class="hlt">Ice</span> <span class="hlt">Shelf</span> (RIS). Simple models are developed to describe basic physical properties of resonant vibrations of large <span class="hlt">ice</span> shelves and their coupling to the atmosphere. Dispersion relation of the long surface waves, which propagate in the floating <span class="hlt">ice</span> sheet and are responsible for its low-order resonances, is found to be similar to the dispersion relation of infragravity waves in the <span class="hlt">ice</span>-free ocean. The phase speed of the surface waves and the resonant frequencies determine the periods and wave vectors of atmospheric waves that are generated by the RIS resonant oscillations. The altitude-dependent vertical wavelengths and the periods of the acoustic-gravity waves in the atmosphere are shown to be sensitive to the physical parameters of the RIS, which can be difficult to measure by other means. Predicted properties of the atmospheric waves prove to be in a remarkable agreement with the key features of the observed persistent wave activity.</p> </li> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70044028','USGSPUBS'); return false;" href="http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70044028"><span>Minimum distribution of subsea <span class="hlt">ice</span>-bearing permafrost on the US Beaufort Sea continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span></span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/pubs/index.jsp?view=adv">USGS Publications Warehouse</a></p> <p>Brothers, Laura L.; Hart, Patrick E.; Ruppel, Carolyn D.</p> <p>2012-01-01</p> <p>Starting in Late Pleistocene time (~19 ka), sea level rise inundated coastal zones worldwide. On some parts of the present-day circum-Arctic continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span>, this led to flooding and thawing of formerly subaerial permafrost and probable dissociation of associated gas hydrates. Relict permafrost has never been systematically mapped along the 700-km-long U.S. Beaufort Sea continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span> and is often assumed to extend to ~120 m water depth, the approximate amount of sea level rise since the Late Pleistocene. Here, 5,000 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data acquired between 1977 and 1992 were examined for high-velocity (>2.3 km s−1) refractions consistent with <span class="hlt">ice</span>-bearing, coarse-grained sediments. Permafrost refractions were identified along <5% of the tracklines at depths of ~5 to 470 m below the seafloor. The resulting map reveals the minimum extent of subsea <span class="hlt">ice</span>-bearing permafrost, which does not extend seaward of 30 km offshore or beyond the 20 m isobath.</p> </li> <li> <p><a target="_blank" onclick="trackOutboundLink('http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015EGUGA..17.3729O','NASAADS'); return false;" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2015EGUGA..17.3729O"><span>Marine geological and geophysical records of the last British-Irish <span class="hlt">Ice</span> Sheet on the continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span> west of Ireland</span></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html">NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)</a></p> <p>O'Cofaigh, Colm; Callard, S. Louise; Benetti, Sara; Chiverell, Richard C.; Saher, Margot; van Landeghem, Katrien; Livingstone, Stephen J.; Scourse, James; Clark, Chris D.</p> <p>2015-04-01</p> <p>The record of glaciation on the continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span> west of Ireland has, until recently, been relatively poorly studied. The UK NERC funded project BRITICE-CHRONO collected marine geophysical data in the form of multibeam swath bathymetry and sub-bottom profiles supplemented by over 50 vibro- and piston cores across the continental <span class="hlt">shelf</span> west of Ireland during cruise JC106 of the RRS James Cook in 2014. Across the western Irish <span class="hlt">shelf</span>, offshore of counties Galway and Clare, a series of large arcuate moraines record the former presence of a grounded <span class="hlt">ice</span> sheet on the <span class="hlt">shelf</span>. However, geophysical data from further to the west across the Porcupine Bank show a series of ridges and wedge-shaped sedimentary features whose form is consistent with an origin as moraines and/or grounding-zone wedges. Sediment cores from several of these landforms recovered stiff, massive diamictons containing reworked shells that are interpreted as subglacial tills. Cores from the eastern Porcupine Bank recovered laminated muds with cold-water glacimarine foraminifera, in some cases overlying till. Collectively the geophysical and sedimentary data imply the presence of grounded <span class="hlt">ice</span> across the northern Porcupine Bank