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Sample records for hydrological ice sheet

  1. Ice sheet hydrology - a review

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jansson, Peter; Naeslund, Jens-Ove [Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm Univ., Stockholm (Sweden); Rodhe, Lars [Geological Survey of Sweden, Uppsala (Sweden)

    2007-03-15

    This report summarizes the theoretical knowledge on water flow in and beneath glaciers and ice sheets and how these theories are applied in models to simulate the hydrology of ice sheets. The purpose is to present the state of knowledge and, perhaps more importantly, identify the gaps in our understanding of ice sheet hydrology. Many general concepts in hydrology and hydraulics are applicable to water flow in glaciers. However, the unique situation of having the liquid phase flowing in conduits of the solid phase of the same material, water, is not a commonly occurring phenomena. This situation means that the heat exchange between the phases and the resulting phase changes also have to be accounted for in the analysis. The fact that the solidus in the pressure-temperature dependent phase diagram of water has a negative slope provides further complications. Ice can thus melt or freeze from both temperature and pressure variations or variations in both. In order to provide details of the current understanding of water flow in conjunction with deforming ice and to provide understanding for the development of ideas and models, emphasis has been put on the mathematical treatments, which are reproduced in detail. Qualitative results corroborating theory or, perhaps more often, questioning the simplifications made in theory, are also given. The overarching problem with our knowledge of glacier hydrology is the gap between the local theories of processes and the general flow of water in glaciers and ice sheets. Water is often channelized in non-stationary conduits through the ice, features which due to their minute size relative to the size of glaciers and ice sheets are difficult to incorporate in spatially larger models. Since the dynamic response of ice sheets to global warming is becoming a key issue in, e.g. sea-level change studies, the problems of the coupling between the hydrology of an ice sheet and its dynamics is steadily gaining interest. New work is emerging

  2. Ice sheet hydrology from observations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jansson, Peter (Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm Univ-, Stockholm (Sweden))

    2010-11-15

    The hydrological systems of ice sheets are complex. Our view of the system is split, largely due to the complexity of observing the systems. Our basic knowledge of processes have been obtained from smaller glaciers and although applicable in general to the larger scales of the ice sheets, ice sheets contain features not observable on smaller glaciers due to their size. The generation of water on the ice sheet surface is well understood and can be satisfactorily modeled. The routing of water from the surface down through the ice is not complicated in terms of procat has been problematic is the way in which the couplings between surface and bed has been accomplished through a kilometer of cold ice, but with the studies on crack propagation and lake drainage on Greenland we are beginning to understand also this process and we know water can be routed through thick cold ice. Water generation at the bed is also well understood but the main problem preventing realistic estimates of water generation is lack of detailed information about geothermal heat fluxes and their geographical distribution beneath the ice. Although some average value for geothermal heat flux may suffice, for many purposes it is important that such values are not applied to sub-regions of significantly higher fluxes. Water generated by geothermal heat constitutes a constant supply and will likely maintain a steady system beneath the ice sheet. Such a system may include subglacial lakes as steady features and reconfiguration of the system is tied to time scales on which the ice sheet geometry changes so as to change pressure gradients in the basal system itself. Large scale re-organization of subglacial drainage systems have been observed beneath ice streams. The stability of an entirely subglacially fed drainage system may hence be perturbed by rapid ice flow. In the case of Antarctic ice streams where such behavior has been observed, the ice streams are underlain by deformable sediments. It is

  3. Surface water hydrology and the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, L. C.; Yang, K.; Pitcher, L. H.; Overstreet, B. T.; Chu, V. W.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Cooper, M. G.; Gleason, C. J.; Ryan, J.; Hubbard, A.; Tedesco, M.; Behar, A.

    2016-12-01

    Mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet now exceeds 260 Gt/year, raising global sea level by >0.7 mm annually. Approximately two-thirds of this total mass loss is now driven by negative ice sheet surface mass balance (SMB), attributed mainly to production and runoff of meltwater from the ice sheet surface. This new dominance of runoff as a driver of GrIS total mass loss will likely persist owing to anticipated further increases in surface melting, reduced meltwater storage in firn, and the waning importance of dynamical mass losses (ice calving) as the ice sheets retreat from their marine-terminating margins. It also creates the need and opportunity for integrative research pairing traditional surface water hydrology approaches with glaciology. As one example, we present a way to measure supraglacial "runoff" (i.e. specific discharge) at the supraglacial catchment scale ( 101-102 km2), using in situ measurements of supraglacial river discharge and high-resolution satellite/drone mapping of upstream catchment area. This approach, which is standard in terrestrial hydrology but novel for ice sheet science, enables independent verification and improvement of modeled SMB runoff estimates used to project sea level rise. Furthermore, because current SMB models do not consider the role of fluvial watershed processes operating on the ice surface, inclusion of even a simple surface routing model materially improves simulations of runoff delivered to moulins, the critical pathways for meltwater entry into the ice sheet. Incorporating principles of surface water hydrology and fluvial geomorphology and into glaciological models will thus aid estimates of Greenland meltwater runoff to the global ocean as well as connections to subglacial hydrology and ice sheet dynamics.

  4. Hydrologic dynamics of the Greenland Ice Sheet from remote sensing and field measurements

    OpenAIRE

    Chu, Vena

    2015-01-01

    The current need for forecasting Greenland Ice Sheet contributions to global sea level rise is complicated by the lack of understanding of ice sheet hydrology. The proportion of meltwater contributing to sea level rise, as well as the pathways transporting meltwater on, through, and out of the ice sheet, are not well understood. Remote sensing of hydrologic dynamics in combination with small-scale fieldwork allows examination of broad spatial and temporal trends in the Greenland hydrologic sy...

  5. What terrestrial glacial meltwater streams reveal about Greenland ice sheet hydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rennermalm, A. K.; Hammann, A. C.; Moustafa, S.; Smith, L. C.; Pitcher, L. H.; Gleason, C. J.; Chu, V. W.; Yang, K.; Tedesco, M.; van As, D.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding of Greenland ice sheet hydrology can be advanced by better monitoring the discharge of terrestrial glacial meltwater streams. This is demonstrated with an ice sheet watershed study using a unique eight-year long record of pro-glacial discharge data from the Akuliarusiarsuup Kuua River in Southwest Greenland, as well as remote sensing of supraglacial hydrological features, and modeling of watershed runoff. We find strong interannual variability, extreme events, changing meltwater travel time through the melting season, and release of meltwater outside the regular melting season. This reveals that the ice sheet has a complex hydrological system that varies from year to year in response to external forcing and the development of hydrological pathways within and on the surface of the ice sheet.

  6. Mapping of a Hydrological Ice Sheet Drainage Basin on the West Greenland Ice Sheet Margin from ERS-1/2 SAR Interferometry, Ice-Radar Measurement, and Modelling

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.; Bøggild, C.E.; Stenseng, L.

    2002-01-01

    The hydrological ice-sheet basin draining into the Tasersiaq lake, West Greenland (66°13'N, 50°30'W), was delineated, First using standard digital elevation models (DEMs) for ice-sheet surface and bedrock, and subsequently using a new high-resolution dataset, with a surface DEM derived from repeat...... importance of the potential of the ice overburden pressure compared to the bedrock topography. The meltwater run-off for the basin delineations was modelled with an energy-balance model calibrated with observed ice-sheet ablation and compared to a 25 year time series of measured basin run-off. The standard...

  7. A balanced water layer concept for subglacial hydrology in large-scale ice sheet models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Goeller

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available There is currently no doubt about the existence of a widespread hydrological network under the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which lubricates the ice base and thus leads to increased ice velocities. Consequently, ice models should incorporate basal hydrology to obtain meaningful results for future ice dynamics and their contribution to global sea level rise. Here, we introduce the balanced water layer concept, covering two prominent subglacial hydrological features for ice sheet modeling on a continental scale: the evolution of subglacial lakes and balance water fluxes. We couple it to the thermomechanical ice-flow model RIMBAY and apply it to a synthetic model domain. In our experiments we demonstrate the dynamic generation of subglacial lakes and their impact on the velocity field of the overlaying ice sheet, resulting in a negative ice mass balance. Furthermore, we introduce an elementary parametrization of the water flux–basal sliding coupling and reveal the predominance of the ice loss through the resulting ice streams against the stabilizing influence of less hydrologically active areas. We point out that established balance flux schemes quantify these effects only partially as their ability to store subglacial water is lacking.

  8. A balanced water layer concept for subglacial hydrology in large scale ice sheet models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goeller, S.; Thoma, M.; Grosfeld, K.; Miller, H.

    2012-12-01

    There is currently no doubt about the existence of a wide-spread hydrological network under the Antarctic ice sheet, which lubricates the ice base and thus leads to increased ice velocities. Consequently, ice models should incorporate basal hydrology to obtain meaningful results for future ice dynamics and their contribution to global sea level rise. Here, we introduce the balanced water layer concept, covering two prominent subglacial hydrological features for ice sheet modeling on a continental scale: the evolution of subglacial lakes and balance water fluxes. We couple it to the thermomechanical ice-flow model RIMBAY and apply it to a synthetic model domain inspired by the Gamburtsev Mountains, Antarctica. In our experiments we demonstrate the dynamic generation of subglacial lakes and their impact on the velocity field of the overlaying ice sheet, resulting in a negative ice mass balance. Furthermore, we introduce an elementary parametrization of the water flux-basal sliding coupling and reveal the predominance of the ice loss through the resulting ice streams against the stabilizing influence of less hydrologically active areas. We point out, that established balance flux schemes quantify these effects only partially as their ability to store subglacial water is lacking.

  9. Towards a morphogenetic classification of eskers: Implications for modelling ice sheet hydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perkins, Andrew J.; Brennand, Tracy A.; Burke, Matthew J.

    2016-02-01

    Validations of paleo-ice sheet hydrological models have used esker spacing as a proxy for ice tunnel density. Changes in crest type (cross-sectional shape) along esker ridges have typically been attributed to the effect of changing subglacial topography on hydro- and ice-dynamics and hence subglacial ice-tunnel shape. These claims assume that all eskers formed in subglacial ice tunnels and that all major subglacial ice tunnels produced a remnant esker. We identify differences in geomorphic context, sinuosity, cross-sectional shape, and sedimentary architecture by analysing eskers formed at or near the margins of the last Cordilleran Ice Sheet on British Columbia's southern Fraser Plateau, and propose a morphogenetic esker classification. Three morphogenetic types and 2 subtypes of eskers are classified based on differences in geomorphic context, ridge length, sinuosity, cross-sectional shape and sedimentary architecture using geophysical techniques and sedimentary exposures; they largely record seasonal meltwater flows and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) through sub-, en- and supraglacial meltwater channels and ice-walled canyons. General principles extracted from these interpretations are: 1) esker ridge crest type and sinuosity strongly reflect meltwater channel type. Eskers formed in subglacial conduits are likely to be round-crested with low sinuosity (except where controlled by ice structure or modified by surging) and contain faults associated with flank collapse. Eskers formed near or at the ice surface are more likely to be sharp-crested, highly sinuous, and contain numerous faults both under ridge crest-lines and in areas of flank collapse. 2) Esker ridges containing numerous flat-crested reaches formed directly on the land-surface in ice-walled canyons (unroofed ice tunnels) or in ice tunnels at atmospheric pressure, and therefore likely record thin or dead ice. 3) Eskers containing macroforms exhibiting headward and downflow growth likely record

  10. Initial Steps Toward a Hydrologic "Watershed" Model for the Ablation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, M. G.; Smith, L. C.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Pitcher, L. H.; Overstreet, B. T.; Chu, V. W.; Ryan, J.; Yang, K.

    2015-12-01

    Surface meltwater production on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is a well-documented phenomenon but we lack understanding of the physical mechanisms that control the production, transport, and fate of the meltwater. To address this, we present initial steps toward the development of a novel hydrologic model for supraglacial streamflow on the GrIS. Ice ablation and surface meteorology were measured during a 6-day field campaign in a 112 km2 ablation zone of southwest Greenland. We modeled ablation using SnowModel, an energy balance snow- and ice-ablation model. The required model inputs included standard surface meteorology and a digital elevation model (DEM), and the model outputs include all components of the energy balance and surface meltwater production for each grid cell in the ice-sheet watershed. Our next steps toward developing a complete hydrologic model for supraglacial streamflow in the ablation zone of the GrIS include the application of the meltwater-routing model HydroFlow to compare with in-situ measurements of supraglacial river discharge.

  11. Excess heat in the Greenland Ice Sheet: dissipation, temperate paleo-firn and cryo-hydrologic warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. P. Lüthi

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Ice temperature profiles from the Greenland Ice Sheet contain information on the deformation history, past climates and recent warming. We present full-depth temperature profiles from two drill sites on a flowline passing through Swiss Camp, West Greenland. Numerical modeling reveals that ice temperatures are considerably higher than would be expected from heat diffusion and dissipation alone. The possible causes for this excess heat are evaluated using a Lagrangian heat flow model. The model results reveal that the observations can be explained with a combination of different processes: enhanced dissipation (strain heating in ice-age ice, temperate paleo-firn, and cryo-hydrologic warming in deep crevasses.

  12. Excess heat in the Greenland Ice Sheet: dissipation, temperate paleo-firn and cryo-hydrologic warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lüthi, M. P.; Ryser, C.; Andrews, L. C.; Catania, G. A.; Funk, M.; Hawley, R. L.; Hoffman, M. J.; Neumann, T. A.

    2014-10-01

    Ice temperature profiles from the Greenland Ice Sheet contain information on the deformation history, past climates and recent warming. We present full-depth temperature profiles from two drill sites on a flowline passing through Swiss Camp, West Greenland. Numerical modeling reveals that ice temperatures are considerably higher than would be expected from heat diffusion and dissipation alone. The possible causes for this excess heat are evaluated using a Lagrangian heat flow model. The model results reveal that the observations can be explained with a combination of different processes: enhanced dissipation (strain heating) in ice-age ice, temperate paleo-firn, and cryo-hydrologic warming in deep crevasses.

  13. Heat sources within the Greenland Ice Sheet: dissipation, temperate paleo-firn and cryo-hydrologic warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lüthi, M. P.; Ryser, C.; Andrews, L. C.; Catania, G. A.; Funk, M.; Hawley, R. L.; Hoffman, M. J.; Neumann, T. A.

    2015-02-01

    Ice temperature profiles from the Greenland Ice Sheet contain information on the deformation history, past climates and recent warming. We present full-depth temperature profiles from two drill sites on a flow line passing through Swiss Camp, West Greenland. Numerical modeling reveals that ice temperatures are considerably higher than would be expected from heat diffusion and dissipation alone. The possible causes for this extra heat are evaluated using a Lagrangian heat flow model. The model results reveal that the observations can be explained with a combination of different processes: enhanced dissipation (strain heating) in ice-age ice, temperate paleo-firn, and cryo-hydrologic warming in deep crevasses.

  14. Internally drained catchments dominate supraglacial hydrology of the southwest Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Kang; Smith, Laurence C.

    2016-10-01

    Internally drained catchments (IDCs) are hydrologic units on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface that collect and drain meltwater through supraglacial stream/river networks to terminal moulins or lakes. Their areas and shapes constrain the volumes and locations of supraglacial meltwater penetration into the ice. We map IDCs of the southwest GrIS by using Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager panchromatic imagery and a moderate-resolution digital elevation model (DEM). In total 919 IDCs are mapped between 400 m and 2000 m above sea level, together with their associated supraglacial river networks (total length of 21,129 km), supraglacial lakes (436), and terminal moulins (872). A complex yet broadly predictable surface drainage pattern is revealed, with both IDC areas (AIDC, averaging 17.0 ± 22.8 km2, range of 0.4-244.9 km2) and the optimal DEM depression-filling threshold (Adep, varying from 0.2 to 1.0 km2) generally increasing with ice surface elevation H. Historical air photos suggest possible transferability of the first relationship over space and time. Intersection of IDC boundaries with Modèle Atmosphérique Régional regional climate model runoff simulations shows >50% of runoff modeled for elevations >1600 m is not transported downstream to lower elevations, but instead drains to a small number (51 out of 872) of terminal moulins, indicating modest but nontrivial penetration of surface meltwater at high elevations. In sum, IDCs provide a new, fine-scale hydrologic unit for study of GrIS surface hydrologic processes.

  15. Regional sea level variability from ice sheets, glaciers and land hydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velicogna, I.; Hsu, C. W.

    2014-12-01

    Closing the sea level budget is a most important scientific and societal issue of climate change. Here, we report on the status of ice sheets and glaciers mass balance throughout the world and their contribution to sea level rise using time series of time-variable gravity from the NASA/DLR GRACE satellite mission for the time period 2003-2014. We also evaluate static regional sea level variations (or sea level fingerprints, SLF) from these observations of ice sheet and glacier loss, combined with observations of changes in global land hydrology also from GRACE, and water input from the atmosphere from re-analysis data. We evaluate the relative contribution of each component to regional sea level. We compare the cumulative SLF signal at global scale and at the scale of large ocean basins with satellite altimetry data corrected for the steric component from Argo floats. We find an excellent agreement between the two datasets. Although the regional SLF do not include sea level variations from ocean dynamics that re-distributes water mass around the world's oceans at the analyzed scales, we find that the SLF represent a large fraction of the trend and annual amplitude of the sea level signal. We also show an analysis of the contributions of regional sea level from mass changes in Greenland and Antarctica going back to the 1970s. This work was conducted at the University of California Irvine and at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  16. Ice Sheets & Ice Cores

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mikkelsen, Troels Bøgeholm

    Since the discovery of the Ice Ages it has been evident that Earth’s climate is liable to undergo dramatic changes. The previous climatic period known as the Last Glacial saw large oscillations in the extent of ice sheets covering the Northern hemisphere. Understanding these oscillations known...... as Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) events would add to our knowledge of the climatic system and – hopefully – enable better forecasts. Likewise, to forecast possible future sea level rise it is crucial to correctly model the large ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica. This project is divided into two parts...

  17. Hydrologic controls on coastal suspended sediment plumes around the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. W. Chu

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Rising sea levels and increased surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet have heightened the need for direct observations of meltwater release from the ice edge to ocean. Buoyant sediment plumes that develop in fjords downstream of outlet glaciers are controlled by numerous factors, including meltwater runoff. Here, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS satellite imagery is used to average surface suspended sediment concentration (SSC in fjords around ∼80% of Greenland from 2000–2009. Spatial and temporal patterns in SSC are compared with positive-degree-days (PDD, a proxy for surface melting, from the Polar MM5 regional climate model. Over this decade significant geographic covariance occurred between ice sheet PDD and fjord SSC, with outlet type (land- vs. marine-terminating glaciers also important. In general, high SSC is associated with high PDD and/or a high proportion of land-terminating glaciers. Unlike previous site-specific studies of the Watson River plume at Kangerlussuaq, temporal covariance is low, suggesting that plume dimensions best capture interannual runoff dynamics whereas SSC allows assessment of meltwater signals across much broader fjord environments around the ice sheet. Remote sensing of both plume characteristics thus offers a viable approach for observing spatial and temporal patterns of meltwater release from the Greenland ice sheet to the global ocean.

  18. Greenland ice sheet hydrology: insights from an isotope mixing model during the 2011 and 2012 melt seasons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linhoff, B.; Charette, M. A.; Butler, C. E.; Tedstone, A.; Cowton, T.; Sole, A. J.; Nienow, P. W.; Wadham, J. L.

    2012-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is the Northern Hemisphere's largest terrestrial permanent ice mass. Each summer, subglacial drainage systems are altered by sustained inputs of meltwater from the ice sheet surface (Bartholomew et al., 2010). Prior to the development of an efficient subglacial channel system, constrained and inefficient meltwater flow paths at the glacier-bed interface cause hydrological forcing that results in the fastest annual rates of acceleration. However, most land terminating glaciers in Greenland slow down appreciably after the development of an efficient subglacial hydrological system. We used naturally-occurring radioactive and stable isotopes (7Be, 222Rn, 18O, D) as passive flow tracers to construct a high-resolution time series model of meltwater sourced from recent surface snow, glacial ice and delayed-flow basal meltwater during 2011 and 2012. Our field site is Leverett Glacier, a large outlet glacier (600 km2) on the western Greenland margin that discharges through a single, large proglacial river. Our isotope mixing model is complemented by concurrent stream discharge measurements that constrain the magnitude, timing, and routing of meltwater discharge. Furthermore, global positioning systems (GPS) were deployed within the catchment area to continuously measure changes in ice velocity. Our model results show diurnal changes in each meltwater component. Furthermore, we observe episodic outburst events of delayed-flow basal meltwater, snowmelt, and ice melt. The volume of delayed-flow basal meltwater co-varies with ice velocity during both diurnal cycles and episodic speed up and uplift events. For example in July 2011, a large ice uplift and acceleration event was preceded by a decrease in delayed-flow basal meltwater, followed by ice acceleration and a release of an abnormally large volume of delayed-flow basal meltwater. Similar analyses will be presented for the 2012 melt season, which included extreme ice melting conditions in July

  19. Evolution of the subglacial hydrologic system beneath the rapidly decaying Cordilleran Ice Sheet caused by ice-dammed lake drainage: implications for meltwater-induced ice acceleration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, Matthew J.; Brennand, Tracy A.; Perkins, Andrew J.

    2012-09-01

    A positive correlation between ice-dammed lake drainage and ice acceleration at Antarctic Ice Sheets (AIS) and land-terminating sections of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has been implicated in enhanced ice sheet decay. However, the paucity of direct measurements at the ice sheet bed restricts our understanding of subglacial drainage system evolution in response to transient water inputs. We present evidence that two meltwater corridors on the former bed of the thin (˜600 m at Last Glacial Maximum over the interior Plateaus of British Columbia) and rapidly decaying Cordilleran Ice Sheet (CIS) were generated subglacially in response to the drainage of an ice-dammed lake and operated as canals (tunnel channels). Geomorphological, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) data reveal a simple event sequence that includes initial propagation of a broad (at least 2.5 km wide) floodwave (inefficient drainage) from an ice-dammed lake, over relatively short (3-24 km) zones at the corridor heads that collapsed into efficient canals (large (up to 0.25-2.5 km wide) channels incised down into the sediment bed and up into the ice) downglacier. Canal formation on the southern Fraser Plateau involved synchronous (along the full canal length) system development, including elements of headward erosion and plunge pool formation. Our data suggest that ice-dammed lake drainage beneath a rapidly decaying thin ice mass that has an efficient antecedent drainage network is not conducive to large-scale ice acceleration. These data may aid better assessment of the role of ice-dammed lake drainage on the dynamics of former, as well as contemporary, ice sheets.

  20. Ice sheet in peril

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hvidberg, Christine Schøtt

    2016-01-01

    Earth's large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are major contributors to sea level change. At present, the Greenland Ice Sheet (see the photo) is losing mass in response to climate warming in Greenland (1), but the present changes also include a long-term response to past climate transitions....... On page 590 of this issue, MacGregor et al. (2) estimate the mean rates of snow accumulation and ice flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 9000 years based on an ice sheet-wide dated radar stratigraphy (3). They show that the present changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet are partly an ongoing...... response to the last deglaciation. The results help to clarify how sensitive the ice sheet is to climate changes....

  1. Ice sheet in peril

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hvidberg, Christine Schøtt

    2016-01-01

    Earth's large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are major contributors to sea level change. At present, the Greenland Ice Sheet (see the photo) is losing mass in response to climate warming in Greenland (1), but the present changes also include a long-term response to past climate transitions....... On page 590 of this issue, MacGregor et al. (2) estimate the mean rates of snow accumulation and ice flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 9000 years based on an ice sheet-wide dated radar stratigraphy (3). They show that the present changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet are partly an ongoing...... response to the last deglaciation. The results help to clarify how sensitive the ice sheet is to climate changes....

  2. The Annual Glaciohydrology Cycle in the Ablation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Part 1. Hydrology Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colgan, William; Rajaram, Harihar; Anderson, Robert; Steffen. Konrad; Phillips, Thomas; Zwally, H. Jay; Abdalati, Waleed

    2012-01-01

    We apply a novel one-dimensional glacier hydrology model that calculates hydraulic head to the tidewater-terminating Sermeq Avannarleq flowline of the Greenland ice sheet. Within a plausible parameter space, the model achieves a quasi-steady-state annual cycle in which hydraulic head oscillates close to flotation throughout the ablation zone. Flotation is briefly achieved during the summer melt season along a approx.17 km stretch of the approx.50 km of flowline within the ablation zone. Beneath the majority of the flowline, subglacial conduit storage closes (i.e. obtains minimum radius) during the winter and opens (i.e. obtains maximum radius) during the summer. Along certain stretches of the flowline, the model predicts that subglacial conduit storage remains open throughout the year. A calculated mean glacier water residence time of approx.2.2 years implies that significant amounts of water are stored in the glacier throughout the year. We interpret this residence time as being indicative of the timescale over which the glacier hydrologic system is capable of adjusting to external surface meltwater forcings. Based on in situ ice velocity observations, we suggest that the summer speed-up event generally corresponds to conditions of increasing hydraulic head during inefficient subglacial drainage. Conversely, the slowdown during fall generally corresponds to conditions of decreasing hydraulic head during efficient subglacial drainage.

  3. The Physics of Ice Sheets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bassis, J. N.

    2008-01-01

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

  4. Modelling the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Jens Olaf Pepke; Holm, A.

    2015-01-01

    The Antarctic ice sheet is a major player in the Earth’s climate system and is by far the largest depository of fresh water on the planet. Ice stored in the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) contains enough water to raise sea level by about 58 m, and ice loss from Antarctica contributed significantly...... Science) Antarctic Ice Sheet (DAIS) model (Shaffer 2014) is forced by reconstructed time series of Antarctic temperature, global sea level and ocean subsurface temperature over the last two glacial cycles. In this talk a modelling work of the Antarctic ice sheet over most of the Cenozoic era using...

  5. Palaeoclimate science: Pulsating ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vieli, Andreas

    2017-02-01

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

  6. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    OpenAIRE

    A. K. Rennermalm; Smith, L.C.; V. W. Chu; J. E. Box; R. R. Forster; van den Broeke, M.

    2012-01-01

    Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with approximately half of these attributed to increased surface meltwater runoff. However, controls on ice sheet water release, and the magnitude of englacial storage, firn densification, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global ocean remain poorly understood. This problem is amplified by scant hydrometerological measurements. Here, ice sheet surface meltwater runof...

  7. Analytical ice-sheet models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    2005-01-01

    To model present-day or palaeo-ice sheets in a realistic way requires numerical methods with high spatial resolution and a comprehensive description of the relevant physical processes. Nevertheless, some basic elements of the interaction between ice sheets and climate can be investigated by simple m

  8. Ice sheets on plastically-yielding beds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewitt, Ian

    2016-11-01

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

  9. Understanding Greenland Ice Sheet Runoff Losses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rennermalm, A. K.; Tedesco, M.; Smith, L. C.; Pitcher, L. H.; Mote, T. L.; Yager, P. L.; Moustafa, S.; Cooper, M. G.; van As, D.; Hasholt, B.; Mikkelsen, A. B.

    2016-12-01

    One of the main ways the ice sheet loses mass is by meltwater runoff. Because of Greenland's great size, regional surface mass balance models are key to understanding large-scale runoff patterns and trends. At the same time, remote sensing and field observations reveal a complex hydrological system on the ice sheet's surface that are not well captured by these models. Yet, understanding the fate and impact of the meltwater on the ocean depends on knowing these temporal and spatial details. Unusually thick, near surface, ice lenses found in firn cores, most likely formed during very large recent melt events signify meltwater refreezing, but may also prevent further infiltration while facilitating runoff. Maps derived from remote sensing show how this runoff flows through an extensive network of supraglacial streams and lakes before it drains into the ice via moulins. Observations of discharge on the ice sheet surface and its margin provide evidence of runoff delays and retention before it is exported to the surrounding oceans. Here, trends and spatial patterns in ice sheet runoff will be examined by using model outputs from the regional surface mass balance model Modèle Atmosphérique Régional and compared with recent remotely sensed and field observations.

  10. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. K. Rennermalm

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with more than half of these attributed to surface meltwater runoff. However, the magnitudes of englacial storage, firn retention, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global ocean remain less understood, partly due to a scarcity of in situ measurements. Here, ice sheet surface meltwater runoff and proglacial river discharge between 2008 and 2010 near Kangerlussuaq, southwestern Greenland were used to establish sub- and englacial meltwater storage for a small ice sheet watershed (36–64 km2. This watershed lacks significant potential meltwater storage in firn, surface lakes on the ice sheet and in the proglacial area, and receives limited proglacial precipitation. Thus, ice sheet surface runoff not accounted for by river discharge can reasonably be attributed to retention in sub- and englacial storage. Evidence for meltwater storage within the ice sheet includes (1 characteristic dampened daily river discharge amplitudes relative to ice sheet runoff; (2 three cold-season river discharge anomalies at times with limited ice sheet surface melt, demonstrating that meltwater may be retained up to 1–6 months; (3 annual ice sheet watershed runoff is not balanced by river discharge, and while near water budget closure is possible as much as 54% of melting season ice sheet runoff may not escape to downstream rivers; (4 even the large meltwater retention estimate (54% is equivalent to less than 1% of the ice sheet volume, which suggests that storage in en- and subglacial cavities and till is plausible. While this study is the first to provide evidence for meltwater retention and delayed release within the Greenland ice sheet, more information is needed to establish how widespread this is along the Greenland ice sheet perimeter.

  11. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. K. Rennermalm

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with approximately half of these attributed to increased surface meltwater runoff. However, controls on ice sheet water release, and the magnitude of englacial storage, firn densification, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global ocean remain poorly understood. This problem is amplified by scant hydrometerological measurements. Here, ice sheet surface meltwater runoff and proglacial river discharge determined between 2008 and 2010 for three sites near Kangerlussuaq, western Greenland were used to establish the water budget for a small ice sheet watershed. The water budget could not be closed in the three years, even when uncertainty ranges were considered. Instead between 12% and 53% of ice sheet surface runoff is retained within the glacier each melt year (time between onset of ice sheet runoff in two consecutive years. Evidence of the ice sheet summer meltwater escaping during the cold-season suggests that the Greenland ice sheet cryo-hydrologic system may remain active year round.

  12. Global dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    2002-01-01

    The total mass budget of the Antarctic ice sheet is studied with a simple axi-symmetrical model. The ice-sheet has a parabolic profile resting on a bed that slopes linearly downwards from the centre of the ice sheet into the ocean. The mean ice velocity at the grounding line is assumed to be proport

  13. Ice flow Modelling of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Lisbeth Tangaa

    simulations of the Greenland ice sheet using ice sheet models offers the possibility of deriving reconstructions of past ice sheet topography, flow and extent, consistent with the dynamics of ice flow and the imposed climate forcing. The large-scale response of the ice sheet modelled by such approaches can...... core derived temperature and precipitation histories have a long history of being used in studies of the past evolution of the Greenland ice sheet, acting as climatic forcing of the ice sheet models. However, the conversion from the isotopic records to past temperatures remain challenging, owing...... to both uncertain processes and depositional histories. Using five different temperature reconstructions derived from isotope records of Greenlandic ice cores, the influence of the paleo records on the simulated ice sheet was investigated using a high-resolution, large-scale ice sheet model (PISM...

  14. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    OpenAIRE

    2013-01-01

    Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with more than half of these attributed to surface meltwater runoff. However, the magnitudes of englacial storage, firn retention, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global ocean remain less understood, partly due to a scarcity of in situ measurements. Here, ice sheet surface meltwater runoff and proglacial river discharge between 2008 and 2010 near ...

  15. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    OpenAIRE

    A. K. Rennermalm; Smith, L.C.; V. W. Chu; J. E. Box; R. R. Forster; Broeke, M. R.; van As, D.; S. E. Moustafa

    2013-01-01

    Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with more than half of these attributed to surface meltwater runoff. However, the magnitudes of englacial storage, firn retention, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global ocean remain less understood, partly due to a scarcity of in situ measurements. Here, ice sheet surface meltwater runoff and proglacial river discharge between 2008 and 2010 near Kangerlussuaq, sou...

  16. Influence of ice-sheet geometry and supraglacial lakes on seasonal ice-flow variability

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Joughin

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Supraglacial lakes play an important role in establishing hydrological connections that allow lubricating seasonal meltwater to reach the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Here we use new surface velocity observations to examine the influence of supraglacial lake drainages and surface melt rate on ice flow. We find large, spatially extensive speedups concurrent with times of lake drainage, showing that lakes play a key role in modulating regional ice flow. While surface meltwater is supplied to the bed via a geographically sparse network of moulins, the observed ice-flow enhancement suggests that this meltwater spreads widely over the ice-sheet bed. We also find that the complex spatial pattern of speedup is strongly determined by the combined influence of bed and surface topography on subglacial water flow. Thus, modeling of ice-sheet basal hydrology likely will require knowledge of bed topography resolved at scales (sub-kilometer far finer than existing data (several km.

  17. ISSM: Ice Sheet System Model

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  18. A technique for generating consistent ice sheet initial conditions for coupled ice-sheet/climate models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. G. Fyke

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available A new technique for generating ice sheet preindustrial 1850 initial conditions for coupled ice-sheet/climate models is developed and demonstrated over the Greenland Ice Sheet using the Community Earth System Model (CESM. Paleoclimate end-member simulations and ice core data are used to derive continuous surface mass balance fields which are used to force a long transient ice sheet model simulation. The procedure accounts for the evolution of climate through the last glacial period and converges to a simulated preindustrial 1850 ice sheet that is geometrically and thermodynamically consistent with the 1850 preindustrial simulated CESM state, yet contains a transient memory of past climate that compares well to observations and independent model studies. This allows future coupled ice-sheet/climate projections of climate change that include ice sheets to integrate the effect of past climate conditions on the state of the Greenland Ice Sheet, while maintaining system-wide continuity between past and future climate simulations.

  19. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rennermalm, A.K.; Smith, L.C.; Chu, V.W.; Box, J.E.; Forster, R.R.; van den Broeke, M.R.; van As, D.; Moustafa, S.E.

    2013-01-01

    Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with more than half of these attributed to surface meltwater runoff. However, the magnitudes of englacial storage, firn retention, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global

  20. Evidence of meltwater retention within the Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rennermalm, A.K.; Smith, L.C.; Chu, V.W.; Box, J.E.; Forster, R.R.; van den Broeke, M.R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643; van As, D.; Moustafa, S.E.

    2013-01-01

    Greenland ice sheet mass losses have increased in recent decades with more than half of these attributed to surface meltwater runoff. However, the magnitudes of englacial storage, firn retention, internal refreezing and other hydrologic processes that delay or reduce true water export to the global

  1. Deglaciation of the Eurasian ice sheet complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patton, Henry; Hubbard, Alun; Andreassen, Karin; Auriac, Amandine; Whitehouse, Pippa L.; Stroeven, Arjen P.; Shackleton, Calvin; Winsborrow, Monica; Heyman, Jakob; Hall, Adrian M.

    2017-08-01

    The Eurasian ice sheet complex (EISC) was the third largest ice mass during the Last Glacial Maximum with a span of over 4500 km and responsible for around 20 m of eustatic sea-level lowering. Whilst recent terrestrial and marine empirical insights have improved understanding of the chronology, pattern and rates of retreat of this vast ice sheet, a concerted attempt to model the deglaciation of the EISC honouring these new constraints is conspicuously lacking. Here, we apply a first-order, thermomechanical ice sheet model, validated against a diverse suite of empirical data, to investigate the retreat of the EISC after 23 ka BP, directly extending the work of Patton et al. (2016) who modelled the build-up to its maximum extent. Retreat of the ice sheet complex was highly asynchronous, reflecting contrasting regional sensitivities to climate forcing, oceanic influence, and internal dynamics. Most rapid retreat was experienced across the Barents Sea sector after 17.8 ka BP when this marine-based ice sheet disintegrated at a rate of ∼670 gigatonnes per year (Gt a-1) through enhanced calving and interior dynamic thinning, driven by oceanic/atmospheric warming and exacerbated by eustatic sea-level rise. From 14.9 to 12.9 ka BP the EISC lost on average 750 Gt a-1, peaking at rates >3000 Gt a-1, roughly equally partitioned between surface melt and dynamic losses, and potentially contributing up to 2.5 m to global sea-level rise during Meltwater Pulse 1A. Independent glacio-isostatic modelling constrained by an extensive inventory of relative sea-level change corroborates our ice sheet loading history of the Barents Sea sector. Subglacial conditions were predominately temperate during deglaciation, with over 6000 subglacial lakes predicted along with an extensive subglacial drainage network. Moreover, the maximum EISC and its isostatic footprint had a profound impact on the proglacial hydrological network, forming the Fleuve Manche mega-catchment which had an area of

  2. The Elementary Marine Ice Sheet Model (EMISM)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pattyn, Frank

    2015-04-01

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

  3. Basal Dynamics and Internal Structure of Ice Sheets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolovick, Michael J.

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

  4. Greenland Radar Ice Sheet Thickness Measurements

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Two 150-MHz coherent radar depth sounders were developed and flown over the Greenland ice sheet to obtain ice thickness measurements in support of PARCA...

  5. Estimating the future ice sheet hydropower potential in Paakitsoq, Ilulissat, West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.; Mottram, R.H.; Nielsen, C.

    2008-01-01

    Meltwater running off the Greenland ice sheet yield significant hydropower potentials in catchments bordering the ice sheet, especially in West and South Greenland. Hydropower has been chosen as the most desired source of energy by the Greenland Home Rule, but recent changes in the Greenland ice...... sheet has emphasized the risk of sudden changes in catchment supply. In this study, we present a thorough investigation of hydropower feasibility at the Paakitsoq basin, near Ilulissat in West Greenland. The catchment is completely dominated by the Greenland ice sheet which provides large quantities...... of meltwater during the summer season. However, geometrical changes in the ice sheet, for example due to a retreat or an advance of the ice sheet margin, could change the hydrological catchment within the ice sheet. Such a change would have a devastating economical impact as a hydropower plant is a significant...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2017-01-01

    We propose a new ice sheet model validation framework - the Cryospheric Model Comparison Tool (CmCt) - that takes advantage of ice sheet altimetry and gravimetry observations collected over the past several decades and is applied here to modeling of the Greenland ice sheet. We use realistic

  7. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Tricht, K.; Lhermitte, S.; Lenaerts, J. T M|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/314850163; Gorodetskaya, I. V.; L'Ecuyer, T. S.; Noël, B.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/370612345; Van Den Broeke, M. R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643; Turner, D. D.; Van Lipzig, N. P M

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative

  8. Balance velocities of the Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Joughin, I.; Fahnestock, M.; Ekholm, Simon;

    1997-01-01

    We present a map of balance velocities for the Greenland ice sheet. The resolution of the underlying DEM, which was derived primarily from radar altimetery data, yields far greater detail than earlier balance velocity estimates for Greenland. The velocity contours reveal in striking detail......, the balance map is useful for ice-sheet modelling, mass balance studies, and field planning....

  9. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Tricht, K.; Lhermitte, S.; Lenaerts, J. T M|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/314850163; Gorodetskaya, I. V.; L'Ecuyer, T. S.; Noël, B.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/370612345; Van Den Broeke, M. R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643; Turner, D. D.; Van Lipzig, N. P M

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative

  10. Dynamics of laterally confined marine ice sheets

    OpenAIRE

    Kowal, Katarzyna N.; Pegler, Samuel S.; Worster, M. Grae

    2016-01-01

    This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Cambridge University Press via http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2016.37 We present an experimental and theoretical study of the dynamics of laterally confined marine ice sheets in the natural limit in which the long, narrow channel into which they flow is wider than the depth of the ice. A marine ice sheet comprises a grounded ice sheet in contact with bedrock that floats away from the bedrock at a ‘grounding line’ t...

  11. Influence of ice-sheet geometry and supraglacial lakes on seasonal ice-flow variability

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Joughin, I.; Das, S. B.; Flowers, G. E.; Behn, M. D.; Alley, R. B.; King, M. A.; Smith, B. E.; Bamber, J. L.; van den Broeke, M. R.; van Angelen, J. H.

    2013-01-01

    Supraglacial lakes play an important role in establishing hydrological connections that allow lubricating seasonal meltwater to reach the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Here we use new surface velocity observations to examine the influence of supraglacial lake drainages and surface melt rate on ic

  12. Influence of ice-sheet geometry and supraglacial lakes on seasonal ice-flow variability

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Joughin, I.; Das, S. B.; Flowers, G. E.; Behn, M. D.; Alley, R. B.; King, M. A.; Smith, B. E.; Bamber, J. L.; van den Broeke, M. R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643; van Angelen, J. H.

    2013-01-01

    Supraglacial lakes play an important role in establishing hydrological connections that allow lubricating seasonal meltwater to reach the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Here we use new surface velocity observations to examine the influence of supraglacial lake drainages and surface melt rate on

  13. Glacial Cycles and ice-sheet modelling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1982-01-01

    An attempt is made to simulate the Pleistocene glacial cycles with a numerical model of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. This model treats the vertically-integrated ice flow along a meridian, including computation of bedrock adjustment and temperature distribution in the ice. Basal melt water is

  14. A model of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1982-01-01

    Numerical modelling of ice sheets and glaciers has become a useful tool in glaciological research. A model described here deals with the vertical mean ice velocity, is time dependent, computes bedrock adjustment and uses an empirical diagnostic relationship to derive the distribution of ice thicknes

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marek eStibal

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Measuring microbial abundance in glacier ice and identifying its controls is essential for a better understanding and quantification of biogeochemical processes in glacial ecosystems. However, cell enumeration of glacier ice samples is challenging due to typically low cell numbers and the presence of interfering mineral particles. We quantified for the first time the abundance of microbial cells in surface ice from geographically distinct sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet, using three enumeration methods: epifluorescence microscopy (EFM, flow cytometry (FCM and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR. In addition, we reviewed published data on microbial abundance in glacier ice and tested the three methods on artificial ice samples of realistic cell (10^2 – 10^7 cells ml-1 and mineral particle (0.1 – 100 mg/ml concentrations, simulating a range of glacial ice types, from clean subsurface ice to surface ice to sediment-laden basal ice. We then used multivariate statistical analysis to identify factors responsible for the variation in microbial abundance on the ice sheet. EFM gave the most accurate and reproducible results of the tested methodologies, and was therefore selected as the most suitable technique for cell enumeration of ice containing dust. Cell numbers in surface ice samples, determined by EFM, ranged from ca 2 x 10^3 to ca 2 x 10^6 cells/ml while dust concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 2 mg/ml. The lowest abundances were found in ice sampled from the accumulation area of the ice sheet and in samples affected by fresh snow; these samples may be considered as a reference point of the cell abundance of precipitants that are deposited on the ice sheet surface. Dust content was the most significant variable to explain the variation in the abundance data, which suggests a direct association between deposited dust particles and cells and/or by their provision of limited nutrients to microbial communities on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  16. Models for polythermal ice sheets and glaciers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewitt, Ian J.; Schoof, Christian

    2017-02-01

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

  17. On sea level - ice sheet interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez, Natalya Alissa

    This thesis focuses on the physics of static sea-level changes following variations in the distribution of grounded ice and the influence of these changes on the stability and dynamics of marine ice sheets. Gravitational, deformational and rotational effects associated with changes in grounded ice mass lead to markedly non-uniform spatial patterns of sea-level change. I outline a revised theory for computing post-glacial sea-level predictions and discuss the dominant physical effects that contribute to the patterns of sea-level change associated with surface loading on different timescales. I show, in particular, that a large sea-level fall (rise) occurs in the vicinity of a retreating (advancing) ice sheet on both short and long timescales. I also present an application of the sea-level theory in which I predict the sea-level changes associated with a new model of North American ice sheet evolution and consider the implications of the results for efforts to establish the sources of Meltwater Pulse 1A. These results demonstrate that viscous deformational effects can influence the amplitude of sea-level changes observed at far-field sea-level sites, even when the time window being considered is relatively short (≤ 500 years). Subsequently, I investigate the feedback of sea-level changes on marine ice-sheet stability and dynamics by coupling a global sea-level model to ice-sheet models of increasing complexity. To begin, I incorporate gravitationally self-consistent sea-level changes into an equilibrium marine ice-sheet stability theory to show that the sea-level changes have a stabilizing influence on ice-sheet retreat. Next, I consider the impact of the stabilizing mechanism on the timescale of ice-sheet retreat using a 1D dynamic coupled ice sheet - sea level model. Simulations with the coupled model, which incorporate viscoelastic deformation of the solid Earth, show that local sea-level changes at the grounding line act to slow, and in some cases, halt

  18. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  19. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-12

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

  20. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

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

  2. Greenland Ice Sheet surface melt:A review

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Kang Yang; ManChun Li

    2014-01-01

    Surface melt has great impacts on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) mass balance and thereby has become the focus of significant GrIS research in recent years. The production, transport, and release processes of surface meltwater are the keys to understanding the poten-tial impacts of the GrIS surface melt. These hydrological processes can elucidate the following scientific questions:How much melt-water is produced atop the GrIS? What are the characteristics of the meltwater-formed supraglacial hydrological system? How does the meltwater influence the GrIS motion? The GrIS supraglacial hydrology has a number of key roles and yet continues to be poorly understood or documented. This paper summarizes the current understanding of the GrIS surface melt, emphasizing the three essential supraglacial hydrological processes:(1) meltwater production:surface melt modeling is an important approach to acquire surface melt information, and areas, depths, and volumes of supraglacial lakes extracted from remotely sensed imagery can also provide surface melt information;(2) meltwater transport:the spatial distributions of supraglacial lakes, supraglacial streams, moulins, and crevasses demonstrate the characteristics of the supraglacial hydrological system, revealing the meltwater transport process;and (3) meltwater release:the release of meltwater into the englacial and the subglacial ice sheet has important but undetermined impacts on the GrIS motion. The correlation between surface runoff and the GrIS motion speed is employed to understand these influences.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  5. Basal drainage system response to increasing surface melt on the Greenland ice sheet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meierbachtol, T; Harper, J; Humphrey, N

    2013-08-16

    Surface meltwater reaching the bed of the Greenland ice sheet imparts a fundamental control on basal motion. Sliding speed depends on ice/bed coupling, dictated by the configuration and pressure of the hydrologic drainage system. In situ observations in a four-site transect containing 23 boreholes drilled to Greenland's bed reveal basal water pressures unfavorable to water-draining conduit development extending inland beneath deep ice. This finding is supported by numerical analysis based on realistic ice sheet geometry. Slow meltback of ice walls limits conduit growth, inhibiting their capacity to transport increased discharge. Key aspects of current conceptual models for Greenland basal hydrology, derived primarily from the study of mountain glaciers, appear to be limited to a portion of the ablation zone near the ice sheet margin.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-24

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

  7. Ice Sheet Thermomety Using Wideband Radiometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jezek, K. C.; Johnson, J.; Durand, M. T.; Aksoy, M.; Tsang, L.; Wang, T.; Tan, S.; Macelloni, G.; Brogioni, M.; Drinkwater, M. R.

    2014-12-01

    There are good correlations between L-band brightness temperature data from the ESA Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission and the thickness and surface temperature of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. These data along with independent, radiative-transfer modeling-studies suggest that it is possible to estimate the internal, physical temperatures of ice sheets to some, perhaps great, depth. Such a measurement is necessary to improve ice sheet models which rely on temperature-dependent deformation rates within the body of the ice sheet. In this paper we review our most recent modeling which now includes the effect of layering in near surface firn. We go on to compare L-band satellite data with modeled brightness temperatures at several sites in Greenland and Antarctica where physical temperature has been measured. We show the brightness temperature response over the band 0.5 to 2 GHz including the influence of basal-water on the low frequency range of this band. We conclude by summarizing our current design of an ultra-wide-band radiometer intended to make ice sheet thermometry measurements. We plan to deploy the airborne instrument in Greenland in two years' time.

  8. Improved ice loss estimate of the northwestern Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjeldsen, K. K.; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Wahr, J.;

    2013-01-01

    We estimate ice volume change rates in the northwest Greenland drainage basin during 2003–2009 using Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser altimeter data. Elevation changes are often reported to be largest near the frontal portion of outlet glaciers. To improve the volume change...... estimate, we supplement the ICESat data with altimeter surveys from NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper from 2002 to 2010 and NASA's Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor from 2010. The Airborne data are mainly concentrated along the ice margin and thus have a significant impact on the estimate of the volume...... change. Our results show that adding Airborne Topographic Mapper and Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor data to the ICESat data increases the catchment-wide estimate of ice volume loss by 11%, mainly due to an improved volume loss estimate along the ice sheet margin. Furthermore, our results show...

  9. Ice sheet systems and sea level change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rignot, E. J.

    2015-12-01

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

  10. A numerical study of cyclic behaviour of polar ice sheets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1983-01-01

    Possible cyclic behaviour of polar ice sheets is studied with a numerical ice-flow model. The model includes a calculation of bedrock adjustment and temperature field in the ice sheet. Basal water is traced and affects ice-mass discharge. Relaxation oscillations occur only for low ice-accumulation r

  11. A numerical study of cyclic behaviour of polar ice sheets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1983-01-01

    Possible cyclic behaviour of polar ice sheets is studied with a numerical ice-flow model. The model includes a calculation of bedrock adjustment and temperature field in the ice sheet. Basal water is traced and affects ice-mass discharge. Relaxation oscillations occur only for low ice-accumulation r

  12. Measuring Ice Sheet Height with ICESat-2

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  13. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2)Wm-2. Co...

  14. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2)Wm-2. Co...

  15. Improved ice loss estimate of the northwestern Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kjeldsen, Kristian K.; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Wahr, John; Korsgaard, Niels J.; KjæR, Kurt H.; BjøRk, Anders A.; Hurkmans, Ruud; Broeke, Michiel R.; Bamber, Jonathan L.; Angelen, Jan H.

    2013-02-01

    We estimate ice volume change rates in the northwest Greenland drainage basin during 2003-2009 using Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser altimeter data. Elevation changes are often reported to be largest near the frontal portion of outlet glaciers. To improve the volume change estimate, we supplement the ICESat data with altimeter surveys from NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper from 2002 to 2010 and NASA's Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor from 2010. The Airborne data are mainly concentrated along the ice margin and thus have a significant impact on the estimate of the volume change. Our results show that adding Airborne Topographic Mapper and Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor data to the ICESat data increases the catchment-wide estimate of ice volume loss by 11%, mainly due to an improved volume loss estimate along the ice sheet margin. Furthermore, our results show a significant acceleration in mass loss at elevations above 1200 m. Both the improved mass loss estimate along the ice sheet margin and the acceleration at higher elevations have implications for predictions of the elastic adjustment of the lithosphere caused by present-day ice mass changes. Our study shows that the use of ICESat data alone to predict elastic uplift rates biases the predicted rates by several millimeters per year at GPS locations along the northwestern coast.

  16. Monitoring ice sheet behavior from space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bindschadler, Robert

    1998-02-01

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

  17. Rewriting Ice Sheet "Glacier-ology"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2006-12-01

    The revolution in glaciology driven by the suite of increasingly sophisticated satellite instruments has been no more extreme than in the area of ice dynamics. Years ago, glaciologists were (probably unwittingly) selective in what properties of mountain glaciers were also applied to ice sheets. This reinforced the view that they responded slowly to their environment. Notions of rapid response driven by the ideas of John Mercer, Bill Budd and Terry Hughes were politely rejected by the centrists of mainstream glaciological thought. How the tables have turned--and by the ice sheets themselves, captured in the act of rapidly changing by modern remote sensors! The saw-toothed record of sea-level change over past glacial-interglacial cycles required the existence of rapid ice loss processes. Satellite based observations, supported by hard-earned field observations have extended the time scale over which ice sheets can suddenly change to ever shorter intervals: from centuries, to decades, to years to even minutes. As changes continue to be observed, the scientific community is forced to consider new or previously ignored processes to explain these observations. The penultimate goal of ice-sheet dynamics is to credibly predict the future of both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this important endeavor, there is no substitute for our ability to observe. Without the extensive data sets provided by remote sensing, numerical models can be neither tested nor improved. The impact of remote sensing on our existing ability to predict the future must be compared to our probable state of knowledge and ability were these data never collected. Among many satellite observed phenomena we would be largely or wholly ignorant of are the recent acceleration of ice throughout much of coastal Greenland; the sudden disintegration of multiple ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula; and the dramatic thinning and acceleration of the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica. These

  18. Amplified melt and flow of the Greenland ice sheet driven by late-summer cyclonic rainfall

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Doyle, Samuel H.; Hubbard, Alun; van de Wal, Roderik S.W.

    2015-01-01

    Intense rainfall events significantly affect Alpine and Alaskan glaciers through enhanced melting, ice-flow acceleration and subglacial sediment erosion, yet their impact on the Greenland ice sheet has not been assessed. Here we present measurements of ice velocity, subglacial water pressure...... and meteorological variables from the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet during a week of warm, wet cyclonic weather in late August and early September 2011. We find that extreme surface runoff from melt and rainfall led to a widespread acceleration in ice flow that extended 140 km into the ice-sheet interior....... We suggest that the late-season timing was critical in promoting rapid runoff across an extensive bare ice surface that overwhelmed a subglacial hydrological system in transition to a less-efficient winter mode. Reanalysis data reveal that similar cyclonic weather conditions prevailed across southern...

  19. Direct observations of evolving subglacial drainage beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrews, Lauren C; Catania, Ginny A; Hoffman, Matthew J; Gulley, Jason D; Lüthi, Martin P; Ryser, Claudia; Hawley, Robert L; Neumann, Thomas A

    2014-10-02

    Seasonal acceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet is influenced by the dynamic response of the subglacial hydrologic system to variability in meltwater delivery to the bed via crevasses and moulins (vertical conduits connecting supraglacial water to the bed of the ice sheet). As the melt season progresses, the subglacial hydrologic system drains supraglacial meltwater more efficiently, decreasing basal water pressure and moderating the ice velocity response to surface melting. However, limited direct observations of subglacial water pressure mean that the spatiotemporal evolution of the subglacial hydrologic system remains poorly understood. Here we show that ice velocity is well correlated with moulin hydraulic head but is out of phase with that of nearby (0.3-2 kilometres away) boreholes, indicating that moulins connect to an efficient, channelized component of the subglacial hydrologic system, which exerts the primary control on diurnal and multi-day changes in ice velocity. Our simultaneous measurements of moulin and borehole hydraulic head and ice velocity in the Paakitsoq region of western Greenland show that decreasing trends in ice velocity during the latter part of the melt season cannot be explained by changes in the ability of moulin-connected channels to convey supraglacial melt. Instead, these observations suggest that decreasing late-season ice velocity may be caused by changes in connectivity in unchannelized regions of the subglacial hydrologic system. Understanding this spatiotemporal variability in subglacial pressures is increasingly important because melt-season dynamics affect ice velocity beyond the conclusion of the melt season.

  20. The Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (RISCO)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  1. Improving volume loss estimates of the northwestern Greenland Ice Sheet 2002-2010

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Korsgaard, Niels Jákup; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Kjeldsen, Kristian Kjellerup

    Studies have been carried out using various methods to estimate the Greenland ice sheet mass balance. Remote sensing techniques used to determine the ice sheet volume includes airborne and satellite radar and laser methods and measurements of ice flow of outlet glaciers use InSAR satellite radar......) does not work on sloping surfaces and is affected by radar penetration into the snow. InSAR estimates require knowledge of outlet glacier thickness. GRACE has limited spatial resolution and is affected by mass variations not just from ice changes, but also from hydrologic and ocean mass variability...

  2. Greenland ice sheet mass balance: a review

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Aschwanden, Andy; Bjørk, Anders A.

    2015-01-01

    Over the past quarter of a century the Arctic has warmed more than any other region on Earth, causing a profound impact on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to the rise in global sea level. The loss of ice can be partitioned into processes related to surface mass balance...... and to ice discharge, which are forced by internal or external (atmospheric/oceanic/basal) fluctuations. Regardless of the measurement method, observations over the last two decades show an increase in ice loss rate, associated with speeding up of glaciers and enhanced melting. However, both ice discharge...... and melt-induced mass losses exhibit rapid short-term fluctuations that, when extrapolated into the future, could yield erroneous long-term trends. In this paper we review the GrIS mass loss over more than a century by combining satellite altimetry, airborne altimetry, interferometry, aerial photographs...

  3. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing

    OpenAIRE

    Tedstone, Andrew J.; P. W. Nienow; A. J. Sole; D. W. F. Mair; Cowton, Tom; I. D. Bartholomew; King, M. A.

    2013-01-01

    Changes to the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet can be forced by various mechanisms including surface-melt-induced ice acceleration and oceanic forcing of marine-terminating glaciers. We use observations of ice motion to examine the surface melt-induced dynamic response of a land-terminating outlet glacier in south-west Greenland to the exceptional melting observed in 2012. During summer, meltwater generated on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface accesses the ice sheet bed, lubricating ...

  4. The state of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Simonsen, Sebastian Bjerregaard

    Firn is defined as snow that has survived a melt season and provides the link between the high-frequency variability of the atmosphere to the ”slower” reacting ice sheet.In this thesis, firn is described by a theoretical and statistical approach to accommodate the variability in observed firn...... compaction on ice sheet scales. The modeling objectives are multiple and aim at estimating the contribution from the firn to the observed volume change of the GrIS and to the diffusion of stable water isotopes. The firn modeling then provides crucial information on total mass balance of the Gr......IS and the paleo-temperature reconstructions retrieved from ice cores.The dynamical firn model developed in this thesis explains13 % of the observed volume change of the GrIS from 2003-2008, without contributing to the global sea-level rise. This emphasizes the need for well constraint firn-compaction models. Here...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  6. Ice sheet anisotropy measured with polarimetric ice sounding radar

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dall, Jørgen

    2010-01-01

    For polar ice sheets, valuable stress and strain information can be deduced from crystal orientation fabrics (COF) and their prevailing c-axis alignment. Polarimetric radio echo sounding is a promising technique to measure the anisotropic electromagnetic propagation and reflection properties asso...

  7. Simulations of the Scandinavian ice sheet and its subsurface conditions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boulton, G.S.; Caban, P.; Hulton, N. [Edinburgh Univ. (United Kingdom). Dept of Geology and Geophysics

    1999-12-01

    An ice sheet model has been applied to an approximate flow line through the area of the Fennoscandian ice sheet. The modelled ice sheet fluctuations have been matched with stratigraphic evidence of Weichselian ice sheet fluctuation in order to simulate ice sheet attributes through time along the flowline. The model predicts extensive melting at the base of the ice sheet. This output has been used as an input to a simplified model of hydrogeology along the southern flank of the ice sheet so as to reconstruct patterns of subglacial groundwater flow. The output from the model is also used to estimate patterns of subglacial stress and strain. Results suggest that large scale subglacial groundwater catchment are formed which were quite differentin extent from modern catchment; that fossil subglacial groundwaters should be found at sampling depths; and much fracturing in shallow bedrock in Sweden could be glacially generated.

  8. Simulations of the Scandinavian ice sheet and its subsurface conditions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boulton, G.S.; Caban, P.; Hulton, N. [Edinburgh Univ. (United Kingdom). Dept of Geology and Geophysics

    1999-12-01

    An ice sheet model has been applied to an approximate flow line through the area of the Fennoscandian ice sheet. The modelled ice sheet fluctuations have been matched with stratigraphic evidence of Weichselian ice sheet fluctuation in order to simulate ice sheet attributes through time along the flowline. The model predicts extensive melting at the base of the ice sheet. This output has been used as an input to a simplified model of hydrogeology along the southern flank of the ice sheet so as to reconstruct patterns of subglacial groundwater flow. The output from the model is also used to estimate patterns of subglacial stress and strain. Results suggest that large scale subglacial groundwater catchment are formed which were quite differentin extent from modern catchment; that fossil subglacial groundwaters should be found at sampling depths; and much fracturing in shallow bedrock in Sweden could be glacially generated.

  9. Sediment plume response to surface melting and supraglacial lake drainages on the Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Chu, Vena W.; Smith, Laurence C; Rennermalm, Asa K.

    2009-01-01

    Increased mass losses from the Greenland ice sheet and inferred contributions to sea-level rise have heightened the need for hydrologic observations of meltwater exiting the ice sheet. We explore whether temporal variations in ice-sheet surface hydrology can be linked to the development of a down...... area. We conclude that remote sensing of sediment plume behavior offers a novel tool for detecting the presence, timing and interannual variability of meltwater release from the ice sheet....... of a downstream sediment plume in Kangerlussuaq Fjord by comparing: (1) plume area and suspended sediment concentration from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery and field data; (2) ice-sheet melt extent from Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) passive microwave data; and (3......) supraglacial lake drainage events from MODIS. Results confirm that the origin of the sediment plume is meltwater release from the ice sheet. Interannual variations in plume area reflect interannual variations in surface melting. Plumes appear almost immediately with seasonal surface-melt onset, provided...

  10. Potential Climatic Effects on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bindschadler, R. A.

    1984-01-01

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

  11. Melting at the base of the Greenland ice sheet explained by Iceland hotspot history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogozhina, Irina; Petrunin, Alexey G.; Vaughan, Alan P. M.; Steinberger, Bernhard; Johnson, Jesse V.; Kaban, Mikhail K.; Calov, Reinhard; Rickers, Florian; Thomas, Maik; Koulakov, Ivan

    2016-05-01

    Ice-penetrating radar and ice core drilling have shown that large parts of the north-central Greenland ice sheet are melting from below. It has been argued that basal ice melt is due to the anomalously high geothermal flux that has also influenced the development of the longest ice stream in Greenland. Here we estimate the geothermal flux beneath the Greenland ice sheet and identify a 1,200-km-long and 400-km-wide geothermal anomaly beneath the thick ice cover. We suggest that this anomaly explains the observed melting of the ice sheet’s base, which drives the vigorous subglacial hydrology and controls the position of the head of the enigmatic 750-km-long northeastern Greenland ice stream. Our combined analysis of independent seismic, gravity and tectonic data implies that the geothermal anomaly, which crosses Greenland from west to east, was formed by Greenland’s passage over the Iceland mantle plume between roughly 80 and 35 million years ago. We conclude that the complexity of the present-day subglacial hydrology and dynamic features of the north-central Greenland ice sheet originated in tectonic events that pre-date the onset of glaciation in Greenland by many tens of millions of years.

  12. Uncertainty in Ice Crystal Orientation Distributions in Ice Sheets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hay, Michael; Waddington, Edwin

    2016-04-01

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

  13. Ice Sheet System Model as Educational Entertainment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez, G.

    2013-12-01

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

  14. High-resolution ice thickness and bed topography of a land-terminating section of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lindbäck, K.; Pettersson, R.; Doyle, S. H.;

    2014-01-01

    . The covered area is one of the most studied regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet with studies of mass balance, dynamics, and supraglacial lakes, and our combined dataset can be valuable for detailed studies of ice sheet dynamics and hydrology. The compiled datasets of ground-based and airborne radar surveys......We present ice thickness and bed topography maps with high spatial resolution (250 to 500 m) of a and-terminating section of the Greenland Ice Sheet derived from combined ground-based and airborne radar surveys. The data have a total area of ~12000 km2 and cover the whole ablation area...... of the outlet glaciers of Isunnguata Sermia, Russell, Leverett, Ørkendalen and Isorlersuup up to the long-term mass balance equilibrium line altitude at ~1600 m above sea level. The bed topography shows highly variable subglacial trough systems, and the trough of the Isunnguata Sermia Glacier is over...

  15. Sensitive response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to surface melt drainage over a soft bed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bougamont, M; Christoffersen, P; Hubbard, A L; Fitzpatrick, A A; Doyle, S H; Carter, S P

    2014-09-29

    The dynamic response of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) depends on feedbacks between surface meltwater delivery to the subglacial environment and ice flow. Recent work has highlighted an important role of hydrological processes in regulating the ice flow, but models have so far overlooked the mechanical effect of soft basal sediment. Here we use a three-dimensional model to investigate hydrological controls on a GrIS soft-bedded region. Our results demonstrate that weakening and strengthening of subglacial sediment, associated with the seasonal delivery of surface meltwater to the bed, modulates ice flow consistent with observations. We propose that sedimentary control on ice flow is a viable alternative to existing models of evolving hydrological systems, and find a strong link between the annual flow stability, and the frequency of high meltwater discharge events. Consequently, the observed GrIS resilience to enhanced melt could be compromised if runoff variability increases further with future climate warming.

  16. Continuous broadband seismic observation on the Greenland Ice Sheet under Greenland Ice Sheet monitoring Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsuboi, Seiji; Kanao, Masaki; Tono, Yoko; Himeno, Tetsuto; Toyokuni, Genti; Childs, Dean; Dahl-Jensen, Trine; anderson, Kent

    2013-04-01

    We have installed the ice sheet broadband seismograph station, called ICE-S (DK.ICESG) in June 2011, in collaboration with IRIS Polar Services under the GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN), which is a new, international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland being implemented through the collaboration between Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and the USA. The primary purpose of GLISN project is to define the fine structure and detailed mechanisms of glacial earthquakes within the Greenland Ice Sheet. These glacial earthquakes in the magnitude range 4.6-5.1 may be modeled as a large glacial ice mass sliding downhill several meters on its basal surface over duration of 30 to 60 seconds. Glacial earthquakes have been observed at seismic stations within Greenland (Larsen et al, 2006), but the coverage was very sparse and a broadband, real-time seismic network was needed to be installed throughout Greenland's Ice Sheet and perimeter. The National Institute for Polar Research and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology are members of GLISN project and we have started to operate ICESG station since 2011. The station is equipped with a CMG-3T broadband seismometer and a Quanterra Q330 data logger. We have visited the station again in May, 2012 and successfully retrieved one year of continuous records from the broadband seismometer and updated the telemetry system to eventually allow real time monitoring of the station. ICESG station is now daily sending 1 Hz continuous data over the iridium satellite system using RUDICS. The observed three component seismograms demonstrate that the quality of this ice sheet station is good enough to record not only local earthquakes around Greeland but also teleseismic earthquakes. We could record three component broadband seismograms for April 11, 2012 Off the west coast of Northern Sumatra earthquake (Mw8.6). These seismograms show high signal to noise ratio

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Alley, R.B. (Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)); MacAyeal, D.R. (Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States))

    1993-01-01

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

  18. History of the Greenland Ice Sheet: paleoclimatic insights

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alley, Richard B.; Andrews, John Thomas; Brigham-Grette, Julia;

    2010-01-01

    -sheet changes. In contrast, there are no documented major ice-sheet changes that occurred independent of temperature changes. Moreover, snowfall has increased when the climate warmed, but the ice sheet lost mass nonetheless; increased accumulation in the ice sheet's center has not been sufficient to counteract......Paleoclimatic records show that the Greenland Ice Sheet consistently has lost mass in response to warming, and grown in response to cooling. Such changes have occurred even at times of slow or zero sea-level change, so changing sea level cannot have been the cause of at least some of the ice...... increased melting and flow near the edges. Most documented forcings and ice-sheet responses spanned periods of several thousand years, but limited data also show rapid response to rapid forcings. In particular, regions near the ice margin have responded within decades. However, major changes of central...

  19. History of the Greenland Ice Sheet: paleoclimatic insights

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alley, Richard B.; Andrews, John Thomas; Brigham-Grette, Julia

    2010-01-01

    increased melting and flow near the edges. Most documented forcings and ice-sheet responses spanned periods of several thousand years, but limited data also show rapid response to rapid forcings. In particular, regions near the ice margin have responded within decades. However, major changes of central......Paleoclimatic records show that the Greenland Ice Sheet consistently has lost mass in response to warming, and grown in response to cooling. Such changes have occurred even at times of slow or zero sea-level change, so changing sea level cannot have been the cause of at least some of the ice......-sheet changes. In contrast, there are no documented major ice-sheet changes that occurred independent of temperature changes. Moreover, snowfall has increased when the climate warmed, but the ice sheet lost mass nonetheless; increased accumulation in the ice sheet's center has not been sufficient to counteract...

  20. Analysis of groundwater flow beneath ice sheets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boulton, G. S.; Zatsepin, S.; Maillot, B. [Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom). Dept. of Geology and Geophysics

    2001-03-01

    The large-scale pattern of subglacial groundwater flow beneath European ice sheets was analysed in a previous report. It was based on a two-dimensional flowline model. In this report, the analysis is extended to three dimensions by exploring the interactions between groundwater and tunnel flow. A theory is developed which suggests that the large-scale geometry of the hydraulic system beneath an ice sheet is a coupled, self-organising system. In this system the pressure distribution along tunnels is a function of discharge derived from basal meltwater delivered to tunnels by groundwater flow, and the pressure along tunnels itself sets the base pressure which determines the geometry of catchments and flow towards the tunnel. The large-scale geometry of tunnel distribution is a product of the pattern of basal meltwater production and the transmissive properties of the bed. The tunnel discharge from the ice margin of the glacier, its seasonal fluctuation and the sedimentary characteristics of eskers are largely determined by the discharge of surface meltwater which penetrates to the bed in the terminal zone. The theory explains many of the characteristics of esker systems and can account for tunnel valleys. It is concluded that the large-scale hydraulic regime beneath ice sheets is largely a consequence of groundwater/tunnel flow interactions and that it is essential similar to non-glacial hydraulic regimes. Experimental data from an Icelandic glacier, which demonstrates measured relationships between subglacial tunnel flow and groundwater flow during the transition from summer to winter seasons for a modern glacier, and which support the general conclusions of the theory is summarised in an appendix.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  2. Explaining the presence of perennial liquid water bodies in the firn of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kuipers Munneke, P.; Ligtenberg, S.R.M.; van den Broeke, M.R.; van Angelen, J.H.; Forster, R.R.

    2014-01-01

    Recent observations have shown that the firn layer on the Greenland Ice Sheet features subsurface bodies of liquid water at the end of the winter season. Using a model with basic firn hydrology, thermodynamics, and compaction in one dimension, we find that a combination of moderate to strong surface

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-03

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

  5. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  6. Anatomy of a meltwater drainage system beneath the ancestral East Antarctic ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simkins, Lauren M.; Anderson, John B.; Greenwood, Sarah L.; Gonnermann, Helge M.; Prothro, Lindsay O.; Halberstadt, Anna Ruth W.; Stearns, Leigh A.; Pollard, David; Deconto, Robert M.

    2017-09-01

    Subglacial hydrology is critical to understand the behaviour of ice sheets, yet active meltwater drainage beneath contemporary ice sheets is rarely accessible to direct observation. Using geophysical and sedimentological data from the deglaciated western Ross Sea, we identify a palaeo-subglacial hydrological system active beneath an area formerly covered by the East Antarctic ice sheet. A long channel network repeatedly delivered meltwater to an ice stream grounding line and was a persistent pathway for episodic meltwater drainage events. Embayments within grounding-line landforms coincide with the location of subglacial channels, marking reduced sedimentation and restricted landform growth. Consequently, channelized drainage at the grounding line influenced the degree to which these landforms could provide stability feedbacks to the ice stream. The channel network was connected to upstream subglacial lakes in an area of geologically recent rifting and volcanism, where elevated heat flux would have produced sufficient basal melting to fill the lakes over decades to several centuries; this timescale is consistent with our estimates of the frequency of drainage events at the retreating grounding line. Based on these data, we hypothesize that ice stream dynamics in this region were sensitive to the underlying hydrological system.

  7. Growth of Greenland ice sheet - Measurement

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1989-01-01

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

  8. Ice sheet model dependency of the simulated Greenland Ice Sheet in the mid-Pliocene

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koenig, S. J.; Dolan, A. M.; De Boer, B.; Stone, E. J.; Hill, D. J.; Deconto, R. M.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Lunt, D. J.; Pollard, D.; Quiquet, A.; Saito, F.; Savage, J.; Van De Wal, R.

    2015-01-01

    The understanding of the nature and behavior of ice sheets in past warm periods is important for constraining the potential impacts of future climate change. The Pliocene warm period (between 3.264 and 3.025 Ma) saw global temperatures similar to those projected for future climates; nevertheless, Pl

  9. Interaction of ice sheets and climate on geological time scales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stap, L.B.

    2017-01-01

    Since the inception of the Antarctic ice sheet at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (~34 Myr ago), land ice plays a crucial role in Earth’s climate. Through the ice-albedo and surface-height-temperature feedbacks, land ice variability strengthens atmospheric temperature changes induced by orbital and

  10. Interaction of ice sheets and climate on geological time scales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stap, L.B.

    2017-01-01

    Since the inception of the Antarctic ice sheet at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (~34 Myr ago), land ice plays a crucial role in Earth’s climate. Through the ice-albedo and surface-height-temperature feedbacks, land ice variability strengthens atmospheric temperature changes induced by orbital and

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koerner, R M

    1989-05-26

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

  12. Ice Streams as the Critical Link Between the Interior Ice Reservoir of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Global Climate System - a WISSARD Perspective (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tulaczyk, S. M.; Beem, L.; Walter, J. I.; Hossainzadeh, S.; Mankoff, K. D.

    2010-12-01

    Fast flowing ice streams represent crucial features of the Antarctic ice sheet because they provide discharge ‘valves’ for the interior ice reservoir and because their grounding lines are exposed to ocean thermal forcing. Even with no/little topographic control ice flow near the perimeter of a polar ice sheet self-organizes into discrete, fast-flowing ice streams. Within these features basal melting (i.e. lubrication for ice sliding) is sustained through elevated basal shear heating in a region of thin ice that would otherwise be characterized by basal freezing and slow ice motion. Because faster basal ice motion is typically associated with faster subglacial erosion, ice streams tend to localize themselves over time by carving troughs into underlying rocks and sediments. Debris generated by this erosional activity is carried to the continental shelf and/or continental slope where it may be deposited at very high rates, rivaling these associated with deposition by some of the largest rivers on Earth. In terms of their hydrologic and geological functions, Antarctic ice streams play pretty much the same role as rivers do on non-glaciated continents. However, understanding of their dynamics is still quite rudimentary, largely because of the relative inaccessibility of the key basal and marine boundaries of ice streams where pertinent measurements need to be made. The present elevated interest in predicting future contribution of Antarctica to global sea level changes is driving ambitious research programs aimed at scientific exploration of these poorly investigated environments that will play a key role in defining the response of the ice sheet to near future climate changes. We will review one of these programs, the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) with particular focus on its planned contributions to understanding of ice stream dynamics.

  13. Present and future changes of ice sheets in a coupled ice sheet-climate model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kapsch, Marie; Ziemen, Florian; Mikolajewicz, Uwe

    2017-04-01

    The future evolution of the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica is of importance, as ice sheets hold more than 99% of the Earths' freshwater. If released into the oceans, this freshwater could significantly impact the global climate, most prominently the oceanic overturning circulation and the sea-level. To model past and future climate change it is therefore important to integrate ice sheet models (ISMs) into state-of-the-art Earth System Models (ESMs), in order to account for the full range of feedback processes between ice sheets and other climate components. However, the coupling of ISMs into ESMs remains challenging, especially due to the required downscaling of the surface mass balance (SMB) from the low resolution atmospheric grid of the ESM onto the high resolution ice sheet topography. Here we present results from model simulations with the Max Planck Institute ESM (MPI-ESM) coupled to the Parallel ISM (PISM; http://www.pism-docs.org). To bridge the gap between the different model resolutions of the atmospheric component of MPI-ESM and PISM a sophisticated energy balance model (EBM) is used to calculate and downscale the SMB. The modeled SMB for present-day climate conditions shows good agreement with SMB reconstructions from regional climate modeling (e.g. RACMO, MAR). To estimate the effect of different downscaling methods, simulations performed with the EBM are compared to simulations that use a commonly applied positive degree day approach. These comparisons are shown for simulations with present day as well as increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.

  14. Using the glacial geomorphology of palaeo-ice streams to understand mechanisms of ice sheet collapse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stokes, Chris R.; Margold, Martin; Clark, Chris; Tarasov, Lev

    2017-04-01

    Processes which bring about ice sheet deglaciation are critical to our understanding of glacial-interglacial cycles and ice sheet sensitivity to climate change. The precise mechanisms of deglaciation are also relevant to our understanding of modern-day ice sheet stability and concerns over global sea level rise. Mass loss from ice sheets can be broadly partitioned between melting and a 'dynamic' component whereby rapidly-flowing ice streams/outlet glaciers transfer ice from the interior to the oceans. Surface and basal melting (e.g. of ice shelves) are closely linked to atmospheric and oceanic conditions, but the mechanisms that drive dynamic changes in ice stream discharge are more complex, which generates much larger uncertainties about their future contribution to ice sheet mass loss and sea level rise. A major problem is that observations of modern-day ice streams typically span just a few decades and, at the ice-sheet scale, it is unclear how the entire drainage network of ice streams evolves during deglaciation. A key question is whether ice streams might increase and sustain rates of mass loss over centuries or millennia, beyond those expected for a given ocean-climate forcing. To address this issue, numerous workers have sought to understand ice stream dynamics over longer time-scales using their glacial geomorphology in the palaeo-record. Indeed, our understanding of their geomorphology has grown rapidly in the last three decades, from almost complete ignorance to a detailed knowledge of their geomorphological products. Building on this body of work, this paper uses the glacial geomorphology of 117 ice streams in the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet to reconstruct their activity during its deglaciation ( 22,000 to 7,000 years ago). Ice stream activity was characterised by high variability in both time and space, with ice streams switching on and off in different locations. During deglaciation, we find that their overall number decreased, they occupied a

  15. Laurentide ice sheet dynamics during the last glacial period

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montoya, M.; Alvarez-Solas, J.; Robinson, A.; Banderas, R.

    2016-12-01

    Heinrich events (HEs) are interpreted as the result of massive large-scale ice discharges from the Laurentice ice sheet (LIS) into the North Atlantic that occurred during the Last Glacial Period (LGP). Classically they have been attributed to internal oscillations of the LIS, a mechanism that has been mimicked using three-dimensional ice-sheet models within the Shallow Ice Approximation (SIA) together with a modified basal sliding parameterisation accounting for enhanced ice-flow over a melting ice bed. However, recent studies using hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf models with more comprehensive dynamics combining the SIA and the Shallow Shelf Approximation (SSA) have proposed an alternative explanation involving the effects of oceanic circulation changes on the ice shelves. Up to now the plausibility of internal LIS instabilities in a hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf model combining SSA and SIA has seldom been investigated. Here we address this issue in the framework of the LGP by modifying the dynamics in a hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf model to mimick two different levels of complexity. We firstly suppress the binary mode mixture of sheet and stream ice in order to mimick the SIA, and include a basal sliding parameterisation. Under constant external climate forcing, quasi-periodic LIS instabilities are simulated in response to internal basal temperature oscillations. We then consider a more realistic dynamical formulation by incorporating the treatment of ice flow under the SSA. Internal basal temperature oscillations, and thereby LIS instabilities, are found to vanish under constant external forcing. Our results demonstrate how accounting for the longitudinal stresses of the ice streams, which is not possible within the pure SIA, is critical to stabilize ice flow and prevents the occurrence of the binge-purge oscillations.

  16. Antarctic ice rises and rumples : Their properties and significance for ice-sheet dynamics and evolution

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Matsuoka, Kenichi; Hindmarsh, Richard C A; Moholdt, Geir; Bentley, Michael J.; Pritchard, Hamish D.; Brown, Joel; Conway, Howard; Drews, Reinhard; Durand, Gaël; Goldberg, Daniel; Hattermann, Tore; Kingslake, Jonathan; Lenaerts, Jan T M; Martín, Carlos; Mulvaney, Robert; Nicholls, Keith W.; Pattyn, Frank; Ross, Neil; Scambos, Ted; Whitehouse, Pippa L.

    2015-01-01

    Locally grounded features in ice shelves, called ice rises and rumples, play a key role buttressing discharge from the Antarctic Ice Sheet and regulating its contribution to sea level. Ice rises typically rise several hundreds of meters above the surrounding ice shelf; shelf flow is diverted around

  17. Antarctic ice rises and rumples : Their properties and significance for ice-sheet dynamics and evolution

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Matsuoka, Kenichi; Hindmarsh, Richard C A; Moholdt, Geir; Bentley, Michael J.; Pritchard, Hamish D.; Brown, Joel; Conway, Howard; Drews, Reinhard; Durand, Gaël; Goldberg, Daniel; Hattermann, Tore; Kingslake, Jonathan; Lenaerts, Jan T M|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/314850163; Martín, Carlos; Mulvaney, Robert; Nicholls, Keith W.; Pattyn, Frank; Ross, Neil; Scambos, Ted; Whitehouse, Pippa L.

    2015-01-01

    Locally grounded features in ice shelves, called ice rises and rumples, play a key role buttressing discharge from the Antarctic Ice Sheet and regulating its contribution to sea level. Ice rises typically rise several hundreds of meters above the surrounding ice shelf; shelf flow is diverted around

  18. History of the Greenland Ice Sheet: paleoclimatic insights

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Csatho, Beata M.; Schenk, Anton F.; van der Veen, Cornelis J.

    2014-01-01

    Significance We present the first detailed reconstruction of surface elevation changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet from NASA’s laser altimetry data. Time series at nearly 100,000 locations allow the characterization of ice sheet changes at scales ranging from individual outlet glaciers to larger d...

  20. Interactions between ice sheets, climate and the solid Earth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Berg, J. van den

    2007-01-01

    The melting of ice sheets in response to increasing temperatures is an important contribution to present day sea level rise. To predict the amount of sea level rise and to assess its impact on populated coastal regions, an increased understanding of the physical processes governing ice sheets is ess

  1. Elevation Change Measurements of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Forsberg, R.; Keller, K.; Nielsen, C. S.

    2000-01-01

    Repeated GPS measurements have been performed at the centre of the Greenland Ice Sheet since 1992. Results have shown that the ice sheet is essentially stable at this location, with GPS-determined strain and elevation change rates in good accordance with yearly snow accumulation and glaciological...

  2. On underwater sound reflection from layered ice sheets

    CERN Document Server

    Hobæk, Halvor

    2016-01-01

    Reflection of sound from ice sheets floating on water is simulated using Thomson and Haskell's method of matrix propagation. The reflection coefficient is computed as a function of incidence angle and frequency for selected ice parameters of a uniform sheet and two layered ice sheets. At some incidence angles and frequencies the reflection coefficient has very low values. It is shown that this is related to generation of Lamb waves in the ice. The matrix propagation method also provides a dispersion equation for a plate loaded with fluid on one side and vacuum on the other. Finally the concept of beam displacement is briefly discussed.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    vanderVeen, Cornelius

    2003-01-01

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

  4. Antarctic ice volume for the last 740 ka calculated with a simple ice sheet model

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    2005-01-01

    Fluctuations in the volume of the Antarctic ice sheet for the last 740 ka are calculated by forcing a simple ice sheet model with a sea-level history (from a composite deep sea δ18O record) and a temperature history (from the Dome C deuterium record). Antarctic ice volume reaches maximum values of a

  5. Subglacial lake and meltwater flow predictions of the last North American and European Ice Sheets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Livingstone, S. J.; Clark, C. D.; Tarasov, L.

    2012-04-01

    There is increasing recognition that subglacial lakes act as key components within the ice sheet system, capable of influencing ice-sheet topography, ice volume and ice flow. The subglacial water systems themselves are recognised as being both active and dynamic, with large discharges of meltwater capable of flowing down hydrological pathways both between lakes and to the ice-sheet margins. At present, much glaciological research is concerned with the role of modern subglacial lake systems in Antarctica. Another approach to the exploration of subglacial lakes involves identification of the geological record of subglacial lakes that once existed beneath ice sheets of the last glaciation. Investigation of such palaeo-subglacial lakes offers significant advantages because we have comprehensive information about the bed properties, they are much more accessible and we can examine and sample the sediments with ease. If we can find palaeo-subglacial lakes then we have the potential to advance understanding with regard to the topographic context and hydrological pathways that the phenomena form a part of; essentially we gain spatial and sedimentological information in relation to investigations of contemporary subglacial lakes and lose out on the short-time dynamics. In this work we present predictions of palaeo-subglacial lakes and meltwater drainage pathways under the former European and North American ice sheets during the last glaciation. We utilise data on the current topography and seafloor bathymetry, and elevation models of the ice and ground surface topography (interpolated to a 5 km grid) to calculate the hydraulic potential surface at the ice-sheet bed. Meltwater routing algorithms and the flooding of local hydraulic minima allow us to predict subglacial channels and lakes respectively. Given that specific ice-surface and bed topographies are only known from modelled outputs, and thus contain significant uncertainty, we utilise many such outputs to examine

  6. Response of the ice sheets to fluctuating temperatures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bøgeholm Mikkelsen, Troels; Grinsted, Aslak; Ditlevsen, Peter

    2016-04-01

    Forecasting the future sea level relies on accurate modeling of the response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to changing tempera- tures. Using coupled climate and ice sheet models long time forecasting is often made computationally feasible by running the ice sheet model in off-line mode, such that the temperature and precipitation fields govern- ing the mass balance of the ice sheets are taken to be constant over time. As the temperature and precipitation fluctuates, the asymmetry in the typical time scales for accumulation and ablation would result in a bias in the resulting mass balance of the ice sheet. We show that the steady state of the ice sheet is biased toward larger size of the ice sheet, if the short time scale fluctuations in temperature are not taken into account. This could potentially imply that the critical global temperature increase for ice sheet collapse is overestimated, thus the risk of collapse in a given climate change scenario underestimated. Our results highlight the need to consider the variability and not only the mean of the forcing of the mass balance of the ice sheet. We estimate that the effect of temperature variability on surface mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet in recent ensemble forecasting should be adjusted downward by as much as 10 percent of the present day observed value, if assuming a 2 degree warming. We are thus closer to a potential tipping point, than previously anticipated. Many predicted scenarios of the future climate show an increased variability in temperature over much of the Earth. In light of the findings presented here, it is important to gauge the extent to which this increased variability will further influence climate change.

  7. Fully coupled ice sheet-earth system model: How does the Greenlandic ice sheet interact in a changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodehacke, C.; Mikolajewicz, U.; Vizcaino, M.

    2012-04-01

    As ice sheets belong to the slowest climate components, they are usually not interactively coupled in current climate models. Therefore, long-term climate projections are incomplete and only the consideration of ice sheet interactions allows tackling fundamental questions, such as how do ice sheets modify the reaction of the climate systems under a strong CO2 forcing? The earth system model MPI-ESM, with the atmosphere model ECHAM6 and ocean model MPIOM, is coupled to the modified ice sheet model PISM. This ice sheet model, which is developed at the University of Fairbanks, represents the ice sheet of Greenland at a horizontal resolution of 10 km. The coupling is performed by calculating the surface mass balance based on 6-hourly atmospheric data to determine the boundary condition for the ice sheet model. The response of the ice sheet to this forcing, which includes orographic changes and fresh water fluxes, are passed back to the ESM. In contrast to commonly used strategies, we use a mass conserving scheme and do therefore neither apply flux corrections nor utilize anomaly coupling. Under a strong CO2 forcing a disintegrating Greenlandic ice sheet contributes to a rising sea level and has the potential to alter the formation of deep water masses in the adjacent formation sites Labrador Sea and Nordic Seas. We will present results for an idealized forcing with a growing atmospheric CO2 concentration that rises by 1% per year until four-times the pre-industrial level has been reached. We will discuss the reaction of the ice sheet and immediate responses of the ocean to ice loss.

  8. Self-inhibiting growth of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Langen, Peter Lang; Solgaard, Anne Munck; Hvidberg, Christine Schøtt

    2012-01-01

    The build-up of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from ice-free conditions is studied in an ice sheet model (ISM) driven by fields from an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) to demonstrate the importance of coupling between the two components. Experiments where the two are coupled off...... conditions cooler than those of today may be necessary for the GrIS to regrow to the present volume...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

  10. Dynamics of the Greenland Ice Sheet over multiple timescales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjeldsen, Kristian Kjellerup

    behavior of the Greenland Ice Sheet on multiple timescales is investigated. These range from annual/decadal scale variations of ice surface heights and cyclic drainage patterns of ice-dammed lakes to long-term response of the ice sheet margin during the past 300,000 years. The results presented here show...... that the ice margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet responds highly dynamic and variable to climate change and oceanic forcing, with behavior additionally being governed by regional/local settings, e.g. topographical settings such as low-lying/mountainous areas and the presence or absence of deep fjords or shelf....../crossshelf troughs. Warming of ocean temperatures is suggested as being a main driver for periodic dynamic ice loss events in northwest Greenland while cooling of ocean temperatures around southern Greenland, in conjunction with increased snow accumulation, is found to drive a rapid readvance of glaciers in response...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

    We present a new record of ice thickness change, reconstructed at nearly 100,000 sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from laser altimetry measurements spanning the period 1993-2012, partitioned into changes due to surface mass balance (SMB) and ice dynamics. We estimate a mean annual GrIS mass l

  12. Anthropogenic climate change and the Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mikolajewicz, U.; Vizcaíno, M.; Rodehacke, C.; Ziemen, F.

    2012-04-01

    In the standard CMIP5 simulations the ice sheets are kept fixed. Only few groups have been able to perform CMIP5 simulations with interactively coupled ice sheet models. Beside its importance for the future evolution of global mean sea level, the Greenland ice sheet also has the potential to strongly affect deep water formation, especially in the Labrador Sea, but also in the Nordic Seas. Here we present a set of simulations with two interactively coupled ice sheet models, which allows to assess the uncertainty arising from both the ice sheet model as well as the coupling technique. The climate model ECHAM5/MPIOM is coupled interactively to two different ice sheet models using two different coupling strategies. The ice sheet models are a Greenland set-up of SICOPOLIS with 10 km horizontal resolution and a northern hemisphere set-up of PISM with a horizontal resolution of 20 km. The coupling is done either with a simple positive degree days approach or a mass-balance scheme calculating the surface melting with an energy-balance scheme. The atmospheric forcing is applied directly to the ice sheet model without flux correction or anomaly coupling, which avoids inconsistencies between the models. The resulting net mass loss rates for the Greenland ice sheet in a 1-percent-scenario capped at 4x preindustrial atmospheric CO2 concentrations show a considerable dependence on both ice sheet model and coupling technique. The resulting differences in atmospheric climate, however, are small within the first centuries and restricted to the immediate vicinity of Greenland. The feedbacks between atmosphere, ocean and the Greenland ice sheet are studied in a series of sensitivity experiments, where individual feedbacks were suppressed. It turns out that the future development of the Atlantic overturning and its associated heat transport are quite important for the future evolution of the Greenland ice sheet: The stronger the Atlantic overturning remains, the stronger the mass loss

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-07-01

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

  15. Modeling the Fracture of Ice Sheets on Parallel Computers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waisman, Haim [Columbia University; Tuminaro, Ray [Sandia National Labs

    2013-10-10

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

  16. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  17. A Palaeohydrological Shift during Neogene East Antarctic Ice Sheet Retreat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rees-Owen, R. L.; Newton, R.; Ivanovic, R. F.; Francis, J.; Tindall, J. C.; Riding, J. B.

    2015-12-01

    The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important driver of global climate, playing a particular role in governing albedo and atmospheric circulation (eg. Singh et al., 2013). Recent evidence from marine sediment and terrestrial glaciovolcanic sequences suggests that the EAIS underwent periodic retreat and collapse in response to warmer climates during the late Neogene (14 to 3 million years ago). Mummified prostrate trees recovered from palaeosols at Oliver Bluffs in the Beardmore Glacier region, Transantarctic Mountains (85° S), represent a rare insight into the terrestrial palaeoclimate during one of these periods of retreat. Prostrate trees are an understudied but useful tool for interrogating endmember (e.g. periglacial) environments at high altitudes and latitudes. We present exciting new palaeoclimate data from the sequence at Oliver Bluffs. δ18O analysis of tree ring cellulose suggests that Antarctic summer palaeoprecipitation was enriched relative to today (-25 to -5‰ for ancient, -35 to -20‰ for modern); consistent with our isotope-enabled general circulation model simulations. The MBT/CBT palaeothermometer gives a summer temperature of 3-6ºC, consistent with other palaeobotanical climate indices. These geological and model data have wide-ranging implications for our understanding of the hydrological cycle during this time period. We present data suggesting that changes in moisture recycling and source region indicate a markedly different hydrological cycle.

  18. The last Scandinavian ice sheet in northwestern Russia: ice flow patterns and decay dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Demidov, L.; Houmark-Nielsen, Michael; Kjær, Kurt Henrik

    2006-01-01

    the main ice sheet. During the Lateglacial warming, disintegration and melting took place in a 200-600 km wide zone along the northeastern rim of SIS associated with thick Quaternary accumulations. Deglaciation occurred through aerial downwasting within large fields of dead ice developed during......Advance of the Late Weichselian (Valdaian) Scandinavian Ice Sheet (SIS) in northwestern Russia took place after a period of periglacial conditions. Till of the last SIS, Bobrovo till, overlies glacial deposits from the previous Barents and Kara Sea ice sheets and marine deposits of the Last...... in Russia than previously outlined and the time of termination at 18-16 cal. kyr BP was almost 10 kyr delayed compared to the southwestern part of the ice sheet. We argue that the lithology of the ice sheets' substrate, and especially the location of former proglacial lake basins, influenced the dynamics...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ó Cofaigh, Colm

    2012-12-13

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

  1. Radar attenuation and temperature within the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Ice-sheet flow conditions deduced from mechanical tests of ice core

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Miyamoto, Atsushi; Narita, Hideki; Hondoh, Takeo;

    1999-01-01

    Uniaxial compression tests were performed on samples of the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) deep ice core, both in the field and later in a cold-room laboratory, in order to understand the ice-flow behavior of large ice sheets. Experiments were conducted under conditions of constant strain rate......-core samples with basal planes parallel to the horizontal plane of the ice sheet. The ice-flow enhancement factors show a gradual increase with depth down to approximately 2000 m. These results can be interpreted in terms of an increase in the fourth-order Schmid factor. Below 2000 m depth, the flow...

  3. Reconstructing the temperature regime of the Weichselian ice sheet

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Holmlund, P. [Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Dept. of Physical Geography

    1997-04-01

    Areas in Sweden are described, where the ice could have been at the pressure melting point during the last ice age. In order to calculate probable degrees of glacial erosion, estimates on the time of ice coverage and the temperature distribution in time are combined data on erosion rates from present day glaciers. An estimate of the extent of ice cover can be made using the proxy temperature record from the Greenland ice cores and a model of the ice sheet. Adding the estimations on climate and ice sheet shape outlined in this contribution, to erosion figures we may conclude that the crucial areas for glaciation erosion are within the mountains and where the present Baltic and the Gulf of Bothnia are situated. At these sites erosion rates of some tens of meters may have occurred. In inland northern Sweden and inland southern Sweden the potential for glacial erosion seems to be small. 14 refs.

  4. Ice sheet topography from retracked ERS-1 altimetry

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  6. Tectonics, Microbes and Ice: Subglacial volcanism as a generator for microbial habitat beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skidmore, M. L.; Blankenship, D. D.; Carter, S. P.

    2010-12-01

    Glaciological processes under ice masses, including ice sheets provide sustainable habitat for microbes, forming an aquatic environment through basal melting and providing nutrients and energy from bedrock comminution. In all subglacial settings investigated to date, viable microbes have been documented. Tectonic activity beneath ice masses, including volcanism is associated with an elevated heat flux, leading to enhanced basal ice melt and may also be accompanied by hydrothermal fluids, often rich in reduced metals including Fe and gases such as CO2, H2 and H2S that are potential chemical energy sources for microbes. However, the importance of subglacial volcanism beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in terms of increasing both water and chemical energy fluxes remains unknown despite evidence for subglacial volcanic features and enhanced heat flux. The role of subglacial volcanism in supporting subglacial microbial communities has been documented in Icelandic caldera lake systems, indicating crustal carbon and energy sources, could support a microbial ecosystem independent of photosynthetic carbon. Further, phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences from WAIS subglacial sediments suggests that organisms with Fe and S oxidizing metabolisms may be important members of the microbial community in these environments. Given the abundance and interconnectivity of water beneath the WAIS, the distribution of volcanism relative to the subglacial hydrologic catchments could have a significant role in contributing to the water and chemical energy fluxes for downstream environments. Therefore, tectonics may modulate the critical hydrologic and geochemical balance that determines subglacial microbial habitat distribution. We will present potential biological implications of an updated geophysical and hydrological context for West Antarctica’s Whillans and Kamb ice streams with an emphasis on selecting targets for further characterization.

  7. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a comparison of parameterizations

    OpenAIRE

    2011-01-01

    Retention and refreezing of meltwater are acknowledged to be important processes for the mass budget of polar glaciers and ice sheets. Several parameterizations of these processes exist for use in energy and mass balance models. Due to a lack of direct observations, validation of these parameterizations is difficult. In this study we compare a set of 6 refreezing parameterizations against output of the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2), applied to the Greenland ice sheet. In RACMO2,...

  8. Uncertainty Quantification for Large-Scale Ice Sheet Modeling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ghattas, Omar [Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)

    2016-02-05

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, Steven; McMillan, Malcolm; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-10-09

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

  10. Subglacial lake drainage detected beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, Steven; McMillan, Malcolm; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Wintertime storage of water in buried supraglacial lakes across the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. S. Koenig

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Surface melt over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS is increasing and estimated to account for half or more of the total mass loss. Little, however, is known about the hydrologic pathways that route surface melt within the ice sheet. In this study, we present over-winter storage of water in buried supraglacial lakes as one hydrologic pathway for surface melt, referred to as buried lakes. Airborne radar echograms are used to detect the buried lakes that are distributed extensively around the margin of the GrIS. The subsurface water can persist through multiple winters and is, on average, ~4.2 + 0.4 m below the surface. The few buried lakes that are visible at the surface of the GrIS have a~unique visible signature associated with a darker blue color where subsurface water is located. The volume of retained water in the buried lakes is likely insignificant compared to the total mass loss from the GrIS but the water will have important implications locally for the development of the englacial hydrologic network, ice temperature profiles and glacial dynamics. The buried lakes represent a small but year-round source of meltwater in the GrIS hydrologic system.

  12. Greenland Ice Sheet response to mid-Pliocene summer Arctic sea ice-free conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koenig, S. J.; DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.

    2011-12-01

    A critical uncertainty in future predictions of climate and sea level is the response of the cryosphere. Proxy reconstructions for the mid-Pliocene Arctic Ocean (~ 3 Ma) are indicative of summer Arctic ice-free conditions and higher than modern sea surface temperatures, conditions that are analogous to projections for the end of the 21st century. We implement available mid-Pliocene boundary conditions into a fully-coupled Global Circulation Model with interactive vegetation. We use a 3-D thermo-mechanical ice sheet-shelf model to simulate the equilibrated response of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) to the combined effect of reduced sea ice conditions and increased sea surface temperatures during the mid-Pliocene Warm Period. Reductions in Arctic sea ice are shown to enhance ocean/land-to-atmosphere fluxes, increasing heat and moisture transport in the high latitudes. In particular, changes in the North Atlantic exert a strong influence on the storm track and seasonal temperatures and precipitation over Greenland. Despite increased precipitation, warmer temperatures generally reduce snow mass balance. As a result, an initial present-day ice sheet forced by Pliocene climate undergoes rapid melting, limiting the ice sheet to the only highest elevations in South and East Greenland. Once the ice sheet is lost, local surface characteristics and associated feedbacks dominates Greenland climate, precluding the regrowth of the ice sheet. Depending on the initial state of the ice sheet, the equilibrated ice sheet loss is equivalent to between 5.8 to 6.4 m of sea level. We assess the sensitivity of the GIS to Pliocene forcing and internal feedbacks, adding to the understanding of land-ice sea-ice hysteresis in a world warmer than today.

  13. Ice sheet growth with laterally varying bedrock relaxation time

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Wal, Wouter; Vizcaino Rubio, Pablo; De Boer, Bas; van de Wal, Roderik

    2017-04-01

    Isostatic response of the bedrock, or glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) in included in most ice sheet models. This is important because the surface elevation determines the mass balance and thereby implicitly also the strength of the mass balance feedback where higher surface elevation yields lower temperatures implying less melt and vice versa. Usually a single relaxation time or a set of relaxation times is used to model the response everywhere on Earth or at least for an entire ice sheet. In reality the viscosity in the Earth's mantle, and hence the relaxation time experienced by the ice, varies with location. Seismic studies indicate that several regions that were covered by ice during the last glacial cycle are underlain by mantle in which viscosity varies with orders of magnitude, such as Antarctica and North America. The question is whether such a variation of viscosity influences ice evolution. Several GIA models exist that can deal with 3D viscosity, but their large computation times make it nearly impossible to couple them to ice sheet models. Here we use the ANICE ice-sheet model (de Boer et al. 2013) with a simple bedrock-relaxation model in which a different relaxation time is used for separate regions. A temperature anomaly is applied to grow a schematic ice sheet on a flat earth, with other forcing mechanisms neglected. It is shown that in locations with a fast relaxation time of 300 years the equilibrium ice sheet is significantly thinner and narrower but also ice thickness in neighbouring regions (with the more standard relaxation time of 3000 years) is affected.

  14. MASS BALANCE CHANGES AND ICE DYNAMICS OF GREENLAND AND ANTARCTIC ICE SHEETS FROM LASER ALTIMETRY

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

    During the past few decades the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have lost ice at accelerating rates, caused by increasing surface temperature. The melting of the two big ice sheets has a big impact on global sea level rise. If the ice sheets would melt down entirely, the sea level would rise more than 60 m. Even a much smaller rise would cause dramatic damage along coastal regions. In this paper we report about a major upgrade of surface elevation changes derived from laser...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    For the past 25 years, polar-orbiting satellite radar altimeters have provided a valuable record of ice sheet elevation change, yielding estimates of ice sheet mass imbalance at the scale of individual ice sheet basins. One of the principle challenges associated with radar altimetry comes from the relatively large ground footprint of conventional pulse-limited radars, which limits their capacity to make reliable measurements in areas of complex topographic terrain. In recent years, progress has been made towards improving ground resolution, through the implementation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or Delay-Doppler, techniques. In 2010, the launch of CryoSat-2 heralded the start of a new era of SAR altimetry, although full SAR coverage of the polar ice sheets has only been achieved with the launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite in February 2016. Because of the heritage of SAR altimetry provided by CryoSat-2, many SAR altimeter processing techniques have been optimized and evaluated for water and sea ice surfaces only. This leaves several outstanding issues related to the development and evaluation of SAR altimetry for ice sheets, including improvements to Delay-Doppler processing algorithms and SAR altimetry waveform retracking procedures. Here we present results from SPICE (Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets), a 2 year project that focuses on the expected performance of Sentinel-3 SAR altimetry over the Polar ice sheets. The project, which began in September 2015 and is funded by ESA's SEOM (Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions) programme, aims to contribute to the development and understanding of ice sheet SAR altimetry through the emulation of Sentinel-3 data from dedicated CryoSat SAR acquisitions made at the Lake Vostok, Dome C and Spirit sites in East Antarctica, and from reprocessed interferometric SAR data in Greenland. More specifically, we will evaluate SAR elevation retrievals using different processing methodologies and

  17. Sensitivity of Pliocene ice sheets to orbital forcing

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cameron, Karen A.; Stibal, Marek; Zarsky, Jakub D.;

    2016-01-01

    The composition and spatial variability of microbial communities that reside within the extensive (>200 000 km(2)) biologically active area encompassing the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is hypothesized to be variable. We examined bacterial communities from cryoconite debris and surface ice across...

  19. Representing Greenland ice sheet freshwater fluxes in climate models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, Jan T M; Le Bars, Dewi; Van Kampenhout, Leo; Vizcaino, Miren; Enderlin, Ellyn M.; Van Den Broeke, Michiel R.

    2015-01-01

    Here we present a long-term (1850-2200) best estimate of Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) freshwater runoff that improves spatial detail of runoff locations and temporal resolution. Ice discharge is taken from observations since 2000 and assumed constant in time. Surface meltwater runoff is retrieved from

  20. Representing Greenland ice sheet freshwater fluxes in climate models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, J.T.M.; Le Bars, D.; Van Kampenhout, L.; Vizcaino, M.; Enderlin, E.M.; Van den Broeke, M.R.

    2015-01-01

    Here we present a long-term (1850–2200) best estimate of Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) freshwater runoff that improves spatial detail of runoff locations and temporal resolution. Ice discharge is taken from observations since 2000 and assumed constant in time. Surface meltwater runoff is retrieved from

  1. Representing Greenland ice sheet freshwater fluxes in climate models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, J.T.M.; Le Bars, D.; Van Kampenhout, L.; Vizcaino, M.; Enderlin, E.M.; Van den Broeke, M.R.

    2015-01-01

    Here we present a long-term (1850–2200) best estimate of Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) freshwater runoff that improves spatial detail of runoff locations and temporal resolution. Ice discharge is taken from observations since 2000 and assumed constant in time. Surface meltwater runoff is retrieved from

  2. Representing Greenland ice sheet freshwater fluxes in climate models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, Jan T M; Le Bars, Dewi; Van Kampenhout, Leo; Vizcaino, Miren; Enderlin, Ellyn M.; Van Den Broeke, Michiel R.

    2015-01-01

    Here we present a long-term (1850-2200) best estimate of Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) freshwater runoff that improves spatial detail of runoff locations and temporal resolution. Ice discharge is taken from observations since 2000 and assumed constant in time. Surface meltwater runoff is retrieved from

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  4. LIVVkit: An extensible, python-based, land ice verification and validation toolkit for ice sheet models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Joseph H.; Bennett, Andrew R.; Evans, Katherine J.; Price, Stephen; Hoffman, Matthew; Lipscomb, William H.; Fyke, Jeremy; Vargo, Lauren; Boghozian, Adrianna; Norman, Matthew; Worley, Patrick H.

    2017-06-01

    To address the pressing need to better understand the behavior and complex interaction of ice sheets within the global Earth system, significant development of continental-scale, dynamical ice sheet models is underway. Concurrent to the development of the Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM), the corresponding verification and validation (V&V) process is being coordinated through a new, robust, Python-based extensible software package, the Land Ice Verification and Validation toolkit (LIVVkit). Incorporated into the typical ice sheet model development cycle, it provides robust and automated numerical verification, software verification, performance validation, and physical validation analyses on a variety of platforms, from personal laptops to the largest supercomputers. LIVVkit operates on sets of regression test and reference data sets, and provides comparisons for a suite of community prioritized tests, including configuration and parameter variations, bit-for-bit evaluation, and plots of model variables to indicate where differences occur. LIVVkit also provides an easily extensible framework to incorporate and analyze results of new intercomparison projects, new observation data, and new computing platforms. LIVVkit is designed for quick adaptation to additional ice sheet models via abstraction of model specific code, functions, and configurations into an ice sheet model description bundle outside the main LIVVkit structure. Ultimately, through shareable and accessible analysis output, LIVVkit is intended to help developers build confidence in their models and enhance the credibility of ice sheet models overall.

  5. Coupling of climate models and ice sheet models by surface mass balance gradients: application to the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. M. Helsen

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available It is notoriously difficult to couple surface mass balance (SMB results from climate models to the changing geometry of an ice sheet model. This problem is traditionally avoided by using only accumulation from a climate model, and parameterizing the meltwater run-off as a function of temperature, which is often related to surface elevation (Hs. In this study, we propose a new strategy to calculate SMB, to allow a direct adjustment of SMB to a change in ice sheet topography and/or a change in climate forcing. This method is based on elevational gradients in the SMB field as computed by a regional climate model. Separate linear relations are derived for ablation and accumulation, using pairs of Hs and SMB within a minimum search radius. The continuously adjusting SMB forcing is consistent with climate model forcing fields, also for initially non-glaciated areas in the peripheral areas of an ice sheet. When applied to an asynchronous coupled ice sheet – climate model setup, this method circumvents traditional temperature lapse rate assumptions. Here we apply it to the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS. Experiments using both steady-state forcing and glacial-interglacial forcing result in realistic ice sheet reconstructions.

  6. The influence of meltwater on the thermal structure and flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poinar, Kristin

    As the climate has warmed over the past decades, the amount of melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased, and areas higher on the ice sheet have begun to melt regularly. This increase in melt has been hypothesized to enhance ice flow in myriad ways, including through basal lubrication and englacial refreezing. By developing and interpreting thermal ice-sheet models and analyzing remote sensing data, I evaluate the effect of these processes on ice flow and sea-level rise from the Greenland Ice Sheet. I first develop a thermal ice sheet model that is applicable to western Greenland. Key components of this model are its treatment of multiple phases (solid ice and liquid water) and its viscosity-dependent velocity field. I apply the model to Jakobshavn Isbrae, a fast-flowing outlet glacier. This is an important benchmark for my model, which I next apply to the topics outlined above. I use the thermal model to calculate the effect of englacial latent-heat transfer (meltwater refreezing within englacial features such as firn and crevasses) on ice dynamics in western Greenland. I find that in slow-moving areas, this can significantly warm the ice, but that englacial latent heat transfer has only a minimal effect on ice motion (60%) of the ice flux into the ocean, evidence of deep englacial warming is virtually absent. Thus, the effects of englacial latent heat transfer on ice motion are likely limited to slow-moving regions, which limits its importance to ice-sheet mass balance. Next, I couple a model for ice fracture to a modified version of my thermal model to calculate the depth and shape evolution of water-filled crevasses that form in crevasse fields. At most elevations and for typical water input volumes, crevasses penetrate to the top ~200--300 meters depth, warm the ice there by ~10°C, and may persist englacially, in a liquid state, for multiple decades. The surface hydrological network limits the amount of water that can reach most crevasses. We find that

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Notz, Dirk

    2009-12-08

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

  8. Damage Mechanics in the Community Ice Sheet Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitcomb, R.; Cathles, L. M. M., IV; Bassis, J. N.; Lipscomb, W. H.; Price, S. F.

    2016-12-01

    Half of the mass that floating ice shelves lose to the ocean comes from iceberg calving, which is a difficult process to simulate accurately. This is especially true in the large-scale ice dynamics models that couple changes in the cryosphere to climate projections. Damage mechanics provide a powerful technique with the potential to overcome this obstacle by describing how fractures in ice evolve over time. Here, we demonstrate the application of a damage model to ice shelves that predicts realistic geometries. We incorporated this solver into the Community Ice Sheet Model, a three dimensional ice sheet model developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The damage mechanics formulation that we use comes from a first principles-based evolution law for the depth of basal and surface crevasses and depends on the large scale strain rate, stress state, and basal melt. We show that under idealized conditions it produces ice tongue lengths that match well with observations for a selection of natural ice tongues, including Erebus, Drygalski, and Pine Island in Antarctica, as well as Petermann in Greenland. We also apply the model to more generalized ideal ice shelf geometries and show that it produces realistic calving front positions. Although our results are preliminary, the damage mechanics model that we developed provides a promising first principles method for predicting ice shelf extent and how the calving margins of ice shelves respond to climate change.

  9. Subglacial hydrology and the formation of ice streams.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kyrke-Smith, T M; Katz, R F; Fowler, A C

    2014-01-08

    Antarctic ice streams are associated with pressurized subglacial meltwater but the role this water plays in the dynamics of the streams is not known. To address this, we present a model of subglacial water flow below ice sheets, and particularly below ice streams. The base-level flow is fed by subglacial melting and is presumed to take the form of a rough-bedded film, in which the ice is supported by larger clasts, but there is a millimetric water film which submerges the smaller particles. A model for the film is given by two coupled partial differential equations, representing mass conservation of water and ice closure. We assume that there is no sediment transport and solve for water film depth and effective pressure. This is coupled to a vertically integrated, higher order model for ice-sheet dynamics. If there is a sufficiently small amount of meltwater produced (e.g. if ice flux is low), the distributed film and ice sheet are stable, whereas for larger amounts of melt the ice-water system can become unstable, and ice streams form spontaneously as a consequence. We show that this can be explained in terms of a multi-valued sliding law, which arises from a simplified, one-dimensional analysis of the coupled model.

  10. Subglacial conditions and Scandinavian Ice Sheet dynamics at the coarse-grained substratum of the fore-mountain area of southern Poland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salamon, Tomasz

    2016-11-01

    The fore-mountain areas of southern Poland are locally composed of the coarse-grained sediments of alluvial fans, which created unusual conditions under the advancing Scandinavian Ice Sheet during the Elsterian glaciation. This highly permeable substratum potentially enabled rapid outflow of meltwater from the ice sheet base, thereby reducing the water pressure and strongly influencing the ice sheet dynamics. The subglacial conditions and the relationship between the ice sheet behaviour and its coarse-grained substratum were studied at the foreland of the western Carpathian Mountains. The sedimentological and structural analysis of the till and related sediments that were deposited above the alluvial gravel of the fore-mountain fans are presented. The study indicates that despite the high permeability of the coarse-grained substratum, it did not slow the ice sheet movement. Conversely, the ice sheet moved mainly due to basal slip and locally shallow deformations. This was a consequence of very high basal water pressure, which resulted largely from the presence of permafrost that restricted subglacial groundwater outflow. In addition, the ice sheet substratum was inclined opposite to the direction of its movement, increasing the pressure of the subglacial water. Numerous subhorizontal sandy laminae within the till indicate that the meltwater from the ice sheet base was drained by a water film along the ice/bed interface. The water escape structures within the till and subtill sediments indicate the occasional instability of the ice sheet hydrological system and suggest that the meltwater was periodically stored in the ice sheet base. Temporal changes occurring in the ice sheet hydrological system might indicate variations in the ice sheet behaviour; i.e. phases of relatively fast ice flow and phases of ice stagnation. The latter were probably correlated with the freezing of the ice margin to its base. The study shows how the coarse-grained substratum could

  11. Large-scale Ice Discharge Events in a Pure Ice Sheet Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alverson, K.; Legrand, P.; Papa, B. D.; Mysak, L. A.; Wang, Z.

    2004-05-01

    Sediment cores in the North Atlantic show evidence of periodic large-scale ice discharge events between 60 ka and 10 ka BP. These events occurred with a typical period between 5 kyr and 10 kyr. During each event, a significant amount of ice was discharged from the Hudson Bay region through the Hudson Strait and into the North Atlantic. This input of freshwater through the melting of icebergs is thought to have strongly affected the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. One theory is that these periodic ice discharge events represent an internal oscillation of the ice sheet under constant forcing. A second theory requires some variable external forcing on an unstable ice sheet to produce a discharge event. Using the ice sheet model of Marshall, an attempt is made to simulate periodic large-scale ice discharge events within the framework of the first theory. In this case, ice sheet surges and large-scale discharge events occur as a free oscillation of the ice sheet. An analysis of the activation of ice surge events and the thermodynamic controls on these events is also made.

  12. Generation of a new Greenland Ice Sheet Digital Elevation Model

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nagarajan, Sudhagar; Csatho, Beata M; Schenk, Anton F

    and spaceborne laser altimetry (airborne: Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) (1993-present), Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor(LVIS) (2007,2009 and 2011); spaceborne: Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) (2003-2009)) and DEMs have been derived from stereo satellite imagery (e.g., SPOT (40 m), ASTER (15...... conditions, by fusing a photoclinometry DEM, SPOT and ASTER DEMs as well as elevations from ICESat, ATM and LVIS laser altimetry. The new multi-resolution DEM has a resolution of 40 m x 40 m in the marginal ice sheet regions and 250 m elsewhere. The ice sheet margin is mapped from SPOT and Landsat imagery...... and SPOT DEMs are used to cover the complex topography of ice sheet marginal regions. The accuracy of SPOT DEMs is approximately $\\pm 6$ m except in the areas covered by clouds regions, where the SPOT elevations were replaced by ASTER DEMs. The ASTER DEMs were checked and improved by the DEM derived from...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-07-01

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

  14. Ice flow dynamics and surface meltwater flux at a land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fitzpatrick, Andrew A. W.; Hubbard, Alun; Joughin, Ian

    2013-01-01

    We present satellite-derived velocity patterns for the two contrasting melt seasons of 2009-10 across Russell Glacier catchment, a western, land-terminating sector of the Greenland ice sheet which encompasses the K(angerlussuaq)-transect. Results highlight great spatial heterogeneity in flow...... system, regulating flow dynamics. Despite this, the cumulative surface flux over the record melt year of 2010 was still greater compared with the perturbation over the average melt year of 2009. This study supports the proposition that local surface meltwater runoff couples to basal hydrology driving ice......, indicating that structural controls such as bedrock geometry govern ice discharge into individual outlet troughs. Results also reveal strong seasonal flow variability extending 57 km up-glacier to 1200 m elevation, with the largest acceleration (100% over 11 days) occurring within 10 km of the margin...

  15. Depth, ice thickness, and ice-out timing cause divergent hydrologic responses among Arctic lakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arp, Christopher D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Liljedahl, Anna K.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Welker, Jeffery A.

    2015-01-01

    Lakes are prevalent in the Arctic and thus play a key role in regional hydrology. Since many Arctic lakes are shallow and ice grows thick (historically 2-m or greater), seasonal ice commonly freezes to the lake bed (bedfast ice) by winter's end. Bedfast ice fundamentally alters lake energy balance and melt-out processes compared to deeper lakes that exceed the maximum ice thickness (floating ice) and maintain perennial liquid water below floating ice. Our analysis of lakes in northern Alaska indicated that ice-out of bedfast ice lakes occurred on average 17 days earlier (22-June) than ice-out on adjacent floating ice lakes (9-July). Earlier ice-free conditions in bedfast ice lakes caused higher open-water evaporation, 28% on average, relative to floating ice lakes and this divergence increased in lakes closer to the coast and in cooler summers. Water isotopes (18O and 2H) indicated similar differences in evaporation between these lake types. Our analysis suggests that ice regimes created by the combination of lake depth relative to ice thickness and associated ice-out timing currently cause a strong hydrologic divergence among Arctic lakes. Thus understanding the distribution and dynamics of lakes by ice regime is essential for predicting regional hydrology. An observed regime shift in lakes to floating ice conditions due to thinner ice growth may initially offset lake drying because of lower evaporative loss from this lake type. This potential negative feedback caused by winter processes occurs in spite of an overall projected increase in evapotranspiration as the Arctic climate warms.

  16. Changes in the firn structure of the western Greenland Ice Sheet caused by recent warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    de la Peña, S.; Howat, I. M.; Nienow, P. W.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Mosley-Thompson, E.; Price, S. F.; Mair, D.; Noël, B.; Sole, A. J.

    2015-06-01

    Atmospheric warming over the Greenland Ice Sheet during the last 2 decades has increased the amount of surface meltwater production, resulting in the migration of melt and percolation regimes to higher altitudes and an increase in the amount of ice content from refrozen meltwater found in the firn above the superimposed ice zone. Here we present field and airborne radar observations of buried ice layers within the near-surface (0-20 m) firn in western Greenland, obtained from campaigns between 1998 and 2014. We find a sharp increase in firn-ice content in the form of thick widespread layers in the percolation zone, which decreases the capacity of the firn to store meltwater. The estimated total annual ice content retained in the near-surface firn in areas with positive surface mass balance west of the ice divide in Greenland reached a maximum of 74 ± 25 Gt in 2012, compared to the 1958-1999 average of 13 ± 2 Gt, while the percolation zone area more than doubled between 2003 and 2012. Increased melt and column densification resulted in surface lowering averaging -0.80 ± 0.39 m yr-1 between 1800 and 2800 m in the accumulation zone of western Greenland. Since 2007, modeled annual melt and refreezing rates in the percolation zone at elevations below 2100 m surpass the annual snowfall from the previous year, implying that mass gain in the region is retained after melt in the form of refrozen meltwater. If current melt trends over high elevation regions continue, subsequent changes in firn structure will have implications for the hydrology of the ice sheet and related abrupt seasonal densification could become increasingly significant for altimetry-derived ice sheet mass balance estimates.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Bevis, M. G.; Wahr, J. M.

    and therefore significantly improve the estimate of the total volume change. Furthermore, we divide the GrIS into six major drainage basins and provide volume loss estimates during 2003-2006, 2006-2009 and 2009-2012 for each basin and separate between melt induced and dynamic ice loss. In order to separate...... dynamic ice loss from melt processes, we use SMB values from the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2) and SMB values from a positive degree day runoff retention model (Janssens & Huybrechts 2000, Hanna et al. 2011 JGR, updated for this study). Our results show increasing SMB ice loss over the last......Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is dominated by loss in the marginal areas. Dynamic induced ice loss and its associated ice surface lowering is often largest close to the glacier calving front and may vary from rates of tens of meters per years to a few meters per year over relatively...

  18. The future of ice sheets and sea ice: Between reversible retreat and unstoppable loss

    OpenAIRE

    Notz, Dirk

    2009-01-01

    We discuss the existence of cryospheric “tipping points” in the Earth's climate system. Such critical thresholds have been suggested to exist for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice and the retreat of ice sheets: Once these ice masses have shrunk below an anticipated critical extent, the ice–albedo feedback might lead to the irreversible and unstoppable loss of the remaining ice. We here give an overview of our current understanding of such threshold behavior. By using conceptual arguments, w...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-04-01

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

  1. Spatial and temporal variations in lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansson, A. M.; Jansson, P.; Brown, I. A.

    2013-01-01

    Surface lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet provide temporary storage for meltwater that influences both the surface and basal water fluxes. Thus, to understand the effects of variations in surface melt on ice sheet dynamics it is necessary to understand the surface hydrology. We have used satellite imagery, acquired at 5-day intervals, to map lake initiation and cessation on two sub-sections on the south west Greenland Ice Sheet over three melt seasons (2007-2009). We observe that lake initiation is closely tied to a threshold energy input of approximately 40 ± 18.5 positive-degree-days. This applies to all studied melt seasons, regardless of evolution and melting index anomalies. Lake longevity averages 24 days with little variation between different melt seasons. Our observed median lake area is larger than previously reported. Approximately 50% of all lakes have a life span of Cessation of identified lakes is caused by two processes: drainage during the melt season (88% - 2007, 78% - 2008 and 88% - 2009) and freeze-up at the end of the season (12% - 2007, 22% - 2008 and 12% - 2009). Inclusion of the energy needed for lake initiation and number of lakes that freeze up at the end of the season into supra-glacial lake models will add further insight into the hydrological system dynamics.

  2. Ice Sheet Roughness Estimation Based on Impulse Responses Acquired in the Global Ice Sheet Mapping Orbiter Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niamsuwan, N.; Johnson, J. T.; Jezek, K. C.; Gogineni, P.

    2008-12-01

    The Global Ice Sheet Mapping Orbiter (GISMO) mission was developed to address scientific needs to understand the polar ice subsurface structure. This NASA Instrument Incubator Program project is a collaboration between Ohio State University, the University of Kansas, Vexcel Corporation and NASA. The GISMO design utilizes an interferometric SAR (InSAR) strategy in which ice sheet reflected signals received by a dual-antenna system are used to produce an interference pattern. The resulting interferogram can be used to filter out surface clutter so as to reveal the signals scattered from the base of the ice sheet. These signals are further processed to produce 3D-images representing basal topography of the ice sheet. In the past three years, the GISMO airborne field campaigns that have been conducted provide a set of useful data for studying geophysical properties of the Greenland ice sheet. While topography information can be obtained using interferometric SAR processing techniques, ice sheet roughness statistics can also be derived by a relatively simple procedure that involves analyzing power levels and the shape of the radar impulse response waveforms. An electromagnetic scattering model describing GISMO impulse responses has previously been proposed and validated. This model suggested that rms-heights and correlation lengths of the upper surface profile can be determined from the peak power and the decay rate of the pulse return waveform, respectively. This presentation will demonstrate a procedure for estimating the roughness of ice surfaces by fitting the GISMO impulse response model to retrieved waveforms from selected GISMO flights. Furthermore, an extension of this procedure to estimate the scattering coefficient of the glacier bed will be addressed as well. Planned future applications involving the classification of glacier bed conditions based on the derived scattering coefficients will also be described.

  3. Greenland Ice Sheet seasonal and spatial mass variability from model simulations and GRACE (2003-2012)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, Patrick M.; Tedesco, Marco; Schlegel, Nicole-Jeanne; Luthcke, Scott B.; Fettweis, Xavier; Larour, Eric

    2016-06-01

    to ice dynamics or hydrology, may lead to the observed differences. This highlights the need for further evaluation of modeled processes at regional and seasonal scales, and further study of ice sheet processes not accounted for, such as the role of subglacial hydrology in variations in glacial flow.

  4. Greenland Ice Sheet seasonal and spatial mass variability from model simulations and GRACE (2003–2012

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. M. Alexander

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Improving the ability of regional climate models (RCMs and ice sheet models (ISMs to simulate spatiotemporal variations in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS is crucial for prediction of future sea level rise. While several studies have examined recent trends in GrIS mass loss, studies focusing on mass variations at sub-annual and sub-basin-wide scales are still lacking. Here, we examine spatiotemporal variations in mass over the GrIS derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE satellites for the 2003–2012 period using a "mascon" approach, with a nominal spatial resolution of 100 km, and a temporal resolution of 10 days. We compare GRACE-estimated mass variations against those simulated by the Modèle Atmosphérique Régionale (MAR RCM and the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM. In order to properly compare spatial and temporal variations in GrIS mass from GRACE with model outputs, we find it necessary to spatially and temporally filter model results to reproduce leakage of mass inherent in the GRACE solution. Both modeled and satellite-derived results point to a decline (of −179 and −240 Gt yr−1 respectively in GrIS mass over the period examined, but the models appear to underestimate the rate of mass loss, especially in areas below 2000 m in elevation, where the majority of recent GrIS mass loss is occurring. On an ice-sheet wide scale, the timing of the modeled seasonal cycle of cumulative mass (driven by summer mass loss agrees with the GRACE-derived seasonal cycle, within limits of uncertainty from the GRACE solution. However, on sub-ice-sheet-wide scales, there are significant differences in the timing of peaks in the annual cycle of mass change. At these scales, model biases, or unaccounted-for processes related to ice dynamics or hydrology may lead to the observed differences. This highlights the need for further evaluation of modelled processes at regional and seasonal scales, and further study of ice sheet

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-01-29

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  7. Capabilities and performance of Elmer/Ice, a new-generation ice sheet model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. Gagliardini

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available The Fourth IPCC Assessment Report concluded that ice sheet flow models, in their current state, were unable to provide accurate forecast for the increase of polar ice sheet discharge and the associated contribution to sea level rise. Since then, the glaciological community has undertaken a huge effort to develop and improve a new generation of ice flow models, and as a result a significant number of new ice sheet models have emerged. Among them is the parallel finite-element model Elmer/Ice, based on the open-source multi-physics code Elmer. It was one of the first full-Stokes models used to make projections for the evolution of the whole Greenland ice sheet for the coming two centuries. Originally developed to solve local ice flow problems of high mechanical and physical complexity, Elmer/Ice has today reached the maturity to solve larger-scale problems, earning the status of an ice sheet model. Here, we summarise almost 10 yr of development performed by different groups. Elmer/Ice solves the full-Stokes equations, for isotropic but also anisotropic ice rheology, resolves the grounding line dynamics as a contact problem, and contains various basal friction laws. Derived fields, like the age of the ice, the strain rate or stress, can also be computed. Elmer/Ice includes two recently proposed inverse methods to infer badly known parameters. Elmer is a highly parallelised code thanks to recent developments and the implementation of a block preconditioned solver for the Stokes system. In this paper, all these components are presented in detail, as well as the numerical performance of the Stokes solver and developments planned for the future.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  9. Bayesian Inversion for Large Scale Antarctic Ice Sheet Flow

    KAUST Repository

    Ghattas, Omar

    2015-01-07

    The flow of ice from the interior of polar ice sheets is the primary contributor to projected sea level rise. One of the main difficulties faced in modeling ice sheet flow is the uncertain spatially-varying Robin boundary condition that describes the resistance to sliding at the base of the ice. Satellite observations of the surface ice flow velocity, along with a model of ice as a creeping incompressible shear-thinning fluid, can be used to infer this uncertain basal boundary condition. We cast this ill-posed inverse problem in the framework of Bayesian inference, which allows us to infer not only the basal sliding parameters, but also the associated uncertainty. To overcome the prohibitive nature of Bayesian methods for large-scale inverse problems, we exploit the fact that, despite the large size of observational data, they typically provide only sparse information on model parameters. We show results for Bayesian inversion of the basal sliding parameter field for the full Antarctic continent, and demonstrate that the work required to solve the inverse problem, measured in number of forward (and adjoint) ice sheet model solves, is independent of the parameter and data dimensions

  10. A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  13. Inferring Firn Permeability from Pneumatic Testing: A Case Study on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sommers, Aleah N.; Rajaram, Harihar; Weber, Eliezer P.; MacFerrin, Michael J.; Colgan, William T.; Stevens, C. Max

    2017-03-01

    Across the accumulation zone of the Greenland ice sheet, summer temperatures can be sufficiently warm to cause widespread melting, as was the case in July 2012 when the entire ice sheet experienced a brief episode of enhanced surface ablation. The resulting meltwater percolates into the firn and refreezes, to create ice lenses and layers within the firn column. This is an important process to consider when estimating the surface mass balance of the ice sheet. The rate of meltwater percolation depends on the permeability of the firn, a property that is not well constrained in the presence of refrozen ice layers and lenses. We present a novel, inexpensive method for measuring in-situ firn permeability using pneumatic testing, a well-established technique used in environmental engineering and hydrology. To illustrate the capabilities of this method, we estimate both horizontal and vertical permeability from pilot tests at six sites on the Greenland ice sheet: KAN-U, DYE-2, EKT, NASA-SE, Saddle, and EastGRIP. These sites cover a range of conditions from mostly dry firn (EastGRIP), to firn with several ice layers and lenses from refrozen meltwater (Saddle, NASA-SE, EKT), to firn with extensive ice layers (DYE-2 and KAN-U). The estimated permeability in firn without refrozen ice layers at EastGRIP agrees well with the range previously reported using an air permeameter to measure permeability through firn core samples at Summit, Greenland. At sites with ice lenses or layers, we find high degrees of anisotropy, with vertical permeability much lower than horizontal permeability. Pneumatic testing is a promising and low-cost technique for measuring firn permeability, particularly as meltwater production increases in the accumulation zone and ice layers and lenses from refrozen melt layers become more prevalent. In these initial proof-of-concept tests, the estimated permeabilities represent effective permeability at the meter scale. With appropriately higher vacuum pressures

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deconto, R. M.; Pollard, D.

    2013-12-01

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

  15. Ice-sheet modelling accelerated by graphics cards

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-11-01

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

  16. Groundwater flow modelling under ice sheet conditions. Scoping calculations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jaquet, O.; Namar, R. (In2Earth Modelling Ltd (Switzerland)); Jansson, P. (Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm Univ., Stockholm (Sweden))

    2010-10-15

    The potential impact of long-term climate changes has to be evaluated with respect to repository performance and safety. In particular, glacial periods of advancing and retreating ice sheet and prolonged permafrost conditions are likely to occur over the repository site. The growth and decay of ice sheets and the associated distribution of permafrost will affect the groundwater flow field and its composition. As large changes may take place, the understanding of groundwater flow patterns in connection to glaciations is an important issue for the geological disposal at long term. During a glacial period, the performance of the repository could be weakened by some of the following conditions and associated processes: - Maximum pressure at repository depth (canister failure). - Maximum permafrost depth (canister failure, buffer function). - Concentration of groundwater oxygen (canister corrosion). - Groundwater salinity (buffer stability). - Glacially induced earthquakes (canister failure). Therefore, the GAP project aims at understanding key hydrogeological issues as well as answering specific questions: - Regional groundwater flow system under ice sheet conditions. - Flow and infiltration conditions at the ice sheet bed. - Penetration depth of glacial meltwater into the bedrock. - Water chemical composition at repository depth in presence of glacial effects. - Role of the taliks, located in front of the ice sheet, likely to act as potential discharge zones of deep groundwater flow. - Influence of permafrost distribution on the groundwater flow system in relation to build-up and thawing periods. - Consequences of glacially induced earthquakes on the groundwater flow system. Some answers will be provided by the field data and investigations; the integration of the information and the dynamic characterisation of the key processes will be obtained using numerical modelling. Since most of the data are not yet available, some scoping calculations are performed using the

  17. Improved ice loss estimate of the northwestern Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kjeldsen, K.K.; Khan, S.A.; van den Broeke, M.R.; van Angelen, J.H.

    2013-01-01

    We estimate ice volume change rates in the northwest Greenland drainage basin during 2003–2009 using Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser altimeter data. Elevation changes are often reported to be largest near the frontal portion of outlet glaciers. To improve the volume change est

  18. Discussing Progress in Understanding Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-11-01

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

  19. Changes in the firn structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet caused by recent warming

    Science.gov (United States)

    de la Peña, S.; Howat, I. M.; Nienow, P. W.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Mosley-Thompson, E.; Price, S. F.; Mair, D.; Noël, B.; Sole, A. J.

    2015-01-01

    Atmospheric warming over the Greenland Ice Sheet during the last two decades has increased the amount of surface meltwater production, resulting in the migration of melt and percolation regimes to higher altitudes and an increase in the amount of solid ice from refrozen meltwater found in the firn above the equilibrium line. Here we present observations of near-surface (0-20 m) firn conditions in western Greenland obtained from campaigns between 1998 and 2014. We find a sharp increase in firn ice content in the form of thick widespread layers in the percolation zone, which decreases the capacity of the firn to store meltwater. The estimated total annual ice content retained in the firn in areas with positive surface mass balance west of the ice divide in Greenland reached a maximum of 74 ± 25 Gt in 2012, compared to the 1958-1999 average of 13 ± 2 Gt, while the percolation zone area more than doubled between 2003 and 2012. Increased melt and column densification resulted in surface lowering averaging -0.80 ± 0.39 m yr-1 between 1800 and 2800 m in the accumulation zone of western Greenland. Since 2007, annual melt and refreezing rates in the percolation zone at elevations below 2100 m surpass the annual snowfall from the previous year, implying that mass gain in the region is now in the form of refrozen meltwater. If current melt trends over high elevation regions continue, subsequent changes in firn structure will have implications for the hydrology of the ice sheet and related abrupt seasonal densification could become increasingly significant for altimetry-derived ice sheet mass balance estimates.

  20. Changes in the firn structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet caused by recent warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. de la Peña

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Atmospheric warming over the Greenland Ice Sheet during the last two decades has increased the amount of surface meltwater production, resulting in the migration of melt and percolation regimes to higher altitudes and an increase in the amount of solid ice from refrozen meltwater found in the firn above the equilibrium line. Here we present observations of near-surface (0–20 m firn conditions in western Greenland obtained from campaigns between 1998 and 2014. We find a sharp increase in firn ice content in the form of thick widespread layers in the percolation zone, which decreases the capacity of the firn to store meltwater. The estimated total annual ice content retained in the firn in areas with positive surface mass balance west of the ice divide in Greenland reached a maximum of 74 ± 25 Gt in 2012, compared to the 1958–1999 average of 13 ± 2 Gt, while the percolation zone area more than doubled between 2003 and 2012. Increased melt and column densification resulted in surface lowering averaging −0.80 ± 0.39 m yr−1 between 1800 and 2800 m in the accumulation zone of western Greenland. Since 2007, annual melt and refreezing rates in the percolation zone at elevations below 2100 m surpass the annual snowfall from the previous year, implying that mass gain in the region is now in the form of refrozen meltwater. If current melt trends over high elevation regions continue, subsequent changes in firn structure will have implications for the hydrology of the ice sheet and related abrupt seasonal densification could become increasingly significant for altimetry-derived ice sheet mass balance estimates.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2012-01-01

    Accurate prediction of global sea-level rise requires that we understand the cause of recent, widespread and intensifying1,2 glacier acceleration along Antarctic ice-sheet coastal margins3. Atmospheric and oceanic forcing have the potential to reduce the thickness and extent of floating ice shelves,

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pritchard, H.D.; Ligtenberg, S.R.M.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/32821177X; Fricker, H.A.; Vaughan, D.G.; van den Broeke, M.R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643; Padman, L.

    2012-01-01

    Accurate prediction of global sea-level rise requires that we understand the cause of recent, widespread and intensifying1,2 glacier acceleration along Antarctic ice-sheet coastal margins3. Atmospheric and oceanic forcing have the potential to reduce the thickness and extent of floating ice shelves,

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  4. GLAS/ICESat L2 Global Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheet Altimetry Data V033

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — GLA12 contains the ice sheet elevation and elevation distribution corrected for geodetic and atmospheric affects calculated from algorithms fine-tuned for ice sheet...

  5. Glaciers and ice sheets as a biome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anesio, Alexandre M; Laybourn-Parry, Johanna

    2012-04-01

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

  6. GREENLAND ICE SHEET CHANGES FROM SPACE USING LASER, RADAR AND

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Stenseng, Lars; Simonsen, Sebastian Bjerregaard

    2010-01-01

    The Greenland cryosphere is undergoing rapid changes, and these are documented by remote sensing from space. In this paper, an inversion scheme is used to derive mass changes from gravity changes observed by GRACE, and to derive the mean annual mass loss for the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is esti...

  7. Drifting snow climate of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, J.T.M.

    2013-01-01

    This study presents the drifting snow climate of the Earth's ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland. For that purpose we use a regional atmospheric climate model, RACMO2. We included a routine that is able to calculate the drifting snow fluxes and accounts for the interaction between drifting snow on

  8. Emplacement of Antarctic ice sheet mass affects circumpolar ocean flow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rugenstein, M.; Stocchi, P.; van der Heydt, A.; Brinkhuis, H.

    2014-01-01

    During the Cenozoic the Antarctic continent experienced large fluctuations in ice-sheet volume. We investigate the effects of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) on Southern Ocean circulation for the first continental scale glaciation of Antarctica (~ 34 Myr) by combining solid Earth and ocean dynami

  9. The Greenland ice sheet in a warming climate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Angelen, J.H.

    2013-01-01

    In this thesis we assess multiple aspects of the Greenland climate, including the surface energy and mass balance of the ice sheet for the contemporary and near future climate. For these purposes we used output of the extensively and well-evaluated regional atmospheric climate model RACMO2. The rela

  10. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a comparison of parameterizations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Reijmer, C.H.; van den Broeke, M.R.; Fettweis, X.; Ettema, J.; Stap, L.B.

    2012-01-01

    Retention and refreezing of meltwater are acknowledged to be important processes for the mass budget of polar glaciers and ice sheets. Several parameterizations of these processes exist for use in energy and mass balance models. Due to a lack of direct observations, validation of these parameterizat

  11. Emplacement of Antarctic ice sheet mass affects circumpolar ocean flow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rugenstein, M.; Stocchi, P.; van der Heydt, A.; Brinkhuis, H.

    2014-01-01

    During the Cenozoic the Antarctic continent experienced large fluctuations in ice-sheet volume. We investigate the effects of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) on Southern Ocean circulation for the first continental scale glaciation of Antarctica (~ 34 Myr) by combining solid Earth and ocean dynami

  12. Emplacement of Antarctic ice sheet mass affects circumpolar ocean flow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rugenstein, Maria; Stocchi, Paolo; von der Heydt, Anna; Dijkstra, Hendrik; Brinkhuis, Henk

    2014-01-01

    During the Cenozoic the Antarctic continent experienced large fluctuations in ice-sheet volume. We investigate the effects of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) on Southern Ocean circulation for the first continental scale glaciation of Antarctica (~34 Myr) by combining solid Earth and ocean dynamic

  13. Emplacement of Antarctic ice sheet mass affects circumpolar ocean flow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rugenstein, M.; Stocchi, P.; van der Heydt, A.; Brinkhuis, H.

    2014-01-01

    During the Cenozoic the Antarctic continent experienced large fluctuations in ice-sheet volume. We investigate the effects of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) on Southern Ocean circulation for the first continental scale glaciation of Antarctica (~ 34 Myr) by combining solid Earth and ocean

  14. Microbial nitrogen cycling on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Telling

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Nitrogen inputs and microbial nitrogen cycling were investigated along a 79 km transect into the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS during the main ablation season in summer 2010. The depletion of dissolved nitrate and production of ammonium (relative to icemelt in cryoconite holes on Leverett Glacier, within 7.5 km of the ice sheet margin, suggested microbial uptake and ammonification respectively. Positive in situ acetylene assays indicated nitrogen fixation both in a debris-rich 100 m marginal zone and up to 5.7 km upslope on Leverett Glacier (with rates up to 16.3 μmoles C2H4 m−2 day−1. No positive acetylene assays were detected > 5.7 km into the ablation zone of the ice sheet. Potential nitrogen fixation only occurred when concentrations of dissolved and sediment-bound inorganic nitrogen were undetectable. Estimates of nitrogen fluxes onto the transect suggest that nitrogen fixation is likely of minor importance to the overall nitrogen budget of Leverett Glacier and of negligible importance to the nitrogen budget on the main ice sheet itself. Nitrogen fixation is however potentially important as a source of nitrogen to microbial communities in the debris-rich marginal zone close to the terminus of the glacier, where nitrogen fixation may aid the colonization of subglacial and moraine-derived debris.

  15. A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Shepherd, Andrew; Ivins, Erik R; A, Geruo

    2012-01-01

    We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth's polar ice sheets. We find that there is good...

  16. The role of ice sheets in the pleistocene climate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1991-01-01

    Northern hemisphere ice sheets have played an important role in the climatic evolution of the Pleistocene. The characteristic time-scale of icesheet growth has the same order-of-magnitude as that for the orbital insolation variations. The interaction with the solid earth, the importance of the therm

  17. Drifting snow climate of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lenaerts, J.T.M.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/314850163

    2013-01-01

    This study presents the drifting snow climate of the Earth's ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland. For that purpose we use a regional atmospheric climate model, RACMO2. We included a routine that is able to calculate the drifting snow fluxes and accounts for the interaction between drifting snow on

  18. Results of the Marine Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project, MISMIP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Pattyn

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Predictions of marine ice-sheet behaviour require models that are able to robustly simulate grounding line migration. We present results of an intercomparison exercise for marine ice-sheet models. Verification is effected by comparison with approximate analytical solutions for flux across the grounding line using simplified geometrical configurations (no lateral variations, no effects of lateral buttressing. Unique steady state grounding line positions exist for ice sheets on a downward sloping bed, while hysteresis occurs across an overdeepened bed, and stable steady state grounding line positions only occur on the downward-sloping sections. Models based on the shallow ice approximation, which does not resolve extensional stresses, do not reproduce the approximate analytical results unless appropriate parameterizations for ice flux are imposed at the grounding line. For extensional-stress resolving "shelfy stream" models, differences between model results were mainly due to the choice of spatial discretization. Moving grid methods were found to be the most accurate at capturing grounding line evolution, since they track the grounding line explicitly. Adaptive mesh refinement can further improve accuracy, including fixed grid models that generally perform poorly at coarse resolution. Fixed grid models, with nested grid representations of the grounding line, are able to generate accurate steady state positions, but can be inaccurate over transients. Only one full-Stokes model was included in the intercomparison, and consequently the accuracy of shelfy stream models as approximations of full-Stokes models remains to be determined in detail, especially during transients.

  19. Hindcasting to measure ice sheet model sensitivity to initial states

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Aschwanden

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Recent observations of the Greenland ice sheet indicate rapid mass loss at an accelerating rate with an increasing contribution to global mean sea level. Ice sheet models are used for projections of such future contributions of ice sheets to sea level, but the quality of projections is difficult to measure directly. Realistic initial states are crucial for accurate simulations. To test initial states we use hindcasting, i.e. forcing a model with known or closely-estimated inputs for past events to see how well the output matches observations. By simulating the recent past of Greenland, and comparing to observations of ice thickness, ice discharge, surface speeds, mass loss and surface elevation changes for validation, we find that the short term model response is strongly influenced by the initial state. We show that the dynamical state can be mis-represented despite a good agreement with some observations, stressing the importance of using multiple observations. Some initial states generate good agreement with measured mass time series in the hindcast period, and good agreement with present-day kinematic fields. We suggest hindcasting as a methodology for careful validation of initial states that can be done before making projections on decadal to century time-scales.

  20. E-tracers: A New Technique for Wireless Sensing Under Ice Sheets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burrow, S.; Wadham, J. L.; Salter, M.; Barnes, R.

    2009-12-01

    A significant hurdle to the understanding of ice sheet basal hydrology and its coupling with ice motion is the difficulty in making in-situ measurements along a flow path. While dye tracing techniques may be used in small glaciers to determine transit times of surface melt water through the sub-glacial system, they provide no information on in situ conditions (e.g. pressure) and are ineffective at ice-sheet scale where dilution is high. The use of tethered sensor packages is complicated by the long lengths (~100’s m) and torturous path of the moulins and conduits within ice sheets. Recent attempts to pass solid objects (rubber ducks) and other sensor packages through glacial moulins have confirmed the difficultly in deploying sensors into the sub glacial environment. Here, we report the first successful deployment and recovery of compact, electronic units to moulins up to 7 km from the margin of a large land-terminating Greenland outlet. The technique uses RF (Radio Frequency) location to create an electronic tracer (an ‘e-tracer’) enabling a data-logging sensor package to be located in the pro-glacial flood plain once it has passed through the ice sheet. A number of individual packages are used in each deployment mitigating for the risk that some may become stuck within the moulin or lodge in an inaccessible part of the floodplain. In preliminary tests on the Leverett glacier in West Greenland during August 2009 we have demonstrated that this technique can be used to locate and retrieve dummy sensor packages: 50% and 20% of the dummy sensor packages introduced to moulins at 1 and 7 km from the ice sheet terminus respectively, emerged in the sub-glacial stream. It was possible to effectively detect the e-tracer units (which broadcast on 151MHz with 10mW of power) over a horizontal range of up to 5km across the pro-glacial floodplain and locate them to a high accuracy, allowing visual recognition and manual recovery. These performance statistics give this

  1. Mountain building and the initiation of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Solgaard, Anne Munck; Bonow, Johan; Langen, Peter Lang

    2013-01-01

    The effects of a new hypothesis about mountain building in Greenland on ice sheet initiation are investigated using an ice sheet model in combination with a climate model. According to this hypothesis, low-relief landscapes near sea level characterised Greenland in Miocene times until two phases...... of km-scale uplift in the late Miocene and in the latest Miocene–Pliocene (beginning at 10 and ~5 Ma, respectively) initiated the formation of the present-day mountains. The topography of Greenland, prior to these uplift events is reconstructed from the present-day, isostatically compensated bedrock...... with the observed climatic variability superimposed on the general cooling trend in the late Cenozoic: e.g., ice rafted debris in late Miocene deposits off southeast Greenland and the mid-PlioceneWarmth. The late Cenozoic mountain building in Greenland augments the effects of the climatic deterioration leading...

  2. Mountain building and the initiation of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Solgaard, Anne Munck; Bonow, Johan; Langen, Peter Lang

    2013-01-01

    of km-scale uplift in the late Miocene and in the latest Miocene–Pliocene (beginning at 10 and ~5 Ma, respectively) initiated the formation of the present-day mountains. The topography of Greenland, prior to these uplift events is reconstructed from the present-day, isostatically compensated bedrock...... by mapping the two main steps in the landscape that resulted from the two uplift phases. Ice sheet initiation is studied using the topography before uplift and after each phase of uplift by applying different forcing conditions relevant for the late Cenozoic, which was characterised by long-term cooling...... superimposed by cold and warm excursions. The modelling results show that no ice initiates in the case of the low-lying and almost flat topography prior to the uplifts. However, the results demonstrate a significant ice sheet growth in response to the orographically induced increase in precipitation...

  3. Achieving Textbook Multigrid Efficiency for Hydrostatic Ice Sheet Flow

    KAUST Repository

    Brown, Jed

    2013-03-12

    The hydrostatic equations for ice sheet flow offer improved fidelity compared with the shallow ice approximation and shallow stream approximation popular in today\\'s ice sheet models. Nevertheless, they present a serious bottleneck because they require the solution of a three-dimensional (3D) nonlinear system, as opposed to the two-dimensional system present in the shallow stream approximation. This 3D system is posed on high-aspect domains with strong anisotropy and variation in coefficients, making it expensive to solve with current methods. This paper presents a Newton--Krylov multigrid solver for the hydrostatic equations that demonstrates textbook multigrid efficiency (an order of magnitude reduction in residual per iteration and solution of the fine-level system at a small multiple of the cost of a residual evaluation). Scalability on Blue Gene/P is demonstrated, and the method is compared to various algebraic methods that are in use or have been proposed as viable approaches.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  5. Greenland ice sheet albedo feedback: thermodynamics and atmospheric drivers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. E. Box

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Greenland ice sheet mass loss has accelerated in the past decade responding to combined glacier discharge and surface melt water runoff increases. During summer, absorbed solar energy, modulated at the surface primarily by albedo, is the dominant factor governing surface melt variability in the ablation area. Using satellite-derived surface albedo with calibrated regional climate modeled surface air temperature and surface downward solar irradiance, we determine the spatial dependence and quantitative impact of the ice sheet albedo feedback over 12 summer periods beginning in 2000. We find that, while albedo feedback defined by the change in net solar shortwave flux and temperature over time is positive over 97% of the ice sheet, when defined using paired annual anomalies, a second-order negative feedback is evident over 63% of the accumulation area. This negative feedback damps the accumulation area response to warming due to a positive correlation between snowfall and surface air temperature anomalies. Positive anomaly-gauged feedback concentrated in the ablation area accounts for more than half of the overall increase in melting when satellite-derived melt duration is used to define the timing when net shortwave flux is sunk into melting. Abnormally strong anticyclonic circulation, associated with a persistent summer North Atlantic Oscillation extreme since 2007, enabled three amplifying mechanisms to maximize the albedo feedback: (1 increased warm (south air advection along the western ice sheet increased surface sensible heating that in turn enhanced snow grain metamorphic rates, further reducing albedo; (2 increased surface downward shortwave flux, leading to more surface heating and further albedo reduction; and (3 reduced snowfall rates sustained low albedo, maximizing surface solar heating, progressively lowering albedo over multiple years. The summer net infrared and solar radiation for the high elevation accumulation area approached

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Beghin

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  8. Generation of a new Greenland Ice Sheet Digital Elevation Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagarajan, S.; Csatho, B. M.; Schenk, A. F.; Babonis, G. S.; Scambos, T. A.; Haran, T. M.; Kjaer, K. H.; Korsgaard, N. J.

    2011-12-01

    Currently available Digital Elevation Models(DEMs) of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) were originally derived from radar altimetry data, e.g. Bamber (Bamber et al., 2001) and later improved by photoclinometry to fill the regions between orbits (Scambos and Haran, 2002). The elevation error of these DEMs is a few meters in the higher part (above 2000 m) of the ice sheet, but it can be as much as 50-100 meters in marginal regions. The relatively low resolution and accuracy poses a problem, especially for ice sheet modeling. Although accurate elevation data have been collected by airborne and spaceborne laser altimetry (airborne: Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) (1993-present), Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor(LVIS) (2007,2009 and 2011); spaceborne: Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) (2003-2009)) and DEMs have been derived from stereo satellite imagery (e.g., SPOT (40 m), ASTER (15 m)), a high resolution, consistent DEM of GrIS is not yet available. This is due to various problems, such as different error sources in the data and different dates of data acquisition. In order to overcome these difficulties, we generated a multi-resolution DEM of GrIS, reflecting June 2008 conditions, by fusing a photoclinometry DEM, SPOT and ASTER DEMs as well as elevations from ICESat, ATM and LVIS laser altimetry. The new multi-resolution DEM has a resolution of 40 m x 40 m in the marginal ice sheet regions and 250 m elsewhere. The ice sheet margin is mapped from SPOT and Landsat imagery and SPOT DEMs are used to cover the complex topography of ice sheet marginal regions. The accuracy of SPOT DEMs is approximately ± 6 m except in the areas covered by clouds regions, where the SPOT elevations were replaced by ASTER DEMs. The ASTER DEMs were checked and improved by the DEM derived from aerial photography from the 1980s. A new photoclinometry DEM, derived from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jun; Zwally, H. Jay

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  11. Present-day and future Antarctic ice sheet climate and surface mass balance in the Community Earth System Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Vizcaino, Miren; Fyke, Jeremy; van Kampenhout, Leo; van den Broeke, Michiel R.

    2016-09-01

    We present climate and surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) as simulated by the global, coupled ocean-atmosphere-land Community Earth System Model (CESM) with a horizontal resolution of {˜ }1° in the past, present and future (1850-2100). CESM correctly simulates present-day Antarctic sea ice extent, large-scale atmospheric circulation and near-surface climate, but fails to simulate the recent expansion of Antarctic sea ice. The present-day Antarctic ice sheet SMB equals 2280 ± 131 {Gt year^{-1}}, which concurs with existing independent estimates of AIS SMB. When forced by two CMIP5 climate change scenarios (high mitigation scenario RCP2.6 and high-emission scenario RCP8.5), CESM projects an increase of Antarctic ice sheet SMB of about 70 {Gt year^{-1}} per degree warming. This increase is driven by enhanced snowfall, which is partially counteracted by more surface melt and runoff along the ice sheet's edges. This intensifying hydrological cycle is predominantly driven by atmospheric warming, which increases (1) the moisture-carrying capacity of the atmosphere, (2) oceanic source region evaporation, and (3) summer AIS cloud liquid water content.

  12. Separating the Effects of Northern Hemisphere Ice-Sheets, CO2 Concentrations and Orbital Parameters on Global Precipitation During the Late Pleistocene Glacial Cycles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elison Timm, O.; Friedrich, T.; Timmermann, A.; Ganopolski, A.

    2015-12-01

    Global-scale changes in the hydrological cycle have been reconstructed in many parts of the world using various archives of proxy information. The signals found in proxies allow us to study the complex response of the global hydrological cycle to the combined forcing and feedback mechanisms. However, it remains a challenge to attribute the observed variations to specific causes, in particular, it is difficult to distinguish CO2 and ice-sheet response in time series. Here, we present new results from a set of transient paleoclimate simulation of the last eight glacial cycles (784,000 years) using accelerated forcing. In order to isolate the ice-sheet forcing from the CO2 -driven response and orbital forcing, we made use of additional transient experiments with varying forcing combinations covering the last 408,000 years: (a) keeping CO2 concentrations constant, (b) keeping the ice-sheet fixed, (c) orbital forcing only. The simulations show that orbital forcing has strongest impact in the tropical and subtropical regions. The northern hemisphere ice-sheets stamp a characteristic spatial footprint on the global precipitation variability. The ice-sheets mainly affect the extratropical northern hemisphere, but the cone of influence extends further into the North African monsoon regions, and to a weaker extent into the Asian monsoon. In an attempt to validate our model-specific results we compared our results with existing hydrological paleo proxy records. Despite the growing number of proxy archives, the aim to identify the ice-sheet influence in spatially limited networks of proxy time series remains as challenge. More records that cover at least two full glacial cycles could significantly increase the signal separation. In conclusion, our results suggest that the northern hemisphere ice-sheets played an important role in modulating the global hydrological cycle.

  13. Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Loss from GRACE Monthly Models

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Forsberg, René

    2010-01-01

    model ICE-5G and on ground measurements made in Scandinavia. We find that the PGR signal corresponds to a mass change signal of approximately -4 Gt per year. We conclude that there are large differences between these estimated mass change models. We find a total mass loss of 189, 146 and 67 Gt......The Greenland ice sheet is currently experiencing a net mass loss. There are however large discrepancies between the published qualitative mass loss estimates, based on different data sets and methods. There are even large differences between the results based on the same data sources...... these monthly global gravity models, we first calculate the gravity trend from these. When isolating the gravity trend signal, which is caused by the ice mass change, we first subtract the signal produced by the postglacial rebound (PGR) in Greenland. This is done by a simple method based on the ice history...

  14. Large-scale Modeling of the Greenland Ice Sheet on Long Timescales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Solgaard, Anne Munck

    the steady-state response of the Greenland ice sheet to a warmer climate. The threshold of irreversible decay was found to lie between a temperature increase of 4-5 K relative to present day when basal sliding was neglected in the ice-sheet model. Introducing basal sliding into the ice-sheet model shifted...... and climate model is included shows, however, that a Föhn effect is activated and hereby increasing temperatures inland and inhibiting further ice-sheet expansion into the interior. This indicates that colder than present temperatures are needed in order for the ice sheet to regrow to the current geometry...

  15. Quantifying supraglacial lake volumes on the Greenland ice sheet from spaceborne optical sensors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moussavi, Mahsa S.

    The acceleration of mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) over the last two decades is of great significance when considering the associated increasing rates of its contribution to sea level rise. With meltwater runoff accounting for more than half of Greenland's contribution to sea level, it is imperative to improve our understanding of the ice sheet hydrologic processes. This dissertation describes research to quantify surface meltwater volumes, specifically stored in supraglacial lakes, over large areas of the ablation region from spaceborne observations made by current and future optical sensors. Methods for remote-derivation and validation of supraglacial water depths from WorldView-2, Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+), and Landsat 8's Operational Land Imager (OLI) are discussed. While enabling large-scale assessments of lake volumes with unprecedented levels of accuracy and precision, these methods address the major limitation of spaceborne bathymetry, which is its dependence on the availability of costly in-situ measurements. This dissertation also investigates the potential capability of the future ICESat-2 laser altimetry mission in providing depth information over supraglacial lakes, which could be used in conjunction with passive optical data to assess lake volumes. A nominal (first-order) prediction of ICESat-2's performance suggests that it might be able to retrieve lake depths down to 6 m. Given such a premise, this dissertation takes one step further to develop an automatic depth-retrieval algorithm from simulated ICESat-2 datasets, provided by the mission's Project team at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). By developing a surface detection algorithm for the most complex surfaces that ICESat-2 will be looking at, namely forested ecosystems, this dissertation provides a method applicable to land ice, sea ice, and water surfaces. Furthermore, as part of ICESat-2's science definition team efforts and in direct support of the mission

  16. Automated mapping of glacial overdeepenings beneath contemporary ice sheets: Approaches and potential applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patton, Henry; Swift, Darrel A.; Clark, Chris D.; Livingstone, Stephen J.; Cook, Simon J.; Hubbard, Alun

    2015-03-01

    Awareness is growing on the significance of overdeepenings in ice sheet systems. However, a complete understanding of overdeepening formation is lacking, meaning observations of overdeepening location and morphometry are urgently required to motivate process understanding. Subject to the development of appropriate mapping approaches, high resolution subglacial topography data sets covering the whole of Antarctica and Greenland offer significant potential to acquire such observations and to relate overdeepening characteristics to ice sheet parameters. We explore a possible method for mapping overdeepenings beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and illustrate a potential application of this approach by testing a possible relationship between overdeepening elongation ratio and ice sheet flow velocity. We find that hydrological and terrain filtering approaches are unsuited to mapping overdeepenings and develop a novel rule-based GIS methodology that delineates overdeepening perimeters by analysis of closed-contour properties. We then develop GIS procedures that provide information on overdeepening morphology and topographic context. Limitations in the accuracy and resolution of bed-topography data sets mean that application to glaciological problems requires consideration of quality-control criteria to (a) remove potentially spurious depressions and (b) reduce uncertainties that arise from the inclusion of depressions of nonglacial origin, or those in regions where empirical data are sparse. To address the problem of overdeepening elongation, potential quality control criteria are introduced; and discussion of this example serves to highlight the limitations that mapping approaches - and applications of such approaches - must confront. We predict that improvements in bed-data quality will reduce the need for quality control procedures and facilitate increasingly robust insights from empirical data.

  17. Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoof, Christian

    2010-12-09

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

  20. Response of the Antarctic ice sheet to future greenhouse warming

    OpenAIRE

    Oerlemans, J.; Huybrechts, P.

    1990-01-01

    Possible future changes in land ice volume are mentioned frequently as an important aspect of the greenhouse problem. This paper deals with the response ofthe Antarctic ice sheet and presents a tentative projection of changes in global sea level for the next few hundred years, due to changes in its surface massbalance. We imposed a temperature scenario, in which surface air temperature rises to 4.2¡C in the year 2100 AD and is kept constant afterwards. As GCMstudies seem to indicate a higher ...

  1. Decay of the Greenland Ice Sheet due to surface-meltwater-induced acceleration of basal sliding

    CERN Document Server

    Greve, Ralf

    2009-01-01

    Simulations of the Greenland Ice Sheet are carried out with a high-resolution version of the ice-sheet model SICOPOLIS for several global-warming scenarios for the period 1990-2350. In particular, the impact of surface-meltwater-induced acceleration of basal sliding on the stability of the ice sheet is investigated. A parameterization for the acceleration effect is developed for which modelled and measured mass losses of the ice sheet in the early 21st century agree well. The main findings of the simulations are: (i) the ice sheet is generally very susceptible to global warming on time-scales of centuries, (ii) surface-meltwater-induced acceleration of basal sliding leads to a pronounced speed-up of ice streams and outlet glaciers, and (iii) this ice-dynamical effect accelerates the decay of the Greenland Ice Sheet as a whole significantly, but not catastrophically, in the 21st century and beyond.

  2. The evolution and geological footprint of the last Eurasian ice-sheet complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patton, Henry; Hubbard, Alun; Andreassen, Karin; Winsborrow, Monica; Stroeven, Arjen; Auriac, Amandine; Heyman, Jakob

    2017-04-01

    with its isostatic footprint had a major impact on fluvial hydrology of western Eurasia, damming the Baltic and White Sea proglacial lakes from c. 17.8 ka BP through to the Holocene and diverting many river systems. Acknowledegments This project is funded by CAGE (Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate), Norwegian Research Council grant no. 223259. Clark, P.U., Dyke, A.S., Shakun, J.D., Carlson, A.E., Clark, J., Wohlfarth, B., Mitrovica, J.X., Hostetler, S.W., McCabe, a M., 2009. The Last Glacial Maximum. Science 325, 710-714. doi:10.1126/science.1172873 Hughes, A.L.C., Gyllencreutz, R., Lohne, Ø.S., Mangerud, J., Svendsen, J.I., 2016. The last Eurasian ice sheets - a chronological database and time-slice reconstruction, DATED-1. Boreas 45, 1-45. doi:10.1111/bor.12142 Patton, H., Hubbard, A., Andreassen, K., Winsborrow, M., Stroeven, A.P., 2016. The build-up, configuration, and dynamical sensitivity of the Eurasian ice-sheet complex to Late Weichselian climatic and oceanic forcing. Quat. Sci. Rev. 153, 97-121. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.10.009

  3. The Last Interglacial History of the Antarctic Ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-20

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  6. Subglacial water drainage, storage, and piracy beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindbäck, K.; Pettersson, R.; Hubbard, A. L.; Doyle, S. H.; As, D.; Mikkelsen, A. B.; Fitzpatrick, A. A.

    2015-09-01

    Meltwater drainage across the surface of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is well constrained by measurements and modeling, yet despite its critical role, knowledge of its transit through the subglacial environment remains limited. Here we present a subglacial hydrological analysis of a land-terminating sector of the GrIS at unprecedented resolution that predicts the routing of surface-derived meltwater once it has entered the basal drainage system. Our analysis indicates the probable existence of small subglacial lakes that remain undetectable by methods using surface elevation change or radar techniques. Furthermore, the analysis suggests transient behavior with rapid switching of subglacial drainage between competing catchments driven by seasonal changes in the basal water pressure. Our findings provide a cautionary note that should be considered in studies that attempt to relate and infer future response from surface temperature, melt, and runoff from point measurements and/or modeling with measurements of proglacial discharge and ice dynamics.

  7. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a comparison of parameterizations

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    Retention and refreezing of meltwater are acknowledged to be important processes for the mass budget of polar glaciers and ice sheets. Several parameterizations of these processes exist for use in energy and mass balance models. Due to a lack of direct observations, validation of these parameterizations is difficult. In this study we compare a set of 6 refreezing parameterizations against output of two Regional Climate Models (RCMs) coupled to an energy balance snow model, the Regional Atmosp...

  8. The Greenland ice sheet and the climate – a review

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Funder, Svend Visby; Kjeldsen, Kristian Kjellerup; Kjær, Kurt H.;

    During LGM the margins of the Greenland ice sheet around the whole perimeter stood on the shelf – but where? The first estimates had to be based on evidence from land such as weathering limits on coastal mountains, major moraine belts, and altitudes of marine limits. Still the estimates ranged fr...... to climate change during and after LGM, and that coverage of the shelf may have been variable from one sector to another. Will the margin respond with similar complexity to global warming?...

  9. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a comparison of parameterizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. H. Reijmer

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Retention and refreezing of meltwater are acknowledged to be important processes for the mass budget of polar glaciers and ice sheets. Several parameterizations of these processes exist for use in energy and mass balance models. Due to a lack of direct observations, validation of these parameterizations is difficult. In this study we compare a set of 6 refreezing parameterizations against output of two Regional Climate Models (RCMs coupled to an energy balance snow model, the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2 and the Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR, applied to the Greenland ice sheet. In both RCMs, refreezing is explicitly calculated in a snow model that calculates vertical profiles of temperature, density and liquid water content. Between RACMO2 and MAR, the ice sheet-integrated amount of refreezing differs by only 4.9 mm w.e yr−1 (4.5 %, and the temporal and spatial variability are very similar. For consistency, the parameterizations are forced with output (surface temperature, precipitation and melt of the RCMs. For the ice sheet-integrated amount of refreezing and its inter-annual variations, all parameterizations give similar results, especially after some tuning. However, the spatial distributions differ significantly and the spatial correspondence between the RCMs is better than with any of the parameterizations. Results are especially sensitive to the choice of the depth of the thermally active layer, which determines the cold content of the snow in most parameterizations. These results are independent of which RCM is used to force the parameterizations.

  10. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a comparison of parameterizations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. H. Reijmer

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Retention and refreezing of meltwater are acknowledged to be important processes for the mass budget of polar glaciers and ice sheets. Several parameterizations of these processes exist for use in energy and mass balance models. Due to a lack of direct observations, validation of these parameterizations is difficult. In this study we compare a set of 6 refreezing parameterizations against output of the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2, applied to the Greenland ice sheet. In RACMO2, refreezing is explicitly calculated in a snow model that calculates vertical profiles of temperature, density and liquid water content. For consistency, the parameterizations are forced with output (surface temperature, precipitation and melt of RACMO2. For the ice sheet-integrated amount of refreezing and its inter-annual variations, all parameterizations give similar results, especially after some tuning. However, the spatial distributions differ significantly. Results are especially sensitive to the choice of the depth of the thermally active layer, which determines the cold content of the snow in most parameterizations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-01-01

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

  12. An object-oriented, coprocessor-accelerated model for ice sheet simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seddik, H.; Greve, R.

    2013-12-01

    Recently, numerous models capable of modeling the thermo-dynamics of ice sheets have been developed within the ice sheet modeling community. Their capabilities have been characterized by a wide range of features with different numerical methods (finite difference or finite element), different implementations of the ice flow mechanics (shallow-ice, higher-order, full Stokes) and different treatments for the basal and coastal areas (basal hydrology, basal sliding, ice shelves). Shallow-ice models (SICOPOLIS, IcIES, PISM, etc) have been widely used for modeling whole ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) due to the relatively low computational cost of the shallow-ice approximation but higher order (ISSM, AIF) and full Stokes (Elmer/Ice) models have been recently used to model the Greenland ice sheet. The advance in processor speed and the decrease in cost for accessing large amount of memory and storage have undoubtedly been the driving force in the commoditization of models with higher capabilities, and the popularity of Elmer/Ice (http://elmerice.elmerfem.com) with an active user base is a notable representation of this trend. Elmer/Ice is a full Stokes model built on top of the multi-physics package Elmer (http://www.csc.fi/english/pages/elmer) which provides the full machinery for the complex finite element procedure and is fully parallel (mesh partitioning with OpenMPI communication). Elmer is mainly written in Fortran 90 and targets essentially traditional processors as the code base was not initially written to run on modern coprocessors (yet adding support for the recently introduced x86 based coprocessors is possible). Furthermore, a truly modular and object-oriented implementation is required for quick adaptation to fast evolving capabilities in hardware (Fortran 2003 provides an object-oriented programming model while not being clean and requiring a tricky refactoring of Elmer code). In this work, the object-oriented, coprocessor-accelerated finite element

  13. The Sentinel-1 Mission: New Opportunities for Ice Sheet Observations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Nagler

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available The Sentinel satellite constellation series, developed by the European Space Agency, represents the dedicated space component of the European Copernicus program, committed to long-term operational services in a wide range of application domains. Here, we address the potential of the Sentinel-1 mission for mapping and monitoring the surface velocity of glaciers and ice sheets. We present an ice velocity map of Greenland, derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR data acquired in winter 2015 by Sentinel-1A, the first satellite of the Copernicus program in orbit. The map is assembled from about 900 SAR scenes acquired in Interferometric Wide swath (IW mode, applying the offset tracking technique. We discuss special features of IW mode data, describe the procedures for producing ice velocity maps, and assess the uncertainty of the ice motion product. We compare the Sentinel-1 ice motion product with velocity maps derived from high resolution SAR data of the TerraSAR-X mission and from PALSAR data. Beyond supporting operational services, the Sentinel-1 mission offers enhanced capabilities for comprehensive and long-term observation of key climate variables, such as the motion of ice masses.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1997-01-01

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

  15. Hindcasting to measure ice sheet model sensitivity to initial states

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Aschwanden

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Validation is a critical component of model development, yet notoriously challenging in ice sheet modeling. Here we evaluate how an ice sheet system model responds to a given forcing. We show that hindcasting, i.e. forcing a model with known or closely estimated inputs for past events to see how well the output matches observations, is a viable method of assessing model performance. By simulating the recent past of Greenland, and comparing to observations of ice thickness, ice discharge, surface speeds, mass loss and surface elevation changes for validation, we find that the short term model response is strongly influenced by the initial state. We show that the thermal and dynamical states (i.e. the distribution of internal energy and momentum can be misrepresented despite a good agreement with some observations, stressing the importance of using multiple observations. In particular we identify rates of change of spatially dense observations as preferred validation metrics. Hindcasting enables a qualitative assessment of model performance relative to observed rates of change. It thereby reduces the number of admissible initial states more rigorously than validation efforts that do not take advantage of observed rates of change.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  17. The liquid water balance of the Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steger, Christian; Reijmer, Carleen; van den Broeke, Michiel

    2017-04-01

    Mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is an increasingly important contributor to global sea level rise. During the last decade, the mass loss was dominated by meltwater runoff. Linking actual runoff from the ice sheet to melt and other forms of liquid water input at the surface (rainfall and condensation) is however complex, as liquid water may be retained within the ice sheet due to refreezing and/or (perennial) storage. In the ablation zone on bare ice, liquid water runs of laterally at the surface, accumulates in supraglacial lakes or enters the ice sheet's en- or subglacial hydraulic system via moulins and crevasses. In the higher elevated accumulation zone, liquid water percolates into the porous firn layer and part of it may be retained due to refreezing and/or perennial storage in so called firn aquifers. In this study, we investigate the liquid water balance of the GrIS focussing on the role of the firn layer. For this purpose, we ran SNOWPACK, a relatively complex one-dimensional snow model, on a horizontal resolution of ˜ 11km and for the transient period of 1960 to 2015. At the snow-atmosphere-interface, the model was forced by output of the regional atmospheric climate model RACMO2.3. A comparison of SNOWPACK with in-situ observations (firn density profiles) and remote sensing data (firn aquifer locations inferred from radar measurements) indicated a good agreement for most climatic conditions. On a GrIS-wide scale, the modelled surface mass balance of SNOWPACK exhibits, in combination with ice-discharge data for ocean-terminating glaciers, an excellent agreement with GRACE data for the period 2003 - 2012. GrIS-integrated amounts of surface melt reveal a significant positive trend (+11.6Gta-2) in the second half of the simulation period. Within this interval, the trend in runoff is larger (+8.3Gta-2) than the one in refreezing (+3.6Gta-2), which results in an overall decrease of the refreezing fraction. This decrease is for instance less

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. How do our prior assumptions about basal drag affect ice sheet forecasts?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arthern, Robert

    2015-04-01

    Forecasts of changes in the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica often begin with an inversion to select initial values for state variables and parameters in the model, such as basal drag and ice viscosity. These inversions can be ill-posed in the sense that many different choices for the parameter values can match the observational data equally well. To recover a mathematically well-posed problem, assumptions must be made that restrict the possible values of the parameters, either by regularisation or by explicit definition of Bayesian priors. Common assumptions are that parameters vary smoothly in space or lie close to some preferred initial guess, but for glaciological inversions it is often unclear how smoothly the parameters should vary, or how reliable the initial guess should be considered. This is especially true of inversions for the basal drag coefficient that can vary enormously from place to place on length scales set by subglacial hydrology, which is itself extremely poorly constrained by direct observations. Here we use a combination of forward modelling, inversion and a theoretical analysis based on transformation group priors to investigate different ways of introducing prior information about parameters, and to consider the consequences for ice sheet forecasts.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-16

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

  2. On the recent contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level change

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van Den Broeke, M.R.; Enderlin, E.M.; Howat, I.M.; Kuipers Munneke, P.; Noël, B.P.Y.; Jan Van De Berg, W.; Van Meijgaard, E.; Wouters, B.

    2016-01-01

    We assess the recent contribution of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) to sea level change. We use the mass budget method, which quantifies ice sheet mass balance (MB) as the difference between surface mass balance (SMB) and solid ice discharge across the grounding line (D). A comparison with independe

  3. A study of the dark region in the western ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wientjes, I.G.M.

    2011-01-01

    The western ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet contains a region that is darker than the surrounding ice. This region is several tens of kilometres wide and stretched parallel to the margin of the ice sheet for more than 350 kilometres. The dark appearance implies low radiance and therefore lo

  4. A study of the dark region in the western ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wientjes, I.G.M.

    2011-01-01

    The western ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet contains a region that is darker than the surrounding ice. This region is several tens of kilometres wide and stretched parallel to the margin of the ice sheet for more than 350 kilometres. The dark appearance implies low radiance and therefore lo

  5. Computing the volume response of the Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet to warming scenarios to 2200

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barrand, N.E.; Hindmarsh, R.C.A.; Arthern, R.J.; Williams, C.R.; Mouginot, J.; Scheuchl, B.; Rignot, Eric; Ligtenberg, S.R.M.; van den Broeke, M.R.; Edwards, T.L.; Cook, A.J.; Simonsen, S.B.

    2013-01-01

    The contribution to sea level to 2200 from the grounded, mainland Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet (APIS) was calculated using an ice-sheet model initialized with a new technique computing ice fluxes based on observed surface velocities, altimetry and surface mass balance, and computing volume response

  6. Bed roughness of palaeo-ice streams: insights and implications for contemporary ice sheet dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falcini, Francesca; Rippin, David; Selby, Katherine; Krabbendam, Maarten

    2017-04-01

    Bed roughness is the vertical variation of elevation along a horizontal transect. It is an important control on ice stream location and dynamics, with a correspondingly important role in determining the behaviour of ice sheets. Previous studies of bed roughness have been limited to insights derived from Radio Echo Sounding (RES) profiles across parts of Antarctica and Greenland. Such an approach has been necessary due to the inaccessibility of the underlying bed. This approach has led to important insights, such as identifying a general link between smooth beds and fast ice flow, as well as rough beds and slow ice flow. However, these insights are mainly derived from relatively coarse datasets, so that links between roughness and flow are generalised and rather simplistic. Here, we explore the use of DTMs from the well-preserved footprints of palaeo-ice streams, coupled with high resolution models of palaeo-ice flow, as a tool for investigating basal controls on the behaviour of contemporary, active ice streams in much greater detail. Initially, artificial transects were set up across the Minch palaeo-ice stream (NW Scotland) to mimic RES flight lines from past studies in Antarctica. We then explored how increasing data-resolution impacted upon the roughness measurements that were derived. Our work on the Minch palaeo-ice stream indicates that different roughness signatures are associated with different glacial landforms, and we discuss the potential for using these insights to infer, from RES-based roughness measurements, the occurrence of particular landform assemblages that may exist beneath contemporary ice sheets.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  8. Enthalpy benchmark experiments for numerical ice sheet models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Kleiner

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available We present benchmark experiments to test the implementation of enthalpy and the corresponding boundary conditions in numerical ice sheet models. The first experiment tests particularly the functionality of the boundary condition scheme and the basal melt rate calculation during transient simulations. The second experiment addresses the steady-state enthalpy profile and the resulting position of the cold–temperate transition surface (CTS. For both experiments we assume ice flow in a parallel-sided slab decoupled from the thermal regime. Since we impose several assumptions on the experiment design, analytical solutions can be formulated for the proposed numerical experiments. We compare simulation results achieved by three different ice flow-models with these analytical solutions. The models agree well to the analytical solutions, if the change in conductivity between cold and temperate ice is properly considered in the model. In particular, the enthalpy gradient at the cold side of the CTS vanishes in the limit of vanishing conductivity in the temperate ice part as required from the physical jump conditions at the CTS.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  11. Water-Related Seismic Sources in Glaciers and Ice Sheets (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walter, F. T.; Heeszel, D.; Kilb, D. L.; Roux, P.; Husen, S.; Kissling, E. H.; Luethi, M. P.; Funk, M.; Clinton, J. F.; Fricker, H.

    2013-12-01

    Liquid water can have a profound impact on the flow of glaciers and ice sheets. Acceleration of ice flow via enhanced basal motion, hydro-fracturing and cryo-hydrologic warming are just three possible mechanisms that can drastically alter ice dynamics. At the same time, subsurface water flow is difficult to measure as the englacial and subglacial drainage systems are highly inaccessible. Although tracer experiments, speleological methods, radar measurements and deep drilling provide some information about water flow and changes thereof, more data on hydraulic processes are needed for the development and testing of numerical ice flow models. Recent studies have suggested that passive seismic techniques can be used to monitor englacial and subglacial water flow. This inter-disciplinary approach is motivated by the analogy between fluid-induced seismic sources in glaciers and volcanoes, which was first proposed in the late 70's. As seismological analysis is a valuable tool to monitor hydro-thermal activity in volcanic regions, it may consequently also reveal transient or sudden changes in a glacier's water drainage system. Here, we present results from continuous and event-based seismic monitoring exercises on Swiss mountain glaciers and the ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet. We examine 'icequakes', sustained tremors and seismic background noise, whose sources are closely connected to the presence or movement of water. Analyzing icequake moment tensors and signal characteristics, spectrograms, noise source locations and simple models of resonating cracks, we can monitor the development and evolution of water passages below the glacier surface. Accordingly, our seismic measurements elucidate an area of the glacier, which has been difficult to investigate with traditional glaciological techniques.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  13. Accurate and stable time stepping in ice sheet modeling

    CERN Document Server

    Cheng, Gong; von Sydow, Lina

    2016-01-01

    In this paper we introduce adaptive time step control for simulation of evolution of ice sheets. The discretization error in the approximations is estimated using "Milne's device" by comparing the result from two different methods in a predictor-corrector pair. Using a predictor-corrector pair the expensive part of the procedure, the solution of the velocity and pressure equations, is performed only once per time step and an estimate of the local error is easily obtained. The stability of the numerical solution is maintained and the accuracy is controlled by keeping the local error below a given threshold using PI-control. Depending on the threshold, the time step $\\Delta t$ is bound by stability requirements or accuracy requirements. Our method takes a shorter $\\Delta t$ than an implicit method but with less work in each time step and the solver is simpler. The method is analyzed theoretically with respect to stability and applied to the simulation of a 2D ice slab and a 3D circular ice sheet. %The automatic...

  14. Accurate and stable time stepping in ice sheet modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. Estimating the future ice sheet hydropower potential in Paakitsoq, Ilulissat, West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.; Mottram, R.H.; Nielsen, C.

    2008-01-01

    long-term investment for an Arctic community of modest population. Here we present a new bedrock and surface map of the Paakitsoq/Swiss Camp part of the Greenland ice sheet and a prediction of the future discharge up to 2080 AD using regional climate model output, dynamic ice sheet modelling......Meltwater running off the Greenland ice sheet yield significant hydropower potentials in catchments bordering the ice sheet, especially in West and South Greenland. Hydropower has been chosen as the most desired source of energy by the Greenland Home Rule, but recent changes in the Greenland ice...... sheet has emphasized the risk of sudden changes in catchment supply. In this study, we present a thorough investigation of hydropower feasibility at the Paakitsoq basin, near Ilulissat in West Greenland. The catchment is completely dominated by the Greenland ice sheet which provides large quantities...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-09-01

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

  17. Predicting Ice Sheet and Climate Evolution at Extreme Scales

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Heimbach, Patrick [Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)

    2016-02-06

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

  18. Potential subglacial lake locations and meltwater drainage pathways beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets

    OpenAIRE

    Livingstone, S.J.; Clark, C. D.; Woodward, J.; Kingslake, J.

    2013-01-01

    We use the Shreve hydraulic potential equation as a simplified approach to investigate potential subglacial lake locations and meltwater drainage pathways beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. We validate the method by demonstrating its ability to recall the locations of > 60\\% of the known subglacial lakes beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. This is despite uncertainty in the ice-sheet bed elevation and our simplified modelling approach. However, we predict many more lakes than are ob...

  19. Modelling the long-term impact of surface warming on Greenland ice sheet mass loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Shuting; Anker Pedersen, Rasmus; Madsen, Marianne S.; Svendsen, Synne H.; Langen, Peter L.

    2017-04-01

    Projections of future sea level changes require understanding of the response of the Greenland ice sheet to future climate change. Numerous feedbacks between the ice sheet and the climate system mean that comprehensive model setups are required to simulate the concurrent ice sheet and climate changes. Here, the ice sheet response to a warming climate has been studied using a model setup consisting of an earth system model (EC-Earth) interactively coupled to an ice sheet model (PISM). The coupled system has been employed for a 1400-year simulation forced by historical radiative forcing from 1850 onward continued along an extended RCP8.5 scenario to beyond year 3200. The simulation reveals that the rate of mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet increases substantially after 2100. The mass loss hereafter continues at a steady rate, even as the warming rate gradually levels off. As the coupled setup does not include the direct impact of oceanic forcing, the mass loss is due to the combination of a negative surface mass balance and a dynamic response to the surface warming. Increased melt exceeds regional precipitation increases in the surface mass balance, while the surface warming increases the enthalpy (per unit volume) of the ice sheet potentially impacting the rheology and thereby the ice flow. The relative roles of the surface mass balance changes and the dynamic response of the ice flow are further investigated using additional ice sheet model sensitivity experiments, where the ice sheet is forced by the time-varying surface mass balance from the coupled model. We aim to quantify the impact of the simulated surface warming on the ice flow by means of a hybrid simulation where the ice sheet is forced by the surface mass balance from the coupled setup while keeping the ice surface temperature constant. This allows for assessment of the impact of the surface mass balance change, isolated from the dynamical response to the warming surface.

  20. Data assimilation and prognostic whole ice sheet modelling with the variationally derived, higher order, open source, and fully parallel ice sheet model VarGlaS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. J. Brinkerhoff

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available We introduce a novel, higher order, finite element ice sheet model called VarGlaS (Variational Glacier Simulator, which is built on the finite element framework FEniCS. Contrary to standard procedure in ice sheet modelling, VarGlaS formulates ice sheet motion as the minimization of an energy functional, conferring advantages such as a consistent platform for making numerical approximations, a coherent relationship between motion and heat generation, and implicit boundary treatment. VarGlaS also solves the equations of enthalpy rather than temperature, avoiding the solution of a contact problem. Rather than include a lengthy model spin-up procedure, VarGlaS possesses an automated framework for model inversion. These capabilities are brought to bear on several benchmark problems in ice sheet modelling, as well as a 500 yr simulation of the Greenland ice sheet at high resolution. VarGlaS performs well in benchmarking experiments and, given a constant climate and a 100 yr relaxation period, predicts a mass evolution of the Greenland ice sheet that matches present-day observations of mass loss. VarGlaS predicts a thinning in the interior and thickening of the margins of the ice sheet.

  1. Distribution and characteristics of overdeepenings beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets: Implications for overdeepening origin and evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patton, H.; Swift, D. A.; Clark, C. D.; Livingstone, S. J.; Cook, S. J.

    2016-09-01

    Glacier bed overdeepenings are ubiquitous in glacier systems and likely exert significant influence on ice dynamics, subglacial hydrology, and ice stability. Understanding of overdeepening formation and evolution has been hampered by an absence of quantitative empirical studies of their distribution and morphology, with process insights having been drawn largely from theoretical or numerical studies. To address this shortcoming, we first map the distribution of potential overdeepenings beneath the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets using a GIS-based algorithm that identifies closed-contours in the bed topography and then describe and analyse the characteristics and metrics of a subset of overdeepenings that pass further quality control criteria. Overdeepenings are found to be widespread, but are particularly associated with areas of topographically laterally constrained ice flow, notably near the ice sheet margins where outlet systems follow deeply incised troughs. Overdeepenings also occur in regions of topographically unconstrained ice flow (for example, beneath the Siple Coast ice streams and on the Greenland continental shelf). Metrics indicate that overdeepening growth is generally allometric and that topographic confinement of ice flow in general enhances overdeepening depth. However, overdeepening depth is skewed towards shallow values - typically 200-300 m - indicating that the rate of deepening slows with overdeepening age. This is reflected in a decline in adverse slope steepness with increasing overdeepening planform size. Finally, overdeepening long-profiles are found to support headward quarrying as the primary factor in overdeepening development. These observations support proposed negative feedbacks related to hydrology and sediment transport that stabilise overdeepening growth through sedimentation on the adverse slope but permit continued overdeepening planform enlargement by processes of headward erosion.

  2. Dynamics of the Greenland Ice Sheet over multiple timescales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjeldsen, Kristian Kjellerup

    to further constrain the individual components of the current budget, and in conjunction with longer records, it is important to provide a trustworthy basis for future projections. In this thesis, using airborne- and satellite derived data combined with terrestrial and marine observations, the dynamic....../crossshelf troughs. Warming of ocean temperatures is suggested as being a main driver for periodic dynamic ice loss events in northwest Greenland while cooling of ocean temperatures around southern Greenland, in conjunction with increased snow accumulation, is found to drive a rapid readvance of glaciers in response...... become grounded and also assuming a similar warming pattern. This thesis implies that in order to investigate the response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to future climate change much is to be gained by merging and incorporating data from both marine and terrestrial geology, combined with air- and satellite...

  3. Hypsometric amplification and routing moderation of Greenland ice sheet meltwater release

    Science.gov (United States)

    van As, Dirk; Mikkelsen, Andreas Bech; Holtegaard Nielsen, Morten; Box, Jason E.; Claesson Liljedahl, Lillemor; Lindbäck, Katrin; Pitcher, Lincoln; Hasholt, Bent

    2017-06-01

    Concurrent ice sheet surface runoff and proglacial discharge monitoring are essential for understanding Greenland ice sheet meltwater release. We use an updated, well-constrained river discharge time series from the Watson River in southwest Greenland, with an accurate, observation-based ice sheet surface mass balance model of the ˜ 12 000 km2 ice sheet area feeding the river. For the 2006-2015 decade, we find a large range of a factor of 3 in interannual variability in discharge. The amount of discharge is amplified ˜ 56 % by the ice sheet's hypsometry, i.e., area increase with elevation. A good match between river discharge and ice sheet surface meltwater production is found after introducing elevation-dependent transit delays that moderate diurnal variability in meltwater release by a factor of 10-20. The routing lag time increases with ice sheet elevation and attains values in excess of 1 week for the upper reaches of the runoff area at ˜ 1800 m above sea level. These multi-day routing delays ensure that the highest proglacial discharge levels and thus overbank flooding events are more likely to occur after multi-day melt episodes. Finally, for the Watson River ice sheet catchment, we find no evidence of meltwater storage in or release from the en- and subglacial environments in quantities exceeding our methodological uncertainty, based on the good match between ice sheet runoff and proglacial discharge.

  4. Decay of the Greenland Ice Sheet due to surface-meltwater-induced acceleration of basal sliding

    OpenAIRE

    Greve, Ralf; SUGIYAMA, SHIN

    2009-01-01

    Simulations of the Greenland Ice Sheet are carried out with a high-resolution version of the ice-sheet model SICOPOLIS for several global-warming scenarios for the period 1990-2350. In particular, the impact of surface-meltwater-induced acceleration of basal sliding on the stability of the ice sheet is investigated. A parameterization for the acceleration effect is developed for which modelled and measured mass losses of the ice sheet in the early 21st century agree well. The main findings of...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  6. Eskers in the Keewatin region of the Laurentide Ice Sheet - inventory comparisons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jorge, Marco G.; Brennand, Tracy A.; Storrar, Robert D.; Dinney, Meaghan; Perkins, Andrew

    2016-04-01

    Eskers are the casts of subglacial, englacial or supraglacial meltwater channels, or ice-walled canyons and thus can provide a window into paleo ice-sheet hydrology. However, detailed, ice-sheet scale inventories (maps) are rare and, while recent studies provide new insights about the proxy value of esker morphology and internal structure, for a robust understanding of esker glaciological significance, more eskers need to be studied in detail. This poster compares two recent high-resolution inventories of eskers in the Keewatin region of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in order to better understand their reliability for paleo-glaciological inferences and morphogenetic investigations. The latest published inventory (A) of Keewatin eskers was produced by mapping ridge crestlines on 15 m cell-size Landsat ETM+ orthorectified imagery (Storrar et al., 2013). A new inventory (B) of Keewatin esker crestlines has been mapped from 10 m cell-size, orthorectified SPOT-4/5 satellite imagery (freely available at http://geogratis.gc.ca); Google Earth® imagery was used for verifying cases interpreted as potential eskers based on SPOT imagery. In this poster, we: i) present a morphometric comparison of the two inventories; and ii) assess whether the morphometric differences have a significant impact on derived interpretations by applying the same analysis framework (trends in esker morphometry over time based on ice sheet margin positions) used in recent studies based on inventory A to inventory B. In the compared datasets, gaps between esker ridges are not specified as non- or post-depositional. Inventory B generally displays higher esker ridge density and sinuosity, and lower ridge continuity (and thus length) than inventory A. These systematic differences are due to differences in spatial resolution (10 m vs. 15 m cell size) of the imagery, which determines the size of both the thinnest and shortest ridges and gaps that can be identified. On the other hand, differences in mapped

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2008-12-01

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

  8. Modelling heterogeneous meltwater percolation on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ligtenberg, S.

    2015-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has experienced an increase of surface meltwater production over the last decades, with the latest record set in the summer of 2012. For current and future ice sheet mass balance assessments, it is important to quantify what part of this meltwater reaches the ocean and contributes to sea level change. Meltwater produced at the surface has several options: it can infiltrate the local firn pack, where it is either stored temporarily or refrozen, or it can run off along the surface or via en-glacial drainage systems. In this study, we focus on the first; more specifically, in which manner meltwater percolates the firn column. Over the past years, GrIS research has shown that meltwater does not infiltrate the firn pack homogeneously (i.e. matrix flow), but that inhomogeneities in horizontal firn layers causes preferential flow paths for meltwater (i.e. piping). Although this process has been observed and studied on a few isolated sites, it has never been examined on the entire GrIS. To do so, we use the firn model IMAU-FDM with new parameterizations for preferential flow, impermeable ice lenses and sub-surface runoff. At the surface, IMAU-FDM is forced with realistic climate data from the regional climate model RACMO2.3. The model results are evaluated with temperatures and density measurements from firn cores across the GrIS. By allowing for heterogeneous meltwater percolation, the model is able to store heat and mass much deeper in the firn column. This is, however, in part counteracted by the inclusion of impermeability of ice lenses, which causes part of the meltwater to run off horizontally.

  9. Dynamical ice sheet model coupling with the GEOS-5 AGCM: A preliminary assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cullather, R. I.; Zhao, B.; Nowicki, S.; Suarez, M. J.

    2013-12-01

    Dynamical ice sheet models (ISMs) have been developed to address well-known limitations in eustatic change prediction capabilities. Coupling ISMs to an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) is not straightforward, due in part to the extreme difference in spatial scales between the ISM mesh and AGCM grid. In given locations, ISM element edge lengths may be a few km or less, while the AGCM typically has grid spacings on the order of 10s to 100s of km. The Goddard Earth Observing System Model, version 5 (GEOS-5) is a finite-volume AGCM and employs a cube-sphere atmospheric grid (nominally 1° resolution) and a catchment-based land surface scheme that operates on sub-grid scale areas, or tiles, that describe surface characteristics. The land surface component communicates with the atmosphere on a semi-implicit time step via the exchange grid. In this study, coupling between the AGCM and the ISM is facilitated through sub-grid scale land surface tiles that are defined for each element of the ISM. The ISM used here is the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Univ. California at Irvine, which has been adapted for the Greenland Ice Sheet using the 72,320-element Schlagel mesh and using a shallow ice approximation. In the AGCM, land surface tiles are uniquely characterized through a simple downscaling parameterization of surface temperature within each AGCM grid box using a defined lapse rate. On each land surface tile, GEOS-5 employs an advanced snow hydrology model for improved representation of the ice sheet surface mass balance. This preliminary assessment focuses on the differences in the AGCM surface mass balance and surface temperature fields resulting from the downscaling measures employed in the context of an exchange grid, semi-implicit coupling with the atmosphere, and the response of the ISM. Differences in AGCM computational performance with the addition of Greenland tiles is examined, and comparative advantages of

  10. Ice sheet runoff and Dansgaard-Oeschger Cycles

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  11. Pacific winds preventing ice sheet buildup over Siberia during the Ice Age climax

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogozhina, Irina; Bakker, Pepijn; Prange, Matthias

    2017-04-01

    At the culmination of the last Ice Age ( 21,000 years ago), vast portions of the Northern Hemisphere land areas were buried under several-kilometer-thick ice sheets. Surprisingly, one of the coldest regions in the modern world, Northern Siberia, escaped this fate and remained largely ice free. To date, two potential mechanisms have been proposed to explain this phenomenon: A regional precipitation deficit that would not allow for a sufficient snow accumulation and an increased dust deposition that would enhance snow melt during the summer ablation period. Here we use high-resolution climate and ice sheet simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum, land proxy data and paleoglacial reconstructions to link the absence of extensive glaciations to changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation. Our analysis suggests that a reorganization of major stationary pressure systems resulted in strong seasonal winds from the Pacific Ocean that maintained warm spring and summer conditions over the Siberian coasts during the coldest stage of the last glacial period. Both our simulations and proxy data indicate snow-free summers over much of Northern Siberia, in particular due to a pronounced warming of the Arctic shelf placed above the sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum. Although of a regional nature, our finding presents a challenge to the polar amplification theory that cannot reconcile modern-like or even warmer Arctic summers during the Ice Age climax.

  12. Mass loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet since the Little Ice Age, implications on sea level

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjeldsen, K. K.; Bjork, A. A.; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas

    The impact of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) on 20th Century sea level rise (SLR) has long been subject to intense discussions. While globally distributed tide gauges suggest a global mean SLR of 15-20 cm, quantifying the separate components is of great concern - in particular...... for modeling sea level projections into the 21st Century. Estimates of the past GrIS contribution to SLR have been derived using a number of different approaches, e.g. surface mass balance (SMB) calculations combined with estimates of ice discharge found by in correlating SMB anomalies and calving rates. Here...

  13. Internally Drained Supraglacial River Catchments on the Southwest Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    Internally drained catchments are the hydrologic units on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) surface that collect and drain meltwater into moulins or supraglacial lakes without out flows. Understanding the spatial pattern of these internal catchments is critical, which can provide key information about how supraglacial meltwater is transported and released on the ice surface. This study proposed an automatic approach to detect supraglacial hydrologic features (rivers, lakes, moulins, and internal catchments) located at southwest GrIS from Landsat-8 OLI panchromatic imagery. A total of 800 internal catchments are delineated and the average catchment size (river network length) is found to increase with elevations. In addition, moulins are the prime way to drain internal catchments and the average moulin densities decrease with elevations. Adaptive depression area thresholds are calculated to achieve optimal match between DEM-modeled and image-detected internal catchment patterns. The pattern of these image-detected internal catchments also indicates that: 1) not all the DEM-modeled topographic depressions act as meltwater sinks; 2) moulin distribution greatly impacts the internal catchment patterns; and 3) topographic depressions can be connected downstream without being fully filled, changing the fragmentary of the internal catchments.

  14. Numerical modeling of subglacial erosion and sediment transport beneath the Laurentide Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melanson, A.; Bell, T.; Tarasov, L.

    2012-04-01

    Present-day sediment distribution offers a potentially strong constraint on past ice sheet evolution. However, glacial system models (GSMs) cannot address this while lacking physically-based representations of subglacial sediment generation and transport. Incorporation of these elements in GSMs is also required in order to understand the impact of changing sediment cover on glacial cycle dynamics. Towards this goal, we present a subglacial process model that incorporates mechanisms for sediment production, entrainment, transport, and deposition. An abrasion law based on Hallet's model and a quarrying law dependent on basal water pressure and bed roughness are used to calculate bedrock erosion. The incorporation of loose debris in the basal ice is modeled by regelation intrusion and basal freeze-on, depending on the thermal condition and the availability of water at the base. The entrained debris is subsequently transported along the ice sheet's internal velocity field and vertically mixed through a diffusion equation that accounts for folding and thrust faulting. The inclusion of vertical mixing lowers the basal debris concentration and allows more regelation entrainment. Soft bed deformation is included as an advective component within the subglacial sediment, the rheology of which is assumed to be weakly non-linear. Deposition occurs whenever the basal ice is debris-laden and the melting rate exceeds the entrainment rate. The model is coupled to the MUN 3D GSM, which includes a newly developed subglacial hydrology module. The GSM itself has been subject to Bayesian calibration for North American and Eurasian deglaciation and thus a probabilistic ensemble of deglacial chronologies is available. With this calibrated ensemble, we compare the range of calculated sediment thickness fields and cumulative erosion over the last glacial cycle against the present-day pattern of glacigenic sediment and the geological estimates of glacial erosion over North America

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

    Microorganisms are flushed from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) where they may contribute towards the nutrient cycling and community compositions of downstream ecosystems. We investigate meltwater microbial assemblages as they exit the GrIS from a large outlet glacier, and as they enter a downstream river delta during the record melt year of 2012. Prokaryotic abundance, flux and community composition was studied, and factors affecting community structures were statistically considered. The mean concentration of cells exiting the ice sheet was 8.30 × 10(4) cells mL(-1) and we estimate that ∼1.02 × 10(21) cells were transported to the downstream fjord in 2012, equivalent to 30.95 Mg of carbon. Prokaryotic microbial assemblages were dominated by Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria. Cell concentrations and community compositions were stable throughout the sample period, and were statistically similar at both sample sites. Based on our observations, we argue that the subglacial environment is the primary source of the river-transported microbiota, and that cell export from the GrIS is dependent on discharge. We hypothesise that the release of subglacial microbiota to downstream ecosystems will increase as freshwater flux from the GrIS rises in a warming world. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  17. Extending the Record of Greenland Ice Sheet Subsurface Meltwater: Exploring New Applications of Satellite Remote Sensing Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, Margeaux Louise

    The discovery of pervasive year-round englacial meltwater in southeastern Greenland by Forster et. al. [2014] has significantly changed the understanding of meltwater retention, energy balance models and Greenland hydrology. This perennial firn aquifer contained an estimated 140 +/- 20 GT of water prior to the beginning of the 2011 melt season, an amount two to three times the average annual discharge of the Greenland Ice Sheet between 1993 and 2010 Vaughn et. al. [2012]. Prior to this, retained meltwater was not considered a significant portion of the water budget in Greenland. The current most extensive observational dataset, either spatially or temporally, is from the NASA Operation Ice Bridge (OIB) Program. Due to environmental and time constraints, data is limited to a few months each year beginning in 2009. This leaves a significant need to explore new methods of monitoring retained meltwater both throughout the year and over time in order to improve the understanding of meltwater retention drivers and hydrologic consequences. Low Frequency Microwave (LFM) satellite remote sensing observations appear to be capable of revealing information regarding subsurface features in ice sheets. Polarization Difference (PD) at 6.9 and 10.7 GHz, in particular, provided useful classification of known subsurface water features, including both firn aquifers and buried supraglacial lakes, during winter 2009-2011. From 2002-2011, PD is associated with previously published meteorological drivers of these subsurface water features and the ice sheet percolation zone, where these features tend to form. Observational datasets with greater temporal and areal scope will contribute significantly to the scientific community's understanding of meltwater retention, its impact on Greenland hydrology, and possible consequences to the Arctic Climate System in an already changing climate.

  18. Geoologic controls on the architecture of the Antarctic Ice Sheet's basal interface: New results from West and East Antarctica from long range geophysics (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, D. A.; Blankenship, D. D.; Greenbaum, J. S.; Richter, T.; Aitken, A.; Siegert, M. J.; Roberts, J. L.

    2013-12-01

    The ice-rock interface underlying the Antarctic Ice Sheet was shaped by interactions between underlying gondwanan geology and the overlying ice sheet. The ice sheet now preserves from sedimentary infill an incredibly rugged terrain which now plays a critical role in shaping subglacial hydrology, and thus shape ice sheet behavior. This terrain can by imaged through aerogeophysical means, in particular through ice penetrating radar, while airborne potential fields measurements provide insight into the geological framework that controlled erosion. Over the post IPY era, the density of airborne coverage is only now reaching the point where small scale structure can be identified and placed in context. Of particular importance is understanding the formation of focused erosional valleys, 30-50 km wide, representing now buried subglacial fjords. After initial data from the GIMBLE project in West Antarctica, and five years of sustained long range ICECAP surveys over East Antarctica , we now have a better view of the diversity of these features. The local erosion of these valleys, often cutting through significant topographic barriers, irregularly samples the underlying geology, provided a complex story in the sediment to the Antarctic margin. These valleys now provide the subglacial conduits for significant ice sheet catchments, in particular for subglacial water, including the inland catchments of DeVicq, Thwaites, and Pine Island Glaciers in West Antarctica, and Denman Glacier, Totten Glacier, Byrd Glacier and Cook Ice Shelf in East Antarctica. We find that these features, now sometimes hundreds of kilometers inland of the modern grounding line, often nucleate on or are aligned with structure inherited from the assembly of the Antarctic continent. While many of these features currently host active outlet glaciers or their tributaries, some do not, implying avenues for ice sheet change. In West Antarctica, we find a new deep connection between the coast and interior basin

  19. Potential for future sea-level contributions from the Antarctic ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeConto, Rob; Pollard, David; Gasson, Ed

    2017-04-01

    Recent Antarctic ice-sheet modeling that includes the effects of surface meltwater on ice-sheet dynamics (through hydrofracturing and ice-cliff collapse) has demonstrated the previously underappreciated sensitivity of the ice sheet to atmospheric warming in addition to sub-ice oceanic warming. Here, we improve on our modeling of future ice-sheet retreat by using time-evolving atmospheric climatologies from a high-resolution regional climate model, synchronized with SSTs, subsurface ocean temperatures, and sub-ice melt rates from the NCAR CCSM4 GCM. Ongoing improvements in ice-sheet model physics are tested and calibrated relative to observations of recent and ancient (Pliocene, Last InterGlacial, and Last Deglaciation) ice-sheet responses to warming. The model is applied to a range of future greenhouse-gas emissions scenarios, including modified RCP scenarios corresponding to the 1.5° and 2.0° targets of the Paris Agreement and higher emissions scenarios including RCP8.5. The results imply that a threshold in the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and outlet glaciers in East Antarctica might be exceeded in the absence of aggressive mitigation policies like those discussed in Paris. We also explore the maximum potential for Antarctica to contribute to future sea-level rise in high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, by testing a range of model physical parameters within the bounds of observations.

  20. Ice algae sun-screening: feedbacks between irradiance and algal productivity and pigmentation on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, C.; Anesio, A. M.; Yallop, M.

    2016-12-01

    Recent studies have shown compelling evidence that algae growing at the surface of glaciers and ice sheets can have a strong influence on the albedo of the ice. However, very little data are available about the relationship between ice-algal pigmentation and photochemistry despite their importance in both algal proliferation on the ice and wider ice sheet processes, i.e. change of albedo and melt. This relationship can provide the fundamental mechanistic explanation of how ice algae change the albedo of the ice. Here, we present the first in-situ assessment of ice-algal photochemistry undertaken on the Greenland Ice Sheet to constrain the mechanisms employed by ice algal community to maintain growth and productivity. We measured the photo-physiology of mixed algal communities over four weeks of the summer melt season during 2016 using a combination of HPLC pigment analysis and chlorophyll fluorometry. In-situ rapid light curves and induction/recovery curves revealed the photo-adaptation and acclimation strategies employed by ice algae to balance excessive irradiance and UV with the requirements for photosynthesis. The data indicate significant down-regulation of photochemistry to prevent photo-damage during high-irradiance periods, whilst diurnal decreases in irradiance allow recovery and photosynthetic repair. High irradiance during the day limits ice algal photosynthetic electron transport limiting productivity. On the other hand, down-regulation of photochemistry can have an important control on the formation of secondary pigmentation, which in turn has a direct impact on ice albedo.

  1. INTERPRETATIONS OF COMPLICATED FOLDED STRUCTURES AT THE LOWER PARTS OF ANTARCTIC AND GREENLAND ICE SHEETS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexey N. Markov

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Complicated folded structures were recently recorded by radar survey in the lower portions of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. From a geological point of view the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are considered as geological features, while the ice is classified as sedimentary or metamorphic rock. In this regard the genesis of the ice sheets is analyzed from the perspective of geodynamics and metamorphism, and complicated folded structures on radar profiles are interpreted as tectonic and metamorphic structures. This study considers the processes of three kinds of tectonic structures: glacial diapirs, glacial diapir folds and glacial intrusions. Radar profiles not only capture ice flow structure but can also detect the thermobaric field in ice sheet, and in this case the complicated folded structures are interpreted as representative of recorded metastable boundaries of ice recrystallization.

  2. Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet"

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. R. van den Broeke

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Forty years of satellite imagery reveal that meltwater lakes on the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet have expanded substantially inland to higher elevations with warming. These lakes are important because they provide a mechanism for bringing water to the ice bed, causing sliding. Inland expansion of lakes could accelerate ice flow by bringing water to previously frozen bed, potentially increasing future rates of mass loss. Increasing lake elevations closely follow the rise of the mass balance equilibrium line over much of the ice sheet, suggesting no physical limit on lake expansion. Data are not yet available to detect a corresponding change in ice flow, and the potential effects of lake expansion on ice sheet dynamics are not included in ice sheet models.

  3. Calculation of mass discharge of the Greenland ice sheet in the Earth System Model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. O. Rybak

    2016-01-01

    our results with similar model studies. In addition to the atmospheric, oceanic, and ice sheet blocks the ESM normally contains blocks accounting for dynamics of the biosphere, sea ice, hydrological cycle, etc. In practice, application of ESMs for research studies has become possible not long ago owing to the fast progress in computing facilities. Nevertheless, still now ESMs are rather computer time demanding. To provide long runs of a fully coupled ESM at a lower computational cost, we utilized an asynchronous coupling when a 100-yr run of the GrISM corresponds to 1-yr run of the INMCM. The weak point of the numerical experiments is comparison of the results with observations. The lack of observations in Greenland and significant inter-annual variability of air temperature, precipitation, surface melting, and run off do not allow formulation of a reliable reference «climate» and corresponding equilibrium state of GrIS. In practice it means that more or less accurate estimates of the past or future changes of the runoff and total GrIS mass discharge is reasonable to obtain in the form of deviations from a reference undisturbed model state.

  4. Greenland Ice Sheet supraglacial stream morphology and dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, V.; Smith, L. C.; Yang, K.; Legleiter, C. J.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Forster, R. R.; Gleason, C. J.; Pitcher, L. H.; Moustafa, S.

    2013-12-01

    Recently observed increases in temperature and melt extent over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) have prompted studies gauging the response of the ice sheet and outlet glaciers to increasing meltwater input. Satellite images show supraglacial streams abundantly covering the western ablation zone throughout the melt season that transport large volumes of meltwater into moulins and to the ice edge, yet these streams remain poorly studied. Here, we present a high-resolution study of five different supraglacial stream networks in the western GrIS ablation zone, manually digitized from panchromatic and multispectral WorldView-1/2 imagery. These high-resolution stream networks, with drainage areas ranging between 0.5 - 31 km2 in size and 500 - 1800 m in elevation, are compared with large rivers extracted from multispectral WorldView-2 imagery using an automated remote sensing method, and can help define scaling properties of larger rivers as well as constrain remotely sensed retrievals of discharge. Four of these stream networks contain field measurements of stream hydraulics from a field campaign during 20 July - 20 August 2012. This extensive field campaign provided 77 cross-sectional measurements of water flow velocity, stream depth, width, and water surface slope from traditional field surveys, and also provided longitudinal measurements of water surface velocity and elevation from river drifters. Additionally, two highly sampled sites at 500 m and 875 m elevation provide measurements of ablation rate, stream incision rate, and stream and air temperatures. These drainage networks are categorized by discharge, glacier slope, width-to-depth ratio, channel roughness, Froude number, meander wavelength, sinuosity, and channel pattern. Such measurements form a critical first assessment of GrIS supraglacial stream morphology and dynamics.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Joseph Huston

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdalati, Waleed

    2006-01-01

    The glaciers and ice sheets of the world contain enough ice to raise sea level by approximately 70 meters if they were to disappear entirely, and most of this ice is located in the climatically sensitive polar regions. Fortunately changes of this magnitude would probably take many thousands of years to occur, but recent discoveries indicate that these ice masses are responding to changes in today s climate more rapidly than previously thought. These responses are likely to be of great societal significance, primarily in terms of their implications for sea level, but also in terms of how their discharge of freshwater, through melting or calving, may impact ocean circulation. For millions of years, oceans have risen and fallen as the Earth has warmed and cooled, and ice on land has shrunk and grown. Today is no different in that respect, as sea levels have been rising at a rate of nearly 2 m per year during the last century (Miller and Douglas 2004), and 3 mm/yr in the last 12 years (Leuliette et al. 2004). What is different today, however, is that tens - perhaps hundreds - of millions of people live in coastal areas that are vulnerable to changes in sea level. Rising seas erode beaches, increase flood potential, and reduce the ability of barrier islands and coastal wetlands to mitigate the effects of major storms and hurricanes. The costs associated with a one-meter rise in sea level are estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States alone. The worldwide costs in human terms would be far greater as some vulnerable low-lying coastal regions would become inundated, especially in poorer nations that do not have the resources to deal with such changes. Such considerations are particularly important in light of the fact that a one meter sea level rise is not significantly outside the 0.09 to 0.88 range of predictions for this century (IPCC 2001), and rises of this magnitude have occurred in the past in as little as 20 years (Fairbanks 1989

  7. Ice-sheet configuration in the CMIP5/PMIP3 Last Glacial Maximum experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Abe-Ouchi

    2015-11-01

    stationary waves. Differences between the climate response to the CMIP5/PMIP3 composite and any individual ice-sheet reconstruction are smaller than those between the CMIP5/PMIP3 composite and the ice sheet used in the last phase of PMIP (PMIP2.

  8. Spaceborne measurement of Greenland ice sheet changes: the ESA Greenland CCI project

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Forsberg, René; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Meister, Rakia

    The ESA “Greenland_ice_sheet_cci” project is currently making past and present space measurements of Greenland ice sheet changes available for use by scientists, stakeholders and the general public. The data are part of a large set of ECV’s (Essential Climate Variables) made available by the ESA ...

  9. Current state and future perspectives on coupled ice-sheet – sea-level modelling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Boer, B.; Stocchi, P.; Whitehouse, P.L.; van de Wal, R.S.W.

    2017-01-01

    The interaction between ice-sheet growth and retreat and sea-level change has been an established fieldof research for many years. However, recent advances in numerical modelling have shed new light on theprecise interaction of marine ice sheets with the change in near-field sea level, and the

  10. Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE): first temperature and ablation record

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van As, D.; Fausto, R.S.; Ahlström, A.P.; Andersen, S.B.; Andersen, M.L.; Citterio, M.; Edelvang, K.; Gravesen, P.; Machguth, H.; Nick, F.M.; Nielsen, S.; Weidick, A.

    2011-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet is reacting to climate change. Yet, mass-budget estimates differ considerably, partly due to climatic variability and partly to uncertainties in the techniques of assessing mass change (IPCC 2007). Nevertheless, all recent estimates agree that the ice sheet is losing mass (e.

  11. Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bakker, Pepijn; Clark, Peter U.; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Schmittner, Andreas; Weber, Michael E.

    2016-12-01

    Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean-atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both high-spatial-resolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

  12. The Sea-Level Fingerprints of Ice-Sheet Collapse During Interglacial Periods (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hay, C.; Mitrovica, J. X.; Gomez, N. A.; Creveling, J. R.; Austermann, J.; Kopp, R. E.

    2013-12-01

    Peak sea-level highstands during previous interglacials provide important insight into the stability of polar ice sheets in a warming world. In most previous analyses of such highstands, site-specific sea-level records are first corrected for the ongoing effects of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). The residual sea level is then interpreted as representing the net eustatic signal associated with any excess melting of the polar ice sheets relative to their present-day volumes. However, it is now well understood that the collapse of polar ice sheets produces a distinct geometry, or fingerprint, of sea-level change. These sea-level fingerprints must be accounted for in order to accurately estimate global eustatic sea level from site-specific (GIA-corrected) records. To investigate this issue, we compute fingerprints associated with the collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet, West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and marine sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. We demonstrate that these fingerprints are, in contrast to those computed for modern melt scenarios, relatively insensitive to the detailed geometry of ice-sheet collapse. Moreover, using these fingerprints, we isolate regions that would have experienced greater-than-eustatic sea-level change regardless of the melt scenario. Finally, we use the fingerprints to demonstrate that some previous analyses of sea-level records from past interglacials may have overestimated peak eustatic sea level (and thus the net excess melting of polar ice sheets) by 1-2 m.

  13. Inter-comparison of ice sheet mass balance products from GRACE: ESA CCI Round Robin results

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Groth, A.; Horwath, M.; Horvath, A.

    Both the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) and the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) have been identified as key parameters, so called Essential Climate Variables (ECV), in the climate system. Within the framework of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) of the European Space Agency (ESA), reliable long-term satel...

  14. Infill of tunnel valleys associated with landward‐flowing ice sheets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Moreau, Julien; Huuse, Mads

    2014-01-01

    The southern termination of the Middle and Late Pleistocene Scandinavian ice sheets was repeatedly located in the southern North Sea (sNS) and adjacent, north-sloping land areas. Giant meltwater-excavated valleys (tunnel valleys) formed at the southern termination of the ice sheets and contain a ...

  15. Investigating the evolution of major Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during the last glacial-interglacial cycle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Bonelli

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available A 2.5-dimensional climate model of intermediate complexity, CLIMBER-2, fully coupled with the GREMLINS 3-D thermo-mechanical ice sheet model is used to simulate the evolution of major Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during the last glacial-interglacial cycle and to investigate the ice sheets responses to both insolation and atmospheric CO2 concentration. This model reproduces the main phases of advance and retreat of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during the last glacial cycle, although the amplitude of these variations is less pronounced than those based on sea level reconstructions. At the last glacial maximum, the simulated ice volume is 52.5×1015 m3 and the spatial distribution of both the American and Eurasian ice complexes is in reasonable agreement with observations, with the exception of the marine parts of these former ice sheets.
    A set of sensitivity studies has also been performed to assess the sensitivity of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets to both insolation and atmospheric CO2. Our results suggest that the decrease of summer insolation is the main factor responsible for the early build up of the North American ice sheet around 120 kyr BP, in agreement with benthic foraminifera δ18O signals. In contrast, low insolation and low atmospheric CO2 concentration are both necessary to trigger a long-lasting glaciation over Eurasia.

  16. Substantial contribution to sea-level rise during the last interglacial from the Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuffey; Marshall

    2000-04-06

    During the last interglacial period (the Eemian), global sea level was at least three metres, and probably more than five metres, higher than at present. Complete melting of either the West Antarctic ice sheet or the Greenland ice sheet would today raise sea levels by 6-7 metres. But the high sea levels during the last interglacial period have been proposed to result mainly from disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, with model studies attributing only 1-2 m of sea-level rise to meltwater from Greenland. This result was considered consistent with ice core evidence, although earlier work had suggested a much reduced Greenland ice sheet during the last interglacial period. Here we reconsider the Eemian evolution of the Greenland ice sheet by combining numerical modelling with insights obtained from recent central Greenland ice-core analyses. Our results suggest that the Greenland ice sheet was considerably smaller and steeper during the Eemian, and plausibly contributed 4-5.5 m to the sea-level highstand during that period. We conclude that the high sea level during the last interglacial period most probably included a large contribution from Greenland meltwater and therefore should not be interpreted as evidence for a significant reduction of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

  17. Mass loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet since the Little Ice Age, implications on sea level

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kjeldsen, K. K.; Kjaer, K.; Bjork, A. A.; Khan, S. A.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Larsen, N. K.; Long, A. J.; Woodroffe, S.; Milne, G. A.; Wahr, J. M.; Geruo, A.; Bamber, J. L.; van den Broeke, M. R.

    2013-12-01

    The impact of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) on 20th Century sea level rise (SLR) has long been subject to intense discussions. While globally distributed tide gauges suggest a global mean SLR of 15-20 cm, quantifying the separate components is of great concern - in particular for modeling sea level projections into the 21st Century. Estimates of the past GrIS contribution to SLR have been derived using a number of different approaches, e.g. surface mass balance (SMB) calculations combined with estimates of ice discharge found by in correlating SMB anomalies and calving rates. Here, we adopt a novel geometric approach to determine the post-Little Ice Age (LIA) mass loss of the GrIS. We use high quality aerial stereo photogrammetric imagery recorded between 1978 and 1987 to map morphological features such as trim lines (boundary between freshly eroded and non-eroded bedrock) and end moraines marking the ice extent of the LIA, which thereby enables us to obtain vertical point-based differences associated with changes in ice extent. These point measurements are combined with contemporary ice surface differences derived using NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) from 2002-2010, NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from 2003-2009, and NASA's Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS) from 2010, to estimate mass loss throughout the 20th and early 21st Century. We present mass balance estimates of the GrIS since retreat commence from the maximum extent of the LIA to 2010 derived for three intervals, LIAmax (1900) - 1978/87, 1978/87 - 2002, and 2002 - 2010. Results suggest that despite highly spatially- and temporally variable post-LIA mass loss, the total mass loss and thus the contribution from the GrIS to global SLR has accelerated significantly during the 20th Century.

  18. An improved Antarctic dataset for high resolution numerical ice sheet models (ALBMAP v1

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. M. Le Brocq

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available The dataset described in this paper (ALBMAP has been created for the purposes of high-resolution numerical ice sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. It brings together data on the ice sheet configuration (e.g. ice surface and ice thickness and boundary conditions, such as the surface air temperature, accumulation and geothermal heat flux. The ice thickness and basal topography is based on the BEDMAP dataset (Lythe et al., 2001, however, there are a number of inconsistencies within BEDMAP and, since its release, more data has become available. The dataset described here addresses these inconsistencies, including some novel interpolation schemes for sub ice-shelf cavities, and incorporates some major new datasets. The inclusion of new datasets is not exhaustive, this considerable task is left for the next release of BEDMAP, however, the data and procedure documented here provides another step forward and demonstrates the issues that need addressing in a continental scale dataset useful for high resolution ice sheet modelling. The dataset provides an initial condition that is as close as possible to present-day ice sheet configuration, aiding modelling of the response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to various forcings, which are, at present, not fully understood.

  19. A model of the western Laurentide Ice Sheet, using observations of glacial isostatic adjustment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gowan, Evan J.; Tregoning, Paul; Purcell, Anthony; Montillet, Jean-Philippe; McClusky, Simon

    2016-05-01

    We present the results of a new numerical model of the late glacial western Laurentide Ice Sheet, constrained by observations of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), including relative sea level indicators, uplift rates from permanent GPS stations, contemporary differential lake level change, and postglacial tilt of glacial lake level indicators. The later two datasets have been underutilized in previous GIA based ice sheet reconstructions. The ice sheet model, called NAICE, is constructed using simple ice physics on the basis of changing margin location and basal shear stress conditions in order to produce ice volumes required to match GIA. The model matches the majority of the observations, while maintaining a relatively realistic ice sheet geometry. Our model has a peak volume at 18,000 yr BP, with a dome located just east of Great Slave Lake with peak thickness of 4000 m, and surface elevation of 3500 m. The modelled ice volume loss between 16,000 and 14,000 yr BP amounts to about 7.5 m of sea level equivalent, which is consistent with the hypothesis that a large portion of Meltwater Pulse 1A was sourced from this part of the ice sheet. The southern part of the ice sheet was thin and had a low elevation profile. This model provides an accurate representation of ice thickness and paleo-topography, and can be used to assess present day uplift and infer past climate.

  20. Cosmogenic 10Be Age Constraints on the Holocene Deglaciation of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuzzone, J. K.; Clark, P. U.; Wohlfarth, B.; Lunkka, J.

    2011-12-01

    An important question in climate science is how ice sheets will respond to a climate warmer than present. Because our understanding of how these changes will occur remains limited, reconstructing the deglaciation of former ice sheets allows for a better understanding of how past ice sheets responded to a climate warmer than present along with understanding their contribution to sea-level rise. We will present new cosmogenic 10Be ages from erratic boulders along three transects spanning southern to northern Sweden and Finland that improve our understanding of the deglaciation of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet (SIS) beginning ~ 11.7ka through its final demise during the early Holocene. By constraining the Holocene deglaciation of the SIS and its associated retreat rates, we will establish the SIS contribution to Holocene sea level rise, improving our understanding of ice-sheet response to warming climates.

  1. On the response of the Greenland ice sheet to greenhouse climate change

    OpenAIRE

    2000-01-01

    Numerical computations are performed with the three-dimensional polythermal ice-sheet model SICOPOLIS in order to investigate the possible impact of a greenhouse-gas-induced climate change on the Greenland ice sheet. The assumed increase of the mean annual air temperature above the ice covers a range from ΔT = 1℃ to 12℃, and several parameterizations for the snowfall and the surface melting are considered. The simulated shrinking of the ice sheet is a smooth function of the temperature rise, ...

  2. Coring to the West Antarctic ice sheet bed with a new Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) drill

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bentley, C. R.; Taylor, K. C.; Shturmakov, A. J.; Mason, W. P.; Emmel, G. R.; Lebar, D. A.

    2005-05-01

    As a contribution to IPY 2007-2008, the U.S. ice core research community, supported by the National Science Foundation, plans to core through the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) at the ice-flow divide between the Ross Sea and Amundsen Sea drainage systems. The aim is to develop a unique series of interrelated climatic, ice-dynamic, and biologic records focused on understanding interactions among global earth systems. There will be approximately 15 separate but synergistic projects to analyze the ice and interpret the records. The most significant expected outcome of the WAIS Divide program will be climate records for the last ~40,000 years with an annually resolved chronology (through layer counting), comparable to the records from central Greenland. The data will also extend, at lower temporal resolution, to approximately 100,000 BP. These records will permit comparison of environmental conditions between the northern and southern hemispheres, and study of greenhouse gas concentrations in the paleoatmosphere, with unprecedented detail. To accomplish the coring, an innovative new Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) drill is being built at the University of Wisconsin. The modular design of the bore-hole assembly (sonde) provides high flexibility for producing a 122 mm diameter ice core to depths of 4,000 m with maximum core lengths of 4 m. The DISC drill has a rotating outer barrel that can be used with or without an inner barrel designed to improve core recovery in brittle ice. Separate and independent motors for the drill and pump allow cutter speeds from 0 to 150 rpm and pump rates from 0 to 140 gpm. The high pumping rate should alleviate problems drilling in warm ice near the bed; it also helps make tripping speeds several times faster than with the old US drill. Other innovations include vibration and acoustic sensors for monitoring the drilling process, a segmented core barrel to avoid the formerly persistent problem of bent core barrels, and a high-speed data

  3. GLAS/ICESat L2 Global Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheet Altimetry Data (HDF5) V033

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — GLAH12 contains the ice sheet elevation and elevation distribution corrected for geodetic and atmospheric affects calculated from algorithms fine-tuned for ice sheet...

  4. Ice-dynamic projections of the Greenland ice sheet in response to atmospheric and oceanic warming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. J. Fürst

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Continuing global warming will have a strong impact on the Greenland ice sheet in the coming centuries. During the last decade (2000–2010, both increased melt-water runoff and enhanced ice discharge from calving glaciers have contributed 0.6 ± 0.1 mm yr−1 to global sea-level rise, with a relative contribution of 60 and 40% respectively. Here we use a higher-order ice flow model, spun up to present day, to simulate future ice volume changes driven by both atmospheric and oceanic temperature changes. For these projections, the flow model accounts for runoff-induced basal lubrication and ocean warming-induced discharge increase at the marine margins. For a suite of 10 atmosphere and ocean general circulation models and four representative concentration pathway scenarios, the projected sea-level rise between 2000 and 2100 lies in the range of +1.4 to +16.6 cm. For two low emission scenarios, the projections are conducted up to 2300. Ice loss rates are found to abate for the most favourable scenario where the warming peaks in this century, allowing the ice sheet to maintain a geometry close to the present-day state. For the other moderate scenario, loss rates remain at a constant level over 300 years. In any scenario, volume loss is predominantly caused by increased surface melting as the contribution from enhanced ice discharge decreases over time and is self-limited by thinning and retreat of the marine margin, reducing the ice–ocean contact area. As confirmed by other studies, we find that the effect of enhanced basal lubrication on the volume evolution is negligible on centennial timescales. Our projections show that the observed rates of volume change over the last decades cannot simply be extrapolated over the 21st century on account of a different balance of processes causing ice loss over time. Our results also indicate that the largest source of uncertainty arises from the surface mass balance and the underlying climate change

  5. BRITICE-CHRONO: Constraining rates and style of marine-influenced ice sheet decay to provide a data-rich playground for ice sheet modellers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Chris

    2014-05-01

    Uncertainty exists regarding the fate of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and how they will respond to forcings from sea level and atmospheric and ocean temperatures. If we want to know more about the mechanisms and rate of change of shrinking ice sheets, then why not examine an ice sheet that has fully disappeared and track its retreat through time? If achieved in enough detail such information could become a data-rich playground for improving the next breed of numerical ice sheet models to be used in ice and sea level forecasting. We regard that the last British-Irish Ice Sheet is a good target for this work, on account of its small size, density of information and with its numerous researchers already investigating it. BRITICE-CHRONO is a large (>45 researchers) NERC-funded consortium project comprising Quaternary scientists and glaciologists who will search the seafloor around Britain and Ireland and parts of the landmass in order to find and extract samples of sand, rock and organic matter that can be dated (OSL; Cosmogenic; 14C) to reveal the timing and rate of change of the collapsing British-Irish Ice Sheet. The purpose is to produce a high resolution dataset on the demise on an ice sheet - from the continental shelf edge and across the marine to terrestrial transition. Some 800 new date assessments will be added to those that already exist. This poster reports on the hypotheses that underpin the work. Data on retreat will be collected by focusing on 8 transects running from the continental shelf edge to a short distance (10s km) onshore and acquiring marine and terrestrial samples for geochronometric dating. The project includes funding for 587 radiocarbon, 140 OSL and 158 TCN samples for surface exposure dating; with sampling accomplished by two research cruises and 16 fieldwork campaigns. Results will reveal the timing and rate of change of ice margin recession for each transect, and combined with existing landform and dating databases, will be

  6. Modeling the Greenland Firn Aquifer and its ability to Hydrofracture a Crevasse to the Bed of the Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNerney, L.

    2015-12-01

    Spanning 1.7 million km2 with glacial ice that exceeds 3,000 m thick in the interior, the Greenland ice sheet plays a large role in Earth's response to climate change. A recently discovered firn aquifer within the ice sheet has the potential to buffer or enhance sea level rise by retaining water or outputting it into the ocean. This study examines englacial hydrology to determine if the subsurface aquifer can discharge its contents into the ocean via hydraulic fracturing of crevasses. Operation Ice Bridge data is utilized to map ice surface elevation profiles and water table return signals. This data is then modeled in SEEP2D, based on Darcy's law, to determine the aquifer's potential water discharge. With a known discharge, conservation of mass equations yield crevasse water depth. This water depth is converted into pressure and compared with known fracture thresholds to determine the likelihood of failure at varying crevasse dimensions. These results can be used to better assess the Greenland aquifer's potential to alter sea level rise.

  7. Greenland Ice Sheet sensitivity and sea level contribution in the mid-Pliocene warm period – Pliocene Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project PLISMIP

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koenig, S. J.; Dolan, A. M.; De Boer, B.; Stone, E. J.; Hill, D. J.; Deconto, R. M.; Abe-ouchi, A.; Lunt, D. J.; Pollard, D.; Quiquet, A.; Saito, F.; Savage, J.; Van De Wal, R.

    2014-01-01

    The understanding of the nature and behavior of ice sheets in past warm periods is important to constrain the potential impacts of future climate change. The mid-Pliocene Warm Period (2.97 to 3.29 Ma) has global temperatures similar to those projected for future climates, nevertheless Pliocene ice l

  8. Modelling Greenland ice sheet inception and sustainability during the Late Pliocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Contoux, C.; Dumas, C.; Ramstein, G.; Jost, A.; Dolan, A. M.

    2015-08-01

    Understanding the evolution and dynamics of ice sheet growth during past warm periods is a very important topic considering the potential total removal of the Greenland ice sheet. In this regard, one key event is the full glaciation of Greenland that occurred at the end of the Pliocene warm period, which remains partially unexplained. Previous modelling studies succeeded in reproducing this full glaciation either by imposing an unrealistically low CO2 value or by imposing a partial ice sheet over the surface of Greenland. Although they highlight some fundamental mechanisms, none of these studies are fully satisfactory because they do not reflect realistic conditions occurring during the Late Pliocene. Through a series of simulations with the IPSL-CM5A coupled climate model used to force the GRISLI ice sheet model, we show that a drop in CO2 levels does not lead to an abrupt inception of the Greenland ice sheet. High ablation rates in central and northern Greenland combined with low accumulation prevent such an abrupt inception. Ice sheet inception occurs when low summer insolation and CO2 levels below modern values are combined, the Greenland ice sheet being restricted to the southeast region, where high topography favours this build-up. This ice sheet experiences only partial melting during summer insolation maxima combined with high CO2 levels. Further growth of the ice sheet with recoupling experiments is important at 360 and 280 ppm during insolation minima. Thus, the full glaciation at 2.6 Ma could be the result of a cumulative build-up of the Greenland ice sheet over several orbital cycles, leading to progressively more intense glaciations during low summer insolation periods. Although this result could be a shortcoming of the modelling framework itself, the gradual glacial inception interpreted from the oxygen isotope record could support our scenario.

  9. Boundary conditions of an active West Antarctic subglacial lake: implications for storage of water beneath the ice sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. J. Siegert

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Repeat-pass IceSat altimetry has revealed 124 discrete surface height changes across the Antarctic Ice Sheet, interpreted to be caused by subglacial lake discharges (surface lowering and inputs (surface uplift. Few of these active lakes have been confirmed by radio-echo sounding (RES despite several attempts (notable exceptions are Lake Whillans and three in the Adventure Subglacial Trench. Here we present targeted RES and radar altimeter data from an "active lake" location within the upstream Institute Ice Stream, into which 0.12 km3 of water is calculated to have flowed between October 2003 and February 2008. We use a series of transects to establish an accurate appreciation of the influences of bed topography and ice-surface elevation on water storage potential. The location of surface height change is over the downslope flank of a distinct topographic hollow, where RES reveals no obvious evidence for deep (> 10 m water. The regional hydropotential reveals a sink coincident with the surface change, however. Governed by the location of the hydrological sink, basal water will likely "drape" over existing topography in a manner dissimilar to subglacial lakes where flat strong specular RES reflections are measured. The inability of RES to detect the active lake means that more of the Antarctic ice sheet bed may contain stored water than is currently appreciated. Variation in ice surface elevation datasets leads to significant alteration in calculations of the local flow of basal water indicating the value of, and need for, high resolution RES datasets in both space and time to establish and characterise subglacial hydrological processes.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutowski, G.

    2015-12-01

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

  11. Improving Climate Literacy Using The Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM): A Prototype Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory For Use In K-12 Classrooms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halkides, D. J.; Larour, E. Y.; Perez, G.; Petrie, K.; Nguyen, L.

    2013-12-01

    Statistics indicate that most Americans learn what they will know about science within the confines of our public K-12 education system and the media. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aim to remedy science illiteracy and provide guidelines to exceed the Common Core State Standards that most U.S. state governments have adopted, by integrating disciplinary cores with crosscutting ideas and real life practices. In this vein, we present a prototype ';Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory' (I-Lab), geared to K-12 students, educators and interested members of the general public. I-Lab will allow users to perform experiments using a state-of-the-art dynamical ice sheet model and provide detailed downloadable lesson plans, which incorporate this model and are consistent with NGSS Physical Science criteria for different grade bands (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). The ultimate goal of this website is to improve public climate science literacy, especially in regards to the crucial role of the polar ice sheets in Earth's climate and sea level. The model used will be the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), an ice flow model developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UC Irvine, that simulates the near-term evolution of polar ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) and includes high spatial resolution capabilities and data assimilation to produce realistic simulations of ice sheet dynamics at the continental scale. Open sourced since 2011, ISSM is used in cutting edge cryosphere research around the globe. Thru I-Lab, students will be able to access ISSM using a simple, online graphical interface that can be launched from a web browser on a computer, tablet or smart phone. The interface will allow users to select different climate conditions and watch how the polar ice sheets evolve in time under those conditions. Lesson contents will include links to background material and activities that teach observation recording, concept articulation, hypothesis formulation and testing, and

  12. VESL: The Virtual Earth Sheet Laboratory for Ice Sheet Modeling and Visualization

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    We introduce the Virtual Earth System Laboratory (VESL), a scientific modeling and visualization tool delivered through an integrated web portal for dissemination of data, simulation of physical processes, and promotion of climate literacy. The current prototype leverages NASA's Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), a state-of-the-art polar ice sheet dynamics model developed at the Jet Propulsion Lab and UC Irvine. We utilize the Emscripten source-to-source compiler to convert the C/C++ ISSM engine core to JavaScript, and bundled pre/post-processing JS scripts to be compatible with the existing ISSM Python/Matlab API. Researchers using VESL will be able to effectively present their work for public dissemination with little-to-no additional post-processing. This will allow for faster publication in peer-reviewed journals and adaption of results for educational applications. Through future application of this concept to multiple aspects of the Earth System, VESL has the potential to broaden data applications in the geosciences and beyond. At this stage, we seek feedback from the greater scientific and public outreach communities regarding the ease of use and feature set of VESL, as we plan its expansion, and aim to achieve more rapid communication and presentation of scientific results.

  13. Generation of a new Greenland Ice Sheet Digital Elevation Model

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nagarajan, Sudhagar; Csatho, Beata M; Schenk, Anton F

    Currently available Digital Elevation Models(DEMs) of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) were originally derived from radar altimetry data, e.g. Bamber (Bamber et al., 2001) and later improved by photoclinometry to fill the regions between orbits (Scambos and Haran, 2002). The elevation error...... m)), a high resolution, consistent DEM of GrIS is not yet available. This is due to various problems, such as different error sources in the data and different dates of data acquisition. In order to overcome these difficulties, we generated a multi-resolution DEM of GrIS, reflecting June 2008...... in an updated DEM. Finally, all elevations were corrected using elevation changes determined by SERAC (Surface Elevation Reconstruction And Change detection), to achieve a common reference date. Airborne laser altimetry elevations are used to evaluate the accuracy of the new GrIS DEM....

  14. Greenland Ice Sheet Melt from MODIS and Associated Atmospheric Variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hakkinen, Sirpa; Hall, Dorothy K.; Shuman, Christopher A.; Worthen, Denise L.; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E.

    2014-01-01

    Daily June-July melt fraction variations over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) derived from the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (2000-2013) are associated with atmospheric blocking forming an omega-shape ridge over the GIS at 500hPa height (from NCEPNCAR). Blocking activity with a range of time scales, from synoptic waves breaking poleward ( 5 days) to full-fledged blocks (5 days), brings warm subtropical air masses over the GIS controlling daily surface temperatures and melt. The temperature anomaly of these subtropical air mass intrusions is also important for melting. Based on the largest MODIS melt years (2002 and 2012), the area-average temperature anomaly of 2 standard deviations above the 14-year June-July mean, results in a melt fraction of 40 or more. Summer 2007 had the most blocking days, however atmospheric temperature anomalies were too small to instigate extreme melting.

  15. Reconstruction of the Past and Forecast of the Future European and British Ice Sheets and Associated Sea–Level Change

    OpenAIRE

    Hagdorn, Magnus K M

    2003-01-01

    The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of the past European and British ice sheets as a basis for forecasting their future. The behaviour of these ice sheets is investigated by simulating them using a numerical model and comparing model results with geological data including relative sea–level change data. In order to achieve this aim, a coupled ice sheet/lithosphere model is developed. Ice sheets form an integral part of the Earth system. They affect the plane...

  16. Surface Energy and Mass Balance Model for Greenland Ice Sheet and Future Projections

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Xiaojian

    The Greenland Ice Sheet contains nearly 3 million cubic kilometers of glacial ice. If the entire ice sheet completely melted, sea level would raise by nearly 7 meters. There is thus considerable interest in monitoring the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Each year, the ice sheet gains ice from snowfall and loses ice through iceberg calving and surface melting. In this thesis, we develop, validate and apply a physics based numerical model to estimate current and future surface mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The numerical model consists of a coupled surface energy balance and englacial model that is simple enough that it can be used for long time scale model runs, but unlike previous empirical parameterizations, has a physical basis. The surface energy balance model predicts ice sheet surface temperature and melt production. The englacial model predicts the evolution of temperature and meltwater within the ice sheet. These two models can be combined with estimates of precipitation (snowfall) to estimate the mass balance over the Greenland Ice Sheet. We first compare model performance with in-situ observations to demonstrate that the model works well. We next evaluate how predictions are degraded when we statistically downscale global climate data. We find that a simple, nearest neighbor interpolation scheme with a lapse rate correction is able to adequately reproduce melt patterns on the Greenland Ice Sheet. These results are comparable to those obtained using empirical Positive Degree Day (PDD) methods. Having validated the model, we next drove the ice sheet model using the suite of atmospheric model runs available through the CMIP5 atmospheric model inter-comparison, which in turn built upon the RCP 8.5 (business as usual) scenarios. From this exercise we predict how much surface melt production will increase in the coming century. This results in 4-10 cm sea level equivalent, depending on the CMIP5 models. Finally, we try to bound melt water

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

    Till in an extensive blue ice moraine in the central Transantarctic Mountains at Mt. Achernar shows relatively continuous deposition by East Antarctic derived ice throughout the last glacial cycle. The most recently exposed material along the active margin of the Law Glacier (Zone 1) has hummocky topography that transitions into to a relatively flat region (Zone 2), followed by a series of ∼2 m high continuous, parallel/sub-parallel ridges and troughs (Zones 3-5). The entire moraine is ice-cored. Past surface changes of data, the U-Pb zircon data from till across all zones show little variability and are consistent with a Beacon Supergroup source, as samples show significant populations from the Proterozoic, ∼550-600 Ma and ∼950-1270 Ma, as well as the late Archean ∼2700-2770 Ma. The Mackellar, Fairchild, and lower Buckley Formations are interpreted as dominant sources of the detrital zircons. The zircon data lack the spatio-temporal variability indicated by the pebble fraction because the local Ferrar dolerite is not zircon bearing, highlighting the broader importance of using multiple techniques when interpreting provenance changes over time. Rather than reflecting major changes in ice flow path over time, the provenance changes are interpreted to indicate relative stability of the East Antarctic ice sheet, as the Law Glacier tapped into and eroded successively lower stratigraphic units of the Beacon Supergroup. This has important implications for interpreting offshore provenance records.

  18. Climatology and firn processes in the lower accumulation area of the Greenland ice sheet

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet is the largest Northern Hemisphere store of fresh water, and it is responding rapidly to the warming climate. In situ observations document the changing ice sheet properties in the lower accumulation area, Southwest Greenland. Firn densities from 1840 meters above sea level retrieved in May 2012 revealed the existence of a 5.5-meter-thick, near-surface ice layer in response to the recent increased melt and refreezing in firn. As a consequence, vertical meltwater percol...

  19. Past ice-sheet behaviour: retreat scenarios and changing controls in the Ross Sea, Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halberstadt, Anna Ruth W.; Simkins, Lauren M.; Greenwood, Sarah L.; Anderson, John B.

    2016-05-01

    Studying the history of ice-sheet behaviour in the Ross Sea, Antarctica's largest drainage basin can improve our understanding of patterns and controls on marine-based ice-sheet dynamics and provide constraints for numerical ice-sheet models. Newly collected high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data, combined with two decades of legacy multibeam and seismic data, are used to map glacial landforms and reconstruct palaeo ice-sheet drainage. During the Last Glacial Maximum, grounded ice reached the continental shelf edge in the eastern but not western Ross Sea. Recessional geomorphic features in the western Ross Sea indicate virtually continuous back-stepping of the ice-sheet grounding line. In the eastern Ross Sea, well-preserved linear features and a lack of small-scale recessional landforms signify rapid lift-off of grounded ice from the bed. Physiography exerted a first-order control on regional ice behaviour, while sea floor geology played an important subsidiary role. Previously published deglacial scenarios for Ross Sea are based on low-spatial-resolution marine data or terrestrial observations; however, this study uses high-resolution basin-wide geomorphology to constrain grounding-line retreat on the continental shelf. Our analysis of retreat patterns suggests that (1) retreat from the western Ross Sea was complex due to strong physiographic controls on ice-sheet drainage; (2) retreat was asynchronous across the Ross Sea and between troughs; (3) the eastern Ross Sea largely deglaciated prior to the western Ross Sea following the formation of a large grounding-line embayment over Whales Deep; and (4) our glacial geomorphic reconstruction converges with recent numerical models that call for significant and complex East Antarctic ice sheet and West Antarctic ice sheet contributions to the ice flow in the Ross Sea.

  20. Greenland Ice Sheet and rising sea level in a worst-case climate change scenario

    OpenAIRE

    Terry Hughes

    2004-01-01

    Models that simulate sheet flow in the Greenland Ice Sheet balance forces at gridpoints in the map plan, which allows only a slow response to changes in climate forcing. A holistic approach to modeling allows a rapid response that takes place in ice streams. Holistic modeling results are presented that lengthen and lower the profiles of Greenland ice streams. This occurs because surface meltwater from greenhouse" warming reaches the bed through crevasses, and thereby increases basal water pre...

  1. Analogue modelling of the influence of ice shelf collapse on the flow of ice sheets grounded below sea-level

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  2. Long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calov, Reinhard; Robinson, Alex; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2015-04-01

    We investigate the impact of future cumulative anthropogenic emissions on the fate of the Greenland ice sheet. For this study, we use the polythermal ice sheet model SICOPOLIS, which is bi-directionally coupled with the regional climate model of intermediate complexity REMBO. We constrain our model parameters with simulations over two glacial cycles employing anomalies from the global CLIMBER-2 model. CLIMBER-2 treats the major components or the Earth system, including atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial vegetation and carbon cycle. As constraints we include the cumulative error in ice thickness, the surface mass balance partition (ratio between precipitation and ice discharge) and the ice elevation drop between Eemian and present-day at the NEEM ice core location. Our model includes a new ice discharge parameterization, which describes the ice loss via small-scale outlet glaciers in a heuristic statistical approach. Using the large-ensemble of model versions consistent with our constraints, we estimate the range of the long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise under global warming. On the 100,000-year time scale, there is a visible modulation over the CO2 signal in the simulated Greenland ice volume caused by the 20,000 years precessional cycle of insolation. In nearly all of our scenarios (500 to 5000 Gt carbon cumulative emissions), the Greenland is sheet fully decays in the future after at least 40,000 years. For the extreme scenario (5000 Gt), the Greenland ice sheet decays much faster - after about 5000 years, while there is still 80% of the ice sheet left after 40,000 years only for the model versions with a low temperature sensitivity and the low cumulative carbon emission scenario (500 Gt). Our results underline that without future negative CO2 emissions, irreversible loss of Greenland ice sheet is essentially unavoidable.

  3. Interaction of ice sheets and climate during the past 800 000 years

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. B. Stap

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available During the Cenozoic, land ice and climate interacted on many different timescales. On long timescales, the effect of land ice on global climate and sea level is mainly set by large ice sheets in North America, Eurasia, Greenland and Antarctica. The climatic forcing of these ice sheets is largely determined by the meridional temperature profile resulting from radiation and greenhouse gas (GHG forcing. As a response, the ice sheets cause an increase in albedo and surface elevation, which operates as a feedback in the climate system. To quantify the importance of these climate–land ice processes, a zonally averaged energy balance climate model is coupled to five one-dimensional ice sheet models, representing the major ice sheets. In this study, we focus on the transient simulation of the past 800 000 years, where a high-confidence CO2 record from ice core samples is used as input in combination with Milankovitch radiation changes. We obtain simulations of atmospheric temperature, ice volume and sea level that are in good agreement with recent proxy-data reconstructions. We examine long-term climate–ice-sheet interactions by a comparison of simulations with uncoupled and coupled ice sheets. We show that these interactions amplify global temperature anomalies by up to a factor of 2.6, and that they increase polar amplification by 94%. We demonstrate that, on these long timescales, the ice-albedo feedback has a larger and more global influence on the meridional atmospheric temperature profile than the surface-height-temperature feedback. Furthermore, we assess the influence of CO2 and insolation by performing runs with one or both of these variables held constant. We find that atmospheric temperature is controlled by a complex interaction of CO2 and insolation, and both variables serve as thresholds for northern hemispheric glaciation.

  4. Interaction of ice sheets and climate during the past 800 000 years

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. B. Stap

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available During the Cenozoic, land ice and climate have interacted on many different time scales. On long time scales, the effect of land ice on global climate and sea level is mainly set by large ice sheets on North America, Eurasia, Greenland and Antarctica. The climatic forcing of these ice sheets is largely determined by the meridional temperature profile resulting from radiation and greenhouse gas (GHG forcing. As response, the ice sheets cause an increase in albedo and surface elevation, which operates as a feedback in the climate system. To quantify the importance of these climate-land ice processes, a zonally-averaged energy balance climate model is coupled to five one-dimensional ice-sheet models, representing the major ice sheets. In this study, we focus on the transient simulation of the past 800 000 years, where a high-confidence CO2-record from ice cores samples is used as input in combination with Milankovitch radiation changes. We obtain simulations of atmospheric temperature, ice volume and sea level, that are in good agreement with recent proxy-data reconstructions. We examine long-term climate-ice sheet interactions by a comparison of simulations with uncoupled and coupled ice sheets. We show that these interactions amplify global temperature anomalies by up to a factor 2.6, and that they increase polar amplification by 94%. We demonstrate that, on these long time scales, the ice-albedo feedback has a larger and more global influence on the meridional atmospheric temperature profile than the surface-height temperature feedback. Furthermore, we assess the influence of CO2 and insolation, by performing runs with one or both of these variables held constant. We find that atmospheric temperature is controlled by a complex interaction of CO2 and insolation, and both variables serve as thresholds for Northern Hemispheric glaciation.

  5. Multi-decadal dynamic thinning on the northwest margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Korsgaard, Niels Jákup; Kjær, Kurt H.; Khan, Shfaqat Abbas;

    Ice mass changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet have been estimated since the early 1990s from the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite gravity mission, of ice sheet thinning from satellite radar altimetry and airborne laser altimetry, and of increased velocities of outlet glaciers...... from radar interferometric surveys. Prior to 2000 existing altimetry data provides comparatively limited spatial resolution and ice losses near ice sheet margins are most likely underestimated and existing data is unable to document the persisting change within outlet glaciers. Subsequent estimates...... of increasing dynamic induced ice loss. GRACE data show that this increased mass loss initiated in 2005 ceased in late 2009, thus, defining a dynamic thinning event as seen previous along the coast in southeast Greenland. Here, we present a multi-decadal perspective on ice mass change from northwestern...

  6. Surface melt-induced acceleration of Greenland ice-sheet flow.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zwally, H Jay; Abdalati, Waleed; Herring, Tom; Larson, Kristine; Saba, Jack; Steffen, Konrad

    2002-07-12

    Ice flow at a location in the equilibrium zone of the west-central Greenland Ice Sheet accelerates above the midwinter average rate during periods of summer melting. The near coincidence of the ice acceleration with the duration of surface melting, followed by deceleration after the melting ceases, indicates that glacial sliding is enhanced by rapid migration of surface meltwater to the ice-bedrock interface. Interannual variations in the ice acceleration are correlated with variations in the intensity of the surface melting, with larger increases accompanying higher amounts of summer melting. The indicated coupling between surface melting and ice-sheet flow provides a mechanism for rapid, large-scale, dynamic responses of ice sheets to climate warming.

  7. An ice flow modeling perspective on bedrock adjustment patterns of the Greenland ice sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Olaizola

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Since the launch in 2002 of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE satellites, several estimates of the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS have been produced. To obtain ice mass changes, the GRACE data need to be corrected for the effect of deformation changes of the Earth's crust. Recently, a new method has been proposed where ice mass changes and bedrock changes are simultaneously solved. Results show bedrock subsidence over almost the entirety of Greenland in combination with ice mass loss which is only half of the currently standing estimates. This subsidence can be an elastic response, but it may however also be a delayed response to past changes. In this study we test whether these subsidence patterns are consistent with ice dynamical modeling results. We use a 3-D ice sheet–bedrock model with a surface mass balance forcing based on a mass balance gradient approach to study the pattern and magnitude of bedrock changes in Greenland. Different mass balance forcings are used. Simulations since the Last Glacial Maximum yield a bedrock delay with respect to the mass balance forcing of nearly 3000 yr and an average uplift at present of 0.3 mm yr−1. The spatial pattern of bedrock changes shows a small central subsidence as well as more intense uplift in the south. These results are not compatible with the gravity based reconstructions showing a subsidence with a maximum in central Greenland, thereby questioning whether the claim of halving of the ice mass change is justified.

  8. Ice tectonics during the rapid tapping of a supraglacial lake on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. H. Doyle

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The hydraulic fracture of ice during the rapid tapping of supraglacial lakes is proposed as one mechanism to establish efficient surface-to-bed hydraulic pathways through kilometre-thick ice. This study presents detailed records of lake discharge, ice motion, and passive seismicity capturing the behaviour and processes preceding, during and following the rapid (~2 h tapping of a large (~4 km2 supraglacial lake through 1.1 km of the western margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Peak discharge (3300 m3s−1 was coincident with maximal rates of horizontal displacement and vertical uplift, indicating that surface water accessed the ice-bed interface causing widespread hydraulic separation and enhanced basal motion. The differential motion of four GPS located around the lake, record the opening and closure of fractures suggesting that on short time-scales the brittle fracture of ice dominates ice flow. We hypothesise that during lake tapping, drainage occurred through a ~3 km long longitudinal fracture with a mean width of ~0.4 m. The perennial location of the supraglacial lake and the observed pattern of fracturing and surface uplift evince control by the local subglacial topography and the gradient of hydraulic potential. Our observations support the assertion that water-filled crevasses can propagate without longitudinal extension. The tapping of the lake coincided with the rapid drainage of a cluster of supraglacial lakes located within the same elevation band coincident with a notable and isolated peak in the catchment-wide, proglacial Watson River hydrograph.

  9. Biogeochemical cycling in a subarctic fjord adjacent to the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meire, L.

    2016-01-01

    Temperatures in the Arctic have increased rapidly in recent years resulting in the melting of sea ice and glaciers at unprecedented rates. In 2012, sea ice extent across the Arctic reached a record minimum and the melt extent of Greenland Ice Sheet reached a record maximum. The accelerated mass loss

  10. Response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a climatic warming: a model study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1982-01-01

    It is generally believed that the increasing C02 content of the atmosphere will lead to a substantial climatic warming in the polar regions. In this study the effect of consequent changes in the ice accumulation rate over the Antarctic Ice Sheet is investigated by means of a numerical ice flow model

  11. Sustained high basal motion of the Greenland ice sheet revealed by borehole deformation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ryser, Claudia; Luethi, Martin P.; Andrews, Lauren C.;

    2014-01-01

    Ice deformation and basal motion characterize the dynamical behavior of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). We evaluate the contribution of basal motion from ice deformation measurements in boreholes drilled to the bed at two sites in the western marginal zone of the GrIS. We find a sustained high am...

  12. Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland ice sheet"

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Howat, I.M.; de la Peña, S.; van Angelen, J.H.; Lenaerts, J.T.M.; van den Broeke, M.R.

    2012-01-01

    Forty years of satellite imagery reveal that meltwater lakes on the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet have expanded substantially inland to higher elevations with warming. These lakes are important because they provide a mechanism for bringing water to the ice bed, warming the ice and causing

  13. Biogeochemical cycling in a subarctic fjord adjacent to the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meire, L.

    2016-01-01

    Temperatures in the Arctic have increased rapidly in recent years resulting in the melting of sea ice and glaciers at unprecedented rates. In 2012, sea ice extent across the Arctic reached a record minimum and the melt extent of Greenland Ice Sheet reached a record maximum. The accelerated mass loss

  14. Using an Earth System Model to Better Understand Ice Sheet Variability Through the Pleistocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tabor, C. R.; Poulsen, C. J.; Pollard, D.

    2015-12-01

    We use an Earth System model with a dynamic land-ice component to explore several inconsistencies between traditional Milankovitch theory and δ18O sediment records of the Pleistocene. Our model results show that a combination of albedo feedbacks, seasonal offset of precession forcing, and orbital cycle duration differences can explain much of the 41-kyr glacial cycles that characterize the early Pleistocene. The obliquity-controlled changes in annual average high-latitude insolation produce large variations in arctic vegetation-type and sea-ice cover, which amplify the land-ice response. In contrast, the seasonal nature of the precession insolation signal dampens net ice-melt. For instance, when precession enhances ice melt in the spring, it reduces ice melt in the fall, and vice versa. The lower frequency of obliquity cycles in combination with amplified climate sensitivity due to albedo feedbacks help produce a larger ice-volume response to cycles of obliquity compared to precession, despite precession contributing more to variations in high-latitude summer insolation. In addition, we can simulate the appearance of a 100-kyr ice-volume signal by reducing basal sliding in the ice sheet model. Model experiments with enhanced basal drag have greater ice sheet elevation because the ice sheets are not able to flow as quickly, leading to increased ice thickness at the expense of ice extent. These thicker ice sheets have colder surface temperatures, receive more snowfall, and do not readily advance past the ice equilibrium line. Greater high-latitude summer insolation from the combination of high obliquity and precession/eccentricity is then necessary to cause complete ice sheet retreat. This research lends support to the regolith hypothesis, which proposes gradual erosion of high-latitude northern hemisphere regolith by multiple cycles of glaciation helped cause the mid-Pleistocene transition.

  15. Decreasing clouds drive mass loss on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofer, Stefan; Bamber, Jonathan; Tedstone, Andrew; Fettweis, Xavier

    2017-04-01

    The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has been losing mass at an accelerating rate since the mid-1990s. This has been due to both increased ice discharge into the ocean and melting at the surface, with the latter being the dominant contribution. This change in state has been attributed to rising temperatures and a decrease in surface albedo. Here we show, using satellite data and climate model output, that the abrupt reduction in surface mass balance since about 1995 can be largely attributed to a coincident trend of decreasing summer cloud cover. Satellite observations show that, from 1995 to 2009, summer cloud cover decreased by 0.9% ± 0.28%.yr. Model output indicates that the GrIS surface mass balance has a sensitivity of -5.4 ± 2 Gt per percent reduction in summer cloud cover, due principally to the impact of increased shortwave radiation over the low albedo ablation zone. The observed reduction in cloud cover is strongly correlated with a state shift of the North Atlantic Oscillation, suggesting that the enhanced surface mass loss from the GrIS is driven by synoptic-scale changes in Arctic-wide atmospheric circulation.

  16. Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pritchard, Hamish D; Arthern, Robert J; Vaughan, David G; Edwards, Laura A

    2009-10-15

    Many glaciers along the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are accelerating and, for this reason, contribute increasingly to global sea-level rise. Globally, ice losses contribute approximately 1.8 mm yr(-1) (ref. 8), but this could increase if the retreat of ice shelves and tidewater glaciers further enhances the loss of grounded ice or initiates the large-scale collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheets. Ice loss as a result of accelerated flow, known as dynamic thinning, is so poorly understood that its potential contribution to sea level over the twenty-first century remains unpredictable. Thinning on the ice-sheet scale has been monitored by using repeat satellite altimetry observations to track small changes in surface elevation, but previous sensors could not resolve most fast-flowing coastal glaciers. Here we report the use of high-resolution ICESat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) laser altimetry to map change along the entire grounded margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. To isolate the dynamic signal, we compare rates of elevation change from both fast-flowing and slow-flowing ice with those expected from surface mass-balance fluctuations. We find that dynamic thinning of glaciers now reaches all latitudes in Greenland, has intensified on key Antarctic grounding lines, has endured for decades after ice-shelf collapse, penetrates far into the interior of each ice sheet and is spreading as ice shelves thin by ocean-driven melt. In Greenland, glaciers flowing faster than 100 m yr(-1) thinned at an average rate of 0.84 m yr(-1), and in the Amundsen Sea embayment of Antarctica, thinning exceeded 9.0 m yr(-1) for some glaciers. Our results show that the most profound changes in the ice sheets currently result from glacier dynamics at ocean margins.

  17. Insolation-driven 100,000-year glacial cycles and hysteresis of ice-sheet volume.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Saito, Fuyuki; Kawamura, Kenji; Raymo, Maureen E; Okuno, Jun'ichi; Takahashi, Kunio; Blatter, Heinz

    2013-08-08

    The growth and reduction of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets over the past million years is dominated by an approximately 100,000-year periodicity and a sawtooth pattern (gradual growth and fast termination). Milankovitch theory proposes that summer insolation at high northern latitudes drives the glacial cycles, and statistical tests have demonstrated that the glacial cycles are indeed linked to eccentricity, obliquity and precession cycles. Yet insolation alone cannot explain the strong 100,000-year cycle, suggesting that internal climatic feedbacks may also be at work. Earlier conceptual models, for example, showed that glacial terminations are associated with the build-up of Northern Hemisphere 'excess ice', but the physical mechanisms underpinning the 100,000-year cycle remain unclear. Here we show, using comprehensive climate and ice-sheet models, that insolation and internal feedbacks between the climate, the ice sheets and the lithosphere-asthenosphere system explain the 100,000-year periodicity. The responses of equilibrium states of ice sheets to summer insolation show hysteresis, with the shape and position of the hysteresis loop playing a key part in determining the periodicities of glacial cycles. The hysteresis loop of the North American ice sheet is such that after inception of the ice sheet, its mass balance remains mostly positive through several precession cycles, whose amplitudes decrease towards an eccentricity minimum. The larger the ice sheet grows and extends towards lower latitudes, the smaller is the insolation required to make the mass balance negative. Therefore, once a large ice sheet is established, a moderate increase in insolation is sufficient to trigger a negative mass balance, leading to an almost complete retreat of the ice sheet within several thousand years. This fast retreat is governed mainly by rapid ablation due to the lowered surface elevation resulting from delayed isostatic rebound, which is the lithosphere

  18. Ice-sheet configuration in the CMIP5/PMIP3 Last Glacial Maximum experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Abe-Ouchi

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available We describe the creation of boundary conditions related to the presence of ice sheets, including ice sheet extent and height, ice shelf extent, and the distribution and altitude of ice-free land, at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM for use in LGM experiments conducted as part of the fifth phase of the Coupled Modelling Intercomparison Project (CMIP5 and the third phase of the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP3. The CMIP5/PMIP3 data sets were created from reconstructions made by three different groups, which were all obtained using a model-inversion approach but differ in the assumptions used in the modelling and in the type of data used as constraints. The ice sheet extent, and thus the albedo mask, for the Northern Hemisphere (NH does not vary substantially between the three individual data sources. The difference in the topography of the NH ice sheets is also moderate, and smaller than the differences between these reconstructions (and the resultant composite reconstruction and ice-sheet reconstructions used in previous generations of PMIP. Only two of the individual reconstructions provide information for Antarctica. The discrepancy between these two reconstructions is larger than the difference for the NH ice sheets although still less than the difference between the composite reconstruction and previous PMIP ice-sheet reconstructions. Differences in the climate response to the individual LGM reconstructions, and between these reconstructions and the CMIP5/PMIP3 composite, are largely confined to the ice-covered regions, but also extend over North Atlantic Ocean and Northern Hemisphere continents through atmospheric stationary waves. There are much larger differences in the climate response to the latest reconstructions (or the derived composite and ice-sheet reconstructions used in previous phases of PMIP.

  19. The influence of ice sheets on temperature during the past 38 million years inferred from a one-dimensional ice sheet-climate model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stap, Lennert B.; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.; de Boer, Bas; Bintanja, Richard; Lourens, Lucas J.

    2017-09-01

    Since the inception of the Antarctic ice sheet at the Eocene-Oligocene transition (˜ 34 Myr ago), land ice has played a crucial role in Earth's climate. Through feedbacks in the climate system, land ice variability modifies atmospheric temperature changes induced by orbital, topographical, and greenhouse gas variations. Quantification of these feedbacks on long timescales has hitherto scarcely been undertaken. In this study, we use a zonally averaged energy balance climate model bidirectionally coupled to a one-dimensional ice sheet model, capturing the ice-albedo and surface-height-temperature feedbacks. Potentially important transient changes in topographic boundary conditions by tectonics and erosion are not taken into account but are briefly discussed. The relative simplicity of the coupled model allows us to perform integrations over the past 38 Myr in a fully transient fashion using a benthic oxygen isotope record as forcing to inversely simulate CO2. Firstly, we find that the results of the simulations over the past 5 Myr are dependent on whether the model run is started at 5 or 38 Myr ago. This is because the relation between CO2 and temperature is subject to hysteresis. When the climate cools from very high CO2 levels, as in the longer transient 38 Myr run, temperatures in the lower CO2 range of the past 5 Myr are higher than when the climate is initialised at low temperatures. Consequently, the modelled CO2 concentrations depend on the initial state. Taking the realistic warm initialisation into account, we come to a best estimate of CO2, temperature, ice-volume-equivalent sea level, and benthic δ18O over the past 38 Myr. Secondly, we study the influence of ice sheets on the evolution of global temperature and polar amplification by comparing runs with ice sheet-climate interaction switched on and off. By passing only albedo or surface height changes to the climate model, we can distinguish the separate effects of the ice-albedo and surface

  20. Using paleoclimate data to improve models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, M. A.; Phipps, S. J.; Roberts, J. L.; White, D.

    2016-12-01

    Ice sheet models are the most descriptive tools available to simulate the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS), including its contribution towards changes in global sea level. However, our knowledge of the dynamics of the coupled ice-ocean-lithosphere system is inevitably limited, in part due to a lack of observations. Furthemore, to build computationally efficient models that can be run for multiple millennia, it is necessary to use simplified descriptions of ice dynamics. Ice sheet modeling is therefore an inherently uncertain exercise. The past evolution of the AIS provides an opportunity to constrain the description of physical processes within ice sheet models and, therefore, to constrain our understanding of the role of the AIS in driving changes in global sea level. We use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) to demonstrate how paleoclimate data can improve our ability to predict the future evolution of the AIS. A large, perturbed-physics ensemble is generated, spanning uncertainty in the parameterizations of four key physical processes within ice sheet models: ice rheology, ice shelf calving, and the stress balances within ice sheets and ice shelves. A Latin hypercube approach is used to optimally sample the range of uncertainty in parameter values. This perturbed-physics ensemble is used to simulate the evolution of the AIS from the Last Glacial Maximum ( 21,000 years ago) to present. Paleoclimate records are then used to determine which ensemble members are the most realistic. This allows us to use data on past climates to directly constrain our understanding of the past contribution of the AIS towards changes in global sea level. Critically, it also allows us to determine which ensemble members are likely to generate the most realistic projections of the future evolution of the AIS.

  1. Longitudinal Inter-Comparison of Modeled and Measured West Greenland Ice Sheet Meltwater Runoff Losses (2004-2014)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustafa, S.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Tedesco, M.; Mote, T. L.; Koenig, L.; Smith, L. C.; Hagedorn, B.; Overeem, I.; Sletten, R. S.; Mikkelsen, A. B.; Hasholt, B.; Hall, D. K.

    2015-12-01

    Increased surface meltwater runoff, that exits the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) margin via supra-, en-, and sub-glacial drainage networks into fjords, pro-glacial lakes and rivers, accounts for half or more of total mass loss. Despite its importance, modeled meltwater runoff fluxes are poorly constrained, primarily due to a lack of direct in situ observations. Here, we present the first ever longitudinal (north-south) inter-comparison of a multi-year dataset (2004-2014) of discharge for four drainage basins - Watson, Akuliarusiarsuup Kuua, Naujat Kuat, and North Rivers - along West Greenland. These in situ hydrologic measurements are compared with modeled runoff output from Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR) regional climate model, and the performance of the model is examined. An analysis of the relationship between modeled and actual ice sheet runoff patterns is assessed, and provides insight into the model's ability to capture inter-annual and intra-annual variability, spatiotemporal patterns, and extreme melt events. This study's findings will inform future development and parameterization of ice sheet surface mass balance models.

  2. Improving Constraints on Paleo Ice Sheets in the Amundsen Sea Embayment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larter, Robert D.; Gohl, Karsten; Bentley, Michael J.

    2010-01-01

    Amundsen Sea Embayment: Tectonic and Climatic Evolution; Granada, Spain, 9 September 2009; Geoscientists working on the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) of West Antarctica met at a workshop during the First Antarctic Climate Evolution Symposium to discuss recent advances from, and future priorities for, work in this region. The ASE is the most rapidly changing sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and contains enough ice to raise sea level by 1.2 meters. Ice sheet modeling studies suggest that this sector of the WAIS is potentially unstable. Considerable efforts have been made through several national Antarctic programs to acquire new data on the geological structure, subglacial topography, bathymetry, and glacial history of this remote region. These data are important for establishing boundary conditions for ice sheet modeling, for providing constraints on past ice sheet changes that can be used to test models, and for putting recent changes into a longer-term context.

  3. GLIMMER Antarctic Ice Sheet Model,an experimental research of moving boundary condition

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Tang Xueyuan; Sun Bo; Zhang Zhanhai; Li Yuansheng; Yang Qinghua

    2008-01-01

    A 3 D coupled ice sheet model,GLIMMER model is introduced,and an idealized ice sheet experiment under the EISMINT 1 criterion of moving boundary condition is presented.The results of the experiment reveal that for a steady state ice sheet profile the characteristic curves describe the process of evolution which are accordant with theoretical estimates.By solving the coupled thermodynamics equations of ice sheet,one may find the characteristic curves which derived from the conservation of the mass,energy and momentum to the ice flow profile.At the same time,an agreement,approximate to the GLIMMER case and the confirmed theoretical results,is found.Present study is explorihg work to introduceand discuss the handicaps of EISMINT criterion and GLIMMER,and prospect a few directions of the GLIMMER model.

  4. A digital elevation model of the Greenland ice sheet and validation with airborne laser altimeter data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bamber, Jonathan L.; Ekholm, Simon; Krabill, William B.

    1997-01-01

    A 2.5 km resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of the Greenland ice sheet was produced from the 336 days of the geodetic phase of ERS-1. During this period the altimeter was operating in ice-mode over land surfaces providing improved tracking around the margins of the ice sheet. Combined with the high density of tracks during the geodetic phase, a unique data set was available for deriving a DEM of the whole ice sheet. The errors present in the altimeter data were investigated via a comparison with airborne laser altimeter data obtained for the southern half of Greenland. Comparison with coincident satellite data showed a correlation with surface slope. An explanation for the behavior of the bias as a function of surface slope is given in terms of the pattern of surface roughness on the ice sheet.

  5. Decadal slowdown of a land-terminating sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet despite warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tedstone, Andrew J; Nienow, Peter W; Gourmelen, Noel; Dehecq, Amaury; Goldberg, Daniel; Hanna, Edward

    2015-10-29

    Ice flow along land-terminating margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) varies considerably in response to fluctuating inputs of surface meltwater to the bed of the ice sheet. Such inputs lubricate the ice-bed interface, transiently speeding up the flow of ice. Greater melting results in faster ice motion during summer, but slower motion over the subsequent winter, owing to the evolution of an efficient drainage system that enables water to drain from regions of the ice-sheet bed that have a high basal water pressure. However, the impact of hydrodynamic coupling on ice motion over decadal timescales remains poorly constrained. Here we show that annual ice motion across an 8,000-km(2) land-terminating region of the west GIS margin, extending to 1,100 m above sea level, was 12% slower in 2007-14 compared with 1985-94, despite a 50% increase in surface meltwater production. Our findings suggest that, over these three decades, hydrodynamic coupling in this section of the ablation zone resulted in a net slowdown of ice motion (not a speed-up, as previously postulated). Increases in meltwater production from projected climate warming may therefore further reduce the motion of land-terminating margins of the GIS. Our findings suggest that these sectors of the ice sheet are more resilient to the dynamic impacts of enhanced meltwater production than previously thought.

  6. Recent Changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet as Seen from Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Dorothy K.

    2011-01-01

    Many changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet have been reported in the recent scientific literature and have been attributed to various responses of the ice sheet due to regional (and global) warming. Because melting of the ice sheet would contribute approximately 7 m to sea-level rise, the lives and habitat of hundreds of millions of people worldwide would be directly and indirectly affected if continued ice-sheet melting occurs. As mean-annual global temperatures have increased, there has been an increasing focus on studying the Greenland Ice Sheet using available satellite data, and numerous expeditions have been undertaken. Regional "clear-sky" surface temperature increases since the early 1980s in the Arctic, measured using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) infrared data, range from 0.57+/-0.02 C to 0.72+/-0.10 C per decade. Arctic warming has important implications for ice-sheet mass balance because much of the periphery of the Greenland Ice Sheet is already near O C during the melt season, and is thus vulnerable to more extensive melting if temperatures continue to increase. An increase in melting of the ice sheet would accelerate sea-level rise, an issue of increasing concern to billions of people worldwide. The surface temperature of the ice sheet has been studied in even greater detail using Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data in the six individual drainage basins as well as for the ice sheet as a whole. Surface temperature trends in the decade of the 2000s have not been strong, according to the MODIS measurements. In addition to surface-temperature increases over the last few decades as measured by AVHRR, other changes have been observed such as accelerated movement of many of Greenland's outlet glaciers and sudden draining of supraglacial lakes. Decreasing mass of the ice sheet since (at least) 2002 has been measured using Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data, along with an build-up of ice at the higher

  7. Drilling, processing and first results for Mount Johns ice core in West Antarctica Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Franciele Schwanck

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT: An ice core, 92.26 m in length, was collected near the ice divide of the West Antarctica ice sheet during the 2008/2009 austral summer. This paper described the fieldwork at the Mount Johns site (79º55'S; 94º23'W and presented the first results of the upper 45.00 m record covering approximately 125 years (1883 - 2008, dated by annual layer counting and volcanic reference horizons. Trace element concentrations in 2,137 samples were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The concentrations obtained for Al, Ba, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Sr and Ti are controlled by climate variations, the transport distance, and the natural sources of these aerosols. Natural dust contributions, mainly derived from the arid areas of Patagonia and Australia, are important sources for aluminum, barium, iron, manganese and titanium. Marine aerosols from sea ice and transported by air masses are important sources of sodium and magnesium. Calcium, potassium and strontium showed considerable inputs of both continental dust and marine aerosols.

  8. Mass loss from the southern half of the Greenland Ice Sheet since the Little Ice Age

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kjeldsen, Kristian K.; Kjær, Kurt H.; Bjørk, Anders A.; Khan, Shfaqat A.; Korsgaard, Niels J.; Funder, Svend; Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Vinther, Bo; Andresen, Camilla S.; Long, Antony J.; Woodroffe, Sarah A.; Steen Hansen, Eric; Olsen, Jesper

    2013-04-01

    The impact of mass loss from the Greenland Ice sheet (GrIS) on the 20th Century sea level rise (SLR) has long been subject to immense discussions. While globally distributed tide gauges suggest SLR of 15-20 cm computing the input constituents is of great concern - in particular for modeling sea level projections into the 21st Century. Estimates of the GrIS contribution to SLR have been derived using a number of different approaches, e.g. surface mass balance (SMB) calculations combined with estimates of ice discharge founded in correlating SMB anomalies and calving rates. Here, we show a novel geometric approach to determine the post-Little Ice Age (LIA) mass loss of the southern GrIS. We present mass balance estimates of the GrIS south of 71N since retreat commence from the maximum extent of the LIA to 2010. The mass loss estimates are derived for three intervals, LIAmax (1900) - 1981/85 (1), 1981/85 - 2002 (2), and 2002 - 2010 (3). We use high quality aerial stereo photogrammetric imagery recorded in 1981 and 1985 to map morphological features such as trim lines (boundary between freshly eroded and non-eroded bedrock) and end moraines marking the ice extent of the LIA, which thereby enables us to obtain vertical difference associated with former ice extent. We combine these with contemporary ice surface differences derived using NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) from 2002-2010, NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from 2003-2009, and NASA's Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS) from 2010, to estimate mass loss throughout the 20th and early 21st Century. Using our novel approach we find mass loss rates for the above periods (1) to (3) of 53 Gt/yr, 46 Gt/yr, and 109 Gt/yr, respectively. In southeast GrIS we find substantial and extensive mass loss reaching the ice divide while in southwestern GrIS mass loss is less and mainly associated with marine outlet glaciers. Furthermore, post-LIA mass loss is found to be highly variable, even

  9. Hypsometric amplification and routing moderation of Greenland ice sheet meltwater release

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. van As

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Concurrent ice sheet surface runoff and proglacial discharge monitoring are essential for understanding Greenland ice sheet meltwater release. We use an updated, well-constrained river discharge time series from the Watson River in southwest Greenland, with an accurate, observation-based ice sheet surface mass balance model of the  ∼  12 000 km2 ice sheet area feeding the river. For the 2006–2015 decade, we find a large range of a factor of 3 in interannual variability in discharge. The amount of discharge is amplified  ∼  56 % by the ice sheet's hypsometry, i.e., area increase with elevation. A good match between river discharge and ice sheet surface meltwater production is found after introducing elevation-dependent transit delays that moderate diurnal variability in meltwater release by a factor of 10–20. The routing lag time increases with ice sheet elevation and attains values in excess of 1 week for the upper reaches of the runoff area at  ∼  1800 m above sea level. These multi-day routing delays ensure that the highest proglacial discharge levels and thus overbank flooding events are more likely to occur after multi-day melt episodes. Finally, for the Watson River ice sheet catchment, we find no evidence of meltwater storage in or release from the en- and subglacial environments in quantities exceeding our methodological uncertainty, based on the good match between ice sheet runoff and proglacial discharge.

  10. A persistent and dynamic East Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 7.5 million years.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bierman, Paul R; Shakun, Jeremy D; Corbett, Lee B; Zimmerman, Susan R; Rood, Dylan H

    2016-12-07

    Climate models show that ice-sheet melt will dominate sea-level rise over the coming centuries, but our understanding of ice-sheet variations before the last interglacial 125,000 years ago remains fragmentary. This is because terrestrial deposits of ancient glacial and interglacial periods are overrun and eroded by more recent glacial advances, and are therefore usually rare, isolated and poorly dated. In contrast, material shed almost continuously from continents is preserved as marine sediment that can be analysed to infer the time-varying state of major ice sheets. Here we show that the East Greenland Ice Sheet existed over the past 7.5 million years, as indicated by beryllium and aluminium isotopes ((10)Be and (26)Al) in quartz sand removed by deep, ongoing glacial erosion on land and deposited offshore in the marine sedimentary record. During the early Pleistocene epoch, ice cover in East Greenland was dynamic; in contrast, East Greenland was mostly ice-covered during the mid-to-late Pleistocene. The isotope record we present is consistent with distinct signatures of changes in ice sheet behaviour coincident with major climate transitions. Although our data are continuous, they are from low-deposition-rate sites and sourced only from East Greenland. Consequently, the signal of extensive deglaciation during short, intense interglacials could be missed or blurred, and we cannot distinguish between a remnant ice sheet in the East Greenland highlands and a diminished continent-wide ice sheet. A clearer constraint on the behaviour of the ice sheet during past and, ultimately, future interglacial warmth could be produced by (10)Be and (26)Al records from a coring site with a higher deposition rate. Nonetheless, our analysis challenges the possibility of complete and extended deglaciation over the past several million years.

  11. A persistent and dynamic East Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 7.5 million years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bierman, Paul R.; Shakun, Jeremy D.; Corbett, Lee B.; Zimmerman, Susan R.; Rood, Dylan H.

    2016-12-01

    Climate models show that ice-sheet melt will dominate sea-level rise over the coming centuries, but our understanding of ice-sheet variations before the last interglacial 125,000 years ago remains fragmentary. This is because terrestrial deposits of ancient glacial and interglacial periods are overrun and eroded by more recent glacial advances, and are therefore usually rare, isolated and poorly dated. In contrast, material shed almost continuously from continents is preserved as marine sediment that can be analysed to infer the time-varying state of major ice sheets. Here we show that the East Greenland Ice Sheet existed over the past 7.5 million years, as indicated by beryllium and aluminium isotopes (10Be and 26Al) in quartz sand removed by deep, ongoing glacial erosion on land and deposited offshore in the marine sedimentary record. During the early Pleistocene epoch, ice cover in East Greenland was dynamic; in contrast, East Greenland was mostly ice-covered during the mid-to-late Pleistocene. The isotope record we present is consistent with distinct signatures of changes in ice sheet behaviour coincident with major climate transitions. Although our data are continuous, they are from low-deposition-rate sites and sourced only from East Greenland. Consequently, the signal of extensive deglaciation during short, intense interglacials could be missed or blurred, and we cannot distinguish between a remnant ice sheet in the East Greenland highlands and a diminished continent-wide ice sheet. A clearer constraint on the behaviour of the ice sheet during past and, ultimately, future interglacial warmth could be produced by 10Be and 26Al records from a coring site with a higher deposition rate. Nonetheless, our analysis challenges the possibility of complete and extended deglaciation over the past several million years.

  12. Fracture propagation to the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet during supraglacial lake drainage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Sarah B; Joughin, Ian; Behn, Mark D; Howat, Ian M; King, Matt A; Lizarralde, Dan; Bhatia, Maya P

    2008-05-09

    Surface meltwater that reaches the base of an ice sheet creates a mechanism for the rapid response of ice flow to climate change. The process whereby such a pathway is created through thick, cold ice has not, however, been previously observed. We describe the rapid (Greenland Ice Sheet initiated by water-driven fracture propagation evolving into moulin flow. Drainage coincided with increased seismicity, transient acceleration, ice-sheet uplift, and horizontal displacement. Subsidence and deceleration occurred over the subsequent 24 hours. The short-lived dynamic response suggests that an efficient drainage system dispersed the meltwater subglacially. The integrated effect of multiple lake drainages could explain the observed net regional summer ice speedup.

  13. Seasonal speedup along the western flank of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joughin, Ian; Das, Sarah B; King, Matt A; Smith, Ben E; Howat, Ian M; Moon, Twila

    2008-05-09

    It has been widely hypothesized that a warmer climate in Greenland would increase the volume of lubricating surface meltwater reaching the ice-bedrock interface, accelerating ice flow and increasing mass loss. We have assembled a data set that provides a synoptic-scale view, spanning ice-sheet to outlet-glacier flow, with which to evaluate this hypothesis. On the ice sheet, these data reveal summer speedups (50 to 100%) consistent with, but somewhat larger than, earlier observations. The relative speedup of outlet glaciers, however, is far smaller (<15%). Furthermore, the dominant seasonal influence on Jakobshavn Isbrae's flow is the calving front's annual advance and retreat. With other effects producing outlet-glacier speedups an order of magnitude larger, seasonal melt's influence on ice flow is likely confined to those regions dominated by ice-sheet flow.

  14. Modelled Growth and Decay of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet Through the Last Glacial Cycle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, S. J.; Banwell, A.

    2015-12-01

    The Cordilleran Ice Sheet in western North America had an enigmatic evolution during the last glacial cycle, developing out of sync with the larger Laurentide and global glaciation. The geological record suggests that the ice sheet emerged late, ca. 45 ka, growing to be a fully-established ice sheet in isotope stages 3 and 2 and deglaciating late in the glacial cycle. This has been a challenge to model, and is a paleoclimatic curiosity, because the western Cordillera of North America is heavily glacierized today, and one would intuitively expect it to act as an inception centre for the Pleistocene ice sheets. The region receives heavy precipitation, and modest cooling should induce large-scale glacier expansion. Indeed, a Cordilleran Ice Sheet quickly nucleates in isotope substage 5d in most ice sheet modeling studies to date, and is a resilient feature throughout the glaciation. The fact that a full-scale Cordilleran Ice Sheet did not develop until relatively late argues for either: (a) ice sheet models that have been inadequate in resolving the process of alpine-style glaciation, i.e., the coalescence of alpine icefields, or (b) a climatic history in western North America that deviated strongly from the hemispheric-scale cooling which drove the growth of the Laurentide and Scandinavian Ice Sheets, as recorded in Greenland. We argue that reasonable reconstructions of Cordilleran Ice Sheet growth and decay implicate a combination of these two considerations. Sufficient model resolution is required to capture the valley-bottom melt that suppresses icefield coalescence, while early-glacial cooling must have been modest in the Pacific sector of North America. We argue for a persistent warm, dry climate relative to that in eastern North America and the Atlantic sector, likely associated with positive feedbacks between atmospheric circulation and the nascent Laurentide Ice Sheet (i.e., peristent circulation patterns similar to those of 2014-2015). This must have been

  15. Geothermal Heat Flux Underneath Ice Sheets Estimated From Magnetic Satellite Data

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fox Maule, Cathrine; Purucker, M.E.; Olsen, Nils

    The geothermal heat flux is an important factor in the dynamics of ice sheets, and it is one of the important parameters in the thermal budgets of subglacial lakes. We have used satellite magnetic data to estimate the geothermal heat flux underneath the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland....... By using satellite data, we are able to make heat flux maps covering the entire Antarctic continent and all of Greenland. We find that the heat flux varies from less than 50 to more than 150~mW/m2 underneath the ice sheets. To validate our results, we have compared our heat flux estimate with geologic...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keisling, Benjamin; DeConto, Robert

    2016-04-01

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

  17. Stable microbial community composition on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michaela eMusilova

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The first molecular-based studies of microbes in snow and on glaciers have only recently been performed on the vast Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS. Aeolian microbial seeding is hypothesized to impact on glacier surface community compositions. Localized melting of glacier debris (cryoconite into the surface ice forms cryoconite holes, which are considered ‘hot spots’ for microbial activity on glaciers. To date, few studies have attempted to assess the origin and evolution of cryoconite and cryoconite hole communities throughout a melt season. In this study, a range of experimental approaches was used for the first time to study the inputs, temporal and structural transformations of GrIS microbial communities over the course of a whole ablation season. Small amounts of aeolian (wind and snow microbes were potentially seeding the stable communities that were already present on the glacier (composed mainly of Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Actinobacteria. However, the dominant bacterial taxa in the aeolian samples (Firmicutes did not establish themselves in local glacier surface communities. Cryoconite and cryoconite hole community composition remained stable throughout the ablation season following the fast community turnover, which accompanied the initial snow melt. The presence of stable communities in cryoconite and cryoconite holes on the GrIS will allow future studies to assess glacier surface microbial diversity at individual study sites from sampling intervals of short duration only. Aeolian inputs also had significantly different organic δ13C values (-28.0 to -27.0‰ from the glacier surface values (-25.7 to -23.6‰, indicating that in situ microbial processes are important in fixing new organic matter and transforming aeolian organic carbon. The continuous productivity of stable communities over one melt season makes them important contributors to biogeochemical nutrient cycling on glaciers.

  18. Stable microbial community composition on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Musilova, Michaela; Tranter, Martyn; Bennett, Sarah A; Wadham, Jemma; Anesio, Alexandre M

    2015-01-01

    The first molecular-based studies of microbes in snow and on glaciers have only recently been performed on the vast Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). Aeolian microbial seeding is hypothesized to impact on glacier surface community compositions. Localized melting of glacier debris (cryoconite) into the surface ice forms cryoconite holes, which are considered 'hot spots' for microbial activity on glaciers. To date, few studies have attempted to assess the origin and evolution of cryoconite and cryoconite hole communities throughout a melt season. In this study, a range of experimental approaches was used for the first time to study the inputs, temporal and structural transformations of GrIS microbial communities over the course of a whole ablation season. Small amounts of aeolian (wind and snow) microbes were potentially seeding the stable communities that were already present on the glacier (composed mainly of Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Actinobacteria). However, the dominant bacterial taxa in the aeolian samples (Firmicutes) did not establish themselves in local glacier surface communities. Cryoconite and cryoconite hole community composition remained stable throughout the ablation season following the fast community turnover, which accompanied the initial snow melt. The presence of stable communities in cryoconite and cryoconite holes on the GrIS will allow future studies to assess glacier surface microbial diversity at individual study sites from sampling intervals of short duration only. Aeolian inputs also had significantly different organic δ(13)C values (-28.0 to -27.0‰) from the glacier surface values (-25.7 to -23.6‰), indicating that in situ microbial processes are important in fixing new organic matter and transforming aeolian organic carbon. The continuous productivity of stable communities over one melt season makes them important contributors to biogeochemical nutrient cycling on glaciers.

  19. Investigation of Controls on Ice Dynamics in Northeast Greenland from Ice-Thickness Change Record Using Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Csatho, B. M.; Larour, E. Y.; Schenk, A. F.; Schlegel, N.; Duncan, K.

    2015-12-01

    We present a new, complete ice thickness change reconstruction of the NE sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet for 1978-2014, partitioned into changes due to surface processes and ice dynamics. Elevation changes are computed from all available stereoscopic DEMs, and laser altimetry data (ICESat, ATM, LVIS). Surface Mass Balance and firn-compaction estimates are from RACMO2.3. Originating nearly at the divide of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), the dynamically active North East Ice Stream (NEGIS) is capable of rapidly transmitting ice-marginal forcing far inland. Thus, NEGIS provides a possible mechanism for a rapid drawdown of ice from the ice sheet interior as marginal warming, thinning and retreat continues. Our altimetry record shows accelerating dynamic thinning of Zachariæ Isstrom, initially limited to the deepest part of the fjord near the calving front (1978-2000) and then extending at least 75 km inland. At the same time, changes over the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (N79) Glacier are negligible. We also detect localized large dynamic changes at higher elevations on the ice sheet. These thickness changes, often occurring at the onset of fast flow, could indicate rapid variations of basal lubrication due to rerouting of subglacial drainage. We investigate the possible causes of the observed spatiotemporal pattern of ice sheet elevation changes using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). This work build on our previous studies examining the sensitivity of ice flow within the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) to key fields, including ice viscosity, basal drag. We assimilate the new altimetry record into ISSM to improve the reconstruction of basal friction and ice viscosity. Finally, airborne geophysical (gravity, magnetic) and ice-penetrating radar data is examined to identify the potential geologic controls on the ice thickness change pattern. Our study provides the first comprehensive reconstruction of ice thickness changes for the entire NEGIS drainage basin during

  20. Unusual surface morphology from digital elevation models of the Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ekholm, Simon; Keller, K.; Bamber, J.L.

    1998-01-01

    In this study of the North Greenland ice sheet, we have used digital elevation models to investigate the topographic signatures of a large ice flow feature discovered in 1993 and a unique surface anomaly which we believe has not been observed previously. The small scale topography of the flow...... feature is revealed in striking detail in a high-pass filtered elevation model. Furthermore, ice penetrating radar show that the sub-stream bed is rough with undulation amplitude increasing downstream. The new feature consists of two large depressions in the ice sheet connected by a long curving trench...

  1. Antarctic Ice Sheet Slope and Aspect Based on Icesat's Repeat Orbit Measurement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yuan, L.; Li, F.; Zhang, S.; Xie, S.; Xiao, F.; Zhu, T.; Zhang, Y.

    2017-09-01

    Accurate information of ice sheet surface slope is essential for estimating elevation change by satellite altimetry measurement. A study is carried out to recover surface slope of Antarctic ice sheet from Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) elevation measurements based on repeat orbits. ICESat provides repeat ground tracks within 200 meters in cross-track direction and 170 meters in along-track direction for most areas of Antarctic ice sheet. Both cross-track and along-track surface slopes could be obtained by adjacent repeat ground tracks. Combining those measurements yields a surface slope model with resolution of approximately 200 meters. An algorithm considering elevation change is developed to estimate the surface slope of Antarctic ice sheet. Three Antarctic Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) were used to calculate surface slopes. The surface slopes from DEMs are compared with estimates by using in situ GPS data in Dome A, the summit of Antarctic ice sheet. Our results reveal an average surface slope difference of 0.02 degree in Dome A. High resolution remote sensing images are also used in comparing the results derived from other DEMs and this paper. The comparison implies that our results have a slightly better coherence with GPS observation than results from DEMs, but our results provide more details and perform higher accuracy in coastal areas because of the higher resolution for ICESat measurements. Ice divides are estimated based on the aspect, and are weakly consistent with ice divides from other method in coastal regions.

  2. Retreat history of the last glacial maximum ice sheet in Ross Sea, Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shipp, Stephanie Staples

    High-resolution geophysical and geologic data were acquired in western and central Ross Sea, Antarctica, to determine the: (1) maximum extent and configuration of the ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM); (2) conditions and processes at the base of the expanded ice sheet and their role in ice stream activity; and (3) relative retreat history of the ice sheet. This information can provide geologic constraints for modeling of ice-sheet retreat. The research formed the basis for development of a public Web site (http://www.glacier.rice.edu) and for middle-school earth-science instructional materials. Based on identification of isolated grounding-zone wedges and consistency of mega-scale glacial lineations, the LGM ice edge reached the Coulman Island region in western Ross Sea. The maximum extent in central Ross Sea occurred at the continental-shelf edge, based on the presence of mega-scale glacial lineations, glacio-tectonic features, and shelf-edge gullies. Streaming ice, overlying a deforming bed typically catastrophic collapse of the ice sheet.

  3. Thinning of the ice sheet in northwest Greenland over the past forty years.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paterson, W S; Reeh, N

    2001-11-01

    Thermal expansion of the oceans, as well as melting of glaciers, ice sheets and ice caps have been the main contributors to global sea level rise over the past century. The greatest uncertainty in predicting future sea level changes lies with our estimates of the mass balance of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Satellite measurements have been used to determine changes in these ice sheets on short timescales, demonstrating that surface-elevation changes on timescales of decades or less result mainly from variations in snow accumulation. Here we present direct measurements of the changes in surface elevation between 1954 and 1995 on a traverse across the north Greenland ice sheet. Measurements over a time interval of this length should reflect changes in ice flow-the important quantity for predicting changes in sea level-relatively unperturbed by short-term fluctuations in snow accumulation. We find only small changes in the eastern part of the transect, except for some thickening of the north ice stream. On the west side, however, the thinning rates of the ice sheet are significantly higher and thinning extends to higher elevations than had been anticipated from previous studies.

  4. Current and future darkening of the Greenland ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tedesco, Marco; Stroeve, Julienne; Fettweis, Xavier; Warren, Stephen; Doherty, Sarah; Noble, Erik; Alexander, Patrick

    2015-04-01

    Surface melting over the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) promotes snow grains growth, reducing albedo and further enhancing melting through the increased amount of absorbed solar radiation. Using a combination of remote sensing data and outputs of a regional climate model, we show that albedo over the GIS decreased significantly from 1996 to 2012. Further, we show that most of this darkening can be accounted for by enhanced snow grain growth and the expansion of areas where bare ice is exposed, both of which are driven by increases in snow warming. An analysis of the impact of light-absorbing impurities on albedo trends detected from spaceborne measurements was inconclusive because the estimated impact for concentrations of impurities of order of magnitude found in Greenland is within the albedo uncertainty retrievable from space-based instruments. However, neither models nor observations show an increase in pollutants (black carbon and associated organics) in the atmosphere over the GIS in this time period. Additionally, we could not identify trends in the number of fires over North America and Russia, assumed to be among the sources of soot for Greenland. We did find that a 'dark band' of tilted ice plays a crucial role in decreasing albedo along the west margin, and there is some indication that dust deposition to the GIS may be decreasing albedo in this region but this is not conclusive. In addition to looking at the direct impact of impurities on albedo, we estimated the impact of impurities on albedo via their influence on grain growth and found it is relatively small (~ 1- 2 %), though more sophisticated analysis needs to be carried out. Projections obtained under different warming scenarios consistently point to a continued darkening, with anomalies in albedo driven solely by the effects of climate warming of as much as -0.12 along the west margin of the GIS by the end of this century (with respect to year 2000). Projected darkening is likely underestimated

  5. A Newly Updated Database of Elevation-changes of the Greenand Ice Sheet to Study Surface Processes and Ice Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schenk, A. F.; Csatho, B. M.; van den Broeke, M.; Kuipers Munneke, P.

    2015-12-01

    This paper reports about important upgrades of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface elevation and elevation-change database obtained with our Surface Elevation And Change detection (SERAC) software suite. We have developed SERAC to derive information from laser altimetry data, particularly time series of elevation changes and their partitioning into changes caused by ice dynamics. This allows direct investigation of ice dynamic processes that is much needed for improving the predictive power of ice sheet models. SERAC is different from most other change detection methods. It is based on detecting changes of surface patches, about 1 km by 1 km in size, rather than deriving elevation changes from individual laser points. The current database consists of ~100,000 time series with satellite laser altimetry data from ICESat, airborne laser observations obtained by NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS). The upgrade is significant, because not only new observations from 2013 and 2014 have been added but also a number of improvements lead to a more comprehensive and consistent record of elevation-changes. First, we used the model that gives in addition to ice sheet also information about ice caps and glaciers (Rastner et al., 2012) for deciding if a laser point is on the ice sheet or ice cap. Then we added small gaps that exist in the ICESat GLA12 data set because the ice sheet mask is not wide enough. The new database is now more complete and will facilitate more accurate comparisons of mass balance studies obtained from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment system (GRACE). For determining the part of a time series caused by ice dynamics we used the new firn compaction model and Surface Mass Balance (SMB) estimates from RACMO2.3. The new database spans the time period from 1993 to 2014. Adding new observations amounts to a spatial densification of the old record and at the same time extends the time domain by two

  6. Derivation of a numerical solution of the 3D coupled velocity field for an ice sheetice shelf system, incorporating both full and approximate stress solutions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Reerink, T.J.; van de Wal, R.S.W.; Borsboom, P.-P.

    2009-01-01

    To overcome the mechanical coupling of an ice sheet with an ice shelf, one single set of velocity equations is presented covering both the sheet and the shelf. This set is obtained by applying shared sheet-shelf approximations. The hydrostatic approximation and a constant density are the only approx

  7. Hydrostatic grounding line parameterization in ice sheet models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. Seroussi

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Modeling of grounding line migration is essential to simulate accurately the behavior of marine ice sheets and investigate their stability. Here, we assess the sensitivity of numerical models to the parameterization of the grounding line position. We run the MISMIP3D benchmark experiments using a two-dimensional shelfy-stream approximation (SSA model with different mesh resolutions and different sub-element parameterizations of grounding line position. Results show that different grounding line parameterizations lead to different steady state grounding line positions as well as different retreat/advance rates. Our simulations explain why some vertically depth-averaged model simulations exhibited behaviors similar to full-Stokes models in the MISMIP3D benchmark, while the vast majority of simulations based on SSA showed results deviating significantly from full-Stokes results. The results reveal that differences between simulations performed with and without sub-element parameterization are as large as those performed with different approximations of the stress balance equations and that the reversibility test can be passed at much lower resolutions than the steady-state grounding line position. We conclude that fixed grid models that do not employ such a parameterization should be avoided, as they do not provide accurate estimates of grounding line dynamics, even at high spatial resolution. For models that include sub-element grounding line parameterization, a mesh resolution lower than 2 km should be employed.

  8. Glacio-Seismotectonics: Ice Sheets, Crustal Deformation and Seismicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sauber, Jeanne; Stewart, Iain S.; Rose, James

    2000-01-01

    The last decade has witnessed a significant growth in our understanding of the past and continuing effects of ice sheets and glaciers on contemporary crustal deformation and seismicity. This growth has been driven largely by the emergence of postglacial rebound models (PGM) constrained by new field observations that incorporate increasingly realistic rheological, mechanical, and glacial parameters. In this paper, we highlight some of these recent field-based investigations and new PGMs, and examine their implications for understanding crustal deformation and seismicity during glaciation and following deglaciation. The emerging glacial rebound models outlined in the paper support the view that both tectonic stresses and glacial rebound stresses are needed to explain the distribution and style of contemporary earthquake activity in former glaciated shields of eastern Canada and Fennoscandia. However, many of these models neglect important parameters, such as topography, lateral variations in lithospheric strength and tectonic strain built up during glaciation. In glaciated mountainous terrains, glacial erosion may directly modulate tectonic deformation by resetting the orogenic topography and thereby providing an additional compensatory uplift mechanism. Such effects are likely to be important both in tectonically active orogens and in the mountainous regions of glaciated shields.

  9. Interferometric estimation of ice sheet motion and topography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joughlin, Ian; Kwok, Ron; Fahnestock, Mark; Winebrenner, Dale; Tulaczyk, Slawek; Gogenini, Prasad

    1997-01-01

    With ERS-1/2 satellite radar interferometry, it is possible to make measurements of glacier motion with high accuracy and fine spatial resolution. Interferometric techniques were applied to map velocity and topography for several outlet glaciers in Greenland. For the Humboldt and Petermann glaciers, data from several adjacent tracks were combined to make a wide-area map that includes the enhanced flow regions of both glaciers. The discharge flux of the Petermann glacier upstream of the grounding line was estimated, thereby establishing the potential use of ERS-1/2 interferometric data for monitoring ice-sheet discharge. Interferograms collected along a single track are sensitive to only one component of motion. By utilizing data from ascending and descending passes and by making a surface-parallel flow assumption, it is possible to measure the full three-dimensional vector flow field. The application of this technique for an area on the Ryder glacier is demonstrated. Finally, ERS-1/2 interferograms were used to observe a mini-surge on the Ryder glacier that occurred in autumn of 1995.

  10. A parallel high-order accurate finite element nonlinear Stokes ice sheet model and benchmark experiments

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Leng, Wei [Chinese Academy of Sciences; Ju, Lili [University of South Carolina; Gunzburger, Max [Florida State University; Price, Stephen [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Ringler, Todd [Los Alamos National Laboratory,

    2012-01-01

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

  11. Ice sheets as a missing source of silica to the polar oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawkings, Jon R.; Wadham, Jemma L.; Benning, Liane G.; Hendry, Katharine R.; Tranter, Martyn; Tedstone, Andrew; Nienow, Peter; Raiswell, Rob

    2017-01-01

    Ice sheets play a more important role in the global silicon cycle than previously appreciated. Input of dissolved and amorphous particulate silica into natural waters stimulates the growth of diatoms. Here we measure dissolved and amorphous silica in Greenland Ice Sheet meltwaters and icebergs, demonstrating the potential for high ice sheet export. Our dissolved and amorphous silica flux is 0.20 (0.06-0.79) Tmol year-1, ~50% of the input from Arctic rivers. Amorphous silica comprises >95% of this flux and is highly soluble in sea water, as indicated by a significant increase in dissolved silica across a fjord salinity gradient. Retreating palaeo ice sheets were therefore likely responsible for high dissolved and amorphous silica fluxes into the ocean during the last deglaciation, reaching values of ~5.5 Tmol year-1, similar to the estimated export from palaeo rivers. These elevated silica fluxes may explain high diatom productivity observed during the last glacial-interglacial period.

  12. Application of GRACE to the assessment of model-based estimates of monthly Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance (2003-2012)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schlegel, Nicole Jeanne; Wiese, David N.; Larour, Eric Y.; Watkins, Michael M.; Box, Jason E.; Fettweis, Xavier; Van Den Broeke, Michiel R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643

    2016-01-01

    Quantifying the Greenland Ice Sheet's future contribution to sea level rise is a challenging task that requires accurate estimates of ice sheet sensitivity to climate change. Forward ice sheet models are promising tools for estimating future ice sheet behavior, yet confidence is low because evaluati

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  14. Evolution of a Greenland Ice sheet Including Shelves and Regional Sea Level Variations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradley, Sarah; Reerink, Thomas; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.; Helsen, Michiel; Goelzer, Heiko

    2016-04-01

    Observational evidence, including offshore moraines and marine sediment cores infer that at the Last Glacial maximum (LGM) the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) grounded out across the Davis Strait into Baffin Bay, with fast flowing ice streams extending out to the continental shelf break along the NW margin. These observations lead to a number of questions as to weather the GIS and Laurentide ice sheet (LIS) coalesced during glacial maximums, and if so, did a significant ice shelf develop across Baffin Bay and how would such a configuration impact on the relative contribution of these ice sheets to eustatic sea level (ESL). Most previous paleo ice sheet modelling simulations of the GIS recreated an ice sheet that either did not extend out onto the continental shelf or utilised a simplified marine ice parameterisation to recreate an extended GIS, and therefore did not fully include ice shelf dynamics. In this study we simulate the evolution of the GIS from 220 kyr BP to present day using IMAU-ice; a 3D thermodynamical ice sheet model which fully accounts for grounded and floating ice, calculates grounding line migration and ice shelf dynamics. As there are few observational estimates of the long-term (yrs) sub marine basal melting rates (mbm) for the GIS, we developed a mbm parameterization within IMAU-ice controlled primarily by changes in paleo water depth. We also investigate the influence of the LIS on the GIS evolution by including relative sea level forcing's derived from a Glacial Isostatic Adjustment model. We will present results of how changes in the mbm directly impacts on the ice sheet dynamics, timing and spatial extent of the GIS at the glacial maximums, but also on the rate of retreat and spatial extent at the Last interglacial (LIG) minimum. Results indicate that with the inclusion of ice shelf dynamics, a larger GIS is generated which is grounded out into Davis strait, up to a water depth of -750 m, but significantly reduces the GIS contribution to Last

  15. Snapshots of the Greenland ice sheet configuration in the Pliocene to early Pleistocene

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Solgaard, Anne M.; Reeh, Niels; Japsen, Peter

    2011-01-01

    from the deposits of the Kap Kobenhavn Formation, North Greenland. Our experiments show that no coherent ice sheet is likely to have existed in Greenland during the Mid-Pliocene Warmth and that only local ice caps may have been present in the coastal mountains of East Greenland. Our results illustrate......The geometry of the ice sheets during the Pliocene to early Pleistocene is not well constrained. Here we apply an ice-flow model in the study of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) during three extreme intervals of this period constrained by geological observations and climate reconstructions. We study...... the variability of the GIS during the Pliocene to early Pleistocene and underline the importance of including independent estimates of the GIS in studies of climate during this period. We conclude that the GIS did not exist throughout the Pliocene to early Pleistocene, and that it melted during interglacials even...

  16. The sea level response to ice sheet freshwater forcing in the Community Earth System Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slangen, Aimée B. A.; Lenaerts, Jan T. M.

    2016-10-01

    We study the effect of a realistic ice sheet freshwater forcing on sea-level change in the fully coupled Community Earth System Model (CESM) showing not only the effect on the ocean density and dynamics, but also the gravitational response to mass redistribution between ice sheets and the ocean. We compare the ‘standard’ model simulation (NO-FW) to a simulation with a more realistic ice sheet freshwater forcing (FW) for two different forcing scenario’s (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) for 1850-2100. The effect on the global mean thermosteric sea-level change is small compared to the total thermosteric change, but on a regional scale the ocean steric/dynamic change shows larger differences in the Southern Ocean, the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean (locally over 0.1 m). The gravitational fingerprints of the net sea-level contributions of the ice sheets are computed separately, showing a regional pattern with a magnitude that is similar to the difference between the NO-FW and FW simulations of the ocean steric/dynamic pattern. Our results demonstrate the importance of ice sheet mass loss for regional sea-level projections in light of the projected increasing contribution of ice sheets to future sea-level rise.

  17. Continuous, Pulsed Export of Methane-Supersaturated Meltwaters from the Bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamarche-Gagnon, G.; Wadham, J.; Beaton, A.; Fietzek, P.; Stanley, K. M.; Tedstone, A.; Sherwood Lollar, B.; Lacrampe Couloume, G.; Telling, J.; Liz, B.; Hawkings, J.; Kohler, T. J.; Zarsky, J. D.; Stibal, M.; Mowlem, M. C.

    2016-12-01

    Both past and present ice sheets have been proposed to cap large quantities of methane (CH4), on orders of magnitude significant enough to impact global greenhouse gas concentrations during periods of rapid ice retreat. However, to date most evidence for sub-ice sheet methane has been indirect, derived from calculations of the methanogenic potential of basal-ice microbial communities and biogeochemical models; field-based empirical measurements are lacking from large ice sheet catchments. Here, we present the first continuous, in situ record of dissolved methane export from a large catchment of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) in South West Greenland from May-July 2015. Our results indicate that glacial runoff was continuously supersaturated with methane over the observation period (dissolved CH4 concentrations of 30-700 nM), with total methane flux rising as subglacial discharge increased. Periodic subglacial drainage events, characterised by rapid changes (i.e. pulses) in meltwater hydrochemistry, also coincided with a rise in methane concentrations. We argue that these are likely indicative of the flushing of subglacial reservoirs of CH4 beneath the ice sheet. Total methane export was relatively modest when compared to global methane budgets, but too high to be explained by previously determined methanogenic rates from Greenland basal ice. Discrepancies between estimated Greenland methane reserves and observed fluxes stress the need to further investigate GrIS methane fluxes and sources, and suggest a more biogeochemically active subglacial environment than previously considered. Results indicate that future warming, and a coincident increase in ice melt rates, would likely make the GrIS, and by extension the Antarctic Ice Sheet, more significant sources of atmospheric methane, consequently acting as a positive feedback to a warming climate.

  18. Changes in Greenland ice sheet elevation attributed primarily to snow accumulation variability

    Science.gov (United States)

    McConnell; Arthern; Mosley-Thompson; Davis; Bales; Thomas; Burkhart; Kyne

    2000-08-24

    The response of grounded ice sheets to a changing climate critically influences possible future changes in sea level. Recent satellite surveys over southern Greenland show little overall elevation change at higher elevations, but large spatial variability. Using satellite studies alone, it is not possible to determine the geophysical processes responsible for the observed elevation changes and to decide if recent rates of change exceed the natural variability. Here we derive changes in ice-sheet elevation in southern Greenland, for the years 1978-88, using a physically based model of firn densification and records of annual snow accumulation reconstructed from 12 ice cores at high elevation. Our patterns of accumulation-driven elevation change agree closely with contemporaneous satellite measurements of ice-sheet elevation change, and we therefore attribute the changes observed in 1978-88 to variability in snow accumulation. Similar analyses of longer ice-core records show that in this decade the Greenland ice sheet exhibited typical variability at high elevations, well within the long-term natural variability. Our results indicate that a better understanding of ice-sheet mass changes will require long-term measurements of both surface elevation and snow accumulation.

  19. Initiation and development of the Laurentide and Cordilleran Ice Sheets following the last interglaciation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, P.U.; Clague, J.J.; Curry, B. Brandon; Dreimanis, A.; Hicock, S.R.; Miller, G.H.; Berger, G.W.; Eyles, N.; Lamothe, M.; Miller, B.B.; Mott, R.J.; Oldale, R.N.; Stea, R.R.; Szabo, J.P.; Thorleifson, L.H.; Vincent, J.-S.

    1993-01-01

    Fossil records from sites overridden by or adjacent to the Laurentide Ice Sheet indicate that the climate of the last interglaciation (Oxygen-Isotope Substage 5e, ca. 130-116 ka) was warmer than today. Following the last interglaciation, the Laurentide Ice Sheet first developed during Stage 5 over Keewatin, Quebec and Baffin Island. Along its northern margin, the ice sheet reached its maximum extent of the last glaciation during Stage 5. The ice sheet advanced across Baffin Island onto the continental shelf early during Stage 5 (5d?), whereas the advance into the western Canadian Arctic occurred late during Stage 5 (5b?). The ice sheet also may have advanced into the St Lawrence Lowland during Substage 5b, although this event may be younger (Stage 4). The Hudson Bay lowland became ice-free during Substage 5a. Retreat of the ice sheet on Baffin Island occurred during late Stage 5, probably Substage 5a. The exact timing of retreat from the western Canadian Arctic is unknown, but it occurred before 48 ka. The southern sector, including the St Lawrence Lowland, was ice-free during late Stage 5. The Hudson Bay lowland may have remained ice free through Stage 4 and much of Stage 3. Because of conflicting chronologies, however, it is more likely that this area was glaciated throughout Stage 3 and perhaps Stage 4. Nevertheless, the data demonstrate that the lowland was ice-free during part of the last glaciation. An independent ice cap developed over the Appalachian Uplands and advanced across Nova Scotia during Stage 4, perhaps as far as the edge of the continental shelf. The ice cap remained active over Nova Scotia as a setellite to the Laurentide Ice Sheet throughout the remainder of the last glaciation. The ice sheet advanced into the St Lawrence Lowland during Stage 4 and subsequently overwhelmed the local ice cap in the Appalachian Uplands, advancing perhaps into northern New England, but not farther south. The Lowland remained covered by the ice sheet until late

  20. Surface Temperature and Melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet, 2000 - 2011

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Dorothy K.; Comiso, Josefino C.; Shuman, Christopher A.; Koeing, Lora S.; Box, Jason E.; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E.

    2012-01-01

    Enhanced melting along with surface-temperature increases measured using infrared satellite data, have been documented for the Greenland Ice Sheet. Recently we developed a climate-quality data record of ice-surface temperature (IST) of the Greenland Ice Sheet using the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) IST product -- http://modis-snow-ice.gsfc.nasa.gov.Using daily and mean-monthly MODIS IST maps from the data record we show maximum extent of melt for the ice sheet and its six major drainage basins for a 12-year period extending from March of 2000 through December of 2011. The duration of the melt season on the ice sheet varies in different drainage basins with some basins melting progressively earlier over the study period. Some (but not all) of the basins also show a progressively-longer duration of melt. The short time of the study period (approx 12 years) precludes an evaluation of statistically-significant trends. However the dataset provides valuable information on natural variability of IST, and on the ability of the MODIS instrument to capture changes in IST and melt conditions in different drainage basins of the ice sheet.

  1. Variability of Surface Temperature and Melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet, 2000-2011

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, Dorothy K.; Comiso, Josefino, C.; Shuman, Christopher A.; Koenig, Lora S.; DiGirolamo, Nicolo E.

    2012-01-01

    Enhanced melting along with surface-temperature increases measured using infrared satellite data, have been documented for the Greenland Ice Sheet. Recently we developed a climate-quality data record of ice-surface temperature (IST) of the Greenland Ice Sheet using the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 1ST product -- http://modis-snow-ice.gsfc.nasa.gov. Using daily and mean monthly MODIS 1ST maps from the data record we show maximum extent of melt for the ice sheet and its six major drainage basins for a 12-year period extending from March of 2000 through December of 2011. The duration of the melt season on the ice sheet varies in different drainage basins with some basins melting progressively earlier over the study period. Some (but not all) of the basins also show a progressively-longer duration of melt. The short time of the study period (approximately 12 years) precludes an evaluation of statistically-significant trends. However the dataset provides valuable information on natural variability of IST, and on the ability of the MODIS instrument to capture changes in IST and melt conditions indifferent drainage basins of the ice sheet.

  2. Modelling the Isotopic Response to Antarctic Ice Sheet Change During the Last Interglacial

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holloway, Max; Sime, Louise; Singarayer, Joy; Tindall, Julia; Valdes, Paul

    2015-04-01

    Ice sheet changes can exert major control over spatial water isotope variations in Antarctic surface snow. Consequently a significant mass loss or gain of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) would be expected to cause changes in the water isotope record across Antarctic ice core sites. Analysis of sea level indicators for the last interglacial (LIG), around 125 to 128 ka, suggest a global sea level peak 6 to 9 m higher than present. Recent NEEM Greenland ice core results imply that Greenland likely provided a modest ~2m contribution towards this global sea level rise. This implies that a WAIS contribution is necessary to explain the LIG sea level maxima. In addition, Antarctic ice core records suggest that Antarctic air temperatures during the LIG were up to 6°C warmer than present. Climate models have been unable to recreate such warmth when only orbital and greenhouse gas forcing are considered. Thus changes to the Antarctic ice sheet and ocean circulation may be required to reconcile model simulations with ice core data. Here we model the isotopic response to differing WAIS deglaciation scenarios, freshwater hosing, and sea ice configurations using a fully coupled General Circulation Model (GCM) to help interpret Antarctic ice core records over the LIG. This approach can help isolate the contribution of individual processes and feedbacks to final isotopic signals recorded in Antarctic ice cores.

  3. Modeling Heat Transfer to Explain Observed Temperature Anomalies in Near-Surface Ice, Greenland Ice Sheet Ablation Area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hills, B. H.; Harper, J. T.; Meierbachtol, T. W.; Humphrey, N. F.; Johnson, J. V.

    2016-12-01

    Measured ice temperatures in over 30 boreholes at 6 different field sites within the Greenland Ice Sheet ablation area indicate that the near-surface ice temperature warms toward the margin. The rate of warming is significantly greater than the atmospheric lapse rate, meaning that the mean annual ice temperature is far warmer than the mean annual air temperature near the margin. Theoretically, ice within 15 meters of the surface should oscillate seasonally around the mean air temperature. However, observations of mean ice and air temperatures differ by as much as 5 degrees Celsius. Here we numerically model heat transfer in ice to investigate the physical processes that could drive this discrepancy. Modeling results are compared to measured ice temperatures in the first 20 meters of ice below the surface. First, we model pure conduction to analyze the thermal effect of snow accumulation, a fixed melting temperature, ablation at the ice surface, emergent flow of ice, and long-term changes in the mean air temperature. Next, we consider a secondary process beyond pure conduction with the air - a latent heat flux which adds energy by refreezing meltwater below the surface. While our measurement locations have no open crevasses exposed to the surface, borehole field observations reveal that void spaces exist below the ice surface. These subsurface voids could provide a route for water to move to depth where it then refreezes and adds energy to the surrounding ice, thus warming ice above the mean air temperature. Finally, we use the near-surface results as a boundary condition for heat transfer through the full thickness of the ice column. The subsequent model output is compared to borehole temperature measurements at depth to examine the effect of near-surface heat transfer on the rest of the ice column.

  4. Application of GRACE to the assessment of model-based estimates of monthly Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance (2003-2012)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlegel, Nicole-Jeanne; Wiese, David N.; Larour, Eric Y.; Watkins, Michael M.; Box, Jason E.; Fettweis, Xavier; van den Broeke, Michiel R.

    2016-09-01

    Quantifying the Greenland Ice Sheet's future contribution to sea level rise is a challenging task that requires accurate estimates of ice sheet sensitivity to climate change. Forward ice sheet models are promising tools for estimating future ice sheet behavior, yet confidence is low because evaluation of historical simulations is challenging due to the scarcity of continental-wide data for model evaluation. Recent advancements in processing of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data using Bayesian-constrained mass concentration ("mascon") functions have led to improvements in spatial resolution and noise reduction of monthly global gravity fields. Specifically, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's JPL RL05M GRACE mascon solution (GRACE_JPL) offers an opportunity for the assessment of model-based estimates of ice sheet mass balance (MB) at ˜ 300 km spatial scales. Here, we quantify the differences between Greenland monthly observed MB (GRACE_JPL) and that estimated by state-of-the-art, high-resolution models, with respect to GRACE_JPL and model uncertainties. To simulate the years 2003-2012, we force the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) with anomalies from three different surface mass balance (SMB) products derived from regional climate models. Resulting MB is compared against GRACE_JPL within individual mascons. Overall, we find agreement in the northeast and southwest where MB is assumed to be primarily controlled by SMB. In the interior, we find a discrepancy in trend, which we presume to be related to millennial-scale dynamic thickening not considered by our model. In the northwest, seasonal amplitudes agree, but modeled mass trends are muted relative to GRACE_JPL. Here, discrepancies are likely controlled by temporal variability in ice discharge and other related processes not represented by our model simulations, i.e., hydrological processes and ice-ocean interaction. In the southeast, GRACE_JPL exhibits larger seasonal amplitude than predicted by the

  5. Observation of ice sheet formation on methane and ethane gas hydrates using a scanning confocal microscopy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nagao, J.; Shimomura, N.; Ebinuma, T.; Narita, H. [National Inst. of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Toyohira, Sapporo (Japan). Methane Hydrate Research Lab.

    2008-07-01

    Interest in gas hydrates has increased in recent years due to the discovery of large deposits under the ocean floor and in permafrost regions. Natural gas hydrates, including methane, is expected to become a new energy source and a medium for energy storage and transportation. Gas hydrates consist of an open network of water molecules that are hydrogen-bonded in a similar manner to ice. Gas molecules are interstitially engaged under high pressures and low temperatures. Although the dissociation temperature of methane hydrate under atmospheric pressure is about 193 K, studies have shown that methane hydrate can be stored at atmospheric pressure and 267 K for 2 years. Because of this phenomenon, known as self-preservation, transportation and storage of methane hydrate can occur at temperature conditions milder than those for liquefied methane gas at atmospheric pressure. This study examined the surface changes of methane and ethane hydrates during dissociation using an optical microscope and confocal scanning microscope (CSM). This paper reported on the results when the atmospheric gas pressure was decreased. Ice sheets formed on the surfaces of methane and ethane gas hydrates due to depressurizing dissociation of methane and ethane hydrates when the methane and ethane gas pressures were decreased at designated temperatures. The dissociation of methane gas hydrate below below 237 K resulted in the generation of small ice particles on the hydrate surface. A transparent ice sheet formed on the hydrate surface above 242 K. The thickness of the ice sheet on the methane hydrate surface showed the maximum of ca. 30 {mu}m at 253 K. In the case of ethane hydrates, ice particles and ice sheets formed below 262 and 267 respectively. Since the ice particles and ice sheets were formed by water molecules generated during the gas hydrate dissociation, the mechanism of ice sheet formation depends on the dissociation rate of hydrate, ice particle sintering rate, and water molecule

  6. Basin-scale partitioning of Greenland ice sheet mass balance components (2007-2011)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, M.L.; Stenseng, Lars; Skourup, Henriette;

    2015-01-01

    The current deficit in Greenland ice sheet mass balance is due to both a decrease in surface mass balance (SMB) input and an increase in ice discharge (D) output. While SMB processes are beginning to be well captured by observationally-constrained climate modeling, insight into D is relatively li...

  7. Changes in the firn structure of the western Greenland Ice Sheet caused by recent warming

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de la Pena, S.; Howat, I. M.; Nienow, P. W.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Mosley-Thompson, E.; Price, S. F.; Mair, D.; Noel, B.; Sole, A. J.

    2015-01-01

    Atmospheric warming over the Greenland Ice Sheet during the last 2 decades has increased the amount of surface meltwater production, resulting in the migration of melt and percolation regimes to higher altitudes and an increase in the amount of ice content from refrozen meltwater found in the firn a

  8. A fully coupled 3-D ice-sheet-sea-level model : Algorithm and applications

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Boer, B.; Stocchi, P.; Van De Wal, R. S W

    2014-01-01

    Relative sea-level variations during the late Pleistocene can only be reconstructed with the knowledge of ice-sheet history. On the other hand, the knowledge of regional and global relative sea-level variations is necessary to learn about the changes in ice volume. Overcoming this problem of

  9. Future climate warming increases Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance variability

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fyke, J.G.; Vizcaino, M.; Lipscomb, W.; Price, S.

    2014-01-01

    The integrated surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has large interannual variability. Long-term future changes to this variability will affect GrIS dynamics, freshwater fluxes, regional oceanography, and detection of changes in ice volume trends. Here we analyze a simulated

  10. A Meteorological Experiment in the Melting Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.; Vugts, H.F.

    1993-01-01

    Preliminary results are described from a glaciometeorological experiment carried out in the margin (melting zone) of the Greenland ice sheet in the summers of 1990 and 1991. This work was initiated within the framework of a Dutch research program on land ice and sea level change. Seven meteostations

  11. Accelerated mass loss from Greenland ice sheet : Links to atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Seo, Ki-Weon; Waliser, Duane E.; Lee, Choon-Ki; Tian, Baijun; Scambos, Ted; Kim, Baek-Min; van Angelen, Jan H.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/325922470; van den Broeke, Michiel R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643

    Understanding the mechanisms that drive the mass imbalance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is critical to the accurate projection of its contribution to future sea level rise. Greenland's ice mass loss has been accelerating recently. Using satellite Earth-gravity and regional climate model data,

  12. Unusual surface morphology from digital elevation models of the Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ekholm, Simon; Keller, K.; Bamber, J.L.

    1998-01-01

    In this study of the North Greenland ice sheet, we have used digital elevation models to investigate the topographic signatures of a large ice flow feature discovered in 1993 and a unique surface anomaly which we believe has not been observed previously. The small scale topography of the flow...

  13. A global high-resolution data set of ice sheet topography, cavity geometry and ocean bathymetry

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schaffer, Janin; Timmermann, Ralph; Arndt, Jan Erik;

    2016-01-01

    of Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden Glacierand Zachariæ Isstrøm have been obtained from the data centres 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...

  14. Spatial and temporal distribution of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet since AD 1900

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kjeldsen, Kristian K.; Korsgaard, Niels J.; Bjørk, Anders A.; Khan, Shfaqat A.; Box, Jason E.; Funder, Svend; Larsen, Nicolaj K.; Bamber, Jonathan L.; Colgan, William; Van Den Broeke, Michiel; Siggaard-Andersen, Marie Louise; Nuth, Christopher; Schomacker, Anders; Andresen, Camilla S.; Willerslev, Eske; Kjær, Kurt H.

    2015-01-01

    The response of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) to changes in temperature during the twentieth century remains contentious, largely owing to difficulties in estimating the spatial and temporal distribution of ice mass changes before 1992, when Greenland-wide observations first became available. The on

  15. Temperature thresholds for degree-day modelling of Greenland ice sheet melt rates

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van den Broeke, M.R.; Bus, C.; Ettema, J.; Smeets, P.

    2010-01-01

    [1] Degree‐day factors (DDFs) are calculated for the ice sheet ablation zone in southwest Greenland, using measurements of automatic weather stations and a regional atmospheric climate model. The rapid increase of DDFs for snow and ice towards higher elevations is caused by the increasing dominance

  16. Changes in the firn structure of the western Greenland Ice Sheet caused by recent warming

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de la Pena, S.; Howat, I. M.; Nienow, P. W.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Mosley-Thompson, E.; Price, S. F.; Mair, D.; Noel, B.; Sole, A. J.

    2015-01-01

    Atmospheric warming over the Greenland Ice Sheet during the last 2 decades has increased the amount of surface meltwater production, resulting in the migration of melt and percolation regimes to higher altitudes and an increase in the amount of ice content from refrozen meltwater found in the firn

  17. Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland ice sheet"

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Howat, I.M.; de la Peña, S.; van Angelen, J.H.; Lenaerts, J.T.M.; van den Broeke, M.R.

    2013-01-01

    Forty years of satellite imagery reveal that meltwater lakes on the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet have expanded substantially inland to higher elevations with warming. These lakes are important because they provide a mechanism for bringing water to the ice bed, causing sliding. Inland expansion

  18. An explanation for the dark region in the western melt zone of the Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wientjes, I.G.M.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/296912743; Oerlemans, J.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/06833656X

    2010-01-01

    The western part of the Greenland ice sheet contains a region that is darker than the surrounding ice. This feature has been analysed with the help of MODIS images. The dark region appears every year during the summer season and can always be found at the same location, which makes meltwater

  19. The sea-level fingerprints of ice-sheet collapse during interglacial periods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hay, Carling; Mitrovica, Jerry X.; Gomez, Natalya; Creveling, Jessica R.; Austermann, Jacqueline; E. Kopp, Robert

    2014-03-01

    Studies of sea level during previous interglacials provide insight into the stability of polar ice sheets in the face of global climate change. Commonly, these studies correct ancient sea-level highstands for the contaminating effect of isostatic adjustment associated with past ice age cycles, and interpret the residuals as being equivalent to the peak eustatic sea level associated with excess melting, relative to present day, of ancient polar ice sheets. However, the collapse of polar ice sheets produces a distinct geometry, or fingerprint, of sea-level change, which must be accounted for to accurately infer peak eustatic sea level from site-specific residual highstands. To explore this issue, we compute fingerprints associated with the collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet, West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and marine sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in order to isolate regions that would have been subject to greater-than-eustatic sea-level change for all three cases. These fingerprints are more robust than those associated with modern melting events, when applied to infer eustatic sea level, because: (1) a significant collapse of polar ice sheets reduces the sensitivity of the computed fingerprints to uncertainties in the geometry of the melt regions; and (2) the sea-level signal associated with the collapse will dominate the signal from steric effects. We evaluate these fingerprints at a suite of sites where sea-level records from interglacial marine isotopes stages (MIS) 5e and 11 have been obtained. Using these results, we demonstrate that previously discrepant estimates of peak eustatic sea level during MIS5e based on sea-level markers in Australia and the Seychelles are brought into closer accord.

  20. Marine ice sheet collapse and terrestrial climate stability in Pliocene East Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Daniel; Smith, Yvonne

    2016-04-01

    New marine evidence is emerging of ice sheet collapses in vulnerable marine basins of the East Antarctica during warm periods of the Pliocene. This contrasts the long-standing terrestrial evidence from the Dry Valleys and wider Transantarctic Mountains, showing landscape and climatic stability since the middle Miocene. This terrestrial evidence has been used to infer that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet has been large and in a similar state to today for at least 10 million years. Here we present a series of sensitivity experiments using the HadCM3 General Circulation Model, simulating the impact of ice sheet retreats on Pliocene climate. Major collapses in the marine basins cause changes in the atmospheric circulation around East Antarctica and propagate warmer and wetter air masses into the interior of the ice sheet. However, remaining areas of upland ice sheet act to protect areas of the interior from increases in temperature and precipitation. Only when ice retreats from the upland areas between the subglacial basins and the Transantarctic Mountains of Northern Victoria Land are the Dry Valleys exposed to mean summer temperatures significantly above freezing and the full increases in modelled precipitation. This suggests that collapses of the marine portions of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin and Aurora Subglacial Basin would not have significantly altered the palaeoenvironmental record of the Dry Valleys. These results provide a reconciliation of the records of East Antarctic ice sheet retreat and climate stability and further corroborate the findings from marine cores. We also present the results of an iceberg modelling study that shows that observed losses of Wilkes Land IRD in the Prydz Bay region cannot be explained by climate induced changes in melting or iceberg trajectory, but probably requires the loss of the marine margin of the Wilkes Land sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

  1. Impact of glacial ice sheets on the duration of the stadial climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherriff-Tadano, Sam; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako

    2017-04-01

    It has been shown from ice core reconstructions that glacial periods experienced climate shifts between warm interstadials and cold stadials. The duration of these climate modes varied during glacial periods, and that both the interstadials and stadials was shorter during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3) compare to MIS5. Recent study showed that the duration of the interstdials is controlled by Antarctic temperate through its impact on the stability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). However, similar relation could not be found for the stadials, suggesting that other climate factor (e.g. changes in ice sheet size, greenhouse gases and insolation) may play a role. Thus, for a better understanding of the stability of the climate, it is very important to evaluate the impact of these climate factors on the duration of the stadial climate. In this study, we investigate the role of glacial ice sheets. For this purpose, freshwater hosing experiments are conducted with an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model MIROC4m under several ice sheets configurations computed by an ice sheet model Icies (Abe-Ouchi et al. 2013). The impact of glacial ice sheets on the duration of the stadial climate is evaluated by comparing the behavior of the weak AMOC after the freshwater forcing is reduced. All experiments show drastic weakening of the AMOC in response to freshwater hosing, which accompanied cooling over the North Atlantic, southward shift of the tropical rain belt and warming over the Antarctic. When the fresh water hosing is reduced, we find that experiments with smaller ice sheet takes more time to recover. Sensitivity simulations show that differences in the surface wind is important. Thus our result suggests that differences in the shape of the ice sheets between MIS3 and MIS5 may play an important role in causing shorter stadials during MIS3 compare to MIS5.

  2. A mascon approach to assess ice sheet and glacier mass balances and their uncertainties from GRACE data

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schrama, E.J.O.; Wouters, B.; Rietbroek, R.

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to assess the mass changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), Ice Sheets over Antarctica, and Land glaciers and Ice Caps with a global mascon method that yields monthly mass variations at 10,242 mascons. Input for this method are level 2 data from the Gravity Recovery an

  3. Century-scale simulations of the response of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a warming climate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cornford, S. L.; Martin, D. F.; Payne, A. J.; Ng, E. G.; Le Brocq, A. M.; Gladstone, R. M.; Edwards, T. L.; Shannon, S. R.; Agosta, C.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Hellmer, H. H.; Krinner, G.; Ligtenberg, S. R. M.; Timmermann, R.; Vaughan, D. G.

    2015-01-01

    We use the BISICLES adaptive mesh ice sheet model to carry out one, two, and three century simulations of the fast-flowing ice streams of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, deploying sub-kilometer resolution around the grounding line since coarser resolution results in substantial underestimation of the

  4. The mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet: sensitivity to climate change as revealed by energy-balance modelling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oerlemans, J.

    1991-01-01

    The sensitivity of the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet to climate change is studied with an energy-balance model of the ice/snow surface, applied at 200 m elevation intervals for four characteristic regions of the ice sheet. Solar radiation, longwave radiation, turbulent heat fluxes and refr

  5. Millennial-scale interaction between ice sheets and ocean circulation during marine isotope stage 100

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohno, Masao; Hayashi, Tatsuya; Sato, Masahiko; Kuwahara, Yoshihiro; Mizuta, Asami; Kita, Itsuro; Sato, Tokiyuki; Kano, Akihiro

    2016-05-01

    Waxing/waning of the ice sheets and the associated change in thermohaline circulation have played an important role in global climate change since major continental ice sheets appeared in the northern hemisphere about 2.75 million years ago. In the earliest glacial stages, however, establishment of the linkage between ice sheet development and ocean circulation remain largely unclear. Here we show new high-resolution records of marine isotope stage 100 recovered from deep-sea sediments on the Gardar Drift, in the subpolar North Atlantic. Results of a wide range of analyses clearly reveal the influence of millennial-scale variability in iceberg discharge on ocean surface condition and bottom current variability in the subpolar North Atlantic during marine isotope stage 100. We identified eight events of ice-rafted debris, which occurred mostly with decreases in sea surface temperature and in current components indicating North Atlantic Deep Water. These decreases are interpreted by weakened deep water formation linked to iceberg discharge, similarly to observations from the last glacial period. Dolomite fraction of the ice-rafted events in early MIS 100 like the last glacial Heinrich events suggests massive collapse of the Laurentide ice sheet in North America. At the same time, our early glacial data suggest differences from the last glacial period: absence of 1470-year periodicity in the interactions between ice sheets and ocean, and northerly shift of the ice-rafted debris belt. Our high-resolution data largely improve the picture of ice-sheet/ocean interactions on millennial time scales in the early glacial period after major Northern Hemisphere glaciation.

  6. Millennial-scale interaction between ice sheets and ocean circulation during marine isotope stage 100

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Masao eOhno

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Waxing/waning of the ice sheets and the associated change in thermohaline circulation have played an important role in global climate change since major continental ice sheets appeared in the northern hemisphere about 2.75 million years ago. In the earliest glacial stages, however, establishment of the linkage between ice sheet development and ocean circulation remain largely unclear. Here we show new high-resolution records of marine isotope stage 100 recovered from deep-sea sediments on the Gardar Drift, in the subpolar North Atlantic. Results of a wide range of analyses clearly reveal the influence of millennial-scale variability in iceberg discharge on ocean surface condition and bottom current variability in the subpolar North Atlantic during marine isotope stage 100. We identified eight events of ice-rafted debris, which occurred mostly with decreases in sea surface temperature and in current components indicating North Atlantic Deep Water. These decreases are interpreted by weakened deep water formation linked to iceberg discharge, similarly to observations from the last glacial period. Dolomite fraction of the ice-rafted events in early MIS 100 like the last glacial Heinrich events suggests massive collapse of the Laurentide ice sheet in North America. At the same time, our early glacial data suggest differences from the last glacial period: absence of 1470-year periodicity in the interactions between ice sheets and ocean, and northerly shift of the ice-rafted debris belt. Our high-resolution data largely improve the picture of ice-sheet/ocean interactions on millennial time scales in the early glacial period after major Northern Hemisphere glaciation.

  7. Using palaeoclimate data to improve models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phipps, Steven; King, Matt; Roberts, Jason; White, Duanne

    2017-04-01

    Ice sheet models are the most descriptive tools available to simulate the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS), including its contribution towards changes in global sea level. However, our knowledge of the dynamics of the coupled ice-ocean-lithosphere system is inevitably limited, in part due to a lack of observations. Furthemore, to build computationally efficient models that can be run for multiple millennia, it is necessary to use simplified descriptions of ice dynamics. Ice sheet modelling is therefore an inherently uncertain exercise. The past evolution of the AIS provides an opportunity to constrain the description of physical processes within ice sheet models and, therefore, to constrain our understanding of the role of the AIS in driving changes in global sea level. We use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) to demonstrate how palaeoclimate data can improve our ability to predict the future evolution of the AIS. A 50-member perturbed-physics ensemble is generated, spanning uncertainty in the parameterisations of three key physical processes within the model: (i) the stress balance within the ice sheet, (ii) basal sliding and (iii) calving of ice shelves. A Latin hypercube approach is used to optimally sample the range of uncertainty in parameter values. This perturbed-physics ensemble is used to simulate the evolution of the AIS from the Last Glacial Maximum ( 21,000 years ago) to present. Palaeoclimate records are then used to determine which ensemble members are the most realistic. This allows us to use data on past climates to directly constrain our understanding of the past contribution of the AIS towards changes in global sea level. Critically, it also allows us to determine which ensemble members are likely to generate the most realistic projections of the future evolution of the AIS.

  8. Antarctic Ice-Sheet Mass Balance from Satellite Altimetry 1992 to 2001

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Brenner, Anita C.; Cornejo, Helen; Giovinetto, Mario; Saba, Jack L.; Yi, Donghui

    2003-01-01

    A major uncertainty in understanding the causes of the current rate of sea level rise is the potential contributions from mass imbalances of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Estimates of the current mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet are derived from surface- elevation changes obtained from 9 years of ERS - 1 & 2 radar altimeter data. Elevation time-series are created from altimeter crossovers among 90-day data periods on a 50 km grid to 81.5 S. The time series are fit with a multivariate linear/sinusoidal function to give the average rate of elevation change (dH/dt). On the major Rome-Filchner, Ross, and Amery ice shelves, the W d t are small or near zero. In contrast, the ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula and along the West Antarctic coast appear to be thinning significantly, with a 23 +/- 3 cm per year surface elevation decrease on the Larsen ice shelf and a 65 +/- 4 cm per year decrease on the Dotson ice shelf. On the grounded ice, significant elevation decreases are obtained over most of the drainage basins of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in West Antarctica and inland of Law Dome in East Antarctica. Significant elevation increases are observed within about 200 km of the coast around much of the rest of the ice sheet. Farther inland, the changes are a mixed pattern of increases and decreases with increases of a few centimeters per year at the highest elevations of the East Antarctic plateau. The derived elevation changes are combined with estimates of the bedrock uplift from several models to provide maps of ice thickness change. The ice thickness changes enable estimates of the ice mass balances for the major drainage basins, the overall mass balance, and the current contribution of the ice sheet to global sea level change.

  9. Brief Communication "Expansion of meltwater lakes on the Greenland ice sheet"

    OpenAIRE

    I. M. Howat; Peña, S.; J. H. van Angelen; Lenaerts, J. T. M.; Broeke, M. R.

    2013-01-01

    Forty years of satellite imagery reveal that meltwater lakes on the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet have expanded substantially inland to higher elevations with warming. These lakes are important because they provide a mechanism for bringing water to the ice bed, causing sliding. Inland expansion of lakes could accelerate ice flow by bringing water to previously frozen bed, potentially increasing future rates of mass loss. Increasing lake elevations closely follow the rise...

  10. Characterizing supraglacial meltwater channel hydraulics on the Greenland Ice Sheet from in situ observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gleason, Colin J.; Smith, Laurence C.; Chu, Vena W.; Legleiter, Carl; Pitcher, Lincoln H.; Overstreet, Brandon T.; Rennermalm, Asa K.; Forster, Richard R.; Yang, Kang

    2016-01-01

    necessary before broad scale understanding of ice sheet hydrology can be achieved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  11. An improved mass budget for the Greenland ice sheet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Enderlin, E.M.; Howat, I.M.; Jeong, S.; Noh, M.-J.; van Angelen, J.H.; van den Broeke, M.R.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/073765643

    2014-01-01

    Extensive ice thickness surveys by NASA’s Operation IceBridge enable over a decade of ice discharge measurements at high precision for the majority of Greenland’s marine-terminating outlet glaciers, prompting a reassessment of the temporal and spatial distribution of glacier change. Annualmeasuremen

  12. Impact of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet interactions on climate sensitivity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Goelzer, H.; Huybrechts, P. [Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Earth System Sciences and Departement Geografie, Brussels (Belgium); Loutre, M.F.; Goosse, H.; Fichefet, T. [Universite Catholique de Louvain, Georges Lemaitre Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM), Earth and Life Institute, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium); Mouchet, A. [Universite de Liege, Laboratoire de Physique Atmospherique et Planetaire, Liege (Belgium)

    2011-09-15

    We use the Earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM to show the effect of coupling interactive ice sheets on the climate sensitivity of the model on a millennial time scale. We compare the response to a 2 x CO{sub 2} warming scenario between fully coupled model versions including interactive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet models and model versions with fixed ice sheets. For this purpose an ensemble of different parameter sets have been defined for LOVECLIM, covering a wide range of the model's sensitivity to greenhouse warming, while still simulating the present-day climate and the climate evolution over the last millennium within observational uncertainties. Additional freshwater fluxes from the melting ice sheets have a mitigating effect on the model's temperature response, leading to generally lower climate sensitivities of the fully coupled model versions. The mitigation is effectuated by changes in heat exchange within the ocean and at the sea-air interface, driven by freshening of the surface ocean and amplified by sea-ice-related feedbacks. The strength of the effect depends on the response of the ice sheets to the warming and on the model's climate sensitivity itself. The effect is relatively strong in model versions with higher climate sensitivity due to the relatively large polar amplification of LOVECLIM. With the ensemble approach in this study we cover a wide range of possible model responses. (orig.)

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez, Natalya; Pollard, David; Holland, David

    2015-11-10

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

  14. Acoustic Gravity Waves Generated by an Oscillating Ice Sheet in Arctic Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdolali, A.; Kadri, U.; Kirby, J. T., Jr.

    2016-12-01

    We investigate the formation of acoustic-gravity waves due to oscillations of large ice blocks, possibly triggered by atmospheric and ocean currents, ice block shrinkage or storms and ice-quakes.For the idealized case of a homogeneous weakly compressible water bounded at the surface by ice sheet and a rigid bed, the description of the infinite family of acoustic modes is characterized by the water depth h and angular frequency of oscillating ice sheet ω ; The acoustic wave field is governed by the leading mode given by: Nmax=\\floor {(ω h)/(π c)} where c is the sound speed in water and the special brackets represent the floor function (Fig1). Unlike the free-surface setting, the higher acoustic modes might exhibit a larger contribution and therefore all progressive acoustic modes have to be considered.This study focuses on the characteristics of acoustic-gravity waves generated by an oscillating elastic ice sheet in a weakly compressible fluid coupled with a free surface model [Abdolali et al. 2015] representing shrinking ice blocks in realistic sea state, where the randomly oriented ice sheets cause inter modal transition and multidirectional reflections. A theoretical solution and a 3D numerical model have been developed for the study purposes. The model is first validated against the theoretical solution [Kadri, 2016]. To overcome the computational difficulties of 3D models, we derive a depth-integrated equation valid for spatially varying ice sheet thickness and water depth. We show that the generated acoustic-gravity waves contribute significantly to deep ocean currents compared to other mechanisms. In addition, these waves travel at the sound speed in water carrying information on ice sheet motion, providing various implications for ocean monitoring and detection of ice-quakes. Fig1:Snapshots of dynamic pressure given by an oscillating ice sheet; h=4500m, c=1500m/s, semi-length b=10km, ζ =1m, omega=π rad/s. Abdolali, A., Kirby, J. T. and Bellotti, G

  15. Can Milankovitch orbital variations initiate the growth of ice sheets in a general circulation model?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rind, D.; Peteet, D.; Kukla, G.

    1989-01-01

    The possibility of initiating the growth of ice sheets by solar insolation variations is examined. The study is conducted using a climate model with three different orbital configurations corresponding to 116,000 and 106,000 yr before the present and a modified insolation field with greater reductions in summer insolation at high northern latitudes. Despite the reduced summer and fall insolation, the model fails to maintain snow cover through the summer at locations of suspected ice sheet initiation. The results suggest that there is a discrepancy between the model's response to Milankovitch perturbations and the geophysical evidence of ice sheet initiation. If the model results are correct, the growth of ice shown by geophysical evidence would have occurred in an extremely ablative environment, demanding a complicated strategy.

  16. The Laser Dust Detector - a strategy for in-situ dust detection in planetary ice sheets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mogensen, C.; Hecht, M. H.; Carsey, F.; Lane, A. L.

    2004-12-01

    Laser Light Scattering (LLS) is a powerful, fast, and non-destructive way of optically interrogating embedded microparticles in solid ice. This is the basis for the design of the Laser Dust Detector (LDD) where laser light is directed via fiber optics into the ice surrounding the probe. If the ice is bubble and dust free the laser light will penetrate meters of ice before the light is attenuated completely. If, however, the laser light encounters dust particles the light will be scattered in all directions, according to the theory of Rayleigh and Mie scattering. Some of the scattered light will make its way into the aperture of the CCD camera and be detected in a digital image. A series of these images are taken as the Cryobot descends into the ice sheet. The images will be acquired in a way to ensure enough overlap between neighboring images to be able to fit them together to get a continuous in-situ mapping of the dust in this local environment of the ice sheet. In the laboratory, this method has been successful, in part, because the particle size distributions in archived ice cores have been very constant in time. Even during a change by a factor of 100 in concentration the size distribution is only slightly changed. Another reason the optical interrogation of dust has been successful is that the overall mineralogy of the dust particles appear to be more or less constant, i.e. the index of refraction of the particles doesn't change much with depth or particle size, an important factor when analyzing the experimental data. The key to obtaining suitable data on the properties of Mars ice caps is in the design of an exploratory polar cap in-situ mission and its instrumentation, of which the optical systems for the visible stratigraphy and dust character are significant. In taking steps to obtain the optical data we begin by noting that the polar cap ice may be clear in the fashion of deep ice sheet ice from Greenland or Antarctica, or it may have sufficient dust

  17. Efficient removal of meltwater runoff through supraglacial streams and rivers on the southwestern Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, L. C.; Yang, K.; Pitcher, L. H.; Overstreet, B. T.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Chu, V. W.; Ryan, J.; Hubbard, A.; Cooper, M. G.; Tedesco, M.; Mote, T. L.; Young, K.; Behar, A.

    2015-12-01

    Supraglacial streams and rivers flowing on the Greenland Ice Sheet have received little physical study. We present remotely sensed (UAV, WorldView) and in situ (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, Lagrangian drifters) measurements of supraglacial river drainage pattern, hydraulic properties, and discharge in the Kangerlussuaq region. This area of the ice sheet is characterized by large, well-organized supraglacial stream/river networks that efficiently drain the ice surface with minimal retention of surface water, with river moulins being the the dominant physical mechanism by which surface meltwater enters the ice sheet. An intensive 2015 field campaign acquired novel datasets of watershed extent, drainage pattern, ablation rate, albedo and discharge for a ~70 km2 mid-elevation ice catchment ("Rio Behar"), including a continuous 72-hour record of discharge and water temperature in a supraglacial river upstream of its terminal moulin. We conclude that this area of the ice sheet is efficiently drained by supraglacial stream/river networks, that ice-surface DEMs alone cannot fully describe supraglacial drainage and its connection to subglacial systems; and that in situ measurements of supraglacial river discharge offer a unique opportunity to test runoff predictions of regional climate models.

  18. FELIX: advances in modeling forward and inverse ice-sheet problems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gunzburger, Max; Hoffman, Mattew; Leng, Wei; Perego, Mauro; Price, Stephen; Salinger, Andrew; Stadler, Georg; Ju, Lili

    2013-04-01

    Several models of different complexity and accuracy have been proposed for describing ice-sheet dynamics. We introduce a parallel, finite element framework for implementing these models, which range from the "shallow ice approximation" up through nonlinear Stokes flow. These models make up the land ice dynamical core of FELIX, which is being developed under the Community Ice Sheet Model. We present results from large-scale simulations of the Greenland ice-sheet, compare models of differing complexity and accuracy, and explore different solution methods for the resulting linear and nonlinear systems. We also address the problem of finding an optimal initial state for Greenland ice-sheet via estimating the spatially varying linear-friction coefficient at the ice-bedrock interface. The problem, which consists of minimizing the mismatch between a specified and computed surface mass balance and/or the mismatch between observed and modeled surface velocities, is solved as an optimal control problem constrained by the governing model equations.

  19. Comprehensive spatiotemporal glacier and ice sheet velocity measurements from Landsat 8

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moon, Twila; Fahnestock, Mark; Scambos, Ted; Klinger, Marin; Haran, Terry

    2015-04-01

    Combining newly developed software with Landsat 8 image returns, we are now producing broad-coverage ice velocity measurements on weekly to monthly scales across ice sheets and glaciers. Using new image-to-image cross correlation software, named PyCorr, we take advantage of the improved radiometric resolution of the Landsat 8 panchromatic band to create velocity maps with sub-pixel accuracy. Landsat 8's 12-bit radiometric resolution supports measurement of ice flow in uncrevassed regions based on persistent sastrugi patterns lasting weeks to a few months. We also leverage these improvements to allow for ice sheet surface roughness measurements. Landsat 8's 16-day repeat orbit and increased image acquisition across the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets supports development of seasonal to annual ice sheet velocity mosaics with full coverage of coastal regions. We also create time series for examining sub-seasonal change with near real time processing in areas such as the Amundsen Sea Embayment and fast flowing Greenland outlet glaciers. In addition, excellent geolocation accuracy enables velocity mapping of smaller ice caps and glaciers, which we have already applied in Alaska and Patagonia. Finally, PyCorr can be used for velocity mapping with other remote sensing imagery, including high resolution WorldView satellite data.

  20. West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat driven by Holocene warm water incursions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Smith, James A.; Hodell, David A.; Greaves, Mervyn; Poole, Christopher R.; Kender, Sev; Williams, Mark; Andersen, Thorbjørn Joest; Jernas, Patrycja E.; Elderfield, Henry; Klages, Johann P.; Roberts, Stephen J.; Gohl, Karsten; Larter, Robert D.; Kuhn, Gerhard

    2017-07-01

    Glaciological and oceanographic observations coupled with numerical models show that warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) incursions onto the West Antarctic continental shelf cause melting of the undersides of floating ice shelves. Because these ice shelves buttress glaciers feeding into them, their ocean-induced thinning is driving Antarctic ice-sheet retreat today. Here we present a multi-proxy data based reconstruction of variability in CDW inflow to the Amundsen Sea sector, the most vulnerable part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, during the Holocene epoch (from 11.7 thousand years ago to the present). The chemical compositions of foraminifer shells and benthic foraminifer assemblages in marine sediments indicate that enhanced CDW upwelling, controlled by the latitudinal position of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds, forced deglaciation of this sector from at least 10,400 years ago until 7,500 years ago—when an ice-shelf collapse may have caused rapid ice-sheet thinning further upstream—and since the 1940s. These results increase confidence in the predictive capability of current ice-sheet models.

  1. Antarctic ice-sheet response to atmospheric CO2 and insolation in the Middle Miocene

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Schulz

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Foraminiferal oxygen isotopes from deep-sea sediment cores suggest that a rapid expansion of the Antarctic ice sheet took place in the Middle Miocene around 13.9 million years ago. The origin for this transition is still not understood satisfactorily. One possible cause is a drop in the partial pressure of atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2 in combination with orbital forcing. A complication is the large uncertainty in the magnitude and timing of the reconstructed pCO2 variability and additionally the low temporal resolution of the available pCO2 records in the Middle Miocene. We used an ice sheet-climate model of reduced complexity to assess variations in Antarctic ice sheet volume induced by pCO2 and insolation forcing in the Middle Miocene. The ice-sheet sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 was tested for several scenarios with constant pCO2 forcing or a regular decrease in pCO2. This showed that small, ephemeral ice sheets existed under relatively high atmospheric CO2 conditions (between 640–900 ppm, whereas more stable, large ice sheets occurred when pCO2 was less than ~600 ppm. The main result of this study is that the pCO2-level must have declined just before or during the period of oxygen-isotope increase, thereby crossing a pCO2 glaciation threshold of around 615 ppm. After the decline, the exact timing of the Antarctic ice-sheet expansion depends also on the relative minimum in summer insolation at approximately 13.89 million years ago. Although the mechanisms described appear to be robust, the exact values of the pCO2 thresholds are likely to be model-dependent.

  2. Outreach/education interface for Cryosphere models using the Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larour, E. Y.; Halkides, D. J.; Romero, V.; Cheng, D. L.; Perez, G.

    2014-12-01

    In the past decade, great strides have been made in the development of models capable of projecting the future evolution of glaciers and the polar ice sheets in a changing climate. These models are now capable of replicating some of the trends apparent in satellite observations. However, because this field is just now maturing, very few efforts have been dedicated to adapting these capabilities to education. Technologies that have been used in outreach efforts in Atmospheric and Oceanic sciences still have not been extended to Cryospheric Science. We present a cutting-edge, technologically driven virtual laboratory, geared towards outreach and k-12 education, dedicated to the polar ice sheets on Antarctica and Greenland, and their role as major contributors to sea level rise in coming decades. VISL (Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory) relies on state-of-the art Web GL rendering of polar ice sheets, Android/iPhone and web portability using Javascript, as well as C++ simulations (back-end) based on the Ice Sheet System Model, the NASA model for simulating the evolution of polar ice sheets. Using VISL, educators and students can have an immersive experience into the world of polar ice sheets, while at the same exercising the capabilities of a state-of-the-art climate model, all of it embedded into an education experience that follows the new STEM standards for education.This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Science Program.

  3. Modelling the liquid-water vein system within polar ice sheets as a potential microbial habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dani, K. G. Srikanta; Mader, Heidy M.; Wolff, Eric W.; Wadham, Jemma L.

    2012-06-01

    Based on the fundamental and distinctive physical properties of polycrystalline ice Ih, the chemical and temperature profiles within the polar ice sheets, and the observed selective partitioning of bacteria into liquid water filled veins in the ice, we consider the possibility that microbial life could survive and be sustained within glacial systems. Here, we present a set of modelled vertical profiles of vein diameter, vein chemical concentration, and vein water volume variability across a range of polar ice sheets using their ice core chemical profiles. A sensitivity analysis of VeinsInIce1.0, the numerical model used in this study shows that the ice grain size and the local borehole temperature are the most significant factors that influence the intergranular liquid vein size and the amount of freeze-concentrated impurities partitioned into the veins respectively. Model results estimate the concentration and characteristics of the chemical broth in the veins to be a potential extremophilic microbial medium. The vein sizes are estimated to vary between 0.3 μm to 8 μm across the vertical length of many polar ice sheets and they may contain up to 2 μL of liquid water per litre of solid ice. The results suggest that these veins in polar ice sheets could accommodate populations of psychrophilic and hyperacidophilic ultra-small bacteria and in some regions even support the habitation of unicellular eukaryotes. This highlights the importance of understanding the potential impact of englacial microbial metabolism on polar ice core chemical profiles and provides a model for similar extreme habitats elsewhere in the universe.

  4. The last forests in Greenland, and the age of the ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Funder, Svend; Schmidt, Astrid M. Z.; Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe; Steffensen, Jørgen Peder; Willerslev, Eske

    2014-05-01

    Recently ancient DNA (aDNA) studies of the basal ice in the Camp Century ice core, northern Greenland, have shown that mixed coniferous-deciduous forest grew here before the area was invaded and permanently covered by the ice sheet. The coring site is situated only 100 km from the present ice margin and more than 500 km from the ice divide, indicating that since this last inception the northern part of the ice sheet never receded more than 100 km from its present margin. Dating of the basal ice and obtaining an age for the forest and for the beginning of the ice sheet's permanency has been attempted by analyzing for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), meteoric 10Be/36Cl cosmogenic nuclides, 234U/238U recoil. These methods all provide only minimum ages and show that the forest at Cap Century is older than 500 ka. Comparison with other Pleistocene "forest sites" in Greenland - the Kap København Formation in northernmost Greenland, the DYE-3 ice core in the south, the ODP boring 646 south of Greenland, as well as results from basal ice in the GRIP ice core - extends the minimum age to c. 1 ma. The maximum age is provided by the Kap København Formation, which must be older - or contemporaneous. The formation has recently been confirmed to date within the interval 2-2.5 ma, with a preferred age of 2.3-2.4 ma. Surprisingly, application of the molecular clock of insect COI sequences on the Camp Century aDNA now seem to push the minimum age just as far back - to 2.4 ma, suggesting that the timberline boreal forest at Kap København is contemporaneous with the mixed forest at Camp Century, 600 km to the south. From this we conclude that the northern ice sheet dome, which today contains 85% of the total ice sheet volume, has remained within 100 km of its present margin for at least 1 ma, and possibly may go back as far as 2.4 ma. The ice sheet has therefore survived both interglacials and "super interglacials" that were both warmer and longer than the present. This

  5. Sources, cycling and export of nitrogen on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadham, Jemma Louise; Hawkings, Jonathan; Telling, Jon; Chandler, Dave; Alcock, Jon; O'Donnell, Emily; Kaur, Preeti; Bagshaw, Elizabeth; Tranter, Martyn; Tedstone, Andre; Nienow, Peter

    2016-11-01

    Fjord and continental shelf environments in the polar regions are host to some of the planet's most productive ecosystems and support economically important fisheries. Their productivity, however, is often critically dependent upon nutrient supply from upstream terrestrial environments delivered via river systems. In glacially fed coastal ecosystems, riverine nutrients are largely sourced from melting snow and ice. The largest and most extensive glacially fed coastal ecosystem in the Arctic is that bordering the Greenland Ice Sheet. The future primary productivity of this ecosystem, however, is uncertain. A potential increase in primary productivity driven by reduced sea ice extent and associated increased light levels may be curtailed by insufficient nutrient supply, and specifically nitrogen. Research on small valley glaciers indicates that glaciers are important sources of nitrogen to downstream environments. However, no data exist from ice sheet systems such as Greenland. Time series of nitrogen concentrations in runoff are documented from a large Greenland glacier, demonstrating seasonally elevated fluxes to the ocean. Fluxes are highest in mid-summer, when nitrogen limitation is commonly reported in coastal waters. It is estimated that approximately half of the glacially exported nitrogen is sourced from microbial activity within glacial sediments at the surface and bed of the ice sheet, doubling nitrogen fluxes in runoff. Summer dissolved inorganic nitrogen fluxes from the Greenland Ice Sheet (30-40 Gg) are a similar order of magnitude to those from a large Arctic river (Holmes et al., 2012). Nitrogen yields from the ice sheet (236 kg TDN km-2 a-1), however, are approximately double those from Arctic riverine catchments. We assert that this ice sheet nitrogen subsidy to Arctic coastal ecosystems may be important for understanding coastal biodiversity, productivity and fisheries and should be considered in future biogeochemical modelling studies of coastal

  6. The SE sector of the Middle Weichselian Eurasian Ice Sheet was much smaller than assumed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Räsänen, Matti E.; Huitti, Janne V.; Bhattarai, Saroj; Harvey, Jerry; Huttunen, Sanna

    2015-08-01

    Quaternary climatic and glacial history must be known in order to understand future environments. Reconstructions of the last Weichselian glacial cycle 117,000-11,700 years (kyr) ago propose that S Finland, adjacent Russia and the Baltic countries in the SE sector of the Eurasian Ice Sheet (EIS), were glaciated during the Middle Weichselian time [marine isotope stage (MIS) 4, 71-57 kyr ago] and that this glaciation was preceded in S Finland by an Early Weichselian interstadial (MIS 5c, 105-93 kyr ago) with pine forest. We apply glacial sequence stratigraphy to isolated Late Pleistocene onshore outcrop sections and show, that these events did not take place. The one Late Weichselian glaciation (MIS 2, 29-11 kyr ago) was preceded in S Finland by a nearly 90 kyr non-glacial period, featuring tundra with permafrost and probably birch forest. Our new Middle Weichselian paleoenvironmental scenario revises the configuration and hydrology of the S part of EIS and gives new setting for the evolution of Scandinavian biota. If future development during the coming glacial cycle proves to be similar, the high-level nuclear waste stored in the bedrock of SW Finland should be located deeper than currently planned, i.e. below any possible future permafrost.

  7. A smaller Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Pliocene and in the Future

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeConto, Robert; Pollard, David

    2013-04-01

    The middle Pliocene epoch (around 3.3 to 3) million years ago is often considered an analogue for future global climatic conditions, because mixing ratios of atmospheric CO2 were similar to today and global mean temperature was about 3°C warmer, comparable to projections of future climate at the end of this century (IPCC 2007). Importantly, some estimates of mid-Pliocene sea level are >20 m higher than today, implying the potential for significant retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), in addition to complete loss of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets (WAIS). Until now, most climate-ice sheet modeling studies have failed to simulate substantial Pliocene retreat of the East Antarctic ice margin, because at 400 ppmv CO2, atmospheric conditions on the steep flanks of the ice sheet remain relatively cold, even during the warmest austral summer orbits. Here, we use a hybrid ice sheet-shelf model coupled to a high-resolution regional climate model, to test the potential for both West and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat during the warm Pliocene and in the long-term future. In these simulations we apply new treatments of ice shelf calving and basal sliding (assuming a relationship between basal sliding coefficients and the rate of liquid water supply at the bed), and improved sub-glacial bathymetry using BEDMAP2. A range of plausible ocean warming scenarios (based on offline ocean modeling) are combined with the high-resolution regional climate model simulations to simulate the ice sheet's response to both Pliocene and long term future scenarios with elevated CO2. Unlike our previous studies, the combination of improved bathymetric detail and more physically based model treatments of calving and basal sliding result in substantial grounding line retreat into the Wilkes sub-glacial basin of East Antarctica during the Pliocene, adding several meters of equivalent sea level in addition to the contribution from a retreated WAIS. In long-term (10^3-yr

  8. Combined diurnal variations of discharge and hydrochemistry of the Isunnguata Sermia outlet, Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graly, Joseph; Harrington, Joel; Humphrey, Neil

    2017-05-01

    In order to examine daily cycles in meltwater routing and storage in the Isunnguata Sermia outlet of the Greenland Ice Sheet, variations in outlet stream discharge and in major element hydrochemistry were assessed over a 6-day period in July 2013. Over 4 days, discharge was assessed from hourly photography of the outlet from multiple vantages, including where midstream naled ice provided a natural gauge. pH, electrical conductivity, suspended sediment, and major element and anion chemistry were measured in samples of stream water collected every 3 h.Photography and stream observations reveal that although river width and stage have only slight diurnal variation, there are large diurnal changes in discharge shown by the doubling in width of what we term the active channel, which is characterized by large standing waves and fast flow. The concentration of dissolved solutes follows a sinusoidal diurnal cycle, except for large and variable increases in dissolved solutes during the stream's waning flow. Solute concentrations vary by ˜ 30 % between diurnal minima and maxima. Discharge maxima and minima lag temperature and surface melt by 3-7 h; diurnal solute concentration minima and maxima lag discharge by 3-6 h.This phase shift between discharge and solute concentration suggests that during high flow, water is either encountering more rock material or is stored in longer contact with rock material. We suggest that expansion of a distributed subglacial hydrologic network into seldom accessed regions during high flow could account for these phenomena, and for a spike of partial silicate reaction products during waning flow, which itself suggests a pressure threshold-triggered release of stored water.

  9. Elevation change and remote-sensing mass-balance methods on the Greenland ice sheet

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ahlstrøm, Andreas P.; Reeh, Niels; Christensen, Erik Lintz

    differential GPS instruments and corrected for pitch, roll and crab using an Inertial Navigation System. Knowledge of elevation change and ice thickness alone does not provide mass balance, but when combined with the surface velocity field obtained from satellite repeat-track interferometric synthetic aperture...... the last decade. Large amounts of data have been collected from satellite and airborne platforms, yielding surface elevation changes and surface velocity fields. Here we present data from the Greenland Ice-Sheet margin acquired with a new small-scale airborne system, designed for regional high......-density coverage. During campaigns in 2000, 2003 and 2005, we have collected and processed ice-sheet surface elevation and ice-thickness data, acquired with a laser altimeter and a 60~MHz ice-penetrating radar. Both instruments were mounted on a small Twin-Otter aircraft which were positioned using three onboard...

  10. Inner gorges cut by subglacial meltwater during Fennoscandian ice sheet decay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jansen, J D; Codilean, A T; Stroeven, A P; Fabel, D; Hättestrand, C; Kleman, J; Harbor, J M; Heyman, J; Kubik, P W; Xu, S

    2014-05-09

    The century-long debate over the origins of inner gorges that were repeatedly covered by Quaternary glaciers hinges upon whether the gorges are fluvial forms eroded by subaerial rivers, or subglacial forms cut beneath ice. Here we apply cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating to seven inner gorges along ~500 km of the former Fennoscandian ice sheet margin in combination with a new deglaciation map. We show that the timing of exposure matches the advent of ice-free conditions, strongly suggesting that gorges were cut by channelized subglacial meltwater while simultaneously being shielded from cosmic rays by overlying ice. Given the exceptional hydraulic efficiency required for meltwater channels to erode bedrock and evacuate debris, we deduce that inner gorges are the product of ice sheets undergoing intense surface melting. The lack of postglacial river erosion in our seven gorges implicates subglacial meltwater as a key driver of valley deepening on the Baltic Shield over multiple glacial cycles.

  11. Airborne observations of changes of ice sheet and sea ice in the Arctic using CryoVEx campaign data

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hvidegaard, Sine Munk; Skourup, Henriette; Forsberg, René

    DTU Space have collected surface elevation observations of the Arctic sea ice and land ice since 1998 using laser scanning and radar altimetry from a small fixed‐wing Twin‐Otter aircraft. The observations provide unique datasets for studying ongoing changes, and support the analysis of satellite......‐launch validation studies, with several aircraft and international in‐situ ground teams participating, both in Greenland, Arctic Canada, and Svalbard. The methods and campaigns are outlined together with examples of results.The campaigns focused on five main validation sites: Devon ice cap (Canada), Austfonna ice...... measurements of ice sheet changes. The majority of the campaigns have been sponsored by the European Space Agency, ESA, as part of the CryoSat Validation Experiments – CryoVEx. These have been internationally coordinated efforts to collect coincident space‐borne, airborne, and in‐situ data for pre‐ and post...

  12. River Channel Expansion Reveals Ice Sheet Runoff Variations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Overeem, I.; Hudson, B. D.; Welty, E.; LeWinter, A.; Mikkelsen, A. B.

    2013-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet has been rapidly melting over the last decades. To quantify its contribution to global sea-level rise, we urgently need to understand flux of meltwater into proglacial rivers. Direct measurements of river runoff at the Greenlandic coast are sparse due to the dynamic braided channels with unstable banks, which makes in-situ discharge monitoring challenging. Here, we explore the use of ';inundation-discharge' relationships through analysis of both time-lapse camera imagery and MODIS remote-sensing reflectance data to provide us with a proxy record of river discharge for proglacial systems. We utilize MODIS band6 (mid IR 1628 - 1652 nm). Light in this band is strongly absorbed by water, and reflectance is not sensitive to sediment suspended in the water, making it an appropriate proxy for river braidplain inundation. Our focus is on two Greenlandic river systems; the Watson River near Kangerlussuaq and the Naujat Kuat River near Nuuk, to track band6 reflectance characteristics over all cloud-free days for the summers of 2000-2012. For validation, a ground-based inundation record is assembled from time-lapse imagery overlooking the Watson River for 2012. Exponential inundation-discharge relationships were established using our in-situ discharge records for the Watson River near Kangerlussuaq (2007-2012, R2=0.55) and the Naujat Kuat River near Nuuk (2011-2012, R2 = 0.42). Using these relationships to predict total annual river discharge proves reasonably accurate for most years of the observational record (varying between 96-86%). Interestingly, the extreme melt year of 2012 was not reliably predicted using the established relationship. We compared these predictions against an inundation record from the in-situ time-lapse camera and found that a ground-based observations track extreme discharge events more reliably (R2 = 0.60). This methodology allows us to extend existing river records back beyond the 5 or 2 years of in-situ observations

  13. On the reconstruction of palaeo-ice sheets: Recent advances and future challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stokes, Chris R.; Tarasov, Lev; Blomdin, Robin; Cronin, Thomas M.; Fisher, Timothy G.; Gyllencreutz, Richard; Hattestrand, Clas; Heyman, Jakob; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.; Hughes, Anna L. C.; Jakobsson, Martin; Kirchner, Nina; Livingstone, Stephen J.; Margold, Martin; Murton, Julian B.; Noormets, Riko; Peltier, W. Richard; Peteet, Dorothy M.; Piper, David J. W.; Preusser, Frank; Renssen, Hans; Roberts, David H.; Roche, Didier M.; Saint-Ange, Francky; Stroeven, Arjen P.; Teller, James T.

    2015-01-01

    Reconstructing the growth and decay of palaeo-ice sheets is critical to understanding mechanisms of global climate change and associated sea-level fluctuations in the past, present and future. The significance of palaeo-ice sheets is further underlined by the broad range of disciplines concerned with reconstructing their behaviour, many of which have undergone a rapid expansion since the 1980s. In particular, there has been a major increase in the size and qualitative diversity of empirical data used to reconstruct and date ice sheets, and major improvements in our ability to simulate their dynamics in numerical ice sheet models. These developments have made it increasingly necessary to forge interdisciplinary links between sub-disciplines and to link numerical modelling with observations and dating of proxy records. The aim of this paper is to evaluate recent developments in the methods used to reconstruct ice sheets and outline some key challenges that remain, with an emphasis on how future work might integrate terrestrial and marine evidence together with numerical modelling. Our focus is on pan-ice sheet reconstructions of the last deglaciation, but regional case studies are used to illustrate methodological achievements, challenges and opportunities. Whilst various disciplines have made important progress in our understanding of ice-sheet dynamics, it is clear that data-model integration remains under-used, and that uncertainties remain poorly quantified in both empirically-based and numerical ice-sheet reconstructions. The representation of past climate will continue to be the largest source of uncertainty for numerical modelling. As such, palaeo-observations are critical to constrain and validate modelling. State-of-the-art numerical models will continue to improve both in model resolution and in the breadth of inclusion of relevant processes, thereby enabling more accurate and more direct comparison with the increasing range of palaeo-observations. Thus

  14. A SAR Ice-Motion Processing Chain in Support of PROMICE (Programme for the Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Merryman Boncori, John Peter; Dall, Jørgen; Ahlstrøm, A. P.;

    2010-01-01

    This paper reports on the development of a SAR icemotion processing chain developed for the PROMICE project – a long-term program funded by the Danish ministry of Climate and Energy to monitor the mass budget of the Greenland ice sheet. The end goal of the SAR data processing is to output map...

  15. Spatial pattern of mass loss processes across the Greenland Ice Sheet from the Little Ice Age to 2010

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjaer, K. H.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Kjeldsen, K. K.

    The Greenland Ice Sheet loses mass through surface meltwater runoff and discharge from marine terminating outlet glaciers. The spatial variability and magnitude of these processes have been studied and described in detail for the past decades. Here, we combine the mass loss between the LIA to 2010...

  16. Gradual demise of a thin southern Laurentide ice sheet recorded by Mississippi drainage

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wickert, Andrew D.; Mitrovica, Jerry X.; Williams, Carlie; Anderson, Robert S.

    2013-10-01

    At the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), about 21,000 years before present, land-based ice sheets held enough water to reduce global mean sea level by 130metres. Yet after decades of study, major uncertainties remain as to the distribution of that ice. Here we test four reconstructions of North American deglacial ice-sheet history by quantitatively connecting them to high-resolution oxygen isotope (δ18O) records from the Gulf of Mexico using a water mixing model. For each reconstruction, we route meltwater and seasonal runoff through the time-evolving Mississippi drainage basin, which co-evolves with ice geometry and changing topography as ice loads deform the solid Earth and produce spatially variable sea level in a process known as glacial isostatic adjustment. The δ18O records show that the Mississippi-drained southern Laurentide ice sheet contributed only 5.4+/-2.1 metres to global sea level rise, of which 0.66+/-0.07 metres were released during the meltwater pulse 1A event 14,650-14,310 years before present, far less water than previously thought. In contrast, the three reconstructions based on glacial isostatic adjustment overpredict the δ18O-based post-LGM meltwater volume by a factor of 1.6 to 3.6. The fourth reconstruction, which is based on ice physics, has a low enough Mississippi-routed meltwater discharge to be consistent with δ18O constraints, but also contains the largest LGM North American ice volume. This suggests that modelling based on ice physics may be the best way of matching isotopic records while also sequestering enough water in the North American ice sheets to match the observed LGM sea level fall.

  17. Last Interglacial climate and sea-level evolution from a coupled ice sheet-climate model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goelzer, Heiko; Huybrechts, Philippe; Loutre, Marie-France; Fichefet, Thierry

    2016-12-01

    As the most recent warm period in Earth's history with a sea-level stand higher than present, the Last Interglacial (LIG, ˜ 130 to 115 kyr BP) is often considered a prime example to study the impact of a warmer climate on the two polar ice sheets remaining today. Here we simulate the Last Interglacial climate, ice sheet, and sea-level evolution with the Earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM v.1.3, which includes dynamic and fully coupled components representing the atmosphere, the ocean and sea ice, the terrestrial biosphere, and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this setup, sea-level evolution and climate-ice sheet interactions are modelled in a consistent framework.Surface mass balance change governed by changes in surface meltwater runoff is the dominant forcing for the Greenland ice sheet, which shows a peak sea-level contribution of 1.4 m at 123 kyr BP in the reference experiment. Our results indicate that ice sheet-climate feedbacks play an important role to amplify climate and sea-level changes in the Northern Hemisphere. The sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to surface temperature changes considerably increases when interactive albedo changes are considered. Southern Hemisphere polar and sub-polar ocean warming is limited throughout the Last Interglacial, and surface and sub-shelf melting exerts only a minor control on the Antarctic sea-level contribution with a peak of 4.4 m at 125 kyr BP. Retreat of the Antarctic ice sheet at the onset of the LIG is mainly forced by rising sea level and to a lesser extent by reduced ice shelf viscosity as the surface temperature increases. Global sea level shows a peak of 5.3 m at 124.5 kyr BP, which includes a minor contribution of 0.35 m from oceanic thermal expansion. Neither the individual contributions nor the total modelled sea-level stand show fast multi-millennial timescale variations as indicated by some reconstructions.

  18. Evaluating ice sheet model performance over the last glacial cycle using paleo data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Alexander; Alvarez-Solas, Jorge; Montoya, Marisa

    2015-04-01

    Estimating the past evolution of ice sheets is important for improving our understanding of their role in the Earth system and for quantifying their contribution to sea-level changes. Limited but significant paleo data and proxies are available to give insights into past changes that are valid, at least, on a local scale. Meanwhile, models can be used to provide a mechanistic picture of ice sheet changes. Combined data-model comparisons are therefore useful exercises that allow models to be confronted with real-world information and lead to better understanding of the mechanisms driving changes. In turn, models can potentially be used to validate the data by providing a physical explanation for observed phenomena. Here we focus on the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet through the last glacial cycle to highlight common problems and potential opportunities for data-model comparisons. We will present several examples of how present generation model results are inconsistent with estimates from paleo data, either in terms of the boundary forcing given to the model or the resulting characteristics of the ice sheet. We also propose a set of data-model comparisons as the starting point for developing a more standardized paleo model performance check. Incorporating such a test into modeling efforts could generate new insights in coupled climate - ice sheet modeling.

  19. Characterizing supraglacial lake drainage and freezing on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Selmes

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available The behaviour of supraglacial lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet has attracted a great deal of focus, specifically with regard to their fast drainage through hydrofracturing to the ice sheet base. However, a previous study has shown that this mode of drainage accounts for only 13% of the lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet. No published work to date has studied what happens to those lakes that do not drain suddenly. We present here three possible modes by which lakes can disappear from the ice sheet, which will have strongly contrasting effects on glacial dynamics and the ice sheet water budget. Around half of all supraglacial lakes observed persisted through the melt season and froze at the end of summer. A third drained slowly, which we interpret to be a result of incision of the supraglacial lake exit-channel. The fate of 7% of lakes could not be observed due to cloud cover, and the remainder drained suddenly. Both fast and slow lake drainage types are absent at higher elevations where lakes tend to freeze despite having similar or longer life spans to lakes at lower elevations, suggesting the mechanisms of drainage are inhibited. Groups of neighbouring lakes were observed to drain suddenly on the same day suggesting a common trigger mechanism for drainage initiation. We find that great care must be taken when interpreting remotely sensed observations of lake drainage, as fast and slow lake drainage can easily be confused if the temporal resolution used is too coarse.

  20. Greenland ice sheet surface temperature, melt and mass loss: 2000-06

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, D.K.; Williams, R.S.; Luthcke, S.B.; DiGirolamo, N.E.

    2008-01-01

    A daily time series of 'clear-sky' surface temperature has been compiled of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) using 1 km resolution moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) land-surface temperature (LST) maps from 2000 to 2006. We also used mass-concentration data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to study mass change in relationship to surface melt from 2003 to 2006. The mean LST of the GIS increased during the study period by ???0.27??Ca-1. The increase was especially notable in the northern half of the ice sheet during the winter months. Melt-season length and timing were also studied in each of the six major drainage basins. Rapid (meltwater is flowing rapidly to the base of the ice sheet, causing acceleration of outlet glaciers, thus highlighting the metastability of parts of the GIS and the vulnerability of the ice sheet to air-temperature increases. If air temperatures continue to rise over Greenland, increased surface melt will play a large role in ice-sheet mass loss.

  1. Insight into biogeochemical inputs and composition of Greenland Ice Sheet surface snow and glacial forefield river catchment environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cameron, Karen; Hagedorn, Birgit; Dieser, Markus; Christner, Brent; Choquette, Kyla; Sletten, Ronald; Lui, Lu; Junge, Karen

    2014-05-01

    the northern region of Pituffik, near Thule, throughout the 2011 melt season. Betaproteobacteria dominated all DNA and RT-rRNA assemblage libraries (mean abundance 38.0 ± 10.5 %), and a further 21 classes were identified with > 0.5 % mean abundance. Rhodoferax related operational taxonomic units featured as the most abundant assemblages in both DNA and RT-rRNA sequence libraries (6.61 % and 8.35 % respectively). Correlations of bacterial assemblages to both dissolved and particulate chemistries were calculated, and comparisons of assemblages to sequence libraries from likely seeding environments were utilized to suggest the functionality and predominant sources of biota. Together, these studies look to address the biogeochemical sources and composition of samples from hydrological entry and exits points of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  2. Multi-decadal dynamic thinning on the northwest margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korsgaard, N. J.; Kjaer, K. H.; Khan, S. A.; Wahr, J. M.; Bamber, J. L.; Hurkmans, R. T.; Timm, L. H.; Kjeldsen, K. K.; Bjork, A. A.; Larsen, N. K.

    2011-12-01

    Ice mass changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet have been estimated since the early 1990s from the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite gravity mission, of ice sheet thinning from satellite radar altimetry and airborne laser altimetry, and of increased velocities of outlet glaciers from radar interferometric surveys. Prior to 2000 existing altimetry data provides comparatively limited spatial resolution and ice losses near ice sheet margins are most likely underestimated and existing data is unable to document the persisting change within outlet glaciers. Subsequent estimates for the entire ice sheet show increased mass loss from 137 Gt/yr in 2002-2003 to 286 Gt/yr in 2007-2009. Also evidence from the GRACE, GPS (Global Positioning System), and ICESat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) as well as surface mass balance data suggests there is an ongoing northward migration of increasing dynamic induced ice loss. GRACE data show that this increased mass loss initiated in 2005 ceased in late 2009, thus, defining a dynamic thinning event as seen previous along the coast in southeast Greenland. Here, we present a multi-decadal perspective on ice mass change from northwestern Greenland using the stereoscopic coverage by aerial photographs recorded in 1985, which captures the beginning of the present warming in the late 1980s. The derived Digital Elevation Model (DEM) based on the aerial photographs are superior in coverage and spatial resolution to other early surface change records with a 25 m grid resolution and vertical uncertainty of 4.6m. Comparative DEMs were derived from laser altimetry data recorded in 2005 and 2010. Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) can be partitioned into surface mass balance (SMB) processes (runoff and precipitation) and ice dynamics. For the marginal part of northwestern Greenland, we calculate a mass loss between 1985-2005 to 239 km3 and between 2005-2010 to 193 km3. The SMB contribute with respective 17km3

  3. The quest for the lost picture and surface detection change of the Greenland Ice Sheet (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kjaer, K. H.; Korsgaard, N.; Kjeldsen, K.

    2010-12-01

    Past analogues to future change require long term records for ice marginal behavior around the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. Repeated surveys by satellite and airborne radar and laser altimetry have since the 1980s together with gravitational satellite estimates over the last decade shown a significant thinning at lower altitudes of the Greenland Ice Sheet, while the interior is in balance or thickening. The loss of ice is estimated to between 47 and 227 Gt per year, equivalent to 0.1-0.6 mm global sea level rise. The loss is concentrated in the southern dome of the ice sheet and can hardly be explained by increased ablation or decrease in snow accumulation. Instead, glacial dynamic processes are thought to have accelerated ice flow towards the coastal areas with increased release of ice and meltwater into the ocean. This implies a complex relationship between the interior of the ice sheet, where most of the ice is located, and the marginal zone where local climatic and topographical conditions control the discharge of ice - and therefore the intensity of response to climatic change. The data collection involves a compilation and digitalization of data from more than a century of geological field work, unpublished historical material, and finally mapping of selected areas by combining remote sensing tools with field-based glacial-geomorphological interpretation of the landscape. We also seek to quantify the net thinning pattern at the ice margin and sub-marginal areas using trimline altitudes on valley sides, and, not least, nunataks situated far from the ice margin to quantify volumetric changes and estimate the sensitivity of the margin to tem