Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Sensitivity of a calving glacier to ice—ocean interactions under climate change: new insights from a 3-D full-Stokes model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

J. Todd, Poul Christoffersen, Thomas Zwinger, Peter Råback, Douglas I. Benn

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Iceberg calving accounts for between 30 % and 60 % of net mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which has intensified and is now the single largest contributor to global sea level rise in the cryosphere. Changes to calving rates and the dynamics of calving glaciers represent a significant uncertainty in projections of future sea level rise. A growing body of observational evidence suggests that calving glaciers respond rapidly to regional environmental change, but predictive capacity is limited by the lack of suitable models capable of simulating calving mechanisms realistically. Here, we use a 3-D full-Stokes calving model to investigate the environmental sensitivity of Store Glacier, a large outlet glacier in West Greenland. We focus on two environmental processes: undercutting by submarine melting and buttressing by ice mélange, and our results indicate that Store Glacier is likely to be able to withstand moderate warming perturbations in which the former is increased by 50 % and the latter reduced by 50 %. However, severe perturbation with a doubling of submarine melt rates or a complete loss of ice mélange destabilises the calving front in our model runs. Furthermore, our analysis reveals that stress and fracture patterns at Store's terminus are complex and varied, primarily due to the influence of basal topography. Calving style and environmental sensitivity vary greatly, with propagation of surface crevasses significantly influencing iceberg production in the northern side, whereas basal crevasses dominate in the south. Any future retreat is likely to be initiated in the southern side by a combination of increased submarine melt rates in summer and reduced mélange strength in winter. The lateral variability, as well as the importance of rotational and bending forces at the terminus, underlines the importance of using the 3-D full-Stokes stress solution when modelling Greenland's calving glaciers.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1694
Number of pages14
JournalCryosphere
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. A full-Stokes 3D calving model applied to a large Greenlandic glacier

    Todd, J., Christoffersen, P., Zwinger, T., Råback, P., Chauché, N., Benn, D., Luckman, A., Ryan, J., Toberg, N., Slater, D. & Hubbard, A., 1 Mar 2018, In : Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface. 123, 3, p. 410-432 23 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Glacier calving in Greenland

    Benn, D. I., Cowton, T., Todd, J. & Luckman, A., Dec 2017, In : Current Climate Change Reports. 3, 4, p. 282-290

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. Melt-under-cutting and buoyancy-driven calving from tidewater glaciers: new insights from discrete element and continuum model simulations

    Benn, D. I., Åström, J., Zwinger, T., Todd, J., Nick, F. M., Cook, S., Hulton, N. R. J. & Luckman, A., Sep 2017, In : Journal of Glaciology. 63, 240, p. 691-702 12 p., JOG-17-0005.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Automatic detection of calving events from time-lapse imagery at Tunabreen, Svalbard

    Vallot, D., Adinugroho, S., Strand, R., How, P., Pettersson, R., Benn, D. & Hulton, N. R. J., 29 Mar 2019, In : Geoscientific Instrumentation Methods and Data Systems. 8, 1, p. 113-127 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Calving controlled by melt-under-cutting: detailed calving styles revealed through time-lapse observations

    How, P., Schild, K. M., Benn, D. I., Noormets, R., Kirchner, N., Luckman, A., Vallot, D., Hulton, N. R. J. & Borstad, C., 30 Jan 2019, In : Annals of Glaciology. First View, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Cryosphere (Journal)

    Tobias Bolch (Member of editorial board)
    1 Jun 2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Unravelling the evolution of Zmuttgletscher and its debris cover since the end of the Little Ice Age

    Mölg, N., Bolch, T., Walter, A. & Vieli, A., 11 Jul 2019, In : Cryosphere. 13, 7, p. 1889-1909

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Effects of undercutting and sliding on calving: a global approach applied to Kronebreen, Svalbard

    Vallot, D., Åström, J., Zwinger, T., Pettersson, R., Everett, A., Benn, D. I., Luckman, A., van Pelt, W. J. J., Nick, F. & Kohler, J., 21 Feb 2018, In : Cryosphere. 12, 2, p. 609-625 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Frazil-ice growth rate and dynamics in mixed layers and sub-ice-shelf plumes

    Rees Jones, D. W. & Wells, A. J., 8 Jan 2018, In : Cryosphere. 12, 1, p. 25-38 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Multi-decadal mass balance series of three Kyrgyz glaciers inferred from modelling constrained with repeated snow line observations

    Barandun, M., Huss, M., Usubaliev, R., Azisov, E., Berthier, E., Kääb, A., Bolch, T. & Hoelzle, M., 6 Jun 2018, In : Cryosphere. 12, 6, p. 1899-1919 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 259396478