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Sensitivity of tidewater glaciers to submarine melting governed by plume locations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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  • Embargoed (until 1/01/50)

Abstract

The response of tidewater glaciers to ocean warming remains a key uncertainty in sea level rise predictions. Here we use a 3‐D numerical model to examine the response of an idealised tidewater glacier to spatial variations in submarine melt rate. Whilst melting towards the centre of the terminus causes only a localised increase in mass loss, melting near the lateral margins triggers increased calving across the width of the glacier, causing the terminus to retreat at several times the width‐averaged melt rate. This occurs because melting near the margins has a greater disruptive impact on the compressive stress arch that transfers resistance from the side walls to the body of the glacier. We suggest that the rate of terminus advance or retreat may thus be governed by the difference between ice velocity and submarine melting in the slow flowing zones away from the glacier centre.
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Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
VolumeIn press
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Glaciers, Ice sheets, Calving, Submarine melting

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