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Improved parameterization of marine ice dynamics and flow instabilities for simulation of the Austfonna ice cap using a large-scale ice sheet model Title,Eos Trans.
Research Areas
  • Geophysics
The Austfonna ice cap covers an area of 8120 km2 and is by far the largest glacier on Svalbard. Almost 30% of the entire area is grounded below sea-level, while the figure is as large as 57% for the known surge-type basins in particular. Marine ice dynamics, as well as flow instabilities presumably control flow regime, form and evolution of Austfonna. These issues are our focus in numerical simulations of the ice cap. We employ the thermodynamic, large-scale ice sheet model SICOPOLIS (http://sicopolis.greveweb.net/) which is based on the shallow-ice approximation. We present improved parameterizations of (a) the marine extent and calving and (b) processes that may initiate flow instabilities such as switches from cold to temperate basal conditions, surface steepening and hence, increases in driving stress, enhanced sliding or deformation of unconsolidated marine sediments and diminishing ice thicknesses towards flotation thickness. Space-borne interferometric snapshots of Austfonna revealed a velocity structure of a slow moving polar ice cap (< 10m/a) interrupted by distinct fast flow units with velocities in excess of 100m/a. However, observations of flow variability are scarce. In spring 2008, we established a series of stakes along the centrelines of two fast-flowing units. Repeated DGPS and continuous GPS measurements of the stake positions give insight in the temporal flow variability of these units and provide constrains to the modeled surface velocity field. Austfonna¿s thermal structure is described as polythermal. However, direct measurements of the temperature distribution is available only from one single borehole at the summit area. The vertical temperature profile shows that the bulk of the 567m thick ice column is cold, only underlain by a thin temperate basal layer of approximately 20m. To acquire a spatially extended picture of the thermal structure (and bed topography), we used low-frequency (20 MHz) GPR profiling across the ice cap and the particular flow units. The measurements indicate that the gross volume of Austfonna is cold. This observation is supported by model results which suggest that regional fast flow occurs despite the lack of considerable temperate-ice volumes. This in turn indicates that fast flow is accomplished exclusively by basal motion in regions where the glacier base is at pressure-melting conditions, and not by enhanced deformation of considerable volumes of temperate ice.
AGU Fall Meeting 2009.
San Francisco, CA, USA.
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Abstract C23B-0494.
  • Autor: Francisco Jose Navarro Valero (UPM)
Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Grupo de Simulación Numérica en Ciencias e Ingeniería
  • Departamento: Matemática Aplicada a las Tecnologías de la Información
S2i 2019 Observatorio de investigación @ UPM con la colaboración del Consejo Social UPM
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