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Modelling environmental influences on calving at Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland


Cook, S and Rutt, IC and Murray, T and Luckman, A and Zwinger, T and Selmes, N and Goldsack, A and James, TD, Modelling environmental influences on calving at Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland, The Cryosphere, 8 pp. 827-841. ISSN 1994-0416 (2014) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 The Authors Licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

DOI: doi:10.5194/tc-8-827-2014


Calving is an important mass-loss process for many glaciers worldwide, and has been assumed to respond to a variety of environmental influences. We present a grounded, flowline tidewater glacier model using a physically-based calving mechanism, applied to Helheim Glacier, eastern Greenland. By qualitatively examining both modelled size and frequency of calving events, and the subsequent dynamic response, the model is found to realistically reproduce key aspects of observed calving behaviour. Experiments explore four environmental variables which have been suggested to affect calving rates: water depth in crevasses, basal water pressure, undercutting of the calving face by submarine melt and backstress from ice mélange. Of the four variables, only crevasse water depth and basal water pressure were found to have a significant effect on terminus behaviour when applied at a realistic magnitude. These results are in contrast to previous modelling studies, which have suggested that ocean temperatures could strongly influence the calving front. The results raise the possibility that Greenland outlet glaciers could respond to the recent trend of increased surface melt observed in Greenland more strongly than previously thought, as surface ablation can strongly affect water depth in crevasses and water pressure at the glacier bed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:glaciology, ice-ocean interaction
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Glaciology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Cook, S (Dr Sue Cook)
ID Code:102757
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:58
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2015-09-04
Last Modified:2017-10-30
Downloads:330 View Download Statistics

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