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Fine-scale geothermal heat flow in Antarctica can increase simulated subglacial melt estimates


McCormack, FS and Roberts, JL and Dow, CF and Staal, T and Halpin, JA and Reading, AM and Siegert, MJ, Fine-scale geothermal heat flow in Antarctica can increase simulated subglacial melt estimates, Geophysical Research Letters, 49, (15) Article e2022GL098539. ISSN 0094-8276 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1029/2022GL098539


Antarctic geothermal heat flow (GHF) affects the thermal regime of ice sheets and simulations of ice and subglacial meltwater discharge to the ocean, but remains poorly constrained. We use an ice sheet model to investigate the impact of GHF anomalies on subglacial meltwater production in the Aurora Subglacial Basin, East Antarctica. We find that spatially-variable GHF fields produce more meltwater than a constant GHF with the same background mean, and meltwater production increases as the resolution of GHF anomalies increases. Our results suggest that model simulations of this region systematically underestimate meltwater production using current GHF models. We determine the minimum basal heating required to bring the basal ice temperature to the pressure melting point, which should be taken together with the scale-length of likely local variability in targeting in-situ GHF field campaigns.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:geothermal heat flow, ice sheet, Antarctica, subglacial melt
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Glaciology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Staal, T (Dr Tobias Staal)
UTAS Author:Halpin, JA (Dr Jacqueline Halpin)
UTAS Author:Reading, AM (Professor Anya Reading)
ID Code:152998
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2022-09-01
Last Modified:2022-11-23
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