Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Basal melt beneath Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Streams A and C, West Antarctica

  • Ian R. Joughin (a1), Slawek Tulaczyk (a2) and Hermann F. Engelhardt (a3)

Abstract

We have used a recently derived map of the velocity of Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Streams A and C, West Antarctica, to help estimate basal melt. Ice temperature was modeled with a simple vertical advection–diffusion equation,“tuned” to match temperature profiles. We find that most of the melt occurs beneath the tributaries, where larger basal shear stresses and thicker ice favor greater melt (e.g. 10–20mm a−1). The occurrence of basal freezing is predicted beneath much of the ice plains of Ice Stream C andWhillans Ice Stream. Modeled melt rates for when Ice Stream C was active suggest there was enough meltwater generated in its tributaries to balance basal freezing on its ice plain. Net basal melt for Whillans Ice Stream is greater due to less steep basal temperature gradients. Modeled temperatures on Whillans Ice Stream, however, were constrained by a single temperature profile at UpB. Basal temperature gradients for Whillans branch 1 and Ice Stream A may have conditions more similar to those beneath Ice Streams C and D, in which case, there may not be sufficient melt to sustain motion. This would be consistent with the steady deceleration of Whillans Ice Stream over the last few decades.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Basal melt beneath Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Streams A and C, West Antarctica
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Basal melt beneath Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Streams A and C, West Antarctica
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Basal melt beneath Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Streams A and C, West Antarctica
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Alley, R. B. and Bentley, C. R.. 1988. Ice-core analysis on the Siple Coast of West Antarctica. An N. Glaciol., 11,17.
Alley, R. B., Blankenship, D. D., Bentley, C. R. and Rooney, S.T.. 1987. Till beneath Ice Stream B. 3. Till deformation: evidence and implications. J. Geop Hys. Res., 92(), 89218929.
Alley, R. B., Anandakrishnan, S., Bentley, C. R. and Lord, N.. 1994. A water-piracy hypothesis for the stagnation of Ice Stream C, Antarctica. Ann. Glaciol., 20,187194.
Anderson, J. B. and Shipp, S. S.. 2001. Evolution of the West Antarctic ice sheet. in Alley, R. B. and Bindschadler, R.A., eds. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Behavior and Environment. Washington, DC, American Geophysical Union, 4557. (Antarctic Research Series 77.)
Atre, S.R. and Bentley, C.R..1993. Laterally varying basal conditions beneath Ice Streams B and C, West Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 39(133), 507514.
Blankenship, D. D., Bentley, C. R., Rooney, S.T. and Alley, R. B.. 1987. Till beneath Ice Stream B. 1. Properties derived from seismic travel times. J. Geop Hys. Res., 92(), 89038911.
Bougamont, M., Tulaczyk, S. and Joughin, I.. 2002. Response of subglacial sediments to basal freeze-on: II. Application in numerical modeling of the recent stoppage of Ice Stream C, West Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res.. (10.1019/2002JB001936.)
Clarke, T. S., Liu, Chen, Lord, N. E. and Bentley, C. R.. 2000. Evidence for a recently abandoned shear margin adjacent to Ice Stream B2, Antarctica, from ice-penetrating radar measurements. J. Geophys. Res., 105(B6), 13,40913,422.
Comiso, J. C. 1994. Surface temperatures in the polar regions from Nimbus 7 temperature humidity infrared radiometer. J. Geophys. Res., 99(C3), 51815200.
Comiso, J.C. 2000. Variability and trends in Antarctic surface temperatures from insitu and satellite infrared measurements. J. Climate,13(10),16741696.
Conway, H., Hall, B.L., Denton, G. H., Gades, A.M. and Waddington, E. D.. 1999. Past and future grounding-line retreat of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Science, 286(5438), 280283.
Engelhardt, H. and Kamb, B.. 1993. Vertical temperature profile of Ice Stream B. Antarct. J. U.S., 28(5), Review1993,6366.
Fahnestock, M.A.,Scambos, T.A., Bindschadler, R.A. and Kvaran, G.. 2000. A millennium of variable ice flow recorded by the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 46(155), 652664.
Giovinetto, M. B. and Bentley, C. R.. 1985. Surface balance in ice drainage systems of Antarctica. Antarct. J. U.S., 20(4),613.
Giovinetto, M. B., Waters, N.M. and Bentley, C. R.. 1990. Dependence of Antarctic surface massbalance on temperature, elevation, and distance to open ocean. J. Geophys. Res., 95(D4), 35173531.
Gow, A. J., Ueda, H.T. and Garfield, D. E.. 1968.Antarctic ice sheet: preliminary results of first core hole to bedrock. Science,161(3845), 10111013.
Hamilton, G. S. 2002. Mass balance and accumulation rate across Siple Dome,West Antarctica. Ann. Glaciol., 35,102106.
Hulbe, C.L. 1998. Heat Balance of West Antarctic Ice Streams, Investigated With Numerical Models of Coupled Ice Sheet, Ice Stream, and Ice Shelf Flow. (Ph.D. thesis, University of Chicago.)
Joughin, I. and Tulaczyk, S.. 2002. Positive mass balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica. Science, 295(5554), 476480.
Joughin, I. and 7 others. 1999. Tributaries of West Antarctic ice streams revealed by RADARSAT interferometry. Science, 286(5438), 283286.
Joughin, I., Tulaczyk, S., Bindschadler, R. A. and Price, S.. 2002. Changes in west Antarctic ice stream velocities: observation and analysis. J. Geophys. Res., 107(B11), 2289. (10.1029/2001JB001029.)
Kamb, B. 1991. Rheological nonlinearity and flow instability in the deforming bed mechanism of ice stream motion. J. Geophys. Res., 96(B10), 16,58516,595.
Kamb, B. 2001. Basal zone of the West Antarctic ice streams and its role in lubrication of their rapid motion. in Alley, R. B. and Bindschadler, R. A., eds. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Behavior and Environment. Washington, American Geophysical Union, 157199. (Antarctic Research Series 77.)
Lythe, M.B., Vaughan, D.G. and BEDMAP Consortium. 2001. BEDMAP: a new ice thickness and subglacial topographic model of Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res.,106(B6), 11,33511,351.
Parizek, B. R., Alley, R. B. and Hulbe, C. L.. 2003. Subglacial thermal balance permits ongoing grounding-line retreat along the Siple Coast of West Antarctica. Ann. Glaciol., 36 (see paper in this volume).
Price, S. F., Bindschadler, R. A., Hulbe, C.L. and Joughin, I. R.. 2001. Post-stagnation behavior in the upstream regions of Ice Stream C, West Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 47(157), 283294.
Raymond, C. F. 2000. Energy balance of ice streams. J. Glaciol., 46(155), 665674.
Retzlaff, R. and Bentley, C. R.. 1993. Timing of stagnation of Ice Stream C, West Antarctica, from short-pulse radar studies of buried surface crevasses. J. Glaciol., 39(133), 553561.
Rose, K. E. 1979. Characteristics of ice flow in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 24(90), 6375.
Shabtaie, S. and Bentley, C. R.. 1987. West Antarctic ice streams draining into the Ross Ice Shelf: configuration and mass balance. J. Geophys. Res., 92(B2), 13111336. (Erratum: 92(B9),1987, p.9451.)
Tulaczyk, S.M., Kamb, B. and Engelhardt, H. F.. 2000a. Basal mechanics of Ice Stream B,West Antarctica. I.Till mechanics. J. Geophys. Res.,105(B1), 463481.
Tulaczyk, S. M., Kamb, B. and Engelhardt, H. F.. 2000b. Basal mechanicsof Ice Stream B, West Antarctica. II. Undrained-plastic-bed model. J. Geophys. Res.,105(B1), 483494.
Vogel, S.W., Tulaczyk, S. and Joughin, I.. 2003. Distribution of basalmelting and freezing beneath tributaries of Ice Stream C: implication for the Holocene decay of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Ann. Glaciol., 36 (see paper in this volume).
Whillans, I. M. and van der Veen, C. J.. 1997. The role of lateral drag in the dynamics of Ice Stream B, Antarctica. J. Glaciol., 43(144), 231237.
Whillans, I. M., Bentley, C. R. and van der Veen, C. J.. 2001. Ice Streams B and C. in Alley, R. B. and Bindschadler, R.A., eds. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Behavior and Environment. Washington, DC, American Geophysical Union, 257281. (Antarctic Research Series 77.)
Zotikov, I. A. 1986. The Thermophysics of Glaciers (Teplofizika Lednikovykh Pokrovov). Dordrecht, etc., D. Reidel Publishing Co.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed