Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Streaming flow in an ice sheet through a glacial cycle

  • Geoffrey S. Boulton (a1), Magnus Hagdorn (a1) and Nicholas R.J. Hulton (a2)

Abstract

Geological evidence indicates that the flow of the last European ice sheet was dominated by numerous large ice streams. Although some were ephemeral, most were sustained along well-defined axes at least during the period of retreat after the Last Glacial Maximum. A thermomechanically coupled three-dimensional numerical ice-sheet model has been used to simulate the ice sheet through the whole of the last glacial cycle, but with a spatial resolution that is high enough to capture streaming behaviour. An experiment with a smoothed bed is used to explore the self-organizing behaviour of streams when they are not forced by bed topography. On such a bed, streams typically have a width of 1–10 km, much narrower than the inferred European ice streams. An experiment using a realistic topography suggests that widths of ice streams are strongly influenced by topography, and tend to be of order 100 km. Moreover, even where the topography is muted, it stabilizes the locations of ice streams which, once formed, tend to be sustained along pre-existing axes. The model creates patterns of streaming that are similar to inferred patterns, suggesting strong topographic forcing. In a simulation using a realistic bed in which the ice was very cold and basal melting rarely occurred, streams were again very narrow. Widespread streaming under low driving stresses tends to reduce ice-sheet thicknesses compared with weak streaming or models that do not produce streaming. Consequently, ice thicknesses are smaller and tend to be consistent with the results of sea-level inversions based on geophysical Earth models.

  • 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.

      Streaming flow in an ice sheet through a glacial cycle
      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.

      Streaming flow in an ice sheet through a glacial cycle
      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.

      Streaming flow in an ice sheet through a glacial cycle
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Alley, R. B. and Whillans, I. M.. 1991. Changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet. Science, 254(5034), 959963.
Bauer, A. 1961. Influence de la dynamique des fleuves de glace sur celle de l’Indandsis du Groenland. International Association of Scientific Hydrology Publication 54 (general assembly of helsinki 1960snow and ice), 578584
Boulton, G. S. and Jones, A. S.. 1979. Stability of temperate ice caps and ice sheets resting on beds of deformable sediment. J. Glaciol., 24(90), 2943.
Boulton, G.S. and Payne, A.. 1994. Mid-latitude ice sheets through the last glacial cycle: glaciological and geological reconstructions. in Duplessy, J.-C. and Spyridakis, M.-T., eds. Long-Term Climatic Change: Data and Mod Ling. Vol. 22. Berlin and Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 177212. (NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series I: Global Environmental Change.)
Boulton, G.S., Jones, A. S., Clayton, K. M. and Kenning, M. J.. 1977. A British ice-sheet model and patterns of glacial erosion and deposition in Britain. in Shotton, F.W., ed. British Quaternary Studies. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 231246.
Boulton, G.S., Smith, G. D., Jones, A. S. and Newsome, J.. 1985. Glacialgeology and glaciology of the last mid-latitude ice sheets. J. Geol. Soc. London,142(3), 447474.
Boulton, G. S., Gustafson, G., Schelkes, K., Casanova, J. and Moren, L.. 2001a. Palaeohydrogeology and Geoforecasting For Performance Assessment Repositories For Radioactive Waste Disposal (Pagepa). Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. (European Commission Community Research Project report EUR 19784.)
Boulton, G. S., Dongelmans, P.W., Punkari, M. and Broadgate, M.. 2001b. Paleoglaciology of an ice sheet through a glacial cycle: the European ice sheet through theWeichselian. Quat. Sc I. Rev., 20(4), 591625.
Boulton, G. S., Dobbie, K.E. and Zatsepin, S.. 2001c. Sediment deformation beneath glaciers and its coupling to the subglacial hydraulic system. Quat. In T., 86(1), 328.
Clark, P. U. and Walder, J.S..1994. Subglacial drainage, eskers, and deforming beds beneath the Laurentide and Eurasian ice sheets. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull.,106(2),304314.
Clark, P. U., Licciardi, J. M., MacAyeal, D. R. and Jenson, J.W.. 1996. Numerical reconstruction of a soft-bedded Laurentide ice sheet during the last glacial maximum. Geology, 24(8), 679682.
Clarke, G. K. C., Nitsan, U. and Paterson, W. S. B.. 1977. Strain heating and creep instability in glaciers and ice sheets. Rev. Geophys. Space Phys., 15(2), 235247.
Denton, G. H. and Hughes, T. J.. 1981.The Last Great Ice Sheets. NewYork, JohnWiley and Sons.
Dyke, A. S. and 6 others. 2002. The Laurentide and Innuitian ice sheets during the Last Glacial Maximum. Quat. Sci. Rev., 21(1–3),931.
Eyles, N., McCabe, A. M. and Bowen, D. Q.. 1994. The stratigraphic and sedimentological significance of Late Devensian ice sheet surging in Holderness, Yorkshire, U.K. Quat. Sci. Rev.,13(8), 727759.
Fischer, U. H. and Clarke, G. K. C.. 1997. Stick–slip sliding behaviour at the base of a glacier. Ann. Glaciol., 24,390396.
Fisher, D. A., Reeh, N. and Langley, K..1985. Objective reconstructions of the LateWisconsinan Laurentide ice sheet. GéOgr. Phys. Quat., 39(3), 229238.
Goodess, C. M., Watkins, S. J. and Palutikof, J. P.. 2000. Eustatic Sea-Level Scenarios For The Next 150,000 Years. Norwich, University of East Anglia. Climatic Research Unit. (Technical Report.)
Houmark-Nielsen, M. 1987. Pleistocene stratigraphy and glacial history of the central part of Denmark. Bull. Geol. Soc. Den., 36,1189.
Hulton, N. R. J. and Mineter, M. J.. 2000. Modelling self-organizationin ice streams. Ann. Glaciol., 30,127136.
Humphrey, N., Kamb, B., Fahnestock, M. and Engelhardt, H.. 1993. Characteristics of the bed of the lower Columbia Glacier, Alaska. J. Geophys, Res., 98(B1), 837846.
Iverson, N. R., Jansson, P. and Hooke, R. LeB..1994. In-situ measurement of the strength of deforming subglacial till. J. Glaciol, 40(136), 497503.
Johnsen, S. J. and 9 others. 1992. Irregular glacial interstadials recorded in a new Greenland ice core. Nature, 359(6393), 311313.
Lambeck, K. and Natiboglu, S. M.. 1980. Seamount loading and stress in the ocean lithosphere. J. Geophys.Res., 85(B11), 64036418.
Lambeck, K., Johnston, P. and Nakada, M.. 1996. Glacial rebound of the British Isles− III. Constraints on mantle viscosity. Geophys J. Int., 125(2),340354.
Lambeck, K., Smither, C. and Johnston, P.. 1998. Sea-level change, glacial rebound and mantle viscosity for northern Europe. Geophys J. Int., 134(1),102144.
Le Meur, E. and Huybrechts, P.. 1996. A comparison of different ways of dealing with isostasy: examples from modelling the Antarctic ice sheet during the last glacialcycle. Ann. Glaciol., 23,309317.
Mathews, W. H. 1974. Surface profiles of the Laurentide ice sheet in its marginal areas. J. Glaciol., 13(67), 3743.
Miller, G., Wolfe, A. P., Steig, E. J., Sauer, P. E., Kaplan, M. R. and Briner, J.P.. 2002. The Goldilocks dilemma: big ice, little ice, or “just right” ice in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Quat. Sci. Rev., 21(1–3),3348.
Nye, J.F. 1951. The flow of glaciers and ice-sheets as a problem in plasticity. etc., Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A, 207(1091), 554572.
Paterson, W. S. B. 1994.The Physics of Glaciers. third edition. Oxford, etc., Elsevier.
Payne, A. J. and Dongelmans, P.W.. 1997. Self-organization in the thermomechanical flow of ice sheets. J. Geophys. Res., 102(B6), 12,21912,233.
Ringberg, B. In press. Readvance and retreat of the Late Weichselian Low Baltic ice stream in southernmost Sweden. Boreas.
Sejrup, H. P., Larsen, E., Landvik, J., King, E. L., Haflidason, H. and Nesje, A.. 2000. Quaternary glaciations in southern Fennoscandia: evidence from southwestern Norway and the northern North Sea region. Quat. Sci. Rev.,19(7), 667685.
Sugden, D. E. 1977. Reconstruction of the morphology, dynamics, and thermal characteristics of the Laurentide ice sheet at its maximum. Arct. Alp. Res., 9(1), 2147.
Tarasov, L. and Peltier, W. R.. 1999. The impact of thermo-mechanical ice sheet coupling on a model of the 100 kyr ice-age cycle. J. Geophys. Res., 104(D8), 95179545.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

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