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Ice dynamics preceding catastrophic disintegration of the floating part of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland

  • Jesse V. Johnson (a1), Paul R. Prescott (a2) and Terence J. Hughes (a3) (a4)

Abstract

The floating terminal of Jakobshavn Isbræ, the fastest Greenland ice stream, has disintegrated since 2002, resulting in a doubling of ice velocity and rapidly lowering inland ice elevations. Conditions prior to disintegration were modeled using control theory in a plane-stress solution, and the Missoula model of ice-shelf flow. Both approaches pointed to a mechanism that inhibits ice flow and that is not captured by either approach. Jamming of flow, an inherent property of granular materials passing through a constriction (Jakobshavn Isfjord), is postulated as the mechanism. Rapid disintegration of heavily crevassed floating ice accompanies break-up of the ice jam.

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Ice dynamics preceding catastrophic disintegration of the floating part of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland

  • Jesse V. Johnson (a1), Paul R. Prescott (a2) and Terence J. Hughes (a3) (a4)

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