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Ice-Shelf Response to Ice-stream Discharge Fluctuations: III. The Effects of Ice-stream Imbalance on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

  • Douglas R. Macayeal (a1)

Abstract

A numerical simulation of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, in which discharge from Ice Streams A-E is changed suddenly between extreme states, is used to investigate ice-shelf thickness and flow anomalies generated by ice-stream transience. At one extreme, ice-stream discharge rates specified as model boundary conditions are balanced individually with snow accumulation in the ice-stream catchment areas. At the other, discharge rates are fixed at current observed values which widely depart from mass balance. The simulated ice-shelf evolution between initial and final steady states suggests that ice-thickness and velocity fields adjust to new ice-stream conditions over a relatively short time span (approximately 500 years). In contrast, transitory geometrics of medial moraines and relict-crevasse bands persist over a longer time span (up to 2000 years). Contortions of medial moraines and relict-crevasse bands thus may provide a useful long-term history of past ice-stream activity. The past stoppage of Ice Stream C, for example, should be evident today in some medial moraine trajectories even if the stoppage occurred over 1000 years ago. Ice-shelf thickness fluctuations induced by ice-stream activity are generally restricted to the neighborhood of the grounding line. These fluctuations may constitute a trigger for ice-rise formation near ice-stream outlets.

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References

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Ice-Shelf Response to Ice-stream Discharge Fluctuations: III. The Effects of Ice-stream Imbalance on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

  • Douglas R. Macayeal (a1)

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