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Calving glaciers are highly sensitive to bedrock geometry near their terminus. To understand the mechanisms controlling rapid calving glaciers’ mass loss, we measured the lake topography in front of four lake-terminating glaciers in the southern Patagonian icefield. Using remotely sensed surface elevation data, we calculated flotation height and surface slope and compared those with changes in ice-front position, surface speed and surface elevation. Rapid retreat accompanied by rapid flow acceleration and ice surface steepening was observed at Glaciar Upsala from 2008–2011, and at O'Higgins and Viedma glaciers from 2016–present. Surface lowering in the lower part of Glaciar Upsala reached 30 m a−1 and was 18 m a−1 and 12 m a−1 at O'Higgins and Viedma glaciers, respectively. Near- or super-buoyant conditions were observed prior to these events, leading to gradual flow acceleration due to low effective pressure and decoupling from the bed. The super-buoyant condition and gradual acceleration imply full-thickness buoyant calving, which causes the ice front to retreat from the shallow bedrock topography with substantial flow acceleration. We conclude that the buoyancy force plays an important role in the rapid mass loss of lake-terminating glaciers in southern Patagonia.
To study subglacial hydrological condition and its influence on the glacier dynamics, we drilled Johnsons Glacier on Livingston Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Subglacial water pressure was recorded in boreholes at two locations over 2 years, accompanied by high-frequency ice-speed measurements during two summer melt seasons. Water pressure showed two different regimes, namely high frequency and large amplitude variations during the melt season (January–April) and small fluctuations near the overburden pressure the rest of the year. Speed-up events were observed several times in each summer measurement period. Ice motion during these events substantially contributed to total glacier motion, for example, fast ice flow over 1 week accounted for ~70% of the total displacement over a 25-day long measurement period. We did not find a clear relationship between subglacial water pressure and ice speed. This was probably because subglacial hydraulic conditions were spatially inhomogeneous and thus our borehole data did not always represent a large-scale subglacial condition. Ice temperature measurements in the boreholes confirmed the existence of a cold ice layer near the glacier surface. Our data provide a basis to better understand the dynamic and hydrological conditions of relatively unstudied glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula region.
We recorded the ice motion and icequakes on the floating part of Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica to better understand the dynamic behavior of ice shelves and floating tongues. Diurnal and semi-diurnal variations in ice motion and seismicity were simultaneously observed at all four global navigation satellite system and three seismic stations over 2 weeks. The short-term along-flow ice motion is explained by the elastic response of the glacier to ocean tide-induced hydrostatic stress variations, which decayed at a rate of 0.8 km−1 toward the grounding line. We observed a large number of icequakes during mid-rising and high tides that covered a broad frequency range and formed two major groups of events centered at 10 and 120 Hz, respectively. The hourly occurrence rates were ~500 events h−1, with the observed seismicity consistent with fracture due to floating tongue bending. We also observed minor secondary peaks at high ice speeds, which could reflect surface cracking due to stretching or basal friction. Our observation demonstrates that tidal-modulation was the main factor to fracture the floating tongue of Langhovde Glacier.
We use the full-Stokes model Elmer/Ice to investigate the present dynamics of Bowdoin Glacier, a marine-terminating outlet glacier in northwestern Greenland. Short-term speed variations of the glacier were observed, correlating with air temperature and precipitation, and with the semi-diurnal ocean tides. We use a control inverse method to determine the distribution of basal friction. This reveals that most of the glacier area is characterized by near-plug-flow conditions, while some sticky spots are also identified. We then conduct experiments to test the sensitivity of the glacier flow to basal lubrication and tidal forcing at the calving front. Reduction of the basal drag by 10–40% produces speed-ups that agree approximately with the observed range of speed-ups that result from warm weather and precipitation events. In agreement with the observations, tidal forcing and surface speed near the calving front are found to be in anti-phase (high tide corresponds to low speed, and vice versa). However, the amplitude of the semi-diurnal variability is underpredicted by a factor ~ 3, which is likely related to either inaccuracies in the surface and bedrock topographies or mechanical weakening due to crevassing.
Calving plays a key role in the recent rapid retreat of glaciers around the world. However, many processes related to calving are poorly understood since direct observations are scarce and challenging to obtain. When calving occurs at a glacier front, surface-water waves arise over the ocean or a lake in front of glaciers. To study calving processes from these surface waves, we performed field observations at Glaciar Perito Moreno, Patagonia. We synchronized time-lapse photography and surface waves record to confirm that glacier calving produces distinct waves compared with local noise. A total of 1074 calving events were observed over the course of 39 d. During austral summer, calving occurred twice more frequently than in spring. The cumulative distribution of calving-interevent time interval followed exponential model, implying random occurrence of events in time. We further investigated wave properties and found that source-to-sensor distance can be estimated from wave dispersion within ~20% error. We also found that waves produced by different calving types showed similar spectra in the same frequency range between 0.05–0.2 Hz, and that the amplitude of surface waves increased with the size of calving. This study demonstrates the potential of surface-wave monitoring for understanding calving processes.
Glaciar Perito Moreno (GPM) and Glaciar Ameghino (GA), Southern Patagonia Icefield, are in contact in the accumulation area, but have shown contrasting frontal variations in the past few decades. To investigate recent changes of the two glaciers and processes controlling the different responses to similar climate conditions, we measured surface elevation change from 2000 to 2008 and terminus positions from 1999 to 2012 using several types of satellite data. GPM shows no significant changes in terminus position and 0.4 ± 0.3 m a–1 thickening over the period, whereas GA retreated 55 ± 2 m a–1 and thinned 2.6 ± 0.3 m a–1. Mass-balance measurements over the period 1999/2000 show that accumulation at GPM was ten times greater than that at GA, but ablation was only three times greater. The mass-balance–altitude profile is similar for the two glaciers; differences in the mass-balance distribution are caused by differences in the accumulation–area ratio (AAR). Our results suggest that the AAR and the calving flux exert strong control on the evolution of glaciers in the region.
NaxCoO2 has a particularly high contact resistance because it forms an insulated layer of NaHCO3 and Na2CO3, which are produced in a chemical reaction with carbon dioxide and water in air on the surface. In this study, we tried to improve the interface resistance between NaxCoO2 and Ag sheet electrodes by connecting these materials with the spark plasma sintering (SPS) technique. The interface resistance between NaxCoO2 and Ag sheet electrodes connected by SPS is compared with that connected with Ag paste. In an experiment, the interface resistance of a sample treated by decrease to less than 1/600 of the former value. It is thought that the NaHCO3 and Na2CO3 insulated layer is decomposed through the application of a large value of applied DC current by using the SPS technique.
Thermoelectric power generation has been attracting attention as a technology for waste heat utilization in which thermal energy is directly converted into electric energy. It is well known that layered cobalt oxide compounds such as NaCo2O4 and Ca3Co4O9 have high thermoelectric properties in p-type oxide semiconductors. However, in most cases, the thermoelectric properties in n-type oxide materials are not as high. Therefore, n-type magnesium silicide (Mg2Si) has been studied as an alternative due to its non-toxicity, environmental friendliness, lightweight property, and comparative abundance compared with other TE systems. In this study, we fabricated π-structure thermoelectric power generation devices using p-type NaCo2O4 elements and n-type Mg2Si elements. The p- and n-type sintering bodies were fabricated by spark plasma sintering (SPS). To reduce the resistance at the interface between elements and electrodes, we processed the surface of the elements before fabricating the devices. The end face of a Mg2Si element was covered with Ni by SPS and that of a NaCo2O4 element was coated with Ag by silver paste and soldering.
The thermoelectric device consisted of 18 pairs of p-type and n-type legs connected with Ag electrodes. The cross-sectional and thickness dimensions of the p-type elements were 3.0 mm × 5.0 mm × 7.6 mm (t) and those of the n-type elements were 3.0 mm × 3.0 mm × 7.6 mm (t). The open circuit voltage was 1.9 V and the maximum output power was 1.4 W at a heat source temperature of 873 K and a cooling water temperature of 283 K in air.
The thermoelectrical properties of α and γ phases of NaxCo2O4 having different amounts of Na were evaluated. The γ NaxCo2O4 samples were synthesized by thermal decomposition in a metal-citric acid compound, and the α NaxCo2O4 samples were synthesized by self-flux processing. Dense bulk ceramics were fabricated using spark plasma sintering (SPS), and the sintered samples were of high density and highly oriented. The thermoelectrical properties showed that γ NaxCo2O4 had higher electrical conductivity and lower thermal conductivity compared with α NaxCo2O4 and that α NaxCo2O4 had a larger Seebeck coefficient. These results show that γ NaxCo2O4 has a larger power factor and dimensionless figure of merit, ZT, than α NaxCo2O4.
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