Articles | Volume 10, issue 4
Research article
25 Aug 2016
Research article |  | 25 Aug 2016

Persistence and variability of ice-stream grounding lines on retrograde bed slopes

Alexander A. Robel, Christian Schoof, and Eli Tziperman

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Cited articles

Alley, R. B., Anandakrishnan, S., Dupont, T. K., Parizek, B. R., and Pollard, D.: Effect of sedimentation on ice-sheet grounding-line stability, Science, 315, 1838–1841, 2007.
Bamber, J., Vaughan, D., and Joughin, I.: Widespread complex flow in the interior of the Antarctic ice sheet, Science, 287, 1248–1250, 2000.
Brinkerhoff, D. and Johnson, J.: Dynamics of thermally induced ice streams simulated with a higher-order flow model, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 120, 1743–1770, 2015.
Catania, G., Hulbe, C., Conway, H., Scambos, T., and Raymond, C. F.: Variability in the mass flux of the Ross ice streams, West Antarctica, over the last millennium, J. Glaciol., 58, 741–752, 2012.
Christianson, K., Parizek, B. R., Alley, R. B., Horgan, H. J., Jacobel, R. W., Anandakrishnan, S., Keisling, B. A., Craig, B. D., and Muto, A.: Ice sheet grounding zone stabilization due to till compaction, Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 5406–5411, 2013.
Short summary
Portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet edge that rest on upward-sloping beds have the potential to collapse irreversibly and raise global sea level. Using a numerical model, we show that changes in the slipperiness of sediments beneath fast-flowing ice streams can cause them to persist on upward-sloping beds for hundreds to thousands of years before reversing direction. This type of behavior is important to consider as a possibility when interpreting observations of ongoing ice sheet change.