Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Research article 01 Dec 2016
Research article | 01 Dec 2016
Active subglacial lakes and channelized water flow beneath the Kamb Ice Stream
Byeong-Hoon Kim et al.
No articles found.
Christine F. Dow, Derek Mueller, Peter Wray, Drew Friedrichs, Alexander L. Forrest, Jasmin B. McInerney, Jamin Greenbaum, Donald D. Blankenship, Choon Ki Lee, and Won Sang Lee
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint under review for TCShort summary
Ice shelves are a key control on Antarctic contribution to sea level rise. Here we examine Nansen Ice Shelf in East Antarctica using a combination of satellite data and field data. We find the basal topography of the ice shelf is highly variable, only partially visible in satellite datasets. We also find that the thinnest region of the ice shelf is altered over time by ice flow rates and ocean melting. These processes can cause fractures to form that eventually result in large calving events.
Christian T. Wild, Karen E. Alley, Atsuhiro Muto, Martin Truffer, Ted A. Scambos, and Erin C. Pettit
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for TCShort summary
Thwaites Glacier has the potential to significantly raise Antarctica's contribution to global sea-level rise by the end of this century. Here, we use satellite measurements of surface elevation to show that its floating part is close to losing contact with an underwater ridge that currently acts stabilizing. We then use computer models to simulate the predicted unpinning, which show that accelerated ice flow into the ocean follows the break-up of the floating part.
Karen E. Alley, Christian T. Wild, Adrian Luckman, Ted A. Scambos, Martin Truffer, Erin C. Pettit, Atsuhiro Muto, Bruce Wallin, Marin Klinger, Tyler Sutterley, Sarah F. Child, Cyrus Hulen, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Michelle Maclennan, Eric Keenan, and Devon Dunmire
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
We present a 20-year, satellite-based record of velocity and thickness change on the Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf (TEIS), the largest remaining floating extension of Thwaites Glacier (TG). TG holds the single greatest control on sea-level rise over the next few centuries, so it is important to understand changes on the TEIS, which controls much of TG's flow into the ocean. Our results suggest that the TEIS is progressively destabilizing and is likely to disintegrate over the next few decades.
Alia L. Khan, Heidi M. Dierssen, Ted A. Scambos, Juan Höfer, and Raul R. Cordero
The Cryosphere, 15, 133–148,Short summary
We present radiative forcing (RF) estimates by snow algae in the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) region from multi-year measurements of solar radiation and ground-based hyperspectral characterization of red and green snow algae collected during a brief field expedition in austral summer 2018. Mean daily RF was double for green (~26 W m−2) vs. red (~13 W m−2) snow algae during the peak growing season, which is on par with midlatitude dust attributions capable of advancing snowmelt.
Julie Z. Miller, David G. Long, Kenneth C. Jezek, Joel T. Johnson, Mary J. Brodzik, Christopher A. Shuman, Lora S. Koenig, and Ted A. Scambos
The Cryosphere, 14, 2809–2817,
Ji Sung Na, Taekyun Kim, Emilia Kyung Jin, Seung-Tae Yoon, Won Sang Lee, Sukyoung Yun, and Jiyeon Lee
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for TCShort summary
Under the ice shelf, there is a super-cooled water plume that can refreeze. To predict ice mass change, we have to investigate the flow physics of this water plume and its effect on refreezing. Our results obtained by validated simulation show that refreezing pattern is spatially heterogeneous because of different flow physics. In the inner region, this plume is stable and has few effects on refreezing. However, near the ice front, this plume is unstable and produces a high refreezing rate.
Laura E. Lindzey, Lucas H. Beem, Duncan A. Young, Enrica Quartini, Donald D. Blankenship, Choon-Ki Lee, Won Sang Lee, Jong Ik Lee, and Joohan Lee
The Cryosphere, 14, 2217–2233,Short summary
An extensive aerogeophysical survey including two active subglacial lakes was conducted over David Glacier, Antarctica. Laser altimetry shows that the lakes were at a highstand, while ice-penetrating radar has no unique signature for the lakes when compared to the broader basal environment. This suggests that active subglacial lakes are more likely to be part of a distributed subglacial hydrological system than to be discrete reservoirs, which has implications for future surveys and drilling.
Wei Wei, Donald D. Blankenship, Jamin S. Greenbaum, Noel Gourmelen, Christine F. Dow, Thomas G. Richter, Chad A. Greene, Duncan A. Young, SangHoon Lee, Tae-Wan Kim, Won Sang Lee, and Karen M. Assmann
The Cryosphere, 14, 1399–1408,Short summary
Getz Ice Shelf is the largest meltwater source from Antarctica of the Southern Ocean. This study compares the relative importance of the meltwater production of Getz from both ocean and subglacial sources. We show that basal melt rates are elevated where bathymetric troughs provide pathways for warm Circumpolar Deep Water to enter the Getz Ice Shelf cavity. In particular, we find that subshelf melting is enhanced where subglacially discharged fresh water flows across the grounding line.
Seung-Tae Yoon, Won Sang Lee, Craig Stevens, Stefan Jendersie, SungHyun Nam, Sukyoung Yun, Chung Yeon Hwang, Gwang Il Jang, and Jiyeon Lee
Ocean Sci., 16, 373–388,Short summary
We investigated the variability in high-salinity shelf water (HSSW) formation in the Terra Nova Bay polynya using hydrographic data from instrumented moorings and vessel-based profiles. We show that HSSW can be formed in the upper water column of the eastern Terra Nova Bay via polynya activity and convective processes, as well as how the nature of circulation in Terra Nova Bay influences HSSW production. This article also discusses the present results in the context of previous analyses.
Bas Altena, Ted Scambos, Mark Fahnestock, and Andreas Kääb
The Cryosphere, 13, 795–814,Short summary
Many glaciers in southern Alaska and the Yukon experience changes in flow speed, which occur in episodes or sporadically. These flow changes can be measured with satellites, but the resulting raw velocity products are messy. Thus in this study we developed an automatic method to produce a synthesized velocity product over a large glacier region of roughly 600 km by 200 km. Velocities are at a monthly resolution and at 300 m resolution, making all kinds of glacier dynamics observable.
Alex S. Gardner, Geir Moholdt, Ted Scambos, Mark Fahnstock, Stefan Ligtenberg, Michiel van den Broeke, and Johan Nilsson
The Cryosphere, 12, 521–547,Short summary
We map present-day Antarctic surface velocities from Landsat imagery and compare to earlier estimates from radar. Flow accelerations across the grounding lines of West Antarctica's Amundsen Sea Embayment, Getz Ice Shelf and the western Antarctic Peninsula, account for 89 % of the observed increase in ice discharge. In contrast, glaciers draining the East Antarctic have been remarkably stable. Our work suggests that patterns of mass loss are part of a longer-term phase of enhanced flow.
J. M. van Wessem, S. R. M. Ligtenberg, C. H. Reijmer, W. J. van de Berg, M. R. van den Broeke, N. E. Barrand, E. R. Thomas, J. Turner, J. Wuite, T. A. Scambos, and E. van Meijgaard
The Cryosphere, 10, 271–285,Short summary
This study presents the first high-resolution (5.5 km) modelled estimate of surface mass balance (SMB) over the period 1979–2014 for the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). Precipitation (snowfall and rain) largely determines the SMB, and is exceptionally high over the western mountain slopes, with annual values > 4 m water equivalent. Snowmelt is widespread over the AP, but only runs off into the ocean at some locations: the Larsen B,C, and Wilkins ice shelves, and along the north-western mountains.
A. Pope, T. A. Scambos, M. Moussavi, M. Tedesco, M. Willis, D. Shean, and S. Grigsby
The Cryosphere, 10, 15–27,Short summary
Liquid water stored on the surface of ice sheets and glaciers, such as that in surface (supraglacial) lakes, plays a key role in the glacial hydrological system. Multispectral remote sensing can be used to detect lakes and estimate their depth. Here, we use in situ data to assess lake depth retrieval using the recently launched Landsat 8. We validate Landsat 8-derived depths and provide suggestions for future applications. We apply our method to a case study are in Greenland for summer 2014.
C. Lavoie, E. W. Domack, E. C. Pettit, T. A. Scambos, R. D. Larter, H.-W. Schenke, K. C. Yoo, J. Gutt, J. Wellner, M. Canals, J. B. Anderson, and D. Amblas
The Cryosphere, 9, 613–629,
T. A. Scambos, E. Berthier, T. Haran, C. A. Shuman, A. J. Cook, S. R. M. Ligtenberg, and J. Bohlander
The Cryosphere, 8, 2135–2145,Short summary
This study of one of the most rapidly changing glacier regions on earth -- the Antarctic Peninsula -- uses two types of satellite data to measure the rates of ice loss in detail for the individual glaciers. The satellite data is laser altimetry from ICESat and stereo image DEM differences. The results show that 24..9 ± 7.8 billion tons of ice are lost from the region north of 66°S on the peninsula each year. The majority of the data cover 2003-2008.
K. Kawamura, J. P. Severinghaus, M. R. Albert, Z. R. Courville, M. A. Fahnestock, T. Scambos, E. Shields, and C. A. Shuman
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 11141–11155,
Related subject area
Subglacial ProcessesGrounding zone subglacial properties from calibrated active-source seismic methodsSubglacial carbonate deposits as a potential proxy for a glacier's former presenceBrief communication: Heterogenous thinning and subglacial lake activity on Thwaites Glacier, West AntarcticaSubglacial lakes and hydrology across the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands, West AntarcticaThe role of electrical conductivity in radar wave reflection from glacier bedsSubglacial permafrost dynamics and erosion inside subglacial channels driven by surface events in SvalbardReview article: Geothermal heat flow in Antarctica: current and future directionsQuantification of seasonal and diurnal dynamics of subglacial channels using seismic observations on an Alpine glacierExceptionally high heat flux needed to sustain the Northeast Greenland Ice StreamGlaciohydraulic seismic tremors on an Alpine glacierSubglacial roughness of the Greenland Ice Sheet: relationship with contemporary ice velocity and geologyAirborne radionuclides and heavy metals in high Arctic terrestrial environment as the indicators of sources and transfers of contaminationSubglacial hydrological control on flow of an Antarctic Peninsula palaeo-ice streamPervasive cold ice within a temperate glacier – implications for glacier thermal regimes, sediment transport and foreland geomorphologyCombined diurnal variations of discharge and hydrochemistry of the Isunnguata Sermia outlet, Greenland Ice SheetConnected subglacial lake drainage beneath Thwaites Glacier, West AntarcticaSliding of temperate basal ice on a rough, hard bed: creep mechanisms, pressure melting, and implications for ice streamingBrief Communication: Twelve-year cyclic surging episodes at Donjek Glacier in Yukon, CanadaTremor during ice-stream stick slipA new methodology to simulate subglacial deformation of water-saturated granular materialTransition of flow regime along a marine-terminating outlet glacier in East AntarcticaBoundary conditions of an active West Antarctic subglacial lake: implications for storage of water beneath the ice sheetA balanced water layer concept for subglacial hydrology in large-scale ice sheet modelsThe "tipping" temperature within Subglacial Lake Ellsworth, West Antarctica and its implications for lake accessInteraction between ice sheet dynamics and subglacial lake circulation: a coupled modelling approach
Huw J. Horgan, Laurine van Haastrecht, Richard B. Alley, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Lucas H. Beem, Knut Christianson, Atsuhiro Muto, and Matthew R. Siegfried
The Cryosphere, 15, 1863–1880,Short summary
The grounding zone marks the transition from a grounded ice sheet to a floating ice shelf. Like Earth's coastlines, the grounding zone is home to interactions between the ocean, fresh water, and geology but also has added complexity and importance due to the overriding ice. Here we use seismic surveying – sending sound waves down through the ice – to image the grounding zone of Whillans Ice Stream in West Antarctica and learn more about the nature of this important transition zone.
Matej Lipar, Andrea Martín-Pérez, Jure Tičar, Miha Pavšek, Matej Gabrovec, Mauro Hrvatin, Blaž Komac, Matija Zorn, Nadja Zupan Hajna, Jian-Xin Zhao, Russell N. Drysdale, and Mateja Ferk
The Cryosphere, 15, 17–30,Short summary
The U–Th ages of subglacial carbonate deposits from a recently exposed surface previously occupied by the disappearing glacier in the SE European Alps suggest the glacier’s presence throughout the entire Holocene. These thin deposits, formed by regelation, would have been easily eroded if exposed during previous Holocene climatic optima. The age data indicate the glacier’s present unprecedented level of retreat and the potential of subglacial carbonates to act as palaeoclimate proxies.
Andrew O. Hoffman, Knut Christianson, Daniel Shapero, Benjamin E. Smith, and Ian Joughin
The Cryosphere, 14, 4603–4609,Short summary
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet has long been considered geometrically prone to collapse, and Thwaites Glacier, the largest glacier in the Amundsen Sea, is likely in the early stages of disintegration. Using observations of Thwaites Glacier velocity and elevation change, we show that the transport of ~2 km3 of water beneath Thwaites Glacier has only a small and transient effect on glacier speed relative to ongoing thinning driven by ocean melt.
Felipe Napoleoni, Stewart S. R. Jamieson, Neil Ross, Michael J. Bentley, Andrés Rivera, Andrew M. Smith, Martin J. Siegert, Guy J. G. Paxman, Guisella Gacitúa, José A. Uribe, Rodrigo Zamora, Alex M. Brisbourne, and David G. Vaughan
The Cryosphere, 14, 4507–4524,Short summary
Subglacial water is important for ice sheet dynamics and stability. Despite this, there is a lack of detailed subglacial-water characterisation in West Antarctica (WA). We report 33 new subglacial lakes. Additionally, a new digital elevation model of basal topography was built and used to simulate the subglacial hydrological network in WA. The simulated subglacial hydrological catchments of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers do not match precisely with their ice surface catchments.
Slawek M. Tulaczyk and Neil T. Foley
The Cryosphere, 14, 4495–4506,Short summary
Much of what we know about materials hidden beneath glaciers and ice sheets on Earth has been interpreted using radar reflection from the ice base. A common assumption is that electrical conductivity of the sub-ice materials does not influence the reflection strength and that the latter is controlled only by permittivity, which depends on the fraction of water in these materials. Here we argue that sub-ice electrical conductivity should be generally considered when interpreting radar records.
Andreas Alexander, Jaroslav Obu, Thomas V. Schuler, Andreas Kääb, and Hanne H. Christiansen
The Cryosphere, 14, 4217–4231,Short summary
In this study we present subglacial air, ice and sediment temperatures from within the basal drainage systems of two cold-based glaciers on Svalbard during late spring and the summer melt season. We put the data into the context of air temperature and rainfall at the glacier surface and show the importance of surface events on the subglacial thermal regime and erosion around basal drainage channels. Observed vertical erosion rates thereby reachup to 0.9 m d−1.
Alex Burton-Johnson, Ricarda Dziadek, and Carlos Martin
The Cryosphere, 14, 3843–3873,Short summary
The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest source for sea level rise. However, one key control on ice sheet flow remains poorly constrained: the effect of heat from the rocks beneath the ice sheet (known as
geothermal heat flow). Although this may not seem like a lot of heat, beneath thick, slow ice this heat can control how well the ice flows and can lead to melting of the ice sheet. We discuss the methods used to estimate this heat, compile existing data, and recommend future research.
Ugo Nanni, Florent Gimbert, Christian Vincent, Dominik Gräff, Fabian Walter, Luc Piard, and Luc Moreau
The Cryosphere, 14, 1475–1496,Short summary
Our study addresses key questions on the subglacial drainage system physics through a novel observational approach that overcomes traditional limitations. We conducted, over 2 years, measurements of the subglacial water-flow-induced seismic noise and of glacier basal sliding speeds. We then inverted for the subglacial channel's hydraulic pressure gradient and hydraulic radius and investigated the links between the equilibrium state of subglacial channels and glacier basal sliding.
Silje Smith-Johnsen, Basile de Fleurian, Nicole Schlegel, Helene Seroussi, and Kerim Nisancioglu
The Cryosphere, 14, 841–854,Short summary
The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) drains a large part of Greenland and displays fast flow far inland. However, the flow pattern is not well represented in ice sheet models. The fast flow has been explained by abnormally high geothermal heat flux. The heat melts the base of the ice sheet and the water produced may lubricate the bed and induce fast flow. By including high geothermal heat flux and a hydrology model, we successfully reproduce NEGIS flow pattern in an ice sheet model.
Fabian Lindner, Fabian Walter, Gabi Laske, and Florent Gimbert
The Cryosphere, 14, 287–308,
Michael A. Cooper, Thomas M. Jordan, Dustin M. Schroeder, Martin J. Siegert, Christopher N. Williams, and Jonathan L. Bamber
The Cryosphere, 13, 3093–3115,
Edyta Łokas, Agata Zaborska, Ireneusz Sobota, Paweł Gaca, J. Andrew Milton, Paweł Kocurek, and Anna Cwanek
The Cryosphere, 13, 2075–2086,Short summary
Cryoconite granules built of mineral particles, organic substances and living organisms significantly influence fluxes of energy and matter at glacier surfaces. They contribute to ice melting, give rise to an exceptional ecosystem, and effectively trap contaminants. This study evaluates contamination levels of radionuclides in cryoconite from Arctic glaciers and identifies sources of this contamination, proving that cryoconite is an excellent indicator of atmospheric contamination.
Robert D. Larter, Kelly A. Hogan, Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand, James A. Smith, Christine L. Batchelor, Matthieu Cartigny, Alex J. Tate, James D. Kirkham, Zoë A. Roseby, Gerhard Kuhn, Alastair G. C. Graham, and Julian A. Dowdeswell
The Cryosphere, 13, 1583–1596,Short summary
We present high-resolution bathymetry data that provide the most complete and detailed imagery of any Antarctic palaeo-ice stream bed. These data show how subglacial water was delivered to and influenced the dynamic behaviour of the ice stream. Our observations provide insights relevant to understanding the behaviour of modern ice streams and forecasting the contributions that they will make to future sea level rise.
Benedict T. I. Reinardy, Adam D. Booth, Anna L. C. Hughes, Clare M. Boston, Henning Åkesson, Jostein Bakke, Atle Nesje, Rianne H. Giesen, and Danni M. Pearce
The Cryosphere, 13, 827–843,Short summary
Cold-ice processes may be widespread within temperate glacier systems but the role of cold-ice processes in temperate glacier systems is relatively unknown. Climate forcing is the main control on glacier mass balance but potential for heterogeneous thermal conditions at temperate glaciers calls for improved model assessments of future evolution of thermal conditions and impacts on glacier dynamics and mass balance. Cold-ice processes need to be included in temperate glacier land system models.
Joseph Graly, Joel Harrington, and Neil Humphrey
The Cryosphere, 11, 1131–1140,Short summary
At a major outlet of the Greenland Ice Sheet in West Greenland, we find that the chemical solutes in the emerging subglacial waters are out of phase with water discharge and can spike in concentration during waning flow. This suggests that the subglacial waters are spreading out across a large area of the glacial bed throughout the day, stimulating chemical weathering beyond the major water distribution channels.
Benjamin E. Smith, Noel Gourmelen, Alexander Huth, and Ian Joughin
The Cryosphere, 11, 451–467,Short summary
In this paper we investigate elevation changes of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica, one of the main sources of excess ice discharge into the ocean. We find that in early 2013, four subglacial lakes separated by 100 km drained suddenly, discharging more than 3 km3 of water under the fastest part of the glacier in less than 6 months. Concurrent ice-speed measurements show only minor changes, suggesting that ice dynamics are not strongly sensitive to changes in water flow.
The Cryosphere, 10, 1915–1932,Short summary
The way that ice moves over rough ground at the base of an ice sheet is important to understand and predict the behaviour of ice sheets. Here, I argue that if basal ice is at the melting temperature, as is locally the case below the Greenland Ice Sheet, this basal motion is easier and faster than hitherto thought. A thick (tens of metres) layer of ice at the melting temperature may better explain some ice streams and needs to be taken into account when modelling future ice sheet behaviour.
Takahiro Abe, Masato Furuya, and Daiki Sakakibara
The Cryosphere, 10, 1427–1432,Short summary
We identified 12-year cyclic surging episodes at Donjek Glacier in Yukon, Canada. The surging area is limited within the ~20km section from the terminus, originating in an area where the flow width significantly narrows downstream. Our results suggest strong control of the valley constriction on the surge dynamics.
B. P. Lipovsky and E. M. Dunham
The Cryosphere, 10, 385–399,Short summary
Small repeating earthquakes occur at the ice-bed interface of the Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica. The earthquakes occur as rapidly as 20 earthquakes/s. We conduct numerical simulations of these earthquakes that include elastic and frictional forces as well as seismic wave propagation. We create synthetic seismograms and compare these synthetics to observed seismograms in order to constrain subglacial parameters. We comment on decadal-scale changes in these parameters.
A. Damsgaard, D. L. Egholm, J. A. Piotrowski, S. Tulaczyk, N. K. Larsen, and C. F. Brædstrup
The Cryosphere, 9, 2183–2200,Short summary
This paper details a new algorithm for performing computational experiments of subglacial granular deformation. The numerical approach allows detailed studies of internal sediment and pore-water dynamics under shear. Feedbacks between sediment grains and pore water can cause rate-dependent strengthening, which additionally contributes to the plastic shear strength of the granular material. Hardening can stabilise patches of the subglacial beds with implications for landform development.
D. Callens, K. Matsuoka, D. Steinhage, B. Smith, E. Witrant, and F. Pattyn
The Cryosphere, 8, 867–875,
M. J. Siegert, N. Ross, H. Corr, B. Smith, T. Jordan, R. G. Bingham, F. Ferraccioli, D. M. Rippin, and A. Le Brocq
The Cryosphere, 8, 15–24,
S. Goeller, M. Thoma, K. Grosfeld, and H. Miller
The Cryosphere, 7, 1095–1106,
M. Thoma, K. Grosfeld, C. Mayer, A. M. Smith, J. Woodward, and N. Ross
The Cryosphere, 5, 561–567,
M. Thoma, K. Grosfeld, C. Mayer, and F. Pattyn
The Cryosphere, 4, 1–12,
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Kamb Ice Stream (KIS) in Antarctica ceased rapid ice flow approximately 160 years ago, still influencing on the current mass balance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. We identify two previously unknown subglacial lakes beneath the stagnated trunk of the KIS. Rapid fill-drain hydrologic events over several months indicate that the lakes are probably connected by a subglacial drainage network. Our findings support previously published conceptual models of the KIS shutdown.
Kamb Ice Stream (KIS) in Antarctica ceased rapid ice flow approximately 160 years ago, still...