Articles | Volume 11, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 11, 451–467, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-451-2017
The Cryosphere, 11, 451–467, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-451-2017

Research article 08 Feb 2017

Research article | 08 Feb 2017

Connected subglacial lake drainage beneath Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica

Benjamin E. Smith et al.

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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.