Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
The Cryosphere, 12, 1699–1713, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-1699-2018
The Cryosphere, 12, 1699–1713, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-1699-2018

Research article 18 May 2018

Research article | 18 May 2018

Tidal bending of ice shelves as a mechanism for large-scale temporal variations in ice flow

Sebastian H. R. Rosier and G. Hilmar Gudmundsson

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Short summary
Ocean tides cause strong modulation of horizontal ice shelf flow, most notably at a fortnightly frequency that is absent in the vertical tidal forcing. We propose that tidal bending in the margins of the ice shelf produces sufficiently large stresses that the effective viscosity of ice in these regions is reduced during high and low tide. This effect can explain many features of the observed behaviour and implies that ice shelves in areas with strong tides move faster than they otherwise would.