Articles | Volume 15, issue 2
The Cryosphere, 15, 663–676, 2021
The Cryosphere, 15, 663–676, 2021

Research article 11 Feb 2021

Research article | 11 Feb 2021

Recent acceleration of Denman Glacier (1972–2017), East Antarctica, driven by grounding line retreat and changes in ice tongue configuration

Bertie W. J. Miles et al.

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Cited articles

Aitken, A. R. A., Roberts, J. L., van Ommen, T. D., Young, D. A., Golledge, N. R., Greenbaum, J. S., Blankenship, D. D., and Siegert, M. J.: Repeated large-scale retreat and advance of Totten Glacier indicated by inland bed erosion, Nature, 533, 385–389, 2016. 
Arthur, J. F., Stokes, C. R., Jamieson, S. S. R., Carr, J. R., and Leeson, A. A.: Distribution and seasonal evolution of supraglacial lakes on Shackleton Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, The Cryosphere, 14, 4103–4120,, 2020. 
Brancato, V., Rignot, E., Milillo, P., Morlighem, M., Mouginot, J., An, L., Scheuchl, B., Jeong, S., Rizzoli, P., Bueso Bello, J. L., and Prats-Iraola, P.: Grounding line retreat of Denman Glacier, East Antarctica, measured with COSMO-SkyMed radar interferometry data, Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, e2019GL086291,, 2020. 
Burke, K. D., Williams, J. W., Chandler, M. A., Haywood, A. M., Lunt, D. J., and Otto-Bliesner, B. L.: Pliocene and Eocene provide best analogs for near-future climates, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 115, 13288–13293, 2018. 
Cassin, J. and Wilkes, C.: United States Exploring Expedition: During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, Under the Command of Charles Wilkes, USN. Mammalogy and Ornithology, JB Lippincott & Company, Philadelphia, 1858. 
Short summary
We provide a historical overview of changes in Denman Glacier's flow speed, structure and calving events since the 1960s. Based on these observations, we perform a series of numerical modelling experiments to determine the likely cause of Denman's acceleration since the 1970s. We show that grounding line retreat, ice shelf thinning and the detachment of Denman's ice tongue from a pinning point are the most likely causes of the observed acceleration.