Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Research article
21 Apr 2022
Research article |  | 21 Apr 2022

Glacier geometry and flow speed determine how Arctic marine-terminating glaciers respond to lubricated beds

Whyjay Zheng

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Discipline: Glaciers | Subject: Glaciers
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Cited articles

Bartholomew, I., Nienow, P., Mair, D., Hubbard, A., King, M. A., and Sole, A.: Seasonal evolution of subglacial drainage and acceleration in a Greenland outlet glacier, Nat. Geosci., 3, 408–411,, 2010. a, b
Benn, D. I., Fowler, A. C., Hewitt, I., and Sevestre, H.: A general theory of glacier surges, J. Glaciol., 65, 701–716,, 2019. a
Bindschadler, R.: Actively surging West Antarctic ice streams and their response characteristics, Ann. Glaciol., 24, 409–414,, 1997. a
Carr, J. R., Stokes, C. R., and Vieli, A.: Recent progress in understanding marine-terminating Arctic outlet glacier response to climatic and oceanic forcing: Twenty years of rapid change, Prog. Phys. Geogr., 37, 436–467,, 2013. a
Carr, J. R., Stokes, C. R., and Vieli, A.: Threefold increase in marine-terminating outlet glacier retreat rates across the Atlantic Arctic: 1992–2010, Ann. Glaciol., 58, 72–91,, 2017. a, b, c
Short summary
A glacier can speed up when surface water reaches the glacier's bottom via crevasses and reduces sliding friction. This paper builds up a physical model and finds that thick and fast-flowing glaciers are sensitive to this friction disruption. The data from Greenland and Austfonna (Svalbard) glaciers over 20 years support the model prediction. To estimate the projected sea-level rise better, these sensitive glaciers should be frequently monitored for potential future instabilities.