Articles | Volume 16, issue 5
Research article
24 May 2022
Research article |  | 24 May 2022

Stabilizing effect of mélange buttressing on the marine ice-cliff instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Tanja Schlemm, Johannes Feldmann, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Anders Levermann

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Cited articles

Albrecht, T., Martin, M., Haseloff, M., Winkelmann, R., and Levermann, A.: Parameterization for subgrid-scale motion of ice-shelf calving fronts, The Cryosphere, 5, 35–44,, 2011. a, b
Amundson, J. M. and Burton, J. C.: Quasi-Static Granular Flow of Ice Mélange, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 123, 2243–2257,, 2018. a, b
Amundson, J. M., Fahnestock, M., Truffer, M., Brown, J., Lüthi, M. P., and Motyka, R. J.: Ice mélange dynamics and implications for terminus stability, Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 115, F01005,, 2010. a
Aschwanden, A., Bueler, E., Khroulev, C., and Blatter, H.: An enthalpy formulation for glaciers and ice sheets, J. Glaciol., 58, 441–457,, 2012. a
Bassis, J. N. and Walker, C. C.: Upper and lower limits on the stability of calving glaciers from the yield strength envelope of ice, P. Roy. Soc. Lond. A, 468, 913–931,, 2011. a, b, c
Short summary
Marine cliff instability, if it exists, could dominate Antarctica's contribution to future sea-level rise. It is likely to speed up with ice thickness and thus would accelerate in most parts of Antarctica. Here, we investigate a possible mechanism that might stop cliff instability through cloaking by ice mélange. It is only a first step, but it shows that embayment geometry is, in principle, able to stop marine cliff instability in most parts of West Antarctica.