Articles | Volume 16, issue 7
Research article
08 Jul 2022
Research article |  | 08 Jul 2022

Modeling enhanced firn densification due to strain softening

Falk M. Oraschewski and Aslak Grinsted

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Cited articles

Alley, K. E., Scambos, T. A., Anderson, R. S., Rajaram, H., Pope, A., and Haran, T. M.: Continent-wide estimates of Antarctic strain rates from Landsat 8-derived velocity grids, J. Glaciol., 64, 321–332,, 2018. a
Alley, R. B.: Firn densification by grain-boundary sliding: A first model, J. Phys. Colloq., 48, C1-249–C1-256,, 1987. a, b, c
Alley, R. B. and Bentley, C. R.: Ice-core analysis on the Siple Coast of West Antarctica, Ann. Glaciol., 11, 1–7​​​​​​​,, 1988. a, b, c, d
Arnaud, L., Barnola, J. M., and Duval, P.: Physical modeling of the densification of snow/firn and ice in the upper part of polar ice sheets, in: Physics of ice core records, pp. 285–305, Hokkaido University Press, (last access: 22 June 2020​​​​​​​), 2000. a, b
Arthern, R. J., Vaughan, D. G., Rankin, A. M., Mulvaney, R., and Thomas, E. R.: In situ measurements of Antarctic snow compaction compared with predictions of models, J. Geophys. Res., 115, F03011,, 2010. a, b
Short summary
Old snow (denoted as firn) accumulates in the interior of ice sheets and gets densified into glacial ice. Typically, this densification is assumed to only depend on temperature and accumulation rate. However, it has been observed that stretching of the firn by horizontal flow also enhances this process. Here, we show how to include this effect in classical firn models. With the model we confirm that softening of the firn controls firn densification in areas with strong horizontal stretching.