Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-17-327-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-17-327-2023
Research article
 | 
24 Jan 2023
Research article |  | 24 Jan 2023

Timescales of outlet-glacier flow with negligible basal friction: theory, observations and modeling

Johannes Feldmann and Anders Levermann

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Agosta, C., Amory, C., Kittel, C., Orsi, A., Favier, V., Gallée, H., van den Broeke, M. R., Lenaerts, J. T. M., van Wessem, J. M., van de Berg, W. J., and Fettweis, X.: Estimation of the Antarctic surface mass balance using the regional climate model MAR (1979–2015) and identification of dominant processes, The Cryosphere, 13, 281–296, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-13-281-2019, 2019. a, b
Asay-Davis, X. S., Cornford, S. L., Durand, G., Galton-Fenzi, B. K., Gladstone, R. M., Gudmundsson, G. H., Hattermann, T., Holland, D. M., Holland, D., Holland, P. R., Martin, D. F., Mathiot, P., Pattyn, F., and Seroussi, H.: Experimental design for three interrelated marine ice sheet and ocean model intercomparison projects: MISMIP v. 3 (MISMIP +), ISOMIP v. 2 (ISOMIP +) and MISOMIP v. 1 (MISOMIP1), Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 2471–2497, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-9-2471-2016, 2016. a, b
Bamber, J. L., Oppenheimer, M., Kopp, R. E., Aspinall, W. P., and Cooke, R. M.: Ice Sheet Contributions to Future Sea-Level Rise from Structured Expert Judgment, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 116, 11195–11200, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817205116, 2019. a
Beckmann, J., Perrette, M., Beyer, S., Calov, R., Willeit, M., and Ganopolski, A.: Modeling the response of Greenland outlet glaciers to global warming using a coupled flow line–plume model, The Cryosphere, 13, 2281–2301, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-13-2281-2019, 2019. a, b, c, d
Buckingham, E.: On Physically Similar Systems; Illustrations of the Use of Dimensional Equations, Phys. Rev., 4, 345–376, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.4.345, 1914. a, b
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Short summary
Here we present a scaling relation that allows the comparison of the timescales of glaciers with geometric similarity. According to the relation, thicker and wider glaciers on a steeper bed slope have a much faster timescale than shallower, narrower glaciers on a flatter bed slope. The relation is supported by observations and simplified numerical simulations. We combine the scaling relation with a statistical analysis of the topography of 13 instability-prone Antarctic outlet glaciers.