Articles | Volume 17, issue 11
Research article
01 Nov 2023
Research article |  | 01 Nov 2023

Assessing the potential for ice flow piracy between the Totten and Vanderford glaciers, East Antarctica

Felicity S. McCormack, Jason L. Roberts, Bernd Kulessa, Alan Aitken, Christine F. Dow, Lawrence Bird, Benjamin K. Galton-Fenzi, Katharina Hochmuth, Richard S. Jones, Andrew N. Mackintosh, and Koi McArthur

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Cited articles

Adusumilli, S., Fricker, H. A., Medley, B., Padman, L., and Siegfried, M. R.: Interannual Variations in Meltwater Input to the Southern Ocean from Antarctic Ice Shelves, Nat. Geosci., 13, 616–620,, 2020. a
Aitken, A. R. A. and Urosevic, L.: A Probabilistic and Model-Based Approach to the Assessment of Glacial Detritus from Ice Sheet Change, Palaeogeogr. Palaeocl., 561, 110053,, 2021. a
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. a, b
Aitken, A. R. A., Li, L., Kulessa, B., Schroeder, D., Jordan, T. A., Whittaker, J. M., Anandakrishnan, S., Dawson, E. J., Wiens, D. A., Eisen, O., and Siegert, M. J.: Antarctic Sedimentary Basins and Their Influence on Ice-Sheet Dynamics, Rev. Geophys., 61, e2021RG000767,, 2023. a, b, c
Alley, R. B., Anandakrishnan, S., Bentley, C. R., and Lord, N.: A Water-Piracy Hypothesis for the Stagnation of Ice Stream C, Antarctica, Ann. Glaciol., 20, 187–194,, 1994. a, b
Short summary
Changes in Antarctic surface elevation can cause changes in ice and basal water flow, impacting how much ice enters the ocean. We find that ice and basal water flow could divert from the Totten to the Vanderford Glacier, East Antarctica, under only small changes in the surface elevation, with implications for estimates of ice loss from this region. Further studies are needed to determine when this could occur and if similar diversions could occur elsewhere in Antarctica due to climate change.