Are seasonal calving dynamics forced by buttressing from ice mélange or undercutting by melting? Outcomes from full-Stokes simulations of Store Glacier, West Greenland
Abstract. We use a full-Stokes 2-D model (Elmer/Ice) to investigate the flow and calving dynamics of Store Glacier, a fast-flowing outlet glacier in West Greenland. Based on a new, subgrid-scale implementation of the crevasse depth calving criterion, we perform two sets of simulations: one to identify the primary forcing mechanisms and another to constrain future stability. We find that the mixture of icebergs and sea ice, known as ice mélange or sikussak, is principally responsible for the observed seasonal advance of the ice front. On the other hand, the effect of submarine melting on the calving rate of Store Glacier appears to be limited. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the glacier's calving dynamics are sensitive to seasonal perturbation, but are stable on interannual timescales due to the strong topographic control on the flow regime. Our results shed light on the dynamics of calving glaciers and may help explain why neighbouring glaciers do not necessarily respond synchronously to changes in atmospheric and oceanic forcing.