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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-68
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-68
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Mar 2020

20 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Subglacial lakes and hydrology across the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands, West Antarctica

Felipe Napoleoni1, Stewart S.R. Jamieson1, Neil Ross2, Michael J. Bentley1, Andrés Rivera3, Andrew M. Smith4, Martin J. Siegert5, Guy J. G. Paxman1,6, Guisella Gacitúa7, José A. Uribe8, Rodrigo Zamora8, Alex M. Brisbourne4, and David G. Vaughan4 Felipe Napoleoni et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, Durham University,Durham, UK
  • 2School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  • 3Departamento de Geografía, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 4British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • 5Grantham Institute and Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK
  • 6Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
  • 7Instituto de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
  • 8Centro de Estudios Científicos, Arturo Prat 514, Valdivia, Chile

Abstract. Subglacial water plays an important role in ice sheet dynamics and stability. It is often located at the onset of ice streams and has the potential to enhance ice flow downstream by lubricating the ice-bed interface. The most recent subglacial lake inventory of Antarctica mapped nearly 400 lakes, of which ~ 14 % are found in West Antarctica. Despite the potential importance of subglacial water for ice dynamics, there is a lack of detailed subglacial water characterization in West Antarctica. Using radio-echo sounding data, we analyse the ice-bed interface to detect subglacial lakes. We report 37 previously uncharted subglacial lakes and present a systematic analysis of their physical properties. This represents a ~ 60 % increase in subglacial lakes in the region. Additionally, a new digital elevation model of basal topography was built and used to create a detailed hydropotential model of Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands to simulate the subglacial hydrological network. This approach allows us to characterize basal hydrology, subglacial water catchments and connections between them. Furthermore, the simulated subglacial hydrological catchments of Rutford Ice Stream, Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier do not match precisely with their ice surface catchments.

Felipe Napoleoni et al.

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Short summary
Subglacial water is important for the ice sheet dynamics and stability. Despite this, there is a lack of detailed subglacial water characterization in West Antarctica (WA). We report 37 new subglacial lakes. Additionally, a new digital elevation model of basal topography was built and used to simulate the subglacial hydrological network in WA. The simulated subglacial hydrological catchments of Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier do not match precisely with their ice surface catchments.
Subglacial water is important for the ice sheet dynamics and stability. Despite this, there is a...
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