24 Feb 2023
 | 24 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Modes of Antarctic tidal grounding line migration revealed by ICESat-2 laser altimetry

Bryony I. D. Freer, Oliver J. Marsh, Anna E. Hogg, Helen Amanda Fricker, and Laurie Padman

Abstract. Short-term tidal grounding line (GL) migration in Antarctica can impact ice dynamics at the ice sheet margins and obscures assessments of long-term GL advance or retreat. However, the magnitude of tidally-induced GL migration is poorly known, and the spatial pattern and modes of variability are not well characterised. Here we develop and apply a technique that uses ICESat-2 repeat-track laser altimetry to locate the inland limit of tidal ice shelf flexure for each sampled tide, enabling the magnitude and temporal variability of tidal GL migration to be resolved. We demonstrate its application at an ice plain north of Bungenstockrücken, in a region of the southern Ronne Ice Shelf subject to large ocean tides. We observe a 1,300 km2 area of ephemeral grounding over which the GL migrates by up to 15 km between low and high tide, and identify four distinct modes of migration: “linear”, “asymmetric”, “threshold” and “hysteresis”. The short-term movement of the GL dominates any long-term migration signal in this location, and the distribution of GL positions and modes contains information about spatial variability in the ice-bed interface. We discuss the impact of extreme tidal GL migration on ice shelf-ocean-subglacial systems in Antarctica and make recommendations for how GLs should be more precisely defined and documented in future by the community.

Bryony I. D. Freer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-265', Pietro Milillo, 09 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2022-265', Kasia Warburton, 13 Mar 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on tc-2022-265', Tian Li, 19 Mar 2023

Bryony I. D. Freer et al.

Bryony I. D. Freer et al.


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Short summary
We develop a method using ICESat-2 data to measure how Antarctic grounding lines (GLs) migrate across the tide cycle. At an ice plain on the Ronne Ice Shelf we observe 15 km of tidal GL migration - the largest reported distance in Antarctica, dominating any signal of long-term migration. We identify four distinct migration modes, which provide both observational support for models of tidal ice flexure and GL migration, and insights into ice shelf-ocean-subglacial interactions in grounding zones.