Skip to main content

Index Geophysics

Melt at grounding line controls observed and future retreat of Smith, Pope, and Kohler glaciers


Title (Dublin Core)

Melt at grounding line controls observed and future retreat of Smith, Pope, and Kohler glaciers

Description (Dublin Core)

<p>Smith, Pope, and Kohler glaciers and the corresponding Crosson and Dotson
ice shelves have undergone speedup, thinning, and rapid grounding-line
retreat in recent years, leaving them in a state likely conducive to future
retreat. We conducted a suite of numerical model simulations of these
glaciers and compared the results to observations to determine the processes
controlling their recent evolution. The model simulations indicate that the
state of these glaciers in the 1990s was not inherently unstable, i.e., that
small perturbations to the grounding line would not necessarily have caused
the large retreat that has been observed. Instead, sustained, elevated melt
at the grounding line was needed to cause the observed retreat. Weakening of
the margins of Crosson Ice Shelf may have hastened the onset of
grounding-line retreat but is unlikely to have initiated these rapid changes
without an accompanying increase in melt. In the simulations that most
closely match the observed thinning, speedup, and retreat, modeled
grounding-line retreat and ice loss continue unabated throughout the
21st century, and subsequent retreat along Smith Glacier's trough
appears likely. Given the rapid progression of grounding-line retreat in the
model simulations, thinning associated with the retreat of Smith Glacier may
reach the ice divide and undermine a portion of the Thwaites catchment as
quickly as changes initiated at the Thwaites terminus.</p>

Creator (Dublin Core)

D. A. Lilien
I. Joughin
B. Smith
N. Gourmelen

Subject (Dublin Core)

Environmental sciences

Publisher (Dublin Core)

Copernicus Publications

Date (Dublin Core)


Type (Dublin Core)


Identifier (Dublin Core)


Source (Dublin Core)

The Cryosphere, Vol 13, Pp 2817-2834 (2019)

Language (Dublin Core)


Relation (Dublin Core)

Provenance (Dublin Core)

Journal Licence: CC BY