3D calving applied to Store Glacier, Greenland

Written by Thomas Zwinger.

Determining calving in continuum models - such as Elmer/Ice - is a challenge. In this latest paper, the authors present a full  3D calving model developed in Elmer/Ice, based on the crevasse depth criterion, which states that calving occurs when surface and basal crevasses penetrate the full thickness of the 

Storeglacier. Alongside, a new 3D rediscretization approach and a time-evolution scheme which allow the calving front to evolve realistically through time have been implemented. The model is applied to the Store Glacier, one of the largest outlet glaciers in West Greenland. Results reveal that the new model realistically simulates the seasonal advance and retreat when two principal environmental forcings, namely  submarine melting and  ice mélange buttressing, are applied. The sudy clearly links ice mélange buttressing  to Store Glacier's seasonal advance and retreat. Distributed submarine melting prevents the glacier from forming a permanent floating tongue, while concentrated plume melting has a disproportionately large and potentially destabilizing effect on the calving front position. Results further highlight the importance of basal topography, which exerts a strong control on calving. This explains why Store Glacier has remained stable during a period when neighboring glaciers have undergone prolonged interannual retreat.

Read more: Todd, J., P. Christoffersen, T. Zwinger, P. Råback, N. Chauché, D. Benn, A. Luckman, J. Ryan, N. Toberg, D. Slater, and A. Hubbard, 2018. A Full-Stokes 3D Calving Model applied to a large Greenlandic Glacier. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. doi:10.1002/2017JF004349

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