Elmer/Ice News

Stretching and melting at Totten ice shelf

The Totten Ice Shelf (IS) has a large drainage basin, much of which is grounded below sea level, with a large potential of future sea level rise contribution. Small retreats of the calving front from its current position are predicted to cause a change in flow at the grounding line, which makes understanding the processes behind calving on the Totten IS essential to predict its future dynamics. Using Helsinki Discrete Element Model (HiDEM) this article shows that beside local crevasse production (prominently at pinning-points), the advection of crevasses along the fast outlet is an essential feature of the observed fracture pattern. Cook TottenTo address this aspect, Elmer/Ice was used to better understand the evolution of advected crevasses, which, alongside with another model accounting for melt-induced change of crevasse shape, showed that strain as well as ocean melt have the potential to deform narrow fractures into the broad basal features observed near the calving front. This multiple factors influencing calving at Totten IS will be a challenge for predicting its future mass loss.

Coincidentally, this is the 100th peer reviewed publication with a contribution from Elmer/Ice.

Read more: Cook, S., J. Åström, T. Zwinger, B.K. Galton-Fenzi, J.S. Greenbaum, and R. Coleman, 2018. Modelled fracture and calving on the Totten Ice Shelf, The Cryosphere, 12, 2401-2411,doi: 10.5194/tc-12-2401-2018

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