Laurentide ice sheet aspect ratio in models based on Glen's flow law
Abstract:The problem of recovering the small aspect ratio of the ICE-4G reconstruction of the Last Glacial Maximum Laurentide ice sheet has proven to be a challenge for state-of-the-art thermomechanically-coupled three-dimensional ice-sheet models coupled to reduced climate models. Flow enhancements to Glen's flow law, 20 to 30 times those required to adequately simulate the present-day Greenland ice sheet, have been found necessary in order to reproduce both the thickness and areal extent of the geophysical reconstruction. Within the confines of the Glen flow rheology, it is unclear what mechanism might explain the magnitude of this discrepancy in required flow enhancement for the Laurentide relative to the Greenland ice sheet. We present a comparative analysis of three alternative explanations of such a questionable flow-law enhancement: radical changes to mass balance; radical changes to ice-sheet history; and strongly enhanced basal flows. Based on this analysis, we argue that none of these alternatives provide a fully acceptable explanation for the small ICE-4G LGM aspect ratio of the Laurentide ice sheet, that has been inferred geophysically.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2000-01-01
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