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Modelling binge–purge oscillations of the Laurentide ice sheet using a plastic ice sheet

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A simple combined heat and ice-sheet model has been used to calculate temperatures at the base of the Laurentide ice sheet. We let the ice sheet surge when the basal temperature reaches the pressure-melting temperature. Driving the system with the observed accumulation and temperature records from the GRIP ice core, Greenland, produces surges corresponding to the observed Heinrich events. This suggests that the mechanism of basal sliding, initiated when the basal temperature reaches the melting point, can explain the surges of the Laurentide ice sheet. This study highlights the importance of the surface temperature and accumulation rate as a means of forcing the timing and strength of the Heinrich events, thus implying important ice-sheet climate feedbacks.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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