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Influence of subglacial Vostok lake on the regional ice dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet: a model study

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We applied a newly developed three-dimensional, time-dependent, thermomechanical ice-sheet model including higher-order stress gradients, to simulate the ice flow across subglacial Vostok lake, East Antarctica. Simulations of both 'lake' and 'no lake' conditions (by treating the ice/lake interface as a stress-free surface, similar to an ice shelf) demonstrate the effects of the subglacial lake, such as pronounced surface flattening and ice-flow turning, on the overall ice dynamics in the vicinity, although subglacial lake dynamics are not treated explicitly. When buoyancy forces and hydrostatic equilibrium of the ice above the lake are taken into account, the along-lake surface slope is preserved and the ice-flow pattern is in accord with sparse observations. Model experiments point to a local ice speed-up in the northern part of the lake, which can be associated with the onset of an enhanced ice-flow feature, more precisely the onset of the Totten Glacier catchment.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2004

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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