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Grounding-line basal melt rates determined using radar-derived internal stratigraphy

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We use ice-penetrating radar data across grounding lines of Siple Dome and Roosevelt Island, Antarctica, to measure the spatial pattern, magnitude and duration of sub-ice-shelf melting at these locations. Stratigraphic layers across the grounding line show, in places, a large-amplitude downwarp at, or slightly downstream of, the grounding line due to sub-ice-shelf basal melting. Localized downwarping indicates that melting is transient; melt rates, or the grounding line position, have changed within a few hundred years in order to produce the observed stratigraphy. Elsewhere, no meltrelated stratigraphic signature is preserved. In part, heterogeneity in the amount of sub-ice-shelf melt is due to regional circulation patterns in the sub-shelf cavity, but local (on the order of tens of kilometers) heterogeneity in the melt pattern may reflect small differences in the shape of the ice-shelf base at the grounding line. We find that all of the grounding lines crossed have been in place for at most &sim400 years.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-08-01

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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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