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Modelling Late Weichselian evolution of the Eurasian ice sheets forced by surface meltwater-enhanced basal sliding

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Abstract:

We simulated the Late Weichselian extent and dynamics of the Eurasian ice sheets using the shallow-ice approximation ice-sheet model SICOPOLIS. Our simulated Last Glacial Maximum ice-sheet extents closely resemble geomorphological reconstructions, and areas of modelled fast flow are consistent with the known locations of palaeo-ice streams. Motivated by documented velocity response to increased meltwater inputs on Greenland, we tested the sensitivity of the simulated ice sheet to the surface meltwater effect (SME) through a simple parameterization relating basal sliding to local surface melt rate and ice thickness. Model runs including the SME produce significantly reduced ice volume during deglaciation, with maximum ice surface velocities much greater than in similar runs that neglect the SME. We find that the simple treatment of the SME is not applicable across the whole ice sheet; however, our results highlight the importance of the SME for dynamic response to increased melting. The southwest sector of the Scandinavian ice sheet is most sensitive to the SME, with fast flow in the Baltic ice stream region shutting off by 15 ka BP when the SME is turned on, coincident with a retreat of the ice-margin position into the Gulf of Bothnia.

Keywords: GLACIAL GEOMORPHOLOGY; GLACIER HYDROLOGY; ICE-SHEET MODELLING; SURFACE MELT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3189/2014JoG13J037

Publication date: 2014-02-01

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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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