Rapid dynamic activation of a marine-based Arctic ice cap
van, den Broeke Michiel
Geophysical Research Letters
AGU Publications / Wiley
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McMillan, M., Shepherd, A., Gourmelen, N., Dehecq, A., Leeson, A., Ridout, A., Flament, T., et al. (2014). Rapid dynamic activation of a marine-based Arctic ice cap. Geophysical Research Letters, 41 8902-8909. https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL062255
We use satellite observations to document rapid acceleration and ice loss from a formerly slow-flowing, marine-based sector of Austfonna, the largest ice cap in the Eurasian Arctic. During the past two decades, the sector ice discharge has increased 45-fold, the velocity regime has switched from predominantly slow (~ 101 m/yr) to fast (~ 103 m/yr) flow, and rates of ice thinning have exceeded 25 m/yr. At the time of widespread dynamic activation, parts of the terminus may have been near floatation. Subsequently, the imbalance has propagated 50 km inland to within 8 km of the ice cap summit. Our observations demonstrate the ability of slow-flowing ice to mobilize and quickly transmit the dynamic imbalance inland; a process that we show has initiated rapid ice loss to the ocean and redistribution of ice mass to locations more susceptible to melt, yet which remains poorly understood.
ice cap, mass balance, Austfonna, dynamic instability, altimetry, InSAR
This work was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL062255
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/246872
Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/
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