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Conditions for a steady ice sheet-ice shelf junction

Nowicki, SMJ; Wingham, DJ; (2008) Conditions for a steady ice sheet-ice shelf junction. EARTH PLANET SC LETT , 265 (1-2) 246 - 255. 10.1016/j.epsi.2007.10.018.

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Abstract

This paper investigates the conditions under which a marine ice sheet may adopt a steady profile. The ice is treated as a linear viscous fluid caused to flow from a rigid base to and over water, treated as a denser but inviscid fluid. The solutions in the region around the point of flotation, or 'transition' zone, are calculated numerically. In-flow and out-flow conditions appropriate to ice sheet and ice shelf flow are applied at the ends of the transition zone and the rigid base is specified; the flow and steady free surfaces are determined as part of the solutions. The basal stress upstream, and the basal deflection downstream, of the flotation point are examined to determine which of these steady solutions satisfy 'contact' conditions that would prevent (i) the steady downstream basal deflection contacting the downstream base, and (ii) the upstream ice commencing to float in the event it was melted at the base. In the case that the upstream bed is allowed to slide, we find only one mass flux that satisfies the contact conditions. When no sliding is allowed at the bed, however, we find a range of mass fluxes satisfy the contact conditions. The effect of 'backpressure' on the solutions is investigated, and is found to have no affect on the qualitative behaviour of the junctions. To the extent that the numerical, linearly viscous treatment may be applied to the case of ice flowing out over the ocean, we conclude that when sliding is present, Weertman's 'instability' hypothesis holds. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Conditions for a steady ice sheet-ice shelf junction
DOI:10.1016/j.epsi.2007.10.018
Keywords:marine ice sheet instability, sea level, sliding, no-slip, contact condition, grounding line, FLOW, TRANSITION, DYNAMICS, GLACIER, SLIP
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Earth Sciences

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