- Modelling intra-annual dynamics of a major marine-terminating Arctic glacier
- Pimentel Sam (author), Gwenn E. Flowers (author), Martin J. Sharp (author), Bradley Danielson (author), Luke Copland (author), Wesley Van Wychen (author), Angus Duncan (author), Jeffrey L. Kavanaugh (author), NSERC (funder)
- Significant intra-annual variability in flow rates of tidewater-terminating Arctic glaciers has been observed in recent years. These changes may result from oceanic and/or atmospheric forcing through (1) perturbations at the terminus, such as enhanced submarine melt and changes in sea-ice buttressing, or (2) increased surface melt, in response to atmospheric warming, reaching the bed and promoting glacier slip. We examine the influence of these processes on Belcher Glacier, a large fast-flowing tidewater outlet of the Devon Island ice cap in the Canadian Arctic. A hydrologically-coupled higher-order ice flow model is used to estimate changes in glacier flow speed as a result of changes in sea-ice buttressing and hydrologically-driven melt-season dynamics. Daily run-off from five sub-catchments over the 2008 and 2009 melt seasons provides meltwater forcing for the model simulations. Model results are compared with remotely-sensed and in situ ice-surface velocity measurements. Sea-ice effects are found to have a minor influence on glacier flow speed relative to that of meltwater drainage, which is clearly implicated in short-term velocity variations during the melt season. We find that threshold drainage is essential in determining the timing of these short-lived accelerations.
- Publication Year
- 2017, 2017