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Modelling the fate of surface melt on the Larsen C Ice Shelf

Buzzard, S., Feltham, D. and Flocco, D. (2018) Modelling the fate of surface melt on the Larsen C Ice Shelf. The Cryosphere, 12 (11). pp. 3565-3575. ISSN 1994-0424

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5194/tc-12-3565-2018


Surface melt lakes lower the albedo of ice shelves, leading to additional surface melting. This can substantially alter the surface energy balance and internal temperature and density profiles of the ice shelf. Evidence suggests that melt lakes also played a pivotal role in the sudden collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. Here a recently developed, high-physical-fidelity model accounting for the development cycle of melt lakes is applied to the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica’s most northern ice shelf and one where melt lakes have been observed. We simulate current conditions on the ice shelf using weather station and reanalysis data and investigate the impacts of potential future increases in precipitation and air temperature on melt lake formation, for which concurrent increases lead to an increase in lake depth. Finally, we assess the viability in future crevasse propagation through the ice shelf due to surface meltwater accumulation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:81046
Publisher:European Geosciences Union


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