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46 Research products

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  • The Cryosphere (TC)
  • European Marine Science

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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Kajanto, Karita; Straneo, Fiammetta; Nisancioglu, Kerim;

    The role of icebergs in narrow fjords hosting marine terminating glaciers in Greenland is poorly understood, even though icebergs provide a substantial freshwater flux that can exceed the subglacial discharge. Iceberg melt is distributed at depth, contributing to fjord stratification, thus impacting melt and dynamics of the glacier front. We model the high-silled Ilulissat Icefjord in Western Greenland with the MITgcm ocean model, using the IceBerg package to study the effect of icebergs on fjord properties, and compare our results with available observations from 2014. We find the subglacial discharge plume to be the primary driver of the seasonality of circulation, glacier melt and iceberg melt. Icebergs are necessary to include to correctly understand the properties of Ilulissat Icefjord, since they modify the fjord in three main ways: First, icebergs cool and freshen the water column within their vertical extent; Second, icebergs depress the neutral buoyancy depth of the plume and the outflow route of glacially modified water; Third, icebergs modify the deep basin, below their vertical extent, due to both increased entrainment of glacially modified water into the fjord, and iceberg modification of the incoming ambient water. Furthermore, the depressed neutral buoyancy depth of the plume limits melt to the deep section of the front of Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Isbræ) even during peak summer, and thus promotes undercutting. We postulate that the impact of icebergs on the neutral buoyancy depth of the plume is a key mechanism connecting iceberg melange and glacier calving, independent of mechanical support.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Ershadi, M. Reza; Drews, Reinhard; Martín, Carlos; Eisen, Olaf; +6 Authors

    Ice crystals are mechanically and dielectrically anisotropic. They progressively align under cumulative deformation, forming an ice-crystal-orientation fabric that, in turn, impacts ice deformation. However, almost all the observations of ice fabric are from ice core analysis, and its influence on the ice flow is unclear. Here, we present a non-linear inverse approach to process co- and cross-polarized phase-sensitive radar data. We estimate the continuous depth profile of georeferenced ice fabric orientation along with the reflection ratio and horizontal anisotropy of the ice column. Our method approximates the complete second-order orientation tensor and all the ice fabric eigenvalues. As a result, we infer the vertical ice fabric anisotropy, which is an essential factor to better understand ice deformation using anisotropic ice flow models. The approach is validated at two Antarctic ice core sites (EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) Dome C and EPICA Dronning Maud Land) in contrasting flow regimes. Spatial variability in ice fabric characteristics in the dome-to-flank transition near Dome C is quantified with 20 more sites located along with a 36 km long cross-section. Local horizontal anisotropy increases under the dome summit and decreases away from the dome summit. We suggest that this is a consequence of the non-linear rheology of ice, also known as the Raymond effect. On larger spatial scales, horizontal anisotropy increases with increasing distance from the dome. At most of the sites, the main driver of ice fabric evolution is vertical compression, yet our data show that the horizontal distribution of the ice fabric is consistent with the present horizontal flow. This method uses polarimetric-radar data, which are suitable for profiling radar applications and are able to constrain ice fabric distribution on a spatial scale comparable to ice flow observations and models.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ NERC Open Research A...arrow_drop_down
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    NERC Open Research Archive
    Article . 2022 . Peer-reviewed
    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Other literature type . 2022
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ NERC Open Research A...arrow_drop_down
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      NERC Open Research Archive
      Article . 2022 . Peer-reviewed
      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Other literature type . 2022
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    Authors: M. Mas e Braga; M. Mas e Braga; R. Selwyn Jones; R. Selwyn Jones; +8 Authors

    Numerical models predict that discharge from the polar ice sheets will become the largest contributor to sea-level rise over the coming centuries. However, the predicted amount of ice discharge and associated thinning depends on how well ice sheet models reproduce glaciological processes, such as ice flow in regions of large topographic relief, where ice flows around bedrock summits (i.e. nunataks) and through outlet glaciers. The ability of ice sheet models to capture long-term ice loss is best tested by comparing model simulations against geological data. A benchmark for such models is ice surface elevation change, which has been constrained empirically at nunataks and along margins of outlet glaciers using cosmogenic exposure dating. However, the usefulness of this approach in quantifying ice sheet thinning relies on how well such records represent changes in regional ice surface elevation. Here we examine how ice surface elevations respond to the presence of strong topographic relief that acts as an obstacle by modelling ice flow around and between idealised nunataks during periods of imposed ice sheet thinning. We find that, for realistic Antarctic conditions, a single nunatak can exert an impact on ice thickness over 20 km away from its summit, with its most prominent effect being a local increase (decrease) of the ice surface elevation of hundreds of metres upstream (downstream) of the obstacle. A direct consequence of this differential surface response for cosmogenic exposure dating is a delay in the time of bedrock exposure upstream relative to downstream of a nunatak summit. A nunatak elongated transversely to ice flow is able to increase ice retention and therefore impose steeper ice surface gradients, while efficient ice drainage through outlet glaciers produces gentler gradients. Such differences, however, are not typically captured by continent-wide ice sheet models due to their coarse grid resolutions. Their inability to capture site-specific surface elevation changes appears to be a key reason for the observed mismatches between the timing of ice-free conditions from cosmogenic exposure dating and model simulations. We conclude that a model grid refinement over complex topography and information about sample position relative to ice flow near the nunatak are necessary to improve data–model comparisons of ice surface elevation and therefore the ability of models to simulate ice discharge in regions of large topographic relief.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2021
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2021
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: X. Fettweis; S. Hofer; S. Hofer; U. Krebs-Kanzow; +50 Authors

    Observations and models agree that the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface mass balance (SMB) has decreased since the end of the 1990s due to an increase in meltwater runoff and that this trend will accelerate in the future. However, large uncertainties remain, partly due to different approaches for modelling the GrIS SMB, which have to weigh physical complexity or low computing time, different spatial and temporal resolutions, different forcing fields, and different ice sheet topographies and extents, which collectively make an inter-comparison difficult. Our GrIS SMB model intercomparison project (GrSMBMIP) aims to refine these uncertainties by intercomparing 13 models of four types which were forced with the same ERA-Interim reanalysis forcing fields, except for two global models. We interpolate all modelled SMB fields onto a common ice sheet mask at 1 km horizontal resolution for the period 1980–2012 and score the outputs against (1) SMB estimates from a combination of gravimetric remote sensing data from GRACE and measured ice discharge; (2) ice cores, snow pits and in situ SMB observations; and (3) remotely sensed bare ice extent from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Spatially, the largest spread among models can be found around the margins of the ice sheet, highlighting model deficiencies in an accurate representation of the GrIS ablation zone extent and processes related to surface melt and runoff. Overall, polar regional climate models (RCMs) perform the best compared to observations, in particular for simulating precipitation patterns. However, other simpler and faster models have biases of the same order as RCMs compared with observations and therefore remain useful tools for long-term simulations or coupling with ice sheet models. Finally, it is interesting to note that the ensemble mean of the 13 models produces the best estimate of the present-day SMB relative to observations, suggesting that biases are not systematic among models and that this ensemble estimate can be used as a reference for current climate when carrying out future model developments. However, a higher density of in situ SMB observations is required, especially in the south-east accumulation zone, where the model spread can reach 2 m w.e. yr−1 due to large discrepancies in modelled snowfall accumulation.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2020
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2020
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    Authors: M. J. Hopwood; D. Carroll; T. Dunse; T. Dunse; +17 Authors

    Freshwater discharge from glaciers is increasing across the Arctic in response to anthropogenic climate change, which raises questions about the potential downstream effects in the marine environment. Whilst a combination of long-term monitoring programmes and intensive Arctic field campaigns have improved our knowledge of glacier–ocean interactions in recent years, especially with respect to fjord/ocean circulation, there are extensive knowledge gaps concerning how glaciers affect marine biogeochemistry and productivity. Following two cross-cutting disciplinary International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) workshops addressing the importance of glaciers for the marine ecosystem, here we review the state of the art concerning how freshwater discharge affects the marine environment with a specific focus on marine biogeochemistry and biological productivity. Using a series of Arctic case studies (Nuup Kangerlua/Godthåbsfjord, Kongsfjorden, Kangerluarsuup Sermia/Bowdoin Fjord, Young Sound and Sermilik Fjord), the interconnected effects of freshwater discharge on fjord–shelf exchange, nutrient availability, the carbonate system, the carbon cycle and the microbial food web are investigated. Key findings are that whether the effect of glacier discharge on marine primary production is positive or negative is highly dependent on a combination of factors. These include glacier type (marine- or land-terminating), fjord–glacier geometry and the limiting resource(s) for phytoplankton growth in a specific spatio-temporal region (light, macronutrients or micronutrients). Arctic glacier fjords therefore often exhibit distinct discharge–productivity relationships, and multiple case-studies must be considered in order to understand the net effects of glacier discharge on Arctic marine ecosystems.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2020
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2020
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    Authors: Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Fleurian, Basile; Schlegel, Nicole; Seroussi, Helene; +1 Authors

    The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) currently drains more than 10 % of the Greenland Ice Sheet area and has recently undergone significant dynamic changes. It is therefore critical to accurately represent this feature when assessing the future contribution of Greenland to sea level rise. At present, NEGIS is reproduced in ice sheet models by inferring basal conditions using observed surface velocities. This approach helps estimate conditions at the base of the ice sheet but cannot be used to estimate the evolution of basal drag in time, so it is not a good representation of the evolution of the ice sheet in future climate warming scenarios. NEGIS is suggested to be initiated by a geothermal heat flux anomaly close to the ice divide, left behind by the movement of Greenland over the Icelandic plume. However, the heat flux underneath the ice sheet is largely unknown, except for a few direct measurements from deep ice core drill sites. Using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), with ice dynamics coupled to a subglacial hydrology model, we investigate the possibility of initiating NEGIS by inserting heat flux anomalies with various locations and intensities. In our model experiment, a minimum heat flux value of 970 mW m−2 located close to the East Greenland Ice-core Project (EGRIP) is required locally to reproduce the observed NEGIS velocities, giving basal melt rates consistent with previous estimates. The value cannot be attributed to geothermal heat flux alone and we suggest hydrothermal circulation as a potential explanation for the high local heat flux. By including high heat flux and the effect of water on sliding, we successfully reproduce the main characteristics of NEGIS in an ice sheet model without using data assimilation.

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    Authors: Spangenberg, Ines; Overduin, Pier Paul; Damm, Ellen; Bussmann, Ingeborg; +6 Authors

    The thermokarst lakes of permafrost regions play a major role in the global carbon cycle. These lakes are sources of methane to the atmosphere but the methane flux is restricted by an ice cover for most of the year. We provide insights into the methane pathways in the winter ice cover on three different water bodies in a continuous permafrost region in Siberia. The first is a bay underlain by submarine permafrost (Tiksi Bay, TB), the second a shallow thermokarst lagoon (Polar Fox, PF) and the third a land-locked, freshwater thermokarst lake (Goltsovoye Lake, GL). In total, 11 ice cores were analyzed as records of the freezing process and methane pathways during the winter season. In TB, the hydrochemical parameters indicate an open system freezing. In contrast, PF was classified as a semi-closed system, where ice growth eventually cuts off exchange between the lagoon and the ocean. The GL is a closed system without connections to other water bodies. Ice on all water bodies was mostly methane-supersaturated with respect to the atmospheric equilibrium concentration, except of three cores from the lake. Generally, the TB ice had low methane concentrations (3.48–8.44 nM) compared to maximum concentrations of the PF ice (2.59–539 nM) and widely varying concentrations in the GL ice (0.02–14817 nM). Stable delta13CCH4 isotope signatures indicate that methane above the ice-water interface was oxidized to concentrations close to or below the calculated atmospheric equilibrium concentration in the ice of PF. We conclude that methane oxidation in ice may decrease methane concentrations during winter. Therefore, understanding seasonal effects to methane pathways in Arctic saline influenced or freshwater systems is critical to anticipate permafrost carbon feedbacks in course of global warming.

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    Authors: Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Fleurian, Basile; Schlegel, Nicole; Seroussi, Helene; +1 Authors

    The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) currently drains more than 10 % of the Greenland Ice Sheet area, and has recently undergone significant dynamic changes. It is therefore critical to accurately represent this feature when assessing the future contribution of Greenland to sea level rise. At present, NEGIS is reproduced in ice sheet models by inferring basal conditions using observed surface velocities. This approach helps estimate conditions at the base of the ice sheet, but cannot be used to estimate the evolution of basal drag in time, so it is not a good representation of the evolution of the ice sheet in future climate warming scenarios. NEGIS is suggested to be initiated by a geothermal heat flux anomaly close to the ice divide, left behind by the movement of Greenland over the Icelandic plume. However, the heat flux underneath the ice sheet is largely unknown, except for a few direct measurements from deep ice core drill sites. Using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), with ice dynamics coupled to a subglacial hydrology model, we investigate the possibility of initiating NEGIS by inserting hotspots with various locations and intensities. We find that a minimum geothermal heat flux value of 970 mW/m2 located close to EastGRIP is required locally to reproduce the observed NEGIS velocities, consistent with previous estimates. By including high geothermal heat flux and the effect of water on sliding, we successfully reproduce the main characteristics of NEGIS in an ice sheet model without using data assimilation.

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    Authors: M. Oltmanns; F. Straneo; M. Tedesco; M. Tedesco;

    Surface melting is a major driver of Greenland's mass loss. Yet, the mechanisms that trigger melt are still insufficiently understood because seasonally based studies blend processes initiating melt with positive feedbacks. Here, we focus on the triggers of melt by examining the synoptic atmospheric conditions associated with 313 rapid melt increases, detected in a satellite-derived melt extent product, equally distributed throughout the year over the period 1979–2012. By combining reanalysis and weather station data, we show that melt is initiated by a cyclone-driven, southerly flow of warm, moist air, which gives rise to large-scale precipitation. A decomposition of the synoptic atmospheric variability over Greenland suggests that the identified, melt-triggering weather pattern accounts for ∼40 % of the net precipitation, but increases in the frequency, duration and areal extent of the initiated melting have shifted the line between mass gain and mass loss as more melt and rainwater run off or accumulate in the snowpack. Using a regional climate model, we estimate that the initiated melting more than doubled over the investigated period, amounting to ∼28 % of the overall surface melt and revealing that, despite the involved mass gain, year-round precipitation events are participating in the ice sheet's decline.

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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2019
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2019
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    Authors: Rees Jones, David W.; Wells, Andrew J.;

    The growth of frazil or granular ice is an important mode of ice formation in the cryosphere. Recent advances have improved our understanding of the microphysical processes that control the rate of ice-crystal growth when water is cooled beneath its freezing temperature. These advances suggest that crystals grow much faster than previously thought. In this paper, we consider models of a population of ice crystals with different sizes to provide insight into the treatment of frazil ice in large-scale models. We consider the role of crystal growth alongside the other physical processes that determine the dynamics of frazil ice. We apply our model to a simple mixed layer (such as at the surface of the ocean) and to a buoyant plume under a floating ice shelf. We provide numerical calculations and scaling arguments to predict the occurrence of frazil-ice explosions, which we show are controlled by crystal growth, nucleation, and gravitational removal. Faster crystal growth, higher secondary nucleation, and slower gravitational removal make frazil-ice explosions more likely. We identify steady-state crystal size distributions, which are largely insensitive to crystal growth rate but are affected by the relative importance of secondary nucleation to gravitational removal. Finally, we show that the fate of plumes underneath ice shelves is dramatically affected by frazil-ice dynamics. Differences in the parameterization of crystal growth and nucleation give rise to radically different predictions of basal accretion and plume dynamics, and can even impact whether a plume reaches the end of the ice shelf or intrudes at depth.

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    Authors: Kajanto, Karita; Straneo, Fiammetta; Nisancioglu, Kerim;

    The role of icebergs in narrow fjords hosting marine terminating glaciers in Greenland is poorly understood, even though icebergs provide a substantial freshwater flux that can exceed the subglacial discharge. Iceberg melt is distributed at depth, contributing to fjord stratification, thus impacting melt and dynamics of the glacier front. We model the high-silled Ilulissat Icefjord in Western Greenland with the MITgcm ocean model, using the IceBerg package to study the effect of icebergs on fjord properties, and compare our results with available observations from 2014. We find the subglacial discharge plume to be the primary driver of the seasonality of circulation, glacier melt and iceberg melt. Icebergs are necessary to include to correctly understand the properties of Ilulissat Icefjord, since they modify the fjord in three main ways: First, icebergs cool and freshen the water column within their vertical extent; Second, icebergs depress the neutral buoyancy depth of the plume and the outflow route of glacially modified water; Third, icebergs modify the deep basin, below their vertical extent, due to both increased entrainment of glacially modified water into the fjord, and iceberg modification of the incoming ambient water. Furthermore, the depressed neutral buoyancy depth of the plume limits melt to the deep section of the front of Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Isbræ) even during peak summer, and thus promotes undercutting. We postulate that the impact of icebergs on the neutral buoyancy depth of the plume is a key mechanism connecting iceberg melange and glacier calving, independent of mechanical support.

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    Authors: Ershadi, M. Reza; Drews, Reinhard; Martín, Carlos; Eisen, Olaf; +6 Authors

    Ice crystals are mechanically and dielectrically anisotropic. They progressively align under cumulative deformation, forming an ice-crystal-orientation fabric that, in turn, impacts ice deformation. However, almost all the observations of ice fabric are from ice core analysis, and its influence on the ice flow is unclear. Here, we present a non-linear inverse approach to process co- and cross-polarized phase-sensitive radar data. We estimate the continuous depth profile of georeferenced ice fabric orientation along with the reflection ratio and horizontal anisotropy of the ice column. Our method approximates the complete second-order orientation tensor and all the ice fabric eigenvalues. As a result, we infer the vertical ice fabric anisotropy, which is an essential factor to better understand ice deformation using anisotropic ice flow models. The approach is validated at two Antarctic ice core sites (EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) Dome C and EPICA Dronning Maud Land) in contrasting flow regimes. Spatial variability in ice fabric characteristics in the dome-to-flank transition near Dome C is quantified with 20 more sites located along with a 36 km long cross-section. Local horizontal anisotropy increases under the dome summit and decreases away from the dome summit. We suggest that this is a consequence of the non-linear rheology of ice, also known as the Raymond effect. On larger spatial scales, horizontal anisotropy increases with increasing distance from the dome. At most of the sites, the main driver of ice fabric evolution is vertical compression, yet our data show that the horizontal distribution of the ice fabric is consistent with the present horizontal flow. This method uses polarimetric-radar data, which are suitable for profiling radar applications and are able to constrain ice fabric distribution on a spatial scale comparable to ice flow observations and models.

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    NERC Open Research Archive
    Article . 2022 . Peer-reviewed
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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Other literature type . 2022
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      NERC Open Research Archive
      Article . 2022 . Peer-reviewed
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Other literature type . 2022
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    Authors: M. Mas e Braga; M. Mas e Braga; R. Selwyn Jones; R. Selwyn Jones; +8 Authors

    Numerical models predict that discharge from the polar ice sheets will become the largest contributor to sea-level rise over the coming centuries. However, the predicted amount of ice discharge and associated thinning depends on how well ice sheet models reproduce glaciological processes, such as ice flow in regions of large topographic relief, where ice flows around bedrock summits (i.e. nunataks) and through outlet glaciers. The ability of ice sheet models to capture long-term ice loss is best tested by comparing model simulations against geological data. A benchmark for such models is ice surface elevation change, which has been constrained empirically at nunataks and along margins of outlet glaciers using cosmogenic exposure dating. However, the usefulness of this approach in quantifying ice sheet thinning relies on how well such records represent changes in regional ice surface elevation. Here we examine how ice surface elevations respond to the presence of strong topographic relief that acts as an obstacle by modelling ice flow around and between idealised nunataks during periods of imposed ice sheet thinning. We find that, for realistic Antarctic conditions, a single nunatak can exert an impact on ice thickness over 20 km away from its summit, with its most prominent effect being a local increase (decrease) of the ice surface elevation of hundreds of metres upstream (downstream) of the obstacle. A direct consequence of this differential surface response for cosmogenic exposure dating is a delay in the time of bedrock exposure upstream relative to downstream of a nunatak summit. A nunatak elongated transversely to ice flow is able to increase ice retention and therefore impose steeper ice surface gradients, while efficient ice drainage through outlet glaciers produces gentler gradients. Such differences, however, are not typically captured by continent-wide ice sheet models due to their coarse grid resolutions. Their inability to capture site-specific surface elevation changes appears to be a key reason for the observed mismatches between the timing of ice-free conditions from cosmogenic exposure dating and model simulations. We conclude that a model grid refinement over complex topography and information about sample position relative to ice flow near the nunatak are necessary to improve data–model comparisons of ice surface elevation and therefore the ability of models to simulate ice discharge in regions of large topographic relief.

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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2021
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2021
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    Authors: X. Fettweis; S. Hofer; S. Hofer; U. Krebs-Kanzow; +50 Authors

    Observations and models agree that the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface mass balance (SMB) has decreased since the end of the 1990s due to an increase in meltwater runoff and that this trend will accelerate in the future. However, large uncertainties remain, partly due to different approaches for modelling the GrIS SMB, which have to weigh physical complexity or low computing time, different spatial and temporal resolutions, different forcing fields, and different ice sheet topographies and extents, which collectively make an inter-comparison difficult. Our GrIS SMB model intercomparison project (GrSMBMIP) aims to refine these uncertainties by intercomparing 13 models of four types which were forced with the same ERA-Interim reanalysis forcing fields, except for two global models. We interpolate all modelled SMB fields onto a common ice sheet mask at 1 km horizontal resolution for the period 1980–2012 and score the outputs against (1) SMB estimates from a combination of gravimetric remote sensing data from GRACE and measured ice discharge; (2) ice cores, snow pits and in situ SMB observations; and (3) remotely sensed bare ice extent from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Spatially, the largest spread among models can be found around the margins of the ice sheet, highlighting model deficiencies in an accurate representation of the GrIS ablation zone extent and processes related to surface melt and runoff. Overall, polar regional climate models (RCMs) perform the best compared to observations, in particular for simulating precipitation patterns. However, other simpler and faster models have biases of the same order as RCMs compared with observations and therefore remain useful tools for long-term simulations or coupling with ice sheet models. Finally, it is interesting to note that the ensemble mean of the 13 models produces the best estimate of the present-day SMB relative to observations, suggesting that biases are not systematic among models and that this ensemble estimate can be used as a reference for current climate when carrying out future model developments. However, a higher density of in situ SMB observations is required, especially in the south-east accumulation zone, where the model spread can reach 2 m w.e. yr−1 due to large discrepancies in modelled snowfall accumulation.

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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2020
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2020
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    Authors: M. J. Hopwood; D. Carroll; T. Dunse; T. Dunse; +17 Authors

    Freshwater discharge from glaciers is increasing across the Arctic in response to anthropogenic climate change, which raises questions about the potential downstream effects in the marine environment. Whilst a combination of long-term monitoring programmes and intensive Arctic field campaigns have improved our knowledge of glacier–ocean interactions in recent years, especially with respect to fjord/ocean circulation, there are extensive knowledge gaps concerning how glaciers affect marine biogeochemistry and productivity. Following two cross-cutting disciplinary International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) workshops addressing the importance of glaciers for the marine ecosystem, here we review the state of the art concerning how freshwater discharge affects the marine environment with a specific focus on marine biogeochemistry and biological productivity. Using a series of Arctic case studies (Nuup Kangerlua/Godthåbsfjord, Kongsfjorden, Kangerluarsuup Sermia/Bowdoin Fjord, Young Sound and Sermilik Fjord), the interconnected effects of freshwater discharge on fjord–shelf exchange, nutrient availability, the carbonate system, the carbon cycle and the microbial food web are investigated. Key findings are that whether the effect of glacier discharge on marine primary production is positive or negative is highly dependent on a combination of factors. These include glacier type (marine- or land-terminating), fjord–glacier geometry and the limiting resource(s) for phytoplankton growth in a specific spatio-temporal region (light, macronutrients or micronutrients). Arctic glacier fjords therefore often exhibit distinct discharge–productivity relationships, and multiple case-studies must be considered in order to understand the net effects of glacier discharge on Arctic marine ecosystems.

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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2020
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2020
      Data sources: DOAJ-Articles
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    Authors: Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Fleurian, Basile; Schlegel, Nicole; Seroussi, Helene; +1 Authors

    The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) currently drains more than 10 % of the Greenland Ice Sheet area and has recently undergone significant dynamic changes. It is therefore critical to accurately represent this feature when assessing the future contribution of Greenland to sea level rise. At present, NEGIS is reproduced in ice sheet models by inferring basal conditions using observed surface velocities. This approach helps estimate conditions at the base of the ice sheet but cannot be used to estimate the evolution of basal drag in time, so it is not a good representation of the evolution of the ice sheet in future climate warming scenarios. NEGIS is suggested to be initiated by a geothermal heat flux anomaly close to the ice divide, left behind by the movement of Greenland over the Icelandic plume. However, the heat flux underneath the ice sheet is largely unknown, except for a few direct measurements from deep ice core drill sites. Using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), with ice dynamics coupled to a subglacial hydrology model, we investigate the possibility of initiating NEGIS by inserting heat flux anomalies with various locations and intensities. In our model experiment, a minimum heat flux value of 970 mW m−2 located close to the East Greenland Ice-core Project (EGRIP) is required locally to reproduce the observed NEGIS velocities, giving basal melt rates consistent with previous estimates. The value cannot be attributed to geothermal heat flux alone and we suggest hydrothermal circulation as a potential explanation for the high local heat flux. By including high heat flux and the effect of water on sliding, we successfully reproduce the main characteristics of NEGIS in an ice sheet model without using data assimilation.

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    Authors: Spangenberg, Ines; Overduin, Pier Paul; Damm, Ellen; Bussmann, Ingeborg; +6 Authors

    The thermokarst lakes of permafrost regions play a major role in the global carbon cycle. These lakes are sources of methane to the atmosphere but the methane flux is restricted by an ice cover for most of the year. We provide insights into the methane pathways in the winter ice cover on three different water bodies in a continuous permafrost region in Siberia. The first is a bay underlain by submarine permafrost (Tiksi Bay, TB), the second a shallow thermokarst lagoon (Polar Fox, PF) and the third a land-locked, freshwater thermokarst lake (Goltsovoye Lake, GL). In total, 11 ice cores were analyzed as records of the freezing process and methane pathways during the winter season. In TB, the hydrochemical parameters indicate an open system freezing. In contrast, PF was classified as a semi-closed system, where ice growth eventually cuts off exchange between the lagoon and the ocean. The GL is a closed system without connections to other water bodies. Ice on all water bodies was mostly methane-supersaturated with respect to the atmospheric equilibrium concentration, except of three cores from the lake. Generally, the TB ice had low methane concentrations (3.48–8.44 nM) compared to maximum concentrations of the PF ice (2.59–539 nM) and widely varying concentrations in the GL ice (0.02–14817 nM). Stable delta13CCH4 isotope signatures indicate that methane above the ice-water interface was oxidized to concentrations close to or below the calculated atmospheric equilibrium concentration in the ice of PF. We conclude that methane oxidation in ice may decrease methane concentrations during winter. Therefore, understanding seasonal effects to methane pathways in Arctic saline influenced or freshwater systems is critical to anticipate permafrost carbon feedbacks in course of global warming.

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    Authors: Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Fleurian, Basile; Schlegel, Nicole; Seroussi, Helene; +1 Authors

    The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) currently drains more than 10 % of the Greenland Ice Sheet area, and has recently undergone significant dynamic changes. It is therefore critical to accurately represent this feature when assessing the future contribution of Greenland to sea level rise. At present, NEGIS is reproduced in ice sheet models by inferring basal conditions using observed surface velocities. This approach helps estimate conditions at the base of the ice sheet, but cannot be used to estimate the evolution of basal drag in time, so it is not a good representation of the evolution of the ice sheet in future climate warming scenarios. NEGIS is suggested to be initiated by a geothermal heat flux anomaly close to the ice divide, left behind by the movement of Greenland over the Icelandic plume. However, the heat flux underneath the ice sheet is largely unknown, except for a few direct measurements from deep ice core drill sites. Using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), with ice dynamics coupled to a subglacial hydrology model, we investigate the possibility of initiating NEGIS by inserting hotspots with various locations and intensities. We find that a minimum geothermal heat flux value of 970 mW/m2 located close to EastGRIP is required locally to reproduce the observed NEGIS velocities, consistent with previous estimates. By including high geothermal heat flux and the effect of water on sliding, we successfully reproduce the main characteristics of NEGIS in an ice sheet model without using data assimilation.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: M. Oltmanns; F. Straneo; M. Tedesco; M. Tedesco;

    Surface melting is a major driver of Greenland's mass loss. Yet, the mechanisms that trigger melt are still insufficiently understood because seasonally based studies blend processes initiating melt with positive feedbacks. Here, we focus on the triggers of melt by examining the synoptic atmospheric conditions associated with 313 rapid melt increases, detected in a satellite-derived melt extent product, equally distributed throughout the year over the period 1979–2012. By combining reanalysis and weather station data, we show that melt is initiated by a cyclone-driven, southerly flow of warm, moist air, which gives rise to large-scale precipitation. A decomposition of the synoptic atmospheric variability over Greenland suggests that the identified, melt-triggering weather pattern accounts for ∼40 % of the net precipitation, but increases in the frequency, duration and areal extent of the initiated melting have shifted the line between mass gain and mass loss as more melt and rainwater run off or accumulate in the snowpack. Using a regional climate model, we estimate that the initiated melting more than doubled over the investigated period, amounting to ∼28 % of the overall surface melt and revealing that, despite the involved mass gain, year-round precipitation events are participating in the ice sheet's decline.

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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2019
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2019
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