Massive subsurface ice formed by refreezing of ice-shelf melt ponds


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Daniela.Jansen [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Surface melt ponds form intermittently on several Antarctic ice shelves. Although implicated in ice-shelf break up, the consequences of such ponding for ice formation and ice-shelf structure have not been evaluated. Here we report the discovery of a massive subsurface ice layer, at least 16 km across, several kilometres long and tens of metres deep, located in an area of intense melting and intermittent ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctica. We combine borehole optical televiewer logging and radar measurements with remote sensing and firn modelling to investigate the layer, found to be ~10 °C warmer and ~170 kg/m3 denser than anticipated in the absence of ponding and hitherto used in models of ice-shelf fracture and flow. Surface ponding and ice layers such as the one we report are likely to form on a wider range of Antarctic ice shelves in response to climatic warming in forthcoming decades.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
41017
DOI 10.1038/ncomms11897

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Hubbard, B. , Luckman, A. J. , Ashmore, D. , Bevan, S. , Kulessa, B. , Kuipers-Munneke, P. , Philippe, M. , Jansen, D. , Booth, A. D. , Sevestre, H. , Tison, J. L. , O'Leary, M. and Rutt, I. (2016): Massive subsurface ice formed by refreezing of ice-shelf melt ponds , Nature Communications, 7 , p. 11897 . doi: 10.1038/ncomms11897


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