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Flow of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, is modulated by the ocean tide

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Matt King


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The ice streams feeding the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, have large tidally modulated (sinusoidal and stick-slip) flow, but the interaction with the ice shelf is poorly understood. We show that the flow of the Ross Ice Shelf front, up to similar to 650 km from the ice streams, exhibits smooth, sinusoidal motions corresponding to tidal modulation. These observations suggest a possible linking of the ice shelf with the ice streams to form a unified system that responds to small perturbations in stresses associated with ocean tides. If this is the case, the presence of the sinusoidal motion but the absence of stick-slip motion suggests there is damping of very high-frequency signals. The dissimilar signatures of the motions observed in the ice streams and at the front of the ice shelf present challenges to model development aimed at understanding the dynamics of coupled ice-stream/ice-shelf flow and the movement of ice across grounding lines.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brunt KM, King MA, Fricker HA, MacAyeal DR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Glaciology

Year: 2010

Volume: 56

Issue: 195

Pages: 157-161

Print publication date: 01/01/2010

ISSN (print): 0022-1430

ISSN (electronic): 1727-5652

Publisher: International Glaciological Society


DOI: 10.3189/002214310791190875


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Funder referenceFunder name
OPP-0229546US National Science Foundation