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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-191
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2016-191
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Sep 2016

Submitted as: research article | 12 Sep 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). A final paper in TC is not foreseen.

Balance between driving stress and basal drag results in linearity between driving stress and basal yield stress in Antarctica's Siple Coast Ice Streams

Jan Wohland1,2, Torsten Albrecht1, and Anders Levermann1,2,3 Jan Wohland et al.
  • 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Institute of Physics, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, USA

Abstract. Ice streams are distinct, fast-flowing regimes within ice sheets that exhibit fundamentally different characteristics as compared to the slow-moving inner parts of the ice sheets. While along-flow surface profiles of ice sheets are typically convex, some ice streams show linearly sloping or even concave surface profiles. We use observational data of the Siple Coast in Antarctica to inversely calculate membrane stresses, driving stresses and basal yield stresses based on the Shallow Shelf Approximation. Herein we assume that these marine-based ice streams are isothermal and in neglecting vertical shear we assume that their flow is dominated by sliding. We find that in the Siple Coast ice streams the membrane stresses are negligible and the driving stress balances the basal drag. It follows directly that in the Coulomb limit (i.e. basal drag independent of velocity) the driving stress is linear in the basal yield stress. In addition, we find that the ice topography and the basal conditions developed such that the driving stress is linear in the basal yield stress regardless of the choice of the pseudo plastic exponent in the basal drag parameterization.

Jan Wohland et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Jan Wohland et al.
Jan Wohland et al.
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