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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-183
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
05 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Calving relation for tidewater glaciers based on detailed stress field analysis
Rémy Mercenier, Martin P. Lüthi, and Andreas Vieli Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract. Ocean terminating glaciers in Arctic regions have undergone rapid dynamic changes in recent years, which have been related to a dramatic increase in calving rates. Iceberg calving is a dynamical process strongly influenced by the geometry at the terminus of tidewater glaciers. We investigate the effect of varying water level, calving front slope and basal sliding on the stress state and flow regime for an idealized grounded ocean-terminating glacier and scale these results with ice thickness and velocity. Results show that water depth and calving front slope strongly affect the stress state while the effect from variations in basal sliding is much smaller. An increased relative water level or a reclining calving front slope strongly decrease the stresses and velocities in the vicinity of the terminus and hence have a stabilizing effect on the calving front. We find that surface stress magnitude and distribution are determined by solely the water depth relative to ice thickness for simple geometries. Based on this scaled relationship for the stress peak at the surface, and assuming a critical stress for damage initiation, we propose a simple and new parametrization for calving rates for grounded tidewater glaciers that is in good agreement with observations.

Citation: Mercenier, R., Lüthi, M. P., and Vieli, A.: Calving relation for tidewater glaciers based on detailed stress field analysis, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-183, in review, 2017.
Rémy Mercenier et al.
Rémy Mercenier et al.
Rémy Mercenier et al.

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Short summary
This paper investigates the effect of geometrical properties on the stress state and flow regime in the vicinity of the calving front of grounded tidewater glaciers. Our analysis shows that the stress state for simple geometries can be determined solely by the water depth relative to ice thickness. This scaled relationship allows for a simple parametrization to predict calving rates of grounded tidewater glaciers that is simple, physics-based and in good agreement with observations.
This paper investigates the effect of geometrical properties on the stress state and flow regime...
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