Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 4.524 IF 4.524
  • IF 5-year value: 5.558 IF 5-year
    5.558
  • CiteScore value: 4.84 CiteScore
    4.84
  • SNIP value: 1.425 SNIP 1.425
  • SJR value: 3.034 SJR 3.034
  • IPP value: 4.65 IPP 4.65
  • h5-index value: 52 h5-index 52
  • Scimago H <br class='hide-on-tablet hide-on-mobile'>index value: 55 Scimago H
    index 55
Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-105
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-105
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 May 2019

Research article | 10 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Melt at grounding line controls observed and future retreat of Smith, Pope, and Kohler Glaciers

David A. Lilien1,2, Ian Joughin1, Benjamin Smith1, and Noel Gourmelen3 David A. Lilien et al.
  • 1Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 3School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Abstract. Smith, Pope, and Kohler Glaciers and the corresponding Crosson and Dotson Ice Shelves have undergone speedup, thinning, and rapid grounding-line retreat in recent years, leaving them in a state likely conducive to future retreat. We conducted a suite of numerical model simulations of these glaciers and compared the results to observations to determine the processes controlling their recent evolution. The model simulations indicate that the state of these glaciers in the 1990s was not inherently unstable, i.e. that small perturbations to the grounding line would not necessarily have caused the large retreat that has been observed. Instead, sustained, elevated melt at the grounding line was needed to cause the observed retreat. Weakening of the margins of Crosson Ice Shelf may have hastened the onset of grounding-line retreat but is unlikely to have initiated these rapid changes without an accompanying increase in melt. In the simulations that most closely match the observed thinning, speedup, and retreat, modeled grounding-line retreat and ice loss continue unabated throughout the 21st century, and subsequent retreat along Smith Glacier’s trough appears likely. Given the rapid progression of grounding-line retreat in the model simulations, thinning associated with the retreat of Smith Glacier may reach the ice divide and undermine a portion of the Thwaites catchment as quickly as changes initiated at the Thwaites terminus.

David A. Lilien et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 05 Jul 2019)
Status: open (until 05 Jul 2019)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
[Subscribe to comment alert] Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
David A. Lilien et al.
David A. Lilien et al.
Viewed  
Total article views: 214 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
129 84 1 214 14 0 1
  • HTML: 129
  • PDF: 84
  • XML: 1
  • Total: 214
  • Supplement: 14
  • BibTeX: 0
  • EndNote: 1
Views and downloads (calculated since 10 May 2019)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 10 May 2019)
Viewed (geographical distribution)  
Total article views: 67 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 66 with geography defined and 1 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Cited  
Saved  
No saved metrics found.
Discussed  
No discussed metrics found.
Latest update: 22 May 2019
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
We used a number of computer simulations to understand the recent retreat of a rapidly changing group of glaciers in West Antarctica. We found that significant melt underneath the floating extensions of the glaciers, driven by relatively warm ocean water at depth, was likely needed to cause the large retreat that has been observed. If melt continues around current rates, retreat is likely to continue through the coming century and extend beyond the present-day drainage area of these glaciers.
We used a number of computer simulations to understand the recent retreat of a rapidly changing...
Citation