Skip to main content

On the influence of Greenland outlet glacier bed topography on results from dynamic ice-sheet models

  • Ute C. Herzfeld (a1) (a2) (a3), James Fastook (a4), Ralf Greve (a5), Brian McDonald (a1) (a2), Bruce F. Wallin (a1) (a6) and Phillip A. Chen (a1) (a2)...

Prediction of future changes in dynamics of the Earth’s ice sheets, mass loss and resultant contribution to sea-level rise are the main objectives of ice-sheet modeling. Mass transfer from ice sheet to ocean is, in large part, through outlet glaciers. Subglacial topography plays an important role in ice dynamics; however, trough systems have not been included in bed digital elevation models (DEMS) used in modeling, because their size is close to the model resolution. Using recently collected CReSIS MCoRDs data of subglacial topography and an algorithm that allows topographically and morphologically correct integration of troughs and trough systems at any modeling scale (5 km resolution for SeaRISE), an improved Greenland bed DEM was developed that includes Jakobshavn Isbræ, Helheim, Kangerdlussuaq and Petermann glaciers (JakHelKanPet DEM). Contrasting the different responses of two Greenland ice-sheet models (UMISM and SICOPOLIS) to the more accurately represented bed shows significant differences in modeled surface velocity, basal water production and ice thickness. Consequently, modeled ice volumes for the Greenland ice sheet are significantly smaller using the JakHelKanPet DEM, and volume losses larger. More generally, the study demonstrates the role of spatial modeling of data specifically as input for dynamic ice-sheet models in assessments of future sea-level rise.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      On the influence of Greenland outlet glacier bed topography on results from dynamic ice-sheet models
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      On the influence of Greenland outlet glacier bed topography on results from dynamic ice-sheet models
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      On the influence of Greenland outlet glacier bed topography on results from dynamic ice-sheet models
      Available formats
Hide All
Bamber, JL, Layberry, RL and Gogineni, SP (2001) A new ice thickness and bed data set for the Greenland ice sheet. 1. Measurement, data reduction, and errors. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24),33 773–33 780 (doi: 10.1029/2001JD900054)
Bindschadler, R and 26 others (submitted) Ice-sheet model sensitivities to environmental forcing and their use in projecting future sea-level (the SeaRISE Project). J. Glaciol.
Box, JE and Steffen, K (2001) Sublimation on the Greenland ice sheet from automated weather station observations. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33 965–33 981 (doi: 10.1029/2001JD900219)
Box, JE, Yang, L, Bromwich, DH and Bai, L-S (2009) Greenland ice sheet surface air temperature variability: 1840–2007. J. Climate, 22(14), 4029–4049 (doi: 10.1175/2009JCLI2816.1)
Burgess, EW and 6 others (2010) A spatially calibrated model of annual accumulation rate on the Greenland Ice Sheet (1958–2007). J. Geophys. Res., 115(F2), F02004 (doi: 10.1029/2009JF001293)
Echelmeyer, K and Harrison, WD (1990) Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland: seasonal variations in velocity – or lack thereof. J. Glaciol., 36(122), 82–88
Echelmeyer, K, Clarke, TS and Harrison, WD (1991) Surficial glaciology of Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland: Part I. Surface morphology. J. Glaciol., 37(127), 368–382
Echelmeyer, K, Harrison, WD, Clarke, TS and Benson, C (1992) Surficial glaciology of Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland: Part II. Ablation, accumulation and temperature. J. Glaciol., 38(128), 169–181
Ettema, J and 6 others (2009) Higher surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet revealed by high-resolution climate modelling. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36(12), L12501 (doi: 10.1029/2009GL038110)
Fastook, JL (1993) The finite-element method for solving conservation equations in glaciology. Comp. Sci. Eng., 1(1), 55–67
Fastook, JL and Prentice, M (1994) A finite-element model of Antarctica: sensitivity test for meteorological mass-balance relationship. J. Glaciol., 40(134), 167–175
Fausto, RS, Ahlstrøm, AP, Van As, D, Bøggild, CE and Johnsen, SJ (2009) A new present-day temperature parameterization for Greenland. J. Glaciol., 55(189), 95–105 (doi: 10.3189/002214309788608985)
Gogineni, S and 9 others (2001) Coherent radar ice thickness measurements over the Greenland ice sheet. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33 761–33 772
Greve, R (1995) Thermomechanisches Verhalten polythermer Eisschilde – Theorie, Analytik, Numerik. (PhD thesis, Technische Universität, Darmstadt)
Greve, R (1997) Application of a polythermal three-dimensional ice sheet model to the Greenland ice sheet: response to steady-state and transient climate scenarios. J. Climate, 10(5), 901–918 (doi: 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0901:AOAPTD>2.0.CO;2)
Greve, R (2005) Relation of measured basal temperatures and the spatial distribution of the geothermal heat flux for the Greenland ice sheet. Ann. Glaciol., 42(1), 424–432 (doi: 10.3189/172756405781812510)
Greve, R and Blatter, H (2009) Dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers. Springer-Verlag, Dordrecht
Hall, DK, Williams, RS Jr, Luthcke, SB and Digirolamo, NE (2008) Greenland ice sheet surface temperature, melt and mass loss: 2000–2006. J. Glaciol., 54(184), 81–93 (doi: 10.3189/002214308784409170)
Herzfeld, UC, Wallin, BF, Leuschen, CJ and Plummer, J (2011) An algorithm for generalizing topography to grids while preserving subscale morphologic characteristics – creating a glacier bed DEM for Jakobshavn trough as low-resolution input for dynamic ice-sheet models. Comput. Geosci., 37(11), 1793–1801 (doi: 10.1016/j.cageo.2011.02.021)
Herzfeld, U, McDonald, B, Wallin, B, Chen, P, Leuschen, C, Paden, J (submitted) Spatial modeling of Greenland subglacial topography as input for dynamic ice-sheet models: the JakHelKanPet bed DEM. J. Glaciol.
Hutter, K (1983) Theoretical glaciology; material science of ice and the mechanics of glaciers and ice sheets. D Reidel, Dordrecht; Terra Scientific, Tokyo
Huybrechts, P, Payne, T and the EISMINT Intercomparison Group (1996) The EISMINT benchmarks for testing ice-sheet models. Ann. Glaciol., 23, 1–12
Johnsen, SJ, Dahl-Jensen, D, DansgaardWand Gundestrup NS (1995) Greenland paleotemperatures derived from GRIP borehole temperature and ice core isotope profiles. Tellus, 47B(5), 624–629
Johnson, J and Fastook, J (2002) Northern Hemisphere glaciation and its sensitivity to basal melt water. Quat. Int., 95/96, 65–74
Johnson, JV, Prescott, PR and Hughes, TJ (2004) Ice dynamics preceding catastrophic disintegration of the floating part of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland. J. Glaciol., 50(171), 492–504 (doi: 10.3189/172756504781829729)
Johnson, HL, Münchow, A, Falkner, KK and Melling, H (2011) Ocean circulation and properties in Petermann Fjord, Greenland. J. Geophys. Res., 116(C1), C01003 (doi: 10.1029/2010JC006519)
Krabill, W and 8 others (1999) Rapid thinning of parts of the southern Greenland ice sheet. Science, 283(5407), 1522–1524 (doi: 10.1126/science.283.5407.1522)
Le Meur, E and Huybrechts, P (1996) A comparison of different ways of dealing with isostasy: examples from modelling the Antarctic ice sheet during the last glacial cycle. Ann. Glaciol., 23, 309–317
Lohoefener, A (2006) Design and development of a multi-channel radar depth sounder. CReSIS Tech. Rep. 109
MacAyeal, DR (1989) Large-scale ice flow over a viscous basal sediment: theory and application to Ice Stream B, Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res., 94(B4), 4071–4087 (doi: 10.1029/88JB03848)
Mayer, H and Herzfeld, UC (2001) A structural segmentation, kinematic analysis and dynamic interpretation of Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland. Z. Gletscherkd. Glazialgeol., 37(2), 107–123
Mayer, H and Herzfeld, UC (2008) The rapid retreat of Jakobshavns Isbræ, West Greenland: field observations of 2005 and structural analysis of its evolution. Natur. Resour. Res., 17(3), 167–179 (doi: 10.1007/s11053-008-9076-7)
Morland, LW (1984) Thermomechanical balances of ice sheet flows. Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn., 29(1–4), 237–266 (doi: 10.1080/03091928408248191)
Morland, LW (1987) Unconfined ice-shelf flow. In Van der Veen, CJ and Oerlemans, J, eds. Dynamics of the West Antarctic ice sheet. D Reidel, Dordrecht, 99–116
Pachauri, RK and Reisinger, A, eds. (2007) Climate change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva
Payne, AJ and 10 others (2000) Results from the EISMINT model intercomparison: the effects of thermomechanical coupling. J. Glaciol., 46(153), 227–238 (doi: 10.3189/172756500781832891)
Podlech, S and Weidick, A (2004) Correspondence. A catastrophic break-up of the front of Jakobshavn Isbræ, West Greenland, 2002/03. J. Glaciol., 50(168), 153–154 (doi: 10.3189/172756504781830231)
Rignot, E and Steffen, K (2008) Channelized bottom melting and stability of floating ice shelves. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35(2), L02503 (doi: 10.1029/2007GL031765)
Shapiro, NM and Ritzwoller, MH (2004) Inferring surface heat flux distribution guided by a global seismic model: particular application to Antarctica. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 223(1–2), 213–224 (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2004.04.011)
Solomon, S and 7 others eds. (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Thomas, R and 17 others (2004) Accelerated sea-level rise from West Antarctica. Science, 306(5694), 255–258 (doi: 10.1126/science.1099650)
Van de Wal, RSW and 6 others (2008) Large and rapid melt-induced velocity changes in the ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, 321(5885), 111–113 (doi: 10.1126/science.1158540)
Van der Veen, CJ, Bromwich, DH, Csatho, BM and Kim, C (2001) Trend surface analysis of Greenland accumulation. J. Geophys. Res., 106(D24), 33 909–33 918 (doi: 10.1029/2001JD900156)
Warrick, RA and Oerlemans, J (1990) Sea level rise. In Houghton, JT, Jenkins, GJ and Ephraums, JJ, eds. Climate change: the IPCC scientific assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 257–281
Weertman, J (1957) Deformation of floating ice shelves. J. Glaciol., 3(21), 38–42
Weertman, J (1964) The theory of glacier sliding. J. Glaciol., 5(39), 287–303
Weidick, A (1984) Studies of glacier behaviour and glacier mass balance in Greenland: a review. Geogr. Ann., Ser. A, 66(3), 183–195 (doi: 10.2307/520693)
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed