Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Past and present dynamics of Skelton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains

  • R.S. Jones (a1), N.R. Golledge (a1) (a2), A.N. Mackintosh (a1) (a3) and K.P. Norton (a3)

Abstract

Any future changes in the volume of Antarctica’s ice sheets will depend on the dynamic response of outlet glaciers to shifts in environmental conditions. In the Transantarctic Mountains, this response is probably heavily dependent on the geometry of the system, but few studies have quantified the sensitivity of these glaciers to environmental forcings. Here we investigated the controls, along-flow sensitivity and time-dependent dynamics of Skelton Glacier. Three key outcomes were: i) present-day flow is governed primarily by surface slope, which responds to reduced valley width and large bed undulations, ii) Skelton Glacier is more susceptible to changes in atmospheric temperature than precipitation through its effect on basal sliding near the grounding line, and iii) under conditions representative of Pliocene and Quaternary climates large changes in ice thickness and velocity would have occurred in the lower reaches of the glacier. Based on these new quantitative predictions of the past and present dynamics of Skelton Glacier, we suggest that similar Transantarctic Mountain outlet glaciers could experience greater ice loss in their confined, lower reaches through increased basal sliding and ocean melt under warmer-than-present conditions. These effects are greatest where overdeepenings exist near the grounding line.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org 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 @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ 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.

      Past and present dynamics of Skelton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains
      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.

      Past and present dynamics of Skelton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains
      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.

      Past and present dynamics of Skelton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
Anderson, B.M., Hindmarsh, R.C.A. & Lawson, W.J. 2004. A modelling study of the response of Hatherton Glacier to Ross Ice Sheet grounding line retreat. Global and Planetary Change, 42, 143153.
Bockheim, J.G., Wilson, S.C., Denton, G.H., Andersen, B.G. & Stuiver, M. 1989. Late Quaternary ice-surface fluctuations of Hatherton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains. Quaternary Research, 31, 229254.
Cameron, R.L. & Goldthwait, R.P. 1961. The US-IGY contribution to Antarctic glaciology. International Association of Scientific Hydrology, 55, 713.
Colgan, W., Rajaram, H., Abdalati, W., McCutchan, C., Mottram, R., Moussavi, M.S. & Grigsby, S. 2016. Glacier crevasses: observations, models and mass balance implications. Reviews of Geophysics, 54, 10.1002/2015RG000504.
Crary, A.P. 1966. Mechanism for fiord formation indicated by studies of an ice-covered inlet. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 77, 911930.
Cuffey, K.M. & Paterson, W.S.B. 2010. The physics of glaciers, 4th ed. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 704 pp.
Davies, B.J., Golledge, N.R., Glasser, N.F., Carrivick, J.L., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Barrand, N.E., van den Broeke, M.R., Hambrey, M.J. & Smellie, J.L. 2014. Modelled glacier response to centennial temperature and precipitation trends on the Antarctic Peninsula. Nature Climate Change, 4, 993998.
Denton, G.H. & Marchant, D.R. 2000. The geologic basis for a reconstruction of a grounded ice sheet in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, at the Last Glacial Maximum. Geografiska Annaler - Physical Geography, A82, 167211.
Dupont, T.K. & Alley, R.B. 2005. Assessment of the importance of ice‐shelf buttressing to ice‐sheet flow. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, 10.1029/2004GL022024.
Dwyer, G.S. & Chandler, M.A. 2009. Mid-Pliocene sea level and continental ice volume based on coupled benthic Mg/Ca palaeotemperatures and oxygen isotopes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, A367, 157168.
Favier, L., Durand, G., Cornford, S.L., Gudmundsson, G.H., Gagliardini, O., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Zwinger, T., Payne, A.J. & Le Brocq, A.M. 2014. Retreat of Pine Island Glacier controlled by marine ice-sheet instability. Nature Climate Change, 4, 117121.
Fretwell, P., Pritchard, H.D., Vaughan, D.G. & 52 others. 2013. BEDMAP2: improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica. Cryosphere, 7, 375393.
Glasser, N.F. & Gudmundsson, G.H. 2012. Longitudinal surface structures (flowstripes) on Antarctic glaciers. Cryosphere, 6, 383391.
Golledge, N.R. & Levy, R.H. 2011. Geometry and dynamics of an East Antarctic Ice Sheet outlet glacier, under past and present climates. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 116, 10.1029/2011JF002028.
Golledge, N.R., Marsh, O.J., Rack, W., Braaten, D. & Jones, R.S. 2014. Basal conditions of two Transantarctic Mountains outlet glaciers from observation-constrained diagnostic modelling. Journal of Glaciology, 60, 855866.
Golledge, N.R., Kowalewski, D.E., Naish, T.R., Levy, R.H., Fogwill, C.J. & Gasson, E.G.W. 2015. The multi-millennial Antarctic commitment to future sea-level rise. Nature, 526, 421425.
Golledge, N.R., Levy, R.H., McKay, R.M., Fogwill, C.J., White, D.A., Graham, A.G.C., Smith, J.A., Hillenbrand, C.D., Licht, K.J., Denton, G.H., Ackert, R.P., Maas, S.M. & Hall, B.L. 2013. Glaciology and geological signature of the Last Glacial Maximum Antarctic ice sheet. Quaternary Science Reviews, 78, 225247.
Harig, C. & Simons, F.J. 2015. Accelerated West Antarctic ice mass loss continues to outpace East Antarctic gains. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 415, 134141.
Haywood, A.M., Hill, D.J., Dolan, A.M., et al. 2013. Large-scale features of Pliocene climate: results from the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project. Climate of the Past, 9, 191209.
Hulbe, C.L., Scambos, T.A., Youngberg, T. & Lamb, A.K. 2008. Patterns of glacier response to disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf, Antarctic Peninsula. Global and Planetary Change, 63, 18.
Jamieson, S.S.R., Vieli, A., Livingstone, S.J., Cofaigh, C.Ó., Stokes, C., Hillenbrand, C.D. & Dowdeswell, J.A. 2012. Ice-stream stability on a reverse bed slope. Nature Geoscience, 5, 799802.
Johnson, J.V. & Staiger, J.W. 2007. Modeling long-term stability of the Ferrar Glacier, East Antarctica: implications for interpreting cosmogenic nuclide inheritance. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 112, 10.1029/2006JF000599.
Kavanaugh, J.L. & Cuffey, K.M. 2009. Dynamics and mass balance of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica: 2. Force balance and longitudinal coupling. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 114, 10.1029/2009JF001329.
Lenaerts, J.T.M., van den Broeke, M.R., van de Berg, W.J., van Meijgaard, E. & Munneke, P.K. 2012. A new, high‐resolution surface mass balance map of Antarctica (1979–2010) based on regional atmospheric climate modeling. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, 10.1029/2011GL050713.
Miles, B.W.J., Stokes, C.R., Vieli, A. & Cox, N.J. 2013. Rapid, climate-driven changes in outlet glaciers on the Pacific coast of East Antarctica. Nature, 500, 563566.
Naish, T., Powell, R., Levy, R. & 53 others. 2009. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations. Nature, 458, 322328.
Oerlemans, J., Anderson, B., Hubbard, A., Huybrechts, P., Johannesson, T., Knap, W.H., Schmeits, M., Stroeven, A.P., van de Wal, R.S.W., Wallinga, J. & Zuo, Z. 1998. Modelling the response of glaciers to climate warming. Climate Dynamics, 14, 267274.
Pollard, D. & DeConto, R.M. 2009. Modelling West Antarctic ice sheet growth and collapse through the past five million years. Nature, 458, 329332.
Pritchard, H.D., Arthern, R.J., Vaughan, D.G. & Edwards, L.A. 2009. Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Nature, 461, 971975.
Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. & Scheuchl, B. 2011. Ice flow of the Antarctic ice sheet. Science, 333, 14271430.
Schoof, C. 2007. Ice sheet grounding line dynamics: steady states, stability, and hysteresis. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 112, 10.1029/2006JF000664.
Stearns, L.A., Smith, B.E. & Hamilton, G.S. 2008. Increased flow speed on a large East Antarctic outlet glacier caused by subglacial floods. Nature Geoscience, 1, 827831.
Steig, E.J., Brook, E.J., White, J.W.C., Sucher, C.M., Bender, M.L., Lehman, S.J., Morse, D.L., Waddington, E.D. & Clow, G.D. 1998. Synchronous climate changes in Antarctica and the North Atlantic. Science, 282, 9295.
Sugden, D.E., Marchant, D.R. & Denton, G.H. 1993. The case for a stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet: the background. Geografiska Annaler - Physical Geography, A75, 151154.
Wilson, C.R. & Crary, A.P. 1961. Ice movement studies on the Skelton Glacier. Journal of Glaciology, 3, 873878.
Winkelmann, R., Levermann, A., Martin, M.A. & Frieler, K. 2012. Increased future ice discharge from Antarctica owing to higher snowfall. Nature, 492, 239242.
Winter, D., Sjunneskog, C. & Harwood, D. 2010. Early to mid-Pliocene environmentally constrained diatom assemblages from the AND-1B drillcore, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Stratigraphy, 7, 207227.
Zoet, L.K., Anandakrishnan, S., Alley, R.B., Nyblade, A.A. & Wiens, D.A. 2012. Motion of an Antarctic glacier by repeated tidally modulated earthquakes. Nature Geoscience, 5, 623626.

Keywords

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Past and present dynamics of Skelton Glacier, Transantarctic Mountains

  • R.S. Jones (a1), N.R. Golledge (a1) (a2), A.N. Mackintosh (a1) (a3) and K.P. Norton (a3)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

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.