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Variability in ice motion at a land-terminating Greenlandic outlet glacier: the role of channelized and distributed drainage systems

  • TOM COWTON (a1), PETER NIENOW (a1), ANDREW SOLE (a2), IAN BARTHOLOMEW (a1) and DOUGLAS MAIR (a3)...
Abstract
ABSTRACT

We use a combination of field observations and hydrological modelling to examine the mechanisms through which variability in meltwater input affects ice motion at a land-terminating Greenlandic outlet glacier. We find a close agreement between horizontal ice velocity, vertical ice velocity and modelled subglacial water pressure over the course of a melt season. On this basis, we argue that variation in horizontal and vertical ice velocity primarily reflects the displacement of basal ice during periods of cavity expansion and contraction, a process itself driven by fluctuations in basal water pressure originating in subglacial channels. This process is not captured by traditional sliding laws linking water pressure and basal velocity, which may hinder the simulation of realistic diurnal to seasonal variability in ice velocity in coupled models of glacial hydrology and dynamics.

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      Variability in ice motion at a land-terminating Greenlandic outlet glacier: the role of channelized and distributed drainage systems
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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Tom Cowton <tom.cowton@ed.ac.uk>
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