Marine ice-cliff instability modeling shows mixed-mode ice-cliff failure and yields calving rate parameterization

Anna Crawford, Douglas I Benn, Joe Todd, Jan Åström, Jeremy Bassis, Thomas Zwinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Marine ice-cliff instability could accelerate ice loss from Antarctica, and according to some model predictions could potentially contribute >1 m of global mean sea level rise by 2100 at current emission rates. Regions with over-deepening basins >1 km in depth (e.g., the West Antarctic Ice Sheet) are particularly susceptible to this instability, as retreat could expose increasingly tall cliffs that could exceed ice stability thresholds. Here, we use a suite of high-fidelity glacier models to improve understanding of the modes through which ice cliffs can structurally fail and derive a conservative ice-cliff failure retreat rate parameterization for ice-sheet models. Our results highlight the respective roles of viscous deformation, shear-band formation, and brittle-tensile failure within marine ice-cliff instability. Calving rates increase non-linearly with cliff height, but runaway ice-cliff retreat can be inhibited by viscous flow and back force from iceberg mélange.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2701
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021

Keywords

  • Glaciology
  • Calving
  • Ice failure

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Marine ice-cliff instability modeling shows mixed-mode ice-cliff failure and yields calving rate parameterization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this