A comparative modeling study of the Brunt Ice Shelf/Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue system, East Antarctica

A. HUMBERT, T. KLEINER, C.-O. MOHRHOLZ, C. OELKE, R. GREVE and M. A. LANGE


Abstract

Two diagnostic, dynamic/thermodynamic ice-shelf models are applied to the Brunt Ice Shelf/Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue system, located off Caird Coast, Coats Land, Antarctica. The Brunt Ice Shelf/Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue system is characterized as a thin, unbounded ice shelf with an atypical and highly heterogeneous structure. In contrast to other ice shelves, a composite mass of icebergs that calved at the grounding line and were then locked within fast (sea) ice exists between the fast-moving Stancomb-Wills Ice Stream and the slow-moving Brunt Ice Shelf. We simulate the present flow regime of the ice shelf that results from the ice-thickness distribution and the inflow at the grounding line with two different models, and compare the model results with feature tracking and InSAR flow velocities. We then incorporate two observed features, a rift and a shear margin, into the models with two different approaches, and demonstrate the effects of variations in numerical values for the shear strength and viscosity in these zones on the simulated velocity field. A major result is that both kinds of implementation of the rifts lead to similar effects on the entire velocity field, while there are discrepancies in the vicinity of the rifts.


Journal of Glaciology 55 (189), 53-65 (2009).

 
Last modified: 2009-02-12