EARTH SCIENCE > Hydrosphere > Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Motion/Ice Sheet Motion

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  • Glacial outlines of the APIS (Antarctica Peninsula Ice Sheet) for 1988, 2001, 2009. This is now incorporated into the GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) project.

  • Polarimetric phase-sensitive radar measurements were collected at the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide on the 25th and 26th December 2019. The measurements were conducted at 10 sites along a 6 km-long transect ~5-10 km northeast of the location of the WAIS Divide Deep Ice Core. At each site, a suite of four quadrature (quad-) polarimetric measurements were collected using an autonomous phase-sensitive radio echo sounder (ApRES) in a single-input single-output (SISO) configuration. The study is part of the Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution (TIME) project of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC), and is a collaboration between the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United Kingdom Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It was funded by UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) research grant NE/S006788/1 and USA National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant 1739027.

  • During the 2007-08 summer field season 15 GPS receivers, recording position observations every 15 seconds for 24 hours a day, were successfully deployed over the Larsen C and Filchner-Ronne ice shelves. Six of these stations were uplifted at the end of the field season with the remaining stations left to operate over the 2008 Antarctic winter. Some had systems designed to power the instruments through the winter using either solar+wind or lithium batteries. The other sites only had solar power and would only run until the autumn, and then perhaps again in the spring. The 2008-9 field season was dedicated to retrieving the instrumentation.

  • A transect of cores was taken from shelf to deep sea west of the Antarctic Peninsula off Marguerite Bay using a 12 m RVS piston corer, box corer and BGS vibrocorer deployed from RSS James Clark Ross cruise JR71 (12 days sea-time in 2001-2002). Successful coring and examination of sediments now on and immediately beneath the sea floor, which provided the deforming bed of the former ice stream, enhanced our understanding of conditions beneath ice streams. Data was collected as part of a project was to reconstruct the Late Quaternary dynamics of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet in Marguerite Bay and to compare sedimentation and ice-rafted debris records with the Larsen Ice Shelf area, on the other side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The mapping of streamlined sedimentary bedforms on the outer shelf has allowed the dimensions of a former fast-flowing ice stream present at the Last Glacial Maximum to be defined. This, in turn, enabled estimates of the past magnitude of ice flow through this glacial system to be calculated.

  • Uncertainties in future sea level projections are dominated by our limited understanding of the dynamical processes that control instabilities of marine ice sheets. A valuable case to examine these processes is the last deglaciation of the British-Irish Ice Sheet. The Minch Ice Stream, which drained a large proportion of ice from the northwest sector of the British-Irish Ice Sheet during the last deglaciation, is well constrained, with abundant empirical data which could be used to inform, validate and analyse numerical ice sheet simulations. We use BISICLES, a higher-order ice sheet model, to examine the dynamical processes that controlled the retreat of the Minch Ice Stream. We simulate retreat from the shelf edge under constant "warm" surface mass balance and subshelf melt, to isolate the role of internal ice dynamics from external forcings. The model simulates a slowdown of retreat as the ice stream becomes laterally confined at a "pinning-point" between mainland Scotland and the Isle of Lewis. At this stage, the presence of ice shelves became a major control on deglaciation, providing buttressing to upstream ice. Subsequently, the presence of a reverse slope inside the Minch Strait produces an acceleration in retreat, leading to a "collapsed" state, even when the climate returns to the initial "cold" conditions. Our simulations demonstrate the importance of the Marine Ice Sheet Instability and ice shelf buttressing during the deglaciation of parts of the British-Irish Ice Sheet. Thus, geological data could be used to constrain these processes in ice sheet models used for projecting the future of our contemporary ice sheets. Funding was provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) SPHERES Doctoral Training Partnership (NE/L002574/1) with CASE support from the British Geological Survey.

  • Sediments cores collected aboard the RRS James Clark Ross (JR104) in the Bellingshausen Sea, 2004. This work was carried out as part of the first systematic investigation of the former ice drainage basin in the southern Bellingshausen Sea. Reconnaissance data collected on previous cruises JR04 (1993) and cruises of R/V Polarstern in 1994 and 1995 suggested that this area contained the outlet of a very large ice drainage basin during late Quaternary glacial periods. The data and samples collected allowed us to address questions about the timing and rate of grounding line retreat from the continental shelf, the dynamic character of the ice that covered the shelf, and its influence on glaciomarine processes on the adjacent continental slope.