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Ice Stream Shear Margin Basal Melting, West Antarctica

by Beem, Lucas H.

Abstract (Summary)
Basal water lubricates and enables the anomalous flow feature of ice streams in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. As surface melt is insufficient to supply the base with the volume of water known to be there, basal melting must be the source of this water. How basal melt patterns vary spatial can be an insight into the dynamics of ice streams, which remain incompletely described by glaciological theory. Through a heuristic model extended from the work of Whillans and Van der Veen (2001) and Van der Veen et al. (2007) a spatial pattern of basal melt for the Whillans Ice Stream emerged that offer hypotheses for the onset of streaming flow, shear crevasse development and observed morphological changes of a slowing and widening ice stream. The limitations and the uncertainties of this model make the determination of exact basal melt rates difficult, but the patterns of melt rate distribution are robust. This allows for a perspective to better understand current dynamics and how basal melt may play a role in the ice stream's future development.
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Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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