239 results found
Rintoul SR, Chown SL, DeConto RM, et al., 2018, Choosing the future of Antarctica (vol 558, 233, 2018), NATURE, Vol: 562, Pages: E5-E5, ISSN: 0028-0836
Siegert MJ, Kennicutt MC, 2018, Governance of the exploration of subglacial Antarctica, Frontiers in Environmental Science, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2296-665X
Subglacial lakes, and their surrounding aqueous environments, are known to be viable yet extreme habitats for microbial life that may hold records of climate change spanning hundreds of thousands of years. Since the detection of Lake Vostok in 1996 plans have been developed to access, sample, and monitor these unique environments. Critical to these plans is assurance that contamination and disturbance is minimized in all aspects of the activity. Precisely how this is achieved has been a matter of international debate for many years culminating in the formulation of a “Code of Conduct” to guide responsible scientific exploration and stewardship of these pristine systems by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic research. The Code of Conduct was first introduced to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in 2011, influencing planning for three exploration programs. In May 2018, following several recent and operational advances, Antarctic Treaty Parties agreed to its use and dissemination, ensuring that subglacial lakes exploration and access is undertaken in a responsible, defensible, and fact-based manner. As our knowledge of subglacial lakes improves, so too will our appreciation of their scientific value and potential vulnerability. In other regions of Antarctica where value and vulnerabilities are high, Antarctic Specially Protected Areas and Antarctic Specially Managed Areas ensure long-term protection whilst allowing scientific access and study. Such governance models will be applicable to the conservation and protection of subglacial lake systems as scientific understanding of their form and functioning advances.
Jordan T, Williams C, Schroeder D, et al., 2018, A constraint upon the basal water distribution and thermal state of the Greenland Ice Sheet from radar bed echoes, The Cryosphere, Vol: 12, Pages: 2831-2854, ISSN: 1994-0416
There is widespread, but often indirect, evidence that a significant fraction of the bed beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet is thawed (at or above the pressure melting point for ice). This includes the beds of major outlet glaciers and their tributaries and a large area around the NorthGRIP borehole in the ice-sheet interior. The ice-sheet-scale distribution of basal water is, however, poorly constrained by existing observations. In principle, airborne radio-echo sounding (RES) enables the detection of basal water from bed-echo reflectivity, but unambiguous mapping is limited by uncertainty in signal attenuation within the ice. Here we introduce a new, RES diagnostic for basal water that is associated with wet–dry transitions in bed material: bed-echo reflectivity variability. This technique acts as a form of edge detector and is a sufficient, but not necessary, criteria for basal water. However, the technique has the advantage of being attenuation insensitive and suited to combined analysis of over a decade of Operation IceBridge survey data.The basal water predictions are compared with existing analyses of the basal thermal state (frozen and thawed beds) and geothermal heat flux. In addition to the outlet glaciers, we demonstrate widespread water storage in the northern and eastern interior. Notably, we observe a quasilinear corridor of basal water extending from NorthGRIP to Petermann Glacier that spatially correlates with elevated heat flux predicted by a recent magnetic model. Finally, with a general aim to stimulate regional- and process-specific investigations, the basal water predictions are compared with bed topography, subglacial flow paths and ice-sheet motion. The basal water distribution, and its relationship with the thermal state, provides a new constraint for numerical models.
Jordan TM, Williams CN, Schroeder DM, et al., A constraint upon the basal water distribution and basal thermal state of the Greenland Ice Sheet from radar bed-echoes, The Cryosphere, ISSN: 1994-0416
<jats:p>&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Abstract.&lt;/strong&gt; There is widespread, but often indirect, evidence that a significant fraction of the bed beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet is thawed (at or above the pressure melting point for ice). This includes the beds of major outlet glaciers and their tributaries and a large area around the NorthGRIP borehole in the ice-sheet interior. The ice-sheet scale distribution of basal water is, however, poorly constrained by existing observations. In principle, airborne radio-echo sounding (RES) enables the detection of basal water from bed-echo reflectivity, but unambiguous mapping is limited by uncertainty in signal attenuation. Here we introduce a new RES diagnostic for basal water that is associated with wet to dry transitions in bed material: bed-echo reflectivity variability. Importantly, this diagnostic is demonstrated to be attenuation-insensitive and the technique enables combined analysis of over a decade of Operation IceBridge survey data. The basal water predictions are compared with existing analyses for the basal thermal state (frozen and thawed beds) and geothermal heat flux. In addition to the outlet glaciers, we demonstrate widespread water storage in the northern and eastern interior. Notably, we observe a quasi-linear &amp;#8216;corridor&amp;#8217; of basal water extending from NorthGRIP to Petermann glacier that spatially correlates with elevated heat flux predicted by a recent magnetic model. Finally, with a general aim to stimulate regional and process specific investigations, the basal water predictions are compared with bed topography, subglacial flow paths, and ice-sheet motion. The basal water distribution, and its relationship with the basal thermal state, provides a new constraint for numerical models.&lt;/p&gt; </jats:p>
Colleoni F, De Santis L, Siddoway CS, et al., 2018, Publisher correction: Spatio-temporal variability of processes across Antarctic ice-bed-ocean interfaces (vol 9, 2289, 2018), Nature Communications, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2041-1723
Colleoni F, De Santis L, Siddoway CS, et al., 2018, Spatio-temporal variability of processes across Antarctic ice-bed–ocean interfaces, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2041-1723
Understanding how the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to global warming relies on knowledge of how it has behaved in the past. The use of numerical models, the only means to quantitatively predict the future, is hindered by limitations to topographic data both now and in the past, and in knowledge of how subsurface oceanic, glaciological and hydrological processes interact. Incorporating the variety and interplay of such processes, operating at multiple spatio-temporal scales, is critical to modeling the Antarctic’s system evolution and requires direct observations in challenging locations. As these processes do not observe disciplinary boundaries neither should our future research.
We present two narratives on the future of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, from the perspective of an observer looking back from 2070. In the first scenario, greenhouse gas emissions remained unchecked, the climate continued to warm, and the policy response was ineffective; this had large ramifications in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, with worldwide impacts. In the second scenario, ambitious action was taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to establish policies that reduced anthropogenic pressure on the environment, slowing the rate of change in Antarctica. Choices made in the next decade will determine what trajectory is realized.
Jeofry H, Ross N, Corr HFJ, et al., 2018, A new bed elevation model for the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Earth System Science Data, Vol: 10, Pages: 711-725, ISSN: 1866-3508
We present a new digital elevation model (DEM) of the bed, with a 1 km gridding, of the Weddell Sea (WS) sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The DEM has a total area of ∼ 125 000 km2 covering the Institute, Möller and Foundation ice streams, as well as the Bungenstock ice rise. In comparison with the Bedmap2 product, our DEM includes new aerogeophysical datasets acquired by the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) through the NASA Operation IceBridge (OIB) program in 2012, 2014 and 2016. We also improve bed elevation information from the single largest existing dataset in the region, collected by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Polarimetric radar Airborne Science Instrument (PASIN) in 2010–2011, from the relatively crude measurements determined in the field for quality control purposes used in Bedmap2. While the gross form of the new DEM is similar to Bedmap2, there are some notable differences. For example, the position and size of a deep subglacial trough (∼ 2 km below sea level) between the ice-sheet interior and the grounding line of the Foundation Ice Stream have been redefined. From the revised DEM, we are able to better derive the expected routing of basal water and, by comparison with that calculated using Bedmap2, we are able to assess regions where hydraulic flow is sensitive to change. Given the potential vulnerability of this sector to ocean-induced melting at the grounding line, especially in light of the improved definition of the Foundation Ice Stream trough, our revised DEM will be of value to ice-sheet modelling in efforts to quantify future glaciological changes in the region and, from this, the potential impact on global sea level. The new 1 km bed elevation product of the WS sector can be found at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1035488.
Jeofry H, Ross N, Corr HFJ, et al., 2018, A new bed elevation model for the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Earth System Science Data, ISSN: 1866-3508
Parrenin F, Cavitte MGP, Blankenship DD, et al., 2017, Is there 1.5 million-year old ice near Dome C, Antarctica?, The Cryosphere, Vol: 11, Pages: 2427-2437, ISSN: 1994-0416
Ice sheets provide exceptional archives of past changes in polar climate, regional environment and global atmospheric composition. The oldest dated deep ice core drilled in Antarctica has been retrieved at EPICA Dome C (EDC), reaching ∼ 800 000 years. Obtaining an older paleoclimatic record from Antarctica is one of the greatest challenges of the ice core community. Here, we use internal isochrones, identified from airborne radar coupled to ice-flow modelling to estimate the age of basal ice along transects in the Dome C area. Three glaciological properties are inferred from isochrones: surface accumulation rate, geothermal flux and the exponent of the Lliboutry velocity profile. We find that old ice (> 1.5 Myr, 1.5 million years) likely exists in two regions: one ∼ 40 km south-west of Dome C along the ice divide to Vostok, close to a secondary dome that we name Little Dome C (LDC), and a second region named North Patch (NP) located 10–30 km north-east of Dome C, in a region where the geothermal flux is apparently relatively low. Our work demonstrates the value of combining radar observations with ice flow modelling to accurately represent the true nature of ice flow, and understand the formation of ice-sheet architecture, in the centre of large ice sheets.
Siegert MJ, Jamieson SSR, White D, 2017, Exploration of subsurface Antarctica: uncovering past changes and modern processes, Geological Society Special Publications, Vol: Special Publications, ISSN: 0305-8719
The Antarctic continent, which contains enough ice to raise sea level globally by around 60 m, is the last major scientific frontier on our planet. We know far more about the surfaces of the Moon, Mars and around half of Pluto than we do about the underside of the Antarctic ice sheet. Geophysical exploration is the key route to measuring the ice sheet's internal structure and the land on which the ice rests. From such measurements, we are able to reveal how the ice sheet flows, and how it responds to atmospheric and ocean warming. By examining landscapes that have been moulded by former ice flow, we are able to identify how the ice sheet behaved in the past. Geophysics is therefore critical to understanding change in Antarctica.
Morlighem M, Williams C, Rignot E, et al., 2017, BedMachine v3: Complete bed topography and ocean bathymetry mapping of Greenland from multi-beam radar sounding combined with mass conservation, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 44, Pages: 11,051-11,061, ISSN: 0094-8276
Greenland’s bed topography is a primary control on ice flow, grounding line migration,calving dynamics, and subglacial drainage. Moreover, fjord bathymetry regulates the penetration of warmAtlantic water (AW) that rapidly melts and undercuts Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers. Here wepresent a new compilation of Greenland bed topography that assimilates seafloor bathymetry and icethickness data through a mass conservation approach. A new 150 m horizontal resolution bed topography/bathymetric map of Greenland is constructed with seamless transitions at the ice/ocean interface, yieldingmajor improvements over previous data sets, particularly in the marine-terminating sectors of northwestand southeast Greenland. Our map reveals that the total sea level potential of the Greenland ice sheetis 7.42 ± 0.05 m, which is 7 cm greater than previous estimates. Furthermore, it explains recent calvingfront response of numerous outlet glaciers and reveals new pathways by which AW can access glacierswith marine-based basins, thereby highlighting sectors of Greenland that are most vulnerable to futureoceanic forcing.
Beem LH, Cavitte MGP, Blankenship DD, et al., 2017, Ice-flow reorganization within the East Antarctic Ice Sheet deep interior, Special Publication - Geological Society of London, Vol: 461, ISSN: 0305-8719
Near the South Pole, a large subglacial lake exists beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet less than 10 km from where the bed temperature is inferred to be −9°C. A thermodynamic model was used to investigate the apparent contradiction of basal water existing in the vicinity of a cold bed. Model results indicate that South Pole Lake is freezing and that neither present-day geothermal flux nor ice flow is capable of producing the necessary heat to sustain basal water at this location. We hypothesize that the lake comprises relict water formed during a different configuration of ice dynamics when significant frictional heating from ice sliding was available. Additional modelling of assumed basal sliding shows frictional heating was capable of producing the necessary heat to fill South Pole Lake. Independent evidence of englacial structures measured by airborne radar revel ice-sheet flow was more dynamic in the past. Ice sliding is estimated to have ceased between 16.8 and 10.7 ka based on an ice chronology from a nearby borehole. These findings reveal major post-Last Glacial Maximum ice-dynamic change within the interior of East Antarctica, demonstrating that the present interior ice flow is different than that under full glacial conditions.
Siegert MJ, 2017, Why Should We Worry About Sea Level Change?, Frontiers for Young Minds, Vol: 5
Around 250 million people live by the coast, less than 5 m above the sea. Changes in sea level affect people through flooding, when water in rivers cannot flow into the ocean because the sea is too high and when seawater surges onto the land during storms. If the sea water finds its way to farms and reservoirs, it can harm our drinking water and our ability to grow crops. Because of this, knowledge of how and why sea level is changing is of importance to society.
Wrona T, Wolovick M, Ferraccioli F, et al., 2017, Position and variability of complex structures in the central East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Special Publication - Geological Society of London, Vol: 461, ISSN: 0305-8719
Although the flow of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is well constrained from surface measurements and altimetry, our knowledge of the dynamic processes within the ice sheet remains limited. Recent high-resolution radar data from the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains in central East Antarctica reveal a series of anomalous englacial reflectors in the lower half of the ice column that cannot be explained by conventional ice flow. Expanding on previous analyses, we describe the geometrical and morphological features of 12 of these anomalous reflectors. Our description reveals a previously unacknowledged diversity in size, geometry and internal structure of these reflectors. We are able to identify four distinct morphological features: (1) fingers; (2) inclusions; (3) sheets; and (4) folds. The ‘fingers’ and ‘inclusions’ probably form by shear instabilities at the boundary between the reflectors and the surrounding meteoric ice. The ‘sheets’ highlight that basal ice can be uplifted off of the bed and above surrounding meteoric ice, and the ‘folds’ may have formed in local regions of converging flow associated with subglacial topography. The study provides key insights into the rheology, stress and deformational regimes deep within the central East Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Jeofry H, Ross N, Corr H, et al., 2017, A deep subglacial embayment adjacent to the grounding line of Institute Ice Stream, West Antarctica, Special Publication - Geological Society of London, Vol: Special Publications 461, ISSN: 0305-8719
The Institute Ice Stream (IIS) in West Antarctica may be increasingly vulnerable to melting at the grounding line through modifications in ocean circulation. Understanding such change requires knowledge of grounding-line boundary conditions, including the topography on which it rests. Here, we discuss evidence from new radio-echo sounding (RES) data on the subglacial topography adjacent to the grounding line of the IIS. In doing so, we reveal a previously unknown subglacial embayment immediately inland of the IIS grounding zone which is not represented in the Bedmap2 compilation. We discuss whether there is an open-water connection between the embayment and the ice-shelf cavity. The exact location of the grounding line over the embayment has been the subject of considerable uncertainty, with several positions being proposed recently. From our compilation of data, we are able to explain which of these grounding lines is most likely and, in doing so, highlight the need for accurate bed topography in conjunction with satellite observations to fully comprehend ice-sheet processes in this region and other vulnerable locations at the grounded margin of Antarctica.
Siegert MJ, Bangbing W, Sun B, et al., 2017, Summit of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet underlain by thick ice-crystal fabric layers linked to glacial-interglacial environmental change, Special Publication - Geological Society of London, Vol: Special Publications, ISSN: 0305-8719
Ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland reveal ice-crystal fabrics that can be softer under simple shear compared with isotropic ice. Due to the sparseness of ice cores in regions away from the ice divide, we currently lack information about the spatial distribution of ice fabrics and its association with ice flow. Radio-wave reflections are influenced by ice-crystal alignments, allowing them to be tracked provided reflections are recorded simultaneously in orthogonal orientations (polarimetric measurements). Here, we image spatial variations in the thickness and extent of ice fabric across Dome A in East Antarctica, by interpreting polarimetric radar data. We identify four prominent fabric units, each several hundred meters thick, extending over hundreds of square km. By tracing internal ice-sheet layering to the Vostok ice core, we are able to determine the approximate depth-age profile at Dome A. The fabric units correlate with glacial-interglacial cycles, most noticeably revealing crystal alignment contrasts between the Eemian and the glacial episodes before and after. The anisotropy within these fabric layers has a spatial pattern determined by ice flow over subglacial topography.
Siegert MJ, Kulessa B, Bougamont M, et al., 2017, Antarctic subglacial groundwater: a concept paper on its measurement and potential influence on ice flow, Special Publication - Geological Society of London, Vol: Special Publications, ISSN: 0305-8719
Is groundwater abundant in Antarctica and does it modulate ice flow? Answering this question matters because ice streams flow by gliding over a wet substrate of till. Water fed to ice-stream beds thus influences ice-sheet dynamics and, potentially, sea-level rise. It is recognised that both till and the sedimentary basins from which it originates are porous and could host a reservoir of mobile groundwater that interacts with the subglacial interfacial system. According to recent numerical modelling up to half of all water available for basal lubrication, and time lags between hydrological forcing and ice-sheet response as long as millennia, may have been overlooked in models of ice flow. Here, we review evidence in support of Antarctic groundwater and propose how it can be measured to ascertain the extent to which it modulates ice flow. We present new seismoelectric soundings of subglacial till, and magnetotelluric and transient electromagnetic forward models of subglacial groundwater reservoirs. We demonstrate that multi-facetted and integrated geophysical datasets can detect, delineate and quantify the groundwater contents of subglacial sedimentary basins and, potentially, monitor groundwater exchange rates between subglacial till layers. The paper thus describes a new area of glaciological investigation and how it should progress in future.
Siegert MJ, 2017, A 60-year international history of Antarctic subglacial lake exploration, Special Publications (Geological Society London), Vol: Special Publications, ISSN: 0305-8719
In January 2013, theUS WISSARD programmemeasured and sampled Lake Whillans, a subglacial water body at the edge of West Antarctica, in a clean and environmentally sensitive manner, proving the existence of microbial life beneath this part of the ice sheet. The success of WISSARD represented benchmark in the exploration of Antarctica, made possible by a rich and diverse history of events, discoveries and discussions over the past 60 years; ranging from geophysical measurement of subglacial lakes, to the development of scientific hypotheses concerning these environments and the engineering solutions required to testthem. In this article, I provide a personal account of this history, fromthe published literature andmy own involvement in subglacial lake exploration over the last 20 years. I show that our ability to directly measure and sample subglacial water bodies in Antarctica has been made possible by a strong theme of international collaboration, at odds with the media representation of a scientific ‘race’ between nations. I also consider plans for subglacial lake explorationand discuss how such collaboration is likely to be key to success of future research in this field.
Jordan T, Cooper M, Schroeder D, et al., 2017, Self-affine subglacial roughness: consequences for radar scattering and basal thaw discrimination in northern Greenland, Cryosphere, Vol: 11, Pages: 1247-1264, ISSN: 1994-0424
Subglacial roughness can be determined at a variety of length scales from radio-echo sounding (RES) data either via statistical analysis of topography or inferred from basal radar scattering. Past studies have demonstrated that subglacial terrain exhibits self-affine (power law) roughness scaling behaviour, but existing radar scattering models do not take this into account. Here, using RES data from northern Greenland, we introduce a self-affine statistical framework that enables a consistent integration of topographic-scale roughness with the electromagnetic theory of radar scattering. We demonstrate that the degree of radar scattering, quantified using the waveform abruptness (pulse peakiness), is topographically controlled by the Hurst (roughness power law) exponent. Notably, specular bed reflections are associated with a lower Hurst exponent, with diffuse scattering associated with a higher Hurst exponent. Abrupt waveforms (specular reflections) have previously been used as a RES diagnostic for basal water, and to test this assumption we compare our radar scattering map with a recent prediction for the basal thermal state. We demonstrate that the majority of thawed regions (above pressure melting point) exhibit a diffuse scattering signature, which is in contradiction to the prior approach. Self-affine statistics provide a generalised model for subglacial terrain and can improve our understanding of the relationship between basal properties and ice-sheet dynamics.
Jordan TM, Cooper MA, Schroeder DM, et al., Self-affine subglacial roughness: consequences for radar scattering and basal thaw discrimination in northern Greenland, The Cryosphere, ISSN: 1994-0416
<jats:p>&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Abstract.&lt;/strong&gt; Subglacial roughness can be determined at variety of length scales from radio-echo sounding (RES) data; either via statistical analysis of along-track topography, or inferred from basal radar scattering. Past studies have demonstrated that subglacial terrain exhibits self-affine (fractal) scaling behaviour, where vertical roughness has a power-law relationship with the horizontal length scale. A self-affine statistical framework, which enables a consistent integration of topographic roughness and radar scattering, has yet to be applied to RES. Here we do this for recent RES data from northern Greenland, and demonstrate that subglacial topography exhibits pronounced spatial variation in the Hurst (roughness power-law) exponent. A radar scattering model then enables us to explain how the Hurst exponent exerts strong topographic control upon radar scattering, which we map using the waveform abruptness (pulse peakiness) parameter. Notably, lower abruptness (associated with diffuse scattering) occurs for regions with a higher Hurst exponent, and higher abruptness (associated with specular reflections) occurs for regions with a lower Hurst exponent. Finally, we compare the RES-derived data with an independent prediction for the subglacial thermal state of northern Greenland. This analysis shows that the majority of predicted thawed regions do not have the specular RES scattering signature of deep subglacial lakes, and instead have a diffuse scattering signature.&lt;/p&gt; </jats:p>
Graham F, Roberts J, Galton-Fenzi B, et al., 2017, A high-resolution synthetic bed elevation grid of the Antarctic continent, Earth System Science Data, Vol: 9, Pages: 267-279, ISSN: 1866-3516
Digital elevation models of Antarctic bed topography are smoothed and interpolated onto low-resolution ( > 1 km) grids as current observed topography data are generally sparsely and unevenly sampled. This issue has potential implications for numerical simulations of ice-sheet dynamics, especially in regions prone to instability where detailed knowledge of the topography, including fine-scale roughness, is required. Here, we present a high-resolution (100 m) synthetic bed elevation terrain for Antarctica, encompassing the continent, continental shelf, and seas south of 60° S. Although not identically matching observations, the synthetic bed surface – denoted as HRES – preserves topographic roughness characteristics of airborne and ground-based ice-penetrating radar data measured by the ICECAP (Investigating the Cryospheric Evolution of the Central Antarctic Plate) consortium or used to create the Bedmap1 compilation. Broad-scale ( > 5 km resolution) features of the Antarctic landscape are incorporated using a low-pass filter of the Bedmap2 bed elevation data. HRES has applicability in high-resolution ice-sheet modelling studies, including investigations of the interaction between topography, ice-sheet dynamics, and hydrology, where processes are highly sensitive to bed elevations and fine-scale roughness. The data are available for download from the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (doi:10.4225/15/57464ADE22F50).
Roberts J, Galton-Fenzi B, Paolo F, et al., Ocean forced variability of Totten Glacier mass loss, Special Publication - Geological Society of London, ISSN: 0305-8719
A large volume of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet drains through the Totten Glacier (TG) and is thought to be a potential source of substantial global sea level rise over the coming centuries. We show the flow and surface height of floating part of TG, which buttresses the grounded component, have varied substantially over two decades (1989–2011), with variations in surface height and basal melt rates highly anti-correlated (r=0.70, p<0.05). Coupled glacier/ice-shelf simulations confirm ice flow and thickness respond to both basal melting of the ice shelf and grounding on bed obstacles. We conclude the observed variability of TG is primarily ocean-driven and enhanced ice-sheet dynamism, leading to upstream grounded ice loss, will occur from the region with ocean warming.
Willams CN, Cornford SL, Jordan TM, et al., 2017, Generating synthetic fjord bathymetry for coastal Greenland, Cryosphere, Vol: 11, Pages: 363-380, ISSN: 1994-0424
Bed topography is a critical boundary for the numerical modelling of ice sheets and ice–ocean interactions. A persistent issue with existing topography products for the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet and surrounding sea floor is the poor representation of coastal bathymetry, especially in regions of floating ice and near the grounding line. Sparse data coverage, and the resultant coarse resolution at the ice–ocean boundary, poses issues in our ability to model ice flow advance and retreat from the present position. In addition, as fjord bathymetry is known to exert strong control on ocean circulation and ice–ocean forcing, the lack of bed data leads to an inability to model these processes adequately. Since the release of the last complete Greenland bed topography–bathymetry product, new observational bathymetry data have become available. These data can be used to constrain bathymetry, but many fjords remain completely unsampled and therefore poorly resolved. Here, as part of the development of the next generation of Greenland bed topography products, we present a new method for constraining the bathymetry of fjord systems in regions where data coverage is sparse. For these cases, we generate synthetic fjord geometries using a method conditioned by surveys of terrestrial glacial valleys as well as existing sinuous feature interpolation schemes. Our approach enables the capture of the general bathymetry profile of a fjord in north-west Greenland close to Cape York, when compared to observational data. We validate our synthetic approach by demonstrating reduced overestimation of depths compared to past attempts to constrain fjord bathymetry. We also present an analysis of the spectral characteristics of fjord centrelines using recently acquired bathymetric observations, demonstrating how a stochastic model of fjord bathymetry could be parameterised and used to create different realisations.
Williams CN, Cornford SL, Jordan TM, et al., Generating synthetic fjord bathymetry for coastal Greenland, The Cryosphere, ISSN: 1994-0416
<jats:p>&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Abstract.&lt;/strong&gt; Bed topography is a critical boundary for the numerical modelling of ice sheets and ice-ocean interactions. A persistent issue with existing topography products for the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet and surrounding sea floor is the poor representation of coastal bathymetry, especially in regions of floating ice and near the grounding line. Sparse data coverage, and the resultant coarse resolution at the ice/ocean boundary, poses issues in our ability to model ice flow advance and retreat from the present position. In addition, as fjord bathymetry is known to exert strong control on ocean circulation and ice-ocean forcing, the lack of bed data leads to an inability to model these processes adequately. Since the release of the last complete Greenland bed topography-bathymetry product, new observational bathymetry data have become available. These data can be used to constrain bathymetry, but many fjords remain completely unsampled and therefore poorly resolved. Here, as part of the development of the next generation of Greenland bed topography products, we present a new method for constraining the bathymetry of fjord systems in regions where data coverage is sparse. For these cases, we generate synthetic fjord geometries using a method conditioned by surveys of terrestrial glacial valleys as well as existing sinuous feature interpolation schemes. Our approach enables the capture of the general bathymetry profile of a fjord in North West Greenland close to Cape York, when compared to observational data. We validate our synthetic approach by demonstrating reduced over-estimation of depths compared to past attempts to constrain fjord bathymetry. We also present an analysis of the spectral characteristics of fjord centrelines using recently acquired bathymetric observations, demonstrating how a stochastic model of fjord bathymetry could be parameterised and used
Siegert MJ, 2016, Vulnerable Antarctic ice shelves, Nature Climate Change, Vol: 7, Pages: 11-12, ISSN: 1758-6798
Standfirst: The decay of floating ice shelves around Antarctica speeds up ice flow from the continent and enhances sea-level rise. Now meltwater attributed to warm winds has been discovered on an East Antarctic ice shelf, suggesting greater vulnerability than previously thought.
Maritati A, Aitken ARA, Young DA, et al., 2016, The tectonic development and rrosion of the knox subglacial sedimentary basin, East Antarctica, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 43, Pages: 10728-10737, ISSN: 1944-8007
Sedimentary basins beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) have immense potential to inform models of the tectonic evolution of East Antarctica and its ice-sheet. However, even basic characteristics such as thickness and extent are often unknown. Using airborne geophysical data, we resolve the tectonic architecture of the Knox Subglacial Sedimentary Basin in western Wilkes Land. In addition, we apply an erosion restoration model to reconstruct the original basin geometry for which we resolve geometry typical of a transtensional pull-apart basin. The tectonic architecture strongly indicates formation as a consequence of the rifting of India from East Gondwana from ca. 160-130 Ma, and we suggest a spatial link with the western Mentelle Basin offshore Western Australia. The erosion restoration model shows that erosion is confined within the rift margins, suggesting that rift structure has strongly influenced the evolution of the Denman and Scott ice streams.
Kennicutt MC, Kim YD, Rogan-Finnemore M, et al., 2016, Delivering 21st century Antarctic and Southern Ocean science, Antarctic Science, Vol: 28, Pages: 407-423, ISSN: 1365-2079
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
Roberts J, Curran M, Poynter S, et al., 2016, Correlation confidence limits for unevenly sampled data, Computers & Geosciences, Vol: 104, Pages: 120-124, ISSN: 0098-3004
Estimation of correlation with appropriate uncertainty limits for scientific data that are potentially serially correlated is a common problem made seriously challenging especially when data are sampled unevenly in space and/or time. Here we present a new, robust method for estimating correlation with uncertainty limits between autocorrelated series that does not require either resampling or interpolation. The technique employs the Gaussian kernel method with a bootstrapping resampling approach to derive the probability density function and resulting uncertainties. The method is validated using an example from radar geophysics. Autocorrelation and error bounds are estimated for an airborne radio-echo profile of ice sheet thickness. The computed limits are robust when withholding 10%, 20%, and 50% of data. As a further example, the method is applied to two time-series of methanesulphonic acid in Antarctic ice cores from different sites. We show how the method allows evaluation of the significance of correlation where the signal-to-noise ratio is low and reveals that the two ice cores exhibit a significant common signal.
Jordan T, Bamber J, Williams C, et al., 2016, An ice sheet wide framework for radar-inference of englacial attenuation and basal reflection with application to Greenland, Cryosphere, Vol: 10, Pages: 1547-1570, ISSN: 1994-0424
Radar inference of the bulk properties of glacierbeds, most notably identifying basal melting, is, in general,derived from the basal reflection coefficient. On the scale ofan ice sheet, unambiguous determination of basal reflectionis primarily limited by uncertainty in the englacial attenuationof the radio wave, which is an Arrhenius function oftemperature. Existing bed-returned power algorithms for derivingattenuation assume that the attenuation rate is regionallyconstant, which is not feasible at an ice-sheet-wide scale.Here we introduce a new semi-empirical framework for derivingenglacial attenuation, and, to demonstrate its efficacy,we apply it to the Greenland Ice Sheet. A central featureis the use of a prior Arrhenius temperature model to estimatethe spatial variation in englacial attenuation as a firstguess input for the radar algorithm. We demonstrate regionsof solution convergence for two input temperature fields andfor independently analysed field campaigns. The coverageachieved is a trade-off with uncertainty and we propose thatthe algorithm can be “tuned” for discrimination of basal melt(attenuation loss uncertainty ∼ 5 dB). This is supported byour physically realistic (∼ 20 dB) range for the basal reflectioncoefficient. Finally, we show that the attenuation solutioncan be used to predict the temperature bias of thermomechanicalice sheet models and is in agreement with known modeltemperature biases at the Dye 3 ice core.
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