214 results found
Pozo C, Limleamthong P, Guo Y, et al., 2019, Temporal sustainability efficiency analysis of urban areas via Data Envelopment Analysis and the hypervolume indicator: Application to London boroughs, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol: 239, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 0959-6526
Transitioning towards a more sustainable society calls for systematic tools to assess the sustainability performance of urban systems. To perform this task effectively, this work introduces a novel method based on the combined use of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and the hypervolume indicator. In essence, DEA is applied to (i) distinguish between efficient and inefficient urban systems through the identification of best practices; and to (ii) establish improvement targets for the inefficient urban systems that, if attained, would make them efficient. Meanwhile, the hypervolume indicator is employed in conjunction with DEA to evaluate how urban systems evolve with time. The capabilities of this approach are illustrated through its application to the sustainability assessment of London boroughs between 2012–2014. Results reveal that most boroughs tend to perform well in terms of the indicators selected, with 20–25 of the 32 boroughs found efficient depending on the year. Regarding the temporal assessment, a global improvement in sustainability performance was found, with a strong relationship between the boroughs’ performances and their locations. The method proposed opens new pathways of social and environmental research for the application of advanced multi-criteria decision-support tools in the assessment and optimisation of urban systems.
Kennicutt MC, Bromwich D, Liggett D, et al., 2019, Sustained Antarctic research: A 21st century imperative, One Earth, Vol: 1, Pages: 95-113, ISSN: 2590-3322
The view from the south is, more than ever, dominated by ominous signs of change. Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are intrinsic to the Earth system, and their evolution is intertwined with and influences the course of the Anthropocene. In turn, changes in the Antarctic affect and presage humanity's future. Growing understanding is countering popular beliefs that Antarctica is pristine, stable, isolated, and reliably frozen. An aspirational roadmap for Antarctic science has facilitated research since 2014. A renewed commitment to gathering further knowledge will quicken the pace of understanding of Earth systems and beyond. Progress is already evident, such as addressing uncertainties in the causes and pace of ice loss and global sea-level rise. However, much remains to be learned. As an iconic global “commons,” the rapidity of Antarctic change will provoke further political action. Antarctic research is more vital than ever to a sustainable future for this One Earth.
Siegert M, Kingslake J, Ross N, et al., Major ice‐sheet change in the Weddell Sector of West Antarctica over the last 5000 years, Reviews of Geophysics, ISSN: 8755-1209
Until recently, little was known about the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. In the last 10 years, a variety of expeditions and numerical modelling experiments have improved knowledge of its glaciology, glacial geology, and tectonic setting. Two of the sector's largest ice streams rest on a steep reverse‐sloping bed yet, despite being vulnerable to change, satellite observations show contemporary stability. There is clear evidence for major ice‐sheet reconfiguration in the last few thousand years, however. Knowing precisely how the ice sheet has changed in the past, and when, would allow us to better understand whether it is now at risk. Two competing hypotheses have been established for this glacial history. In one, the ice sheet retreated and thinned progressively from its Last Glacial Maximum position. Retreat stopped at, or very near, the present position in the Late Holocene. Alternatively, in the Late Holocene the ice sheet retreated significantly upstream of the present grounding line, and then advanced to the present location due to glacial isostatic adjustment, and ice‐shelf and ice rise buttressing. Both hypotheses point to data and theory in their support, yet neither has been unequivocally tested or falsified. Here, we review geophysical evidence to determine how each hypothesis has been formed, where there are inconsistencies in the respective glacial histories, how they may be tested or reconciled, and what new evidence is required to reach a common model for the Late Holocene ice sheet history of the Weddell Sea sector of West Antarctica.
Schroeder D, Dowdeswell J, Siegert M, et al., 2019, Multi-decadal observations of the Antarctic ice sheet from restored analogue radar records, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, ISSN: 0027-8424
Airborne radar sounding can measure conditions within and beneath polar ice sheets. In Antarctica, most digital radar-sounding data have been collected in the last 2 decades, limiting our ability to understand processes that govern longer-term ice-sheet behavior. Here, we demonstrate how analog radar data collected over 40 y ago in Antarctica can be combined with modern records to quantify multidecadal changes. Specifically, we digitize over 400,000 line kilometers of exploratory Antarctic radar data originally recorded on 35-mm optical film between 1971 and 1979. We leverage the increased geometric and radiometric resolution of our digitization process to show how these data can be used to identify and investigate hydrologic, geologic, and topographic features beneath and within the ice sheet. To highlight their scientific potential, we compare the digitized data with contemporary radar measurements to reveal that the remnant eastern ice shelf of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica had thinned between 10 and 33% between 1978 and 2009. We also release the collection of scanned radargrams in their entirety in a persistent public archive along with updated geolocation data for a subset of the data that reduces the mean positioning error from 5 to 2.5 km. Together, these data represent a unique and renewed extensive, multidecadal historical baseline, critical for observing and modeling ice-sheet change on societally relevant timescales.
Winter K, Woodward J, Ross N, et al., Radar-detected englacial debris in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN: 0094-8276
Structural glaci‐geological processes can entrain basal sediment into ice, leading to its transportation and deposition downstream. Sediments potentially rich in essential nutrients, like silica and iron, can thus be transferred from continental sources to the ocean, where deposition could enhance marine primary productivity. However, a lack of data has limited our knowledge of sediment entrainment, transfer and distribution in Antarctica, until now. We use ice‐penetrating radar to examine englacial sediments in the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Radargrams reveal englacial reflectors on the lee side of nunataks and subglacial highlands, where Mie scattering analysis of the reflectors suggests particle sizes consistent with surface moraine sediments. We hypothesize that these sediments aare entrained at the thermal boundary between cold and warm‐based ice. Conservative estimates of >130 x109 kg of englacial sediment in Horseshoe Valley alone suggest that the ice sheet has significant entrainment potential unappreciated previously.
Kulessa B, Key K, Thompson S, et al., 2019, Heat and groundwater transport between the Antarctic Ice Sheet and subglacial sedimentary basins from electromagnetic geophysical measurements, SEG International Exposition and 89th Annual Meeting, Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Pages: 4819-4823, ISSN: 1949-4645
Numerical models of contemporary as well as paleo-ice sheets suggest that groundwater and heat exchanges between subglacial sedimentary basins and the ice sheet above, can be substantial and influence the flow of ice above. So far, an approach for the measurement and assessment of such heat fluxes has not been available. Here, we summarise existing evidence for groundwater and heat exchanges between contemporary and paleo ice sheets and the substrate below. We then explain the utility of electromagnetic geophysical measurements in elucidating such exchanges, and present magnetotelluric synthetic models of the deep sedimentary basin beneath the Institute Ice Stream in West Antarctica by way of illustration. Finally, we propose a simple empirical model by which heat exchanges between subglacial sedimentary basins and the overlying ice sheet can be estimated to first-order from electromagnetic data.
Siegert M, Atkinson A, Banwell A, et al., 2019, The Antarctic Peninsula under a 1.5°C global warming scenario, Frontiers in Environmental Science, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2296-665X
Warming of the Antarctic Peninsula in the latter half of the twentieth century was greater than any other terrestrial environment in the Southern Hemisphere, and clear cryospheric and biological consequences have been observed. Under a global 1.5°C scenario, warming in the Antarctic Peninsula is likely to increase the number of days above 0°C, with up to 130 of such days each year in the northern Peninsula. Ocean turbulence will increase, making the circumpolar deep water (CDW) both warmer and shallower, delivering heat to the sea surface and to coastal margins. Thinning and recession of marine margins of glaciers and ice caps is expected to accelerate to terrestrial limits, increasing iceberg production, after which glacier retreat may slow on land. Ice shelves will experience continued increase in meltwater production and consequent structural change, but not imminent regional collapses. Marine biota can respond in multiple ways to climatic changes, with effects complicated by past resource extraction activities. Southward distribution shifts have been observed in multiple taxa during the last century and these are likely to continue. Exposed (ice free) terrestrial areas will expand, providing new habitats for native and non-native organisms, but with a potential loss of genetic diversity. While native terrestrial biota are likely to benefit from modest warming, the greatest threat to native biodiversity is from non-native terrestrial species.
Wang B, Sun B, Jiaxin W, et al., Removal of ‘strip noise’ in airborne radio-echo sounding data using combined wavelet and 2D DFT filtering, Annals of Glaciology, ISSN: 0260-3055
Radio-echo sounding (RES) can be used to understand ice-sheet processes, englacial flow structures and bed properties, making it one of the most popular tools in glaciological exploration. However, RES data are often subject to ‘strip noise’, caused by internal instrument noise and interference, and/or external environmental interference, which can hamper measurementand interpretation. For example, strip noise can result in reduced power from the bed, affecting the quality of ice thickness measurements and the characterization of subglacial conditions. Here, we present a method for removing strip noise based on combined wavelet and 2D Fourier filtering. First, we implement discrete wavelet decomposition on RES data to obtain multi-scale wavelet components. Then, 2D DFT spectral analysis is performed on components containing the noise. In the Fourier domain, the 2D DFT spectrum of strip noise keeps its linear features and can be removed with a ‘targeted masking’ operation. Finally, inverse wavelet transforms are performed on all wavelet components, including strip-removed components, to restore the data with enhanced fidelity. Model tests and field-data processing demonstrate the method removes strip noise well and, incidentally, can remove the strong first reflector from the ice surface, thus drastically improving the general quality of radar data.
Malard L, Šabacká M, Magiopoulos I, et al., 2019, Spatial variability in Antarctic surface snow bacterial communities, Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1664-302X
It was once a long-held view that the Antarctic was a pristine environment with low biomass, low biodiversity and low rates of microbial activity. However, as the intensity of scientific investigation has increased, so these views have started to change. In particular, the role and impact of human activity toward indigenous microbial communities has started to come under more intense scrutiny. During the Subglacial Lake Ellsworth exploration campaign in December 2012, a microbiological survey was conducted to determine the extent and likelihood of exogenous input into the subglacial lake system during the hot-water drilling process. Snow was collected from the surface to represent that used for melt water production for hot-water drilling. The results of this study showed that snow used to provide melt water differed in its microbiological composition from that of the surrounding area and raised the question of how the biogeography of snow-borne microorganisms might influence the potential outcome of scientific analyses. In this study, we investigated the biogeography of microorganisms in snow around a series of Antarctic logistic hubs, where human activity was clearly apparent, and from which scientific investigations have been undertaken. A change in microbial community structure with geographical location was apparent and, notably, a decrease in alpha diversity at more remote southern latitudes. Soil-related microorganisms dominated microbial assemblages suggesting terrestrial input, most likely from long-range aeolian transport into continental Antarctica. We also observed that relic DNA was not a major issue when assessing snow samples. Overall, our observations might have profound implications for future scientific activities in Antarctica, such as the need to establish “no-go” protected areas, the need for better characterization of field sites and improved protocols for sterilization and verification of ice drilling equipment.
Cooper M, Jordan T, Siegert M, et al., 2019, Surface expression of basal and englacial features, properties, and processes of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 46, Pages: 783-793, ISSN: 0094-8276
Radar‐sounding surveys measuring ice thickness in Greenland have enabled an increasingly “complete” knowledge of basal topography and glaciological processes. Where such observations are spatially limited, bed elevation has been interpolated through mass conservation or kriging. Ordinary kriging fails to resolve anisotropy in bed geometry, however, leaving complex topography misrepresented in elevation models of the ice sheet bed. Here, we demonstrate the potential of new high‐resolution (≤5 m) surface topography data (ArcticDEM) to provide enhanced insight into basal and englacial geometry and processes. Notable surface features, quantified via residual surface elevation, are observed coincident with documented subglacial channels, and new, smaller‐scale tributaries (<2,000 m in width) and valley‐like structures are clearly identified. Residual surface elevation also allows the extent of basal ice units to be mapped, which in conjunction with radar data indicate that they act as “false bottoms,” likely due to a rheological contrast in the ice column.
Smith A, Woodward J, Ross N, et al., 2018, Evidence for the long-term sedimentary environment in an Antarctic subglacial lake, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 504, Pages: 139-151, ISSN: 0012-821X
Lakes beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet are of fundamental scientific interest for their ability to contain unique records of ice sheet history and microbial life in their sediments. However, no records of subglacial lake sedimentation have yet been acquired from beneath the interior of the ice sheet, and understanding of sediment pathways, processes and structure in subglacial lake environments remains uncertain. Here we present an analysis of seismic data from Subglacial Lake Ellsworth, showing that the lake bed comprises very fine-grained sediments deposited in a low energy environment, with low water- and sediment-fluxes. Minimum sediment thickness is 6 m, the result of prolonged low sedimentation rates. Based on the few available analogues, we speculate this sediment age range is a minimum of 150 ka, and possibly >1 Ma. Sediment mass movements have occurred, but they are rare and have been buried by subsequent sedimentation. We present a new conceptual model of subglacial lake sedimentation, allowing a framework for evaluating processes in subglacial lake environments, and for determining future lake access locations and interpreting subglacial lake samples.
Keen P, Saw K, Rundle N, et al., 2018, A mini corer for precision sampling of the water sediment interface of subglacial lakes and remote aqueous environments, Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, Vol: 16, Pages: 856-867, ISSN: 1541-5856
Recent interest in Antarctic subglacial lakes has seen the development of bespoke systems for sampling them. These systems are considered pristine environments potentially harboring undisturbed sedimentary sequences and ecosystems adapted to these cold oligotrophic environments in the absence of sunlight. The water/sediment interface is considered a prime location for the detection of microbial life and so is of particular interest. This article describes the development of a small corer to capture and retain a short core that includes the water/sediment interface specifically to address the question of whether life exists in these lakes. This apparatus was developed as part of the UK led project to access, measure, and sample subglacial Lake Ellsworth. In addition to addressing the constraints of coring in this difficult environment, the results of subsequent testing suggest that this corer can be applied to sampling sediments in other environments and would be particularly useful in low energy environments when the water‐sediment interface is indistinct or unconsolidated.
Jordan T, Martin C, Ferraccioli F, et al., 2018, Anomalously high geothermal flux near the South Pole, Scientific Reports, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2045-2322
Melting at the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet influences ice dynamics and our ability to recover ancient climatic records from deep ice cores. Basal melt rates are affected by geothermal flux, one of the least constrained properties of the Antarctic continent. Estimates of Antarctic geothermal flux are typically regional in nature, derived from geological, magnetic or seismic data, or from sparse point measurements at ice core sites. We analyse ice-penetrating radar data upstream of South Pole revealing a ~100 km long and 50 km wide area where internal ice sheet layers converge with the bed. Ice sheet modelling shows that this englacial layer configuration requires basal melting of up to 6 ± 1 mm a−1 and a geothermal flux of 120 ± 20 mW m−2, more than double the values expected for this cratonic sector of East Antarctica. We suggest high heat producing Precambrian basement rocks and hydrothermal circulation along a major fault system cause this anomaly. We conclude that local geothermal flux anomalies could be more widespread in East Antarctica. Assessing their influence on subglacial hydrology and ice sheet dynamics requires new detailed geophysical observations, especially in candidate areas for deep ice core drilling and at the onset of major ice streams.
Jeofry H, Ross N, Le Brocq A, et al., 2018, Hard rock landforms generate 130 km ice shelf channels through water focusing in basal corrugations, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2041-1723
Satellite imagery reveals flowstripes on Foundation Ice Stream parallel to ice flow, and meandering features on the ice-shelf that cross-cut ice flow and are thought to be formed by water exiting a well-organised subglacial system. Here, ice-penetrating radar data show flow-parallel hard-bed landforms beneath the grounded ice, and channels incised upwards into the ice shelf beneath meandering surface channels. As the ice transitions to flotation, the ice shelf incorporates a corrugation resulting from the landforms. Radar reveals the presence of subglacial water alongside the landforms, indicating a well-organised drainage system in which water exits the ice sheet as a point source, mixes with cavity water and incises upwards into a corrugation peak, accentuating the corrugation downstream. Hard-bedded landforms influence both subglacial hydrology and ice-shelf structure and, as they are known to be widespread on formerly glaciated terrain, their influence on the ice-sheet-shelf transition could be more widespread than thought previously.
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.
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.
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 Discussions, Pages: 1-39
<jats:p>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 ‘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 basal thermal state, provides a new constraint for numerical models. </jats:p>
Jeofry H, Ross N, Corr HFJ, et al., 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.
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