The Autumn of break-ups: When Jakobshavn Isbrae lost its floating tongue

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Andy Aschwanden1, Mark A Fahnestock2, Martin Truffer2 and Roman J Motyka3, (1)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (2)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (3)University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, AK, United States
Capturing the temporal variability in outlet glacier flow remains one of the holy grails in ice sheet modeling. Here we demonstrate progress using the three-dimensional Parallel Ice Sheet Model. Using a first-order calving law and prescribed subshelf basal melt rates, we performed high-resolution (<1km) hindcasts of the Greenland Ice Sheet of the 1989-2012 period. These hindcasts allow us to study the processes governing ice-shelf thinning, break-up, and subsequent speed-ups and dynamic thinning. Focussing our analysis on the Jakobshavn basin we show that our simulations are able to capture the thinning of the floating tongue resulting from increased subshelf basal melt rates. Furthermore, our simulations capture both the magnitude and the timing of the dynamic thinning associated with the loss of the floating tongue, as well as the speed-up. We find little seasonal variations in surface speeds prior to 1995, and strong variations thereafter, in good agreement with observations of Echelmeyer and Harrison (1991) and Joughin et al (2012).