Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 4.524 IF 4.524
  • IF 5-year value: 5.558 IF 5-year 5.558
  • CiteScore value: 4.84 CiteScore 4.84
  • SNIP value: 1.425 SNIP 1.425
  • SJR value: 3.034 SJR 3.034
  • IPP value: 4.65 IPP 4.65
  • h5-index value: 52 h5-index 52
  • Scimago H index value: 55 Scimago H index 55
The Cryosphere, 12, 1347-1365, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-1347-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
13 Apr 2018
Recent dynamic changes on Fleming Glacier after the disintegration of Wordie Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula
Peter Friedl1, Thorsten C. Seehaus2, Anja Wendt3, Matthias H. Braun2, and Kathrin Höppner1 1German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234, Germany
2Institute of Geography, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, 91058, Germany
3Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Munich, 80539, Germany
Abstract. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the world's regions most affected by climate change. Several ice shelves have retreated, thinned or completely disintegrated during recent decades, leading to acceleration and increased calving of their tributary glaciers. Wordie Ice Shelf, located in Marguerite Bay at the south-western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, completely disintegrated in a series of events between the 1960s and the late 1990s. We investigate the long-term dynamics (1994–2016) of Fleming Glacier after the disintegration of Wordie Ice Shelf by analysing various multi-sensor remote sensing data sets. We present a dense time series of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) surface velocities that reveals a rapid acceleration of Fleming Glacier in 2008 and a phase of further gradual acceleration and upstream propagation of high velocities in 2010–2011.The timing in acceleration correlates with strong upwelling events of warm circumpolar deep water (CDW) into Wordie Bay, most likely leading to increased submarine melt. This, together with continuous dynamic thinning and a deep subglacial trough with a retrograde bed slope close to the terminus probably, has induced unpinning of the glacier tongue in 2008 and gradual grounding line retreat between 2010 and 2011. Our data suggest that the glacier's grounding line had retreated by  ∼  6–9 km between 1996 and 2011, which caused  ∼  56 km2 of the glacier tongue to go afloat. The resulting reduction in buttressing explains a median speedup of  ∼  1.3 m d−1 ( ∼  27 %) between 2008 and 2011, which we observed along a centre line extending between the grounding line in 1996 and  ∼  16 km upstream. Current median ice thinning rates (2011–2014) along profiles in areas below 1000 m altitude range between  ∼  2.6 to 3.2 m a−1 and are  ∼  70 % higher than between 2004 and 2008. Our study shows that Fleming Glacier is far away from approaching a new equilibrium and that the glacier dynamics are not primarily controlled by the loss of the former ice shelf anymore. Currently, the tongue of Fleming Glacier is grounded in a zone of bedrock elevation between  ∼  −400 and −500 m. However, about 3–4 km upstream modelled bedrock topography indicates a retrograde bed which transitions into a deep trough of up to  ∼  −1100 m at  ∼  10 km upstream. Hence, this endangers upstream ice masses, which can significantly increase the contribution of Fleming Glacier to sea level rise in the future.
Citation: Friedl, P., Seehaus, T. C., Wendt, A., Braun, M. H., and Höppner, K.: Recent dynamic changes on Fleming Glacier after the disintegration of Wordie Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, The Cryosphere, 12, 1347-1365, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-1347-2018, 2018.
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
Fleming Glacier is the biggest tributary glacier of the former Wordie Ice Shelf. Radar satellite data and airborne ice elevation measurements show that the glacier accelerated by ~27 % between 2008–2011 and that ice thinning increased by ~70 %. This was likely a response to a two-phase ungrounding of the glacier tongue between 2008 and 2011, which was mainly triggered by increased basal melt during two strong upwelling events of warm circumpolar deep water.
Fleming Glacier is the biggest tributary glacier of the former Wordie Ice Shelf. Radar satellite...
Share