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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 8 | Copyright
The Cryosphere, 12, 2637-2652, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Aug 2018

Research article | 15 Aug 2018

Basal friction of Fleming Glacier, Antarctica – Part 1: Sensitivity of inversion to temperature and bedrock uncertainty

Chen Zhao1,3, Rupert M. Gladstone2, Roland C. Warner3, Matt A. King1, Thomas Zwinger4, and Mathieu Morlighem5 Chen Zhao et al.
  • 1School of Technology, Environments and Design, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • 2Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
  • 3Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • 4CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd., Espoo, Finland
  • 5Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3100, USA

Abstract. Many glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula are now rapidly losing mass. Understanding of the dynamics of these fast-flowing glaciers, and their potential future behaviour, can be improved through ice sheet modelling studies. Inverse methods are commonly used in ice sheet models to infer the spatial distribution of a basal friction coefficient, which has a large effect on the basal velocity and ice deformation. Here we use the full-Stokes Elmer/Ice model to simulate the Wordie Ice Shelf–Fleming Glacier system in the southern Antarctic Peninsula. With an inverse method, we infer the pattern of the basal friction coefficient from surface velocities observed in 2008. We propose a multi-cycle spin-up scheme to reduce the influence of the assumed initial englacial temperature field on the final inversion. This is particularly important for glaciers like the Fleming Glacier, which have areas of strongly temperature-dependent deformational flow in the fast-flowing regions. Sensitivity tests using various bed elevation datasets, ice front positions and boundary conditions demonstrate the importance of high-accuracy ice thickness/bed geometry data and precise location of the ice front boundary.

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Short summary
A combination of computer modelling and observational data were used to infer the resistance to ice flow at the bed of the Fleming Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula. The model was also used to simulate the distribution of temperature within the ice, which governs the rate at which the ice can deform. This is especially important for glaciers like the Fleming Glacier, which has both regions of rapid deformation and regions of rapid sliding at the bed.
A combination of computer modelling and observational data were used to infer the resistance to...