High Spatial Melt Rate Variability Near the Totten Glacier Grounding Zone Explained by New Bathymetry Inversion

Totten Glacier is a fast-moving East Antarctic outlet with the potential for significant future sea-level contributions. We deployed four autonomous phase-sensitive radars on its ice shelf to monitor ice-ocean interactions near its grounding zone and made active source seismic observations to constrain gravity-derived bathymetry models. We observe an asymmetry in basal melting with mean melt rates along the grounding zone differing by up to 20 m/a. Our new bathymetry model reveals that this melt rate asymmetry coincides with an asymmetry in water column thickness and that the low-melting ice-shelf portion is shielded from the main cavity circulation. A 2-year record yields year-to-year melt rate variability of 7–9 m/a with no seasonal cycle. Our results highlight the key role of bathymetry near grounding lines for accurate modeling of ice-shelf melt, and the importance of sustained multi-year monitoring, especially at ice-shelf cavities where the dominant melt rate drivers vary primarily inter-annually.


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Authors: Vaňková, Irena ORCIDORCID record for Irena Vaňková, Winberry, J. Paul, Cook, Sue, Nicholls, Keith W. ORCIDORCID record for Keith W. Nicholls, Greene, Chad A., Galton-Fenzi, Benjamin K.

On this site: Irena Vankova, Keith Nicholls
28 May, 2023
Geophysical Research Letters / 50
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