Subglacial lakes and hydrology across the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands, West Antarctica [in review]

Subglacial water plays an important role in ice sheet dynamics and stability. It is often located at the onset of ice streams and has the potential to enhance ice flow downstream by lubricating the ice-bed interface. The most recent subglacial lake inventory of Antarctica mapped nearly 400 lakes, of which ~ 14 % are found in West Antarctica. Despite the potential importance of subglacial water for ice dynamics, there is a lack of detailed subglacial water characterization in West Antarctica. Using radio-echo sounding data, we analyse the ice-bed interface to detect subglacial lakes. We report 37 previously uncharted subglacial lakes and present a systematic analysis of their physical properties. This represents a ~ 60 % increase in subglacial lakes in the region. Additionally, a new digital elevation model of basal topography was built and used to create a detailed hydropotential model of Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands to simulate the subglacial hydrological network. This approach allows us to characterize basal hydrology, subglacial water catchments and connections between them. Furthermore, the simulated subglacial hydrological catchments of Rutford Ice Stream, Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier do not match precisely with their ice surface catchments.


Publication status:
Published Online
Authors: Napoleoni, Felipe, Jamieson, Stewart S.R., Ross, Neil, Bentley, Michael J., Rivera, Andrés, Smith, Andrew M., Siegert, Martin J., Paxman, Guy J. G., Gacitúa, Guisella, Uribe, José A., Zamora, Rodrigo, Brisbourne, Alex M. ORCIDORCID record for Alex M. Brisbourne, Vaughan, David G. ORCIDORCID record for David G. Vaughan

On this site: Alex Brisbourne, David Vaughan
20 March, 2020
The Cryosphere: Discussions
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