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Journal Article

A simple model of mélange buttressing for calving glaciers


Schlemm,  Tanja
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Levermann,  Anders
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Schlemm, T., Levermann, A. (2021): A simple model of mélange buttressing for calving glaciers. - The Cryosphere, 15, 2, 531-545.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_23881
Both ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are discharging ice into the ocean. In many regions along the coast of the ice sheets, the icebergs calve into a bay. If the addition of icebergs through calving is faster than their transport out of the embayment, the icebergs will be frozen into a mélange with surrounding sea ice in winter. In this case, the buttressing effect of the ice mélange can be considerably stronger than any buttressing by mere sea ice would be. This in turn stabilizes the glacier terminus and leads to a reduction in calving rates. Here we propose a simple parametrization of ice mélange buttressing which leads to an upper bound on calving rates and can be used in numerical and analytical modelling.