Repeated large-scale retreat and advance of Totten Glacier indicated by inland bed erosion

Published: Nov 1, 2016 by The PISM Authors

   
Title Repeated large-scale retreat and advance of Totten Glacier indicated by inland bed erosion
Authors A. Aitken and others
Venue Nature

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) has been more stable than the other major ice sheets for at least a million years. However, for older warm periods there is evidence suggesting collapse of the Totten Glacier, one of several large, ocean-forced outlets of the EAIS, with retreat into interior basins. This paper shows that deep ice-sheet erosion has occurred in two regions, one at the present-day head of the Glacier and the other deep within the subglacial basin behind it. Aerogeophysical data suggest two distinct configurations, a “modern” ice sheet with a near-present-day margin, and a retreated configuration. The transitional region between these is less eroded, suggesting shorter-lived exposure to repeated retreat–advance events. What is a role for PISM is such work? In this case, ice-sheet modelling indicates that the sector’s retreat-driven global sea-level increase could 0.9 meters in modern-like configurations, with a jump up to 2 meters or more if there is a transition to the retreated configuration.

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