Antarctic ice shelves interact closely with the ocean cavities beneath them, with ice shelf geometry influencing ocean cavity circulation, and heat from the ocean driving changes in the ice shelves, as well as the grounded ice streams that feed them. We present a new coupled model of an ice stream-ice shelf-ocean system that is used to study this interaction. The model is capable of representing a moving grounding line and dynamically responding ocean circulation within the ice shelf cavity. Idealized experiments designed to investigate the response of the coupled system to instantaneous increases in ocean temperature show ice-ocean system responses on multiple timescales. Melt rates and ice shelf basal slopes near the grounding line adjust in 1-2 years, and downstream advection of the resulting ice shelf thinning takes place on decadal timescales. Retreat of the grounding line and adjustment of grounded ice takes place on a much longer timescale, and the system takes several centuries to reach a new steady state. During this slow retreat, and in the absence of either an upward-or downward-sloping bed or long-term trends in ocean heat content, the ice shelf and melt rates maintain a characteristic pattern relative to the grounding line.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes