3 years ago

Limited impact of subglacial supercooling freeze-on for Greenland Ice Sheet stratigraphy.

Mauro A. Werder, Christine F. Dow, Nanna B. Karlsson
Large units of disrupted radiostratigraphy (UDR) are visible in many radio-echo sounding datasets from the Greenland Ice Sheet. This study investigates whether supercooling freeze-on rates at the bed can cause the observed UDR. We use a subglacial hydrology model to calculate both freezing and melting rates at the base of the ice sheet in a distributed sheet and within basal channels. We find that, while supercooling freeze-on is a phenomenon that occurs in many areas of the ice sheet, there is no discernible correlation with the occurrence of UDR. The supercooling freeze-on rates are so low that it would require tens of thousands of years with minimal downstream ice motion to form the hundreds of meters of disrupted radio-stratigraphy. Overall, the melt rates at the base of the ice sheet greatly overwhelm the freeze-on rates, which has implications for mass balance calculations of Greenland ice.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017GL076251

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