Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Modeling of Store Gletscher's calving dynamics, West Greenland, in response to ocean thermal forcing


Glacier-front dynamics is an important control on Greenland's ice mass balance. Warmer ocean waters trigger ice-front retreats of marine-terminating glaciers, and the corresponding loss in resistive stress leads to glacier acceleration and thinning. Here we present an approach to quantify the sensitivity and vulnerability of marine-terminating glaciers to ocean-induced melt. We develop a plan view model of Store Gletscher that includes a level set-based moving boundary capability, a parameterized ocean-induced melt, and a calving law with complete and precise land and fjord topographies to model the response of the glacier to increased melt. We find that the glacier is stabilized by a sill at its terminus. The glacier is dislodged from the sill when ocean-induced melt quadruples, at which point the glacier retreats irreversibly for 27 km into a reverse bed. The model suggests that ice-ocean interactions are the triggering mechanism of glacier retreat, but the bed controls its magnitude.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View