Topographic Steering of Enhanced Ice Flow at the Bottleneck Between East and West Antarctica

Kate Winter*, Neil Ross, Fausto Ferraccioli, Tom A. Jordan, Hugh F. J. Corr, René Forsberg, Kenichi Matsuoka, Arne V. Olesen, Tania G. Casal

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Hypothesized drawdown of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet through the “bottleneck” zone between East and West Antarctica would have significant impacts for a large proportion of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Earth observation satellite orbits and a sparseness of radio echo sounding data have restricted investigations of basal boundary controls on ice flow in this region until now. New airborne radio echo sounding surveys reveal complex topography of high relief beneath the southernmost Weddell/Ross ice divide, with three subglacial troughs connecting interior Antarctica to the Foundation and Patuxent Ice Streams and Siple Coast ice streams. These troughs route enhanced ice flow through the interior of Antarctica but limit potential drawdown of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet through the bottleneck zone. In a thinning or retreating scenario, these topographically controlled corridors of enhanced flow could however drive ice divide migration and increase mass discharge from interior West Antarctica to the Southern Ocean.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume45
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)4899-4907
ISSN0094-8276
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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