Channelized bottom melting and stability of floating ice shelves
Article first published online: 17 JAN 2008
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 35, Issue 2, January 2008
How to Cite
2008), Channelized bottom melting and stability of floating ice shelves, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L02503, doi:10.1029/2007GL031765., and (
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 17 JAN 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 NOV 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 16 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Received: 21 AUG 2007
- remote sensing;
- ice shelves
 The floating ice shelf in front of Petermann Glacier, in northwest Greenland, experiences massive bottom melting that removes 80% of its ice before calving into the Arctic Ocean. Detailed surveys of the ice shelf reveal the presence of 1–2 km wide, 200–400 m deep, sub-ice shelf channels, aligned with the flow direction and spaced by 5 km. We attribute their formation to the bottom melting of ice from warm ocean waters underneath. Drilling at the center of one of channel, only 8 m above sea level, confirms the presence of ice-shelf melt water in the channel. These deep incisions in ice-shelf thickness imply a vulnerability to mechanical break up and climate warming of ice shelves that has not been considered previously.