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Title: Marine ice-cliff instability modeling shows mixed-mode ice-cliff failure and yields calving rate parameterization
Abstract Marine ice-cliff instability could accelerate ice loss from Antarctica, and according to some model predictions could potentially contribute >1 m of global mean sea level rise by 2100 at current emission rates. Regions with over-deepening basins >1 km in depth (e.g., the West Antarctic Ice Sheet) are particularly susceptible to this instability, as retreat could expose increasingly tall cliffs that could exceed ice stability thresholds. Here, we use a suite of high-fidelity glacier models to improve understanding of the modes through which ice cliffs can structurally fail and derive a conservative ice-cliff failure retreat rate parameterization for ice-sheet models. Our results highlight the respective roles of viscous deformation, shear-band formation, and brittle-tensile failure within marine ice-cliff instability. Calving rates increase non-linearly with cliff height, but runaway ice-cliff retreat can be inhibited by viscous flow and back force from iceberg mélange.  more » « less
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Nature Communications
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

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