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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. Abstract. Numerical simulations of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) over geologictimescales can greatly improve our knowledge of the critical factors drivingGrIS demise during climatically warm periods, which has clear relevance forbetter predicting GrIS behavior over the upcoming centuries. To assess thefidelity of these modeling efforts, however, observational constraints ofpast ice sheet change are needed. Across southwestern Greenland, geologicrecords detail Holocene ice retreat across both terrestrial-based and marine-terminating environments, providing an ideal opportunity to rigorouslybenchmark model simulations against geologic reconstructions of ice sheetchange. Here, we present regional ice sheet modeling results using theIce-sheet and Sea-level System Model (ISSM) of Holocene ice sheet historyacross an extensive fjord region in southwestern Greenland covering thelandscape around the Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS) glacier and extendingoutward along the 200 km Nuup Kangerula (Godthåbsfjord). Oursimulations, forced by reconstructions of Holocene climate and recentlyimplemented calving laws, assess the sensitivity of ice retreat across theKNS region to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. Our simulations reveal thatthe geologically reconstructed ice retreat across the terrestrial landscapein the study area was likely driven by fluctuations in surface mass balancein response to Early Holocene warming – and was likely not influencedsignificantly by the response of adjacent outlet glaciers to calving andocean-induced melting. The impact ofmore »ice calving within fjords, however,plays a significant role by enhancing ice discharge at the terminus, leadingto interior thinning up to the ice divide that is consistent withreconstructed magnitudes of Early Holocene ice thinning. Our results,benchmarked against geologic constraints of past ice-margin change, suggestthat while calving did not strongly influence Holocene ice-margin migrationacross terrestrial portions of the KNS forefield, it strongly impactedregional mass loss. While these results imply that the implementation andresolution of ice calving in paleo-ice-flow models is important towardsmaking more robust estimations of past ice mass change, they also illustratethe importance these processes have on contemporary and future long-term icemass change across similar fjord-dominated regions of the GrIS.« less