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  1. Abstract In the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica, periodic large-scale marine ice-sheet fluctuations since the mid-Miocene are recorded by drill core and seismic data, revealing a dynamic ice-sheet response to past increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2. In the adjacent, predominantly ice-free McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs), preserved terrestrial landscapes reflect persistent cold conditions and have been interpreted as indicators of a stable polar ice sheet, implying that the Antarctic Ice Sheet was largely insensitive during past warm periods. These disparate data-based perspectives highlight a long-standing debate around the past stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, with direct implications for the future ice-sheet response to ongoing climate warming. We reconcile marine records of dynamic ice-sheet behavior and episodic open-marine conditions with nearby ancient terrestrial landscapes recording consistent cold-polar conditions. Coupled ice-sheet and regional climate models nested at a high resolution are used to investigate surface temperatures in the MDVs during past warm periods. We find that high-elevation regions of the MDVs remain below freezing even when ice-free conditions prevail in the nearby Ross Sea. We compare observed landscapes with the spatial extent of modeled persistent cold conditions required for preservation of these ancient features, demonstrating that frozen MDVs landscapes could havemore »coexisted with receded or collapsed ice sheets during past warm periods.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 11, 2023
  2. Abstract. The use of a boundary-layer parameterization ofbuttressing and ice flux across grounding lines in a two-dimensionalice-sheet model is improved by allowing general orientations of thegrounding line. This and another modification to the model's grounding-lineparameterization are assessed in three settings: rectangular fjord-likedomains – the third Marine Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project (MISMIP+) and Marine Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for plan view models (MISMIP3d) – and future simulations of West Antarcticice retreat under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)8.5-based climates. The new modifications are found tohave significant effects on the fjord-like results, which are now within theenvelopes of other models in the MISMIP+ and MISMIP3d intercomparisons. Incontrast, the modifications have little effect on West Antarctic retreat,presumably because dynamics in the wider major Antarctic basins areadequately represented by the model's previous simpler one-dimensionalformulation. As future grounding lines retreat across very deep bedrocktopography in the West Antarctic simulations, buttressing is weak anddeviatoric stress measures exceed the ice yield stress, implying thatstructural failure at these grounding lines would occur. We suggest thatthese grounding-line quantities should be examined in similar projections byother ice models to better assess the potential for future structuralfailure.
  3. Abstract The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) covers a complex network of canyons thought to be preglacial and fluvial in origin, implying that these features have influenced the ice sheet since its inception. The largest of these canyons terminates in northwest Greenland at the outlet of the Petermann Glacier. Yet, the genesis of this canyon, and similar features in northern Greenland, remains unknown. Here, we present numerical model simulations of early GrIS history and show that interactions among climate, the growing ice sheet, and preexisting topography may have contributed to the excavation of the canyon via repeated catastrophic outburst floods. Our results have implications for interpreting sedimentary and geomorphic features beneath the GrIS and around its marine margins, and they document a novel mechanism for landscape erosion in Greenland.
  4. Surface meltwater generated on ice shelves fringing the Antarctic Ice Sheet can drive ice-shelf collapse, leading to ice sheet mass loss and contributing to global sea level rise. A quantitative assessment of supraglacial lake evolution is required to understand the influence of Antarctic surface meltwater on ice-sheet and ice-shelf stability. Cloud computing platforms have made the required remote sensing analysis computationally trivial, yet a careful evaluation of image processing techniques for pan-Antarctic lake mapping has yet to be performed. This work paves the way for automating lake identification at a continental scale throughout the satellite observational record via a thorough methodological analysis. We deploy a suite of different trained supervised classifiers to map and quantify supraglacial lake areas from multispectral Landsat-8 scenes, using training data generated via manual interpretation of the results from k-means clustering. Best results are obtained using training datasets that comprise spectrally diverse unsupervised clusters from multiple regions and that include rock and cloud shadow classes. We successfully apply our trained supervised classifiers across two ice shelves with different supraglacial lake characteristics above a threshold sun elevation of 20°, achieving classification accuracies of over 90% when compared to manually generated validation datasets. The application of our trainedmore »classifiers produces a seasonal pattern of lake evolution. Cloud shadowed areas hinder large-scale application of our classifiers, as in previous work. Our results show that caution is required before deploying ‘off the shelf’ algorithms for lake mapping in Antarctica, and suggest that careful scrutiny of training data and desired output classes is essential for accurate results. Our supervised classification technique provides an alternative and independent method of lake identification to inform the development of a continent-wide supraglacial lake mapping product.« less