Detailed spatially distributed geothermal heat-flow data for modeling of basal temperatures and meltwater production beneath the Fennoscandian ice sheet

Jens Ove Näslund, Peter Jansson, James L. Fastook, Jesse Johnson, Leif Andersson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Accurate modeling of ice sheets requires proper information on boundary conditions, including the geothermal heat flow (or heat-flow density (HFD). Traditionally, one uniform HFD value is adopted for the entire modeled domain. We have calculated a distributed, high-resolution HFD dataset for an approximate core area (Sweden and Finland) of the Scandinavian ice sheet, and imbedded this within lower-resolution data published for surrounding regions. Within the Last Glacial Maximum ice margin, HFD varies with a factor of as much as 2.8 (HFD values ranging between 30 and 83 mW m-2), with an average of 49 mW m-2. This average value is 17% higher than 42 mW m-2, a common uniform value used in ice-sheet modeling studies of Fennoscandia. Using this new distributed dataset on HFD, instead of a traditional uniform value of 42 mW m-2, yields a 1.4 times larger total basal meltwater production for the last glacial cycle. Furthermore, using the new dataset in high-resolution modeling results in increased spatial thermal gradients at the bed. This enhances and introduces new local and regional effects on basal ice temperatures and melt rates. We observed significant strengthening of local 'ice streaming', which in one case correlates to an ice-flow event previously interpreted from geomorphology. Regional to local variations in geothermal heat flow need to be considered for proper identification and treatment of thermal and hydraulic bed conditions, most likely also when studying Laurentide, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-101
    Number of pages7
    JournalAnnals of Glaciology
    Volume40
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2005

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