Ice dynamics preceding catastrophic disintegration of the floating part of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland

Jesse V. Johnson, Paul R. Prescott, Terence J. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The floating terminal of Jakobshavn Isbræ, the fastest Greenland ice stream, has disintegrated since 2002, resulting in a doubling of ice velocity and rapidly lowering inland ice elevations. Conditions prior to disintegration were modeled using control theory in a plane-stress solution, and the Missoula model of ice-shelf flow. Both approaches pointed to a mechanism that inhibits ice flow and that is not captured by either approach. Jamming of flow, an inherent property of granular materials passing through a constriction (Jakobshavn Isfjord), is postulated as the mechanism. Rapid disintegration of heavily crevassed floating ice accompanies break-up of the ice jam.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-504
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Volume50
Issue number171
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

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