Effect of a sheared flow on iceberg motion and melting
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Icebergs account for approximately half the freshwater flux into the ocean from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and play a major role in the distribution of meltwater into the ocean. Global climate models distribute this freshwater by parameterizing iceberg motion and melt, but these parameterizations are presently informed by limited observations. Here we present a record of speed and draft for 90 icebergs from Sermilik Fjord, southeastern Greenland, collected in conjunction with wind and ocean velocity data over an 8 month period. It is shown that icebergs subject to strongly sheared flows predominantly move with the vertical average of the ocean currents. If, as typical in iceberg parameterizations, only the surface ocean velocity is taken into account, iceberg speed and basal melt may have errors in excess of 60%. These results emphasize the need for parameterizations to consider ocean properties over the entire iceberg draft.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 43 (2016): 12,520–12,527, doi:10.1002/2016GL071602.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 43 (2016): 12,520–12,527
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