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The temperature regime of Fimbulisen, Antarctica

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Humbert, A. (2010). The temperature regime of Fimbulisen, Antarctica. ANNALS OF GLACIOLOGY, 51(55), 56-64.

Numerical simulations of the temperature regime of the ice shelf Fimbulisen, Antarctica, are presented. A vertical temperature profile (Si) of Fimbulisen has been measured at the extension of Jutulstraumen, in which the temperature decreases with depth. The three-dimensional steady-state temperature field was computed by a finite-element technique. Horizontal flow velocities and surface accumulation rates were derived from observations. The basal melt rate distribution arose from an assumption of balance in the mass continuity equation. The computed basal melt rate distribution (ab) indicates that the highest basal melt rates, up to 15 m a(-1) occur at the inflow gate of Jutulstraumen, and low basal melt rates (<0.6 m a(-1)) occur in the slower moving parts. Where the ice shelf overhangs the continental shelf, ab similar to 1.2 m a(-1). The resulting temperature field indicates that Fimbulisen consists of a cold middle part, built up by the extension of Jutulstraumen, and warmer ice masses in slow-moving areas to the west and east. Furthermore, model runs were set up in which the atmospheric temperatures increased in +1 K steps. The results suggest that the warming effectively increases the temperatures throughout the ice column in the slower-moving parts, therefore enhancing shear at the margins of the extension of Jutulstraumen.