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Grad student talk - Melt ponds and melt channels: What makes ice shelves fall apart?

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 4:30PM - 5:30PM


Karen Alley


RL-1 room 269

Thanks to first-hand observations, we have a pretty good idea of what makes ice shelves fall apart if the atmosphere gets too warm: melt ponds form on the surface and force open crevasses, splintering the shelf apart. We have much less knowledge of what mechanisms could make ice shelves fall apart if the ocean gets too warm. Our research goal is to gain a better understanding of ice shelf stability when shelves experience warming from above or below. This talk will include results from a study analyzing vulnerability to surface-melt-induced collapse using active microwave backscatter data on shelves all around Antarctica. Then we will look at observations that have led us to one idea for a mechanism that could lead to basal-melt-induced collapse—channelized melting on the underside of ice shelves.