The Yahtse Glacier Project’s latest study will be published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
In this study, Chris Larsen, Shad O’Neel and I show that melting below the sea surface can control the rate at which ice is lost from Yahtse Glacier’s toe. We estimate that warm ocean water melts back the submarine terminus at over 9 meters per day, and may reasonably equal 17 m/d. 17 m/d is the rate at which ice flows into the terminus region. Thus, during our observation period, any ice fracturing off the end of the glacier terminus (iceberg calving) may be the result of an iceberg having its foundation melted out from beneath it.
We also found that our late July measurements are fairly typical from an annual perspective. In September, when the ocean water is warmer and the amount of melt and rain water released at the glacier terminus is greater, we expect that submarine melt are even greater than the rates we report.
The accepted pre-print is available here.