In this paper, led by graduate student Mason Fried, we show that 80% of the terminus of a tidewater glacier in Greenland is undercut by submarine melt.  This paper provides some of the first direct evidence that melting by warm ocean water exerts a significant impact on the frontal mass balance of Greenland tidewater glaciers.  Furthermore, submarine melt away from the largest subglacial discharge conduits can drive submarine melt rates of over 3 m/d and, in aggregate, exceeds the flux of ice melted near the largest conduit mouths.  These large rates of submarine melt, in the absence of vigorous subglacial discharge, are not predicted by present fjord circulation models.

The article is available here.

  • Citation: Fried, M., G. A. Catania, T. C. Bartholomaus, D. Duncan, M. Davis, L. A. Stearns, J. Nash, E. Shroyer, and D. Sutherland (in press), Distributed subglacial discharge drives significant submarine melt at a Greenland tidewater glacier, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2015GL065806.
  • Journal website: