Evolution of supraglacial lakes on the Larsen B ice shelf in the decades before it collapsed

Leeson, A.A. and Forster, E. and Rice, A. and Gourmelen, N. and Wessem, J.M. (2020) Evolution of supraglacial lakes on the Larsen B ice shelf in the decades before it collapsed. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (4). ISSN 0094-8276

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Abstract

The Larsen B ice shelf collapsed in 2002 losing an area twice the size of Greater London to the sea (3,000 km 2), in an event associated with widespread supraglacial lake drainage. Here we use optical and radar satellite imagery to investigate the evolution of the ice shelf's lakes in the decades preceding collapse. We find (1) that lakes spread southward in the preceding decades at a rate commensurate with meltwater saturation of the shelf surface; (2) no trend in lake size, suggesting an active supraglacial drainage network which evacuated excess water off the shelf; and (3) lakes mostly refreeze in winter but the few lakes that do drain are associated with ice breakup 2–4 years later. Given the relative scale of lake drainage and shelf breakup, however, it is not clear from our data whether lake drainage is more likely a cause, or an effect, of ice shelf collapse.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Information:
An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2020 American Geophysical Union. Leeson, A. A., Forster, E., Rice, A., Gourmelen, N., & van Wessem, J. M.. ( 2020). Evolution of supraglacial lakes on the Larsen B ice shelf in the decades before it collapsed. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL085591. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL085591 To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900
Subjects:
ID Code:
141206
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
07 Feb 2020 14:00
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
30 Sep 2020 09:39