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Title: Greenland subglacial drainage evolution regulated by weakly connected regions of the bed

Penetration of surface meltwater to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet each summer causes an initial increase in ice speed due to elevated basal water pressure, followed by slowdown in late summer that continues into fall and winter. While this seasonal pattern is commonly explained by an evolution of the subglacial drainage system from an inefficient distributed to efficient channelized configuration, mounting evidence indicates that subglacial channels are unable to explain important aspects of hydrodynamic coupling in late summer and fall. Here we use numerical models of subglacial drainage and ice flow to show that limited, gradual leakage of water and lowering of water pressure in weakly connected regions of the bed can explain the dominant features in late and post melt season ice dynamics. Finally, these results suggest that a third weakly connected drainage component should be included in the conceptual model of subglacial hydrology.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  3. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)
  4. Univ. of Zurich, Zurich (Switzerland)
  5. Univ. of South Florida, Tampa, FL (United States)
  6. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Zurich (Switzerland)
  7. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States)
  8. Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab., Hanover, NH (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; Computer Science; Earth Sciences; Mathematics; Planetary Sciences
OSTI Identifier: