Shortly before Jakobshavn Isbræ, a tidewater glacier in Greenland, calves massive chunks of ice into the ocean, there’s a sudden change in the slushy collection of icebergs floating along the glacier’s terminus, according to a new collaborative paper led by Dr. Ryan Cassotto (CIRES, UCBoulder) and Emory Physics faculty, Justin Burton.
The work, published today in Nature Geoscience, shows that a relaxation in the thick aggregate of icebergs floating at the glacier-ocean boundary occurs up to an hour before calving events. This finding may help scientists better understand future sea-level rise scenarios and could also help them predict when major episodes of calving are about to occur.
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Cassotto, Ryan K.; Burton, Justin C.; Amundson, Jason M.; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Truffer, Martin 2021 Granular decoherence precedes ice mÃ©lange failure and glacier calving at Jakobshavn Isbrae Nature Geoscience https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-021-00754-9