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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Ice-stream demise dynamically conditioned by trough shape and bed strength
Author(s): Bradwell, Tom
Small, David
Fabel, Derek
Smedley, Rachel K.
Clark, Chris D.
Saher, Margot H.
Callard, S. Louise
Chiverrell, Richard C.
Dove, Dayton
Moreton, Steven G.
Roberts, David H.
Duller, Geoff A. T.
Ó Cofaigh, Colm
Issue Date: Apr-2019
Citation: Bradwell T, Small D, Fabel D, Smedley RK, Clark CD, Saher MH, Callard SL, Chiverrell RC, Dove D, Moreton SG, Roberts DH, Duller GAT & Ó Cofaigh C (2019) Ice-stream demise dynamically conditioned by trough shape and bed strength. Science Advances, 5 (4), Art. No.: eaau1380.
Abstract: Ice sheet mass loss is currently dominated by fast-flowing glaciers (ice streams) terminating in the ocean as ice shelves and resting on beds below sea level. The factors controlling ice-stream flow and retreat over longer time scales (>100 years), especially the role of three-dimensional bed shape and bed strength, remain major uncertainties. We focus on a former ice stream where trough shape and bed substrate are known, or can be defined, to reconstruct ice-stream retreat history and grounding-line movements over 15 millennia since the Last Glacial Maximum. We identify a major behavioral step change around 18,500 to 16,000 years ago—out of tune with external forcing factors—associated with the collapse of floating ice sectors and rapid ice-front retreat. We attribute this step change to a marked geological transition from a soft/weak bed to a hard/strong bed coincident with a change in trough geometry. Both these factors conditioned and ultimately hastened ice-stream demise.
DOI Link: 10.1126/sciadv.aau1380
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license (, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.
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