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Recent progress in understanding marine-terminating Arctic outlet glacier response to climatic and oceanic forcing : twenty years of rapid change

Carr, J.R. and Stokes, C.R. and Vieli, A. (2013) 'Recent progress in understanding marine-terminating Arctic outlet glacier response to climatic and oceanic forcing : twenty years of rapid change.', Progress in physical geography., 37 (4). pp. 435-466.

Abstract

Until relatively recently, it was assumed that Arctic ice masses would respond to climatic/oceanic forcing over millennia, but observations made during the past two decades have radically altered this viewpoint and have demonstrated that marine-terminating outlet glaciers can undergo dramatic dynamic change at annual timescales. This paper reviews the substantial progress made in our understanding of the links between marine-terminating Arctic outlet glacier behaviour and the ocean-climate system during the past 20 years, when many ice masses have rapidly lost mass. Specifically, we assess three primary climatic/oceanic controls on outlet glacier dynamics, namely air temperature, ocean temperature and sea ice concentrations, and discuss key linkages between them. Despite recent progress, significant uncertainty remains over the response of marine-terminating outlet glaciers to these forcings, most notably: (1) the spatial variation in the relative importance of each factor; (2), the contribution of glacier-specific factors to glacier dynamics; and (3) the limitations in our ability to accurately model marine-terminating outlet glacier behaviour. Our present understanding precludes us from identifying patterns of outlet glacier response to forcing that are applicable across the Arctic and we underscore the potential danger of extrapolating rates of mass loss from a small sample of study glaciers.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0309133313483163
Publisher statement:The final definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal 'Progress in physical geography' 37/4, 2013 © SAGE Publications Ltd by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Progress in physical geography page: http://ppg.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:16 August 2013
Date of first online publication:2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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