Editors' ChoiceIce Sheets

Cliff driving

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Science  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6325, pp. 592-593
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6325.592-g

Iceberg calving from ice sheets contributes roughly as much to sea level rise as mass loss from melting, but the dynamics of calving are not well enough understood to allow precise estimates of how it may change in a warmer future. Ma et al. investigated how stress within the ice controls the balance between tensile and shear failure of marine-terminating glaciers, as a function of water depth. This allowed them to define an ice cliff stability envelope that can be used as boundary conditions in numerical ice sheet models, thereby facilitating better predictions of the magnitude of ice sheet calving.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2016GL071560 (2017).

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