Join Dr. Christine Dow from the Department of Geography & Environmental Management as she presents "Antarctic subglacial lakes and their impacts on ice stream dynamics" at Wilfrid Laurier's Paul Martin Centre.
The presence of water at the bed of the Antarctic ice sheets is known to be a first order control on ice dynamics. In many regions, distribution and flux of this water is complicated by multi-year storage in subglacial lake basins. With more lakes and pockets of stored water being identified every year from surface altimetry measurements and radio-echo sounding, it is apparent that constraining the impact of this water is an important step for determining the drivers of Antarctic ice dynamics.
Using a numerical modelling approach, I examine the controls on subglacial Antarctic lake growth and drainage within ice streams. I also assess whether the drainage of these lakes has an impact on the dynamics of the ice stream. To achieve this, I use GlaDS, a 2-D finite element subglacial hydrology model, which incorporates development of a coexisting distributed and efficient drainage system. The model is applied both to a synthetic system and to Recovery Ice Stream in the East Antarctic with bed topography developed from mass conservation inversion techniques. The model outputs of lake growth and drainage are compared with ICESat surface altimetry measurements.