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Fine-scale geothermal heat flow in Antarctica can increase simulated subglacial melt estimates

McCormack, FS, Roberts, JL, Dow, CF, Staal, T ORCID: 0000-0002-4323-6748, Halpin, JA ORCID: 0000-0002-4992-8681, Reading, AM ORCID: 0000-0002-9316-7605 and Siegert, MJ 2022 , 'Fine-scale geothermal heat flow in Antarctica can increase simulated subglacial melt estimates' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 49, no. 15 , pp. 1-9 , doi:

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Antarctic geothermal heat flow (GHF) affects the thermal regime of ice sheets and simulations of ice and subglacial meltwater discharge to the ocean, but remains poorly constrained. We use an ice sheet model to investigate the impact of GHF anomalies on subglacial meltwater production in the Aurora Subglacial Basin, East Antarctica. We find that spatially-variable GHF fields produce more meltwater than a constant GHF with the same background mean, and meltwater production increases as the resolution of GHF anomalies increases. Our results suggest that model simulations of this region systematically underestimate meltwater production using current GHF models. We determine the minimum basal heating required to bring the basal ice temperature to the pressure melting point, which should be taken together with the scale-length of likely local variability in targeting in-situ GHF field campaigns.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:McCormack, FS and Roberts, JL and Dow, CF and Staal, T and Halpin, JA and Reading, AM and Siegert, MJ
Keywords: geothermal heat flow, ice sheet, Antarctica, subglacial melt
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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