Role of small ice shelves in sea-level rise

T. K. Dupont, R. B. Alley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Recent observations show marked acceleration and thinning of tributary ice streams following shrinkage or loss of a few of the many small ice shelves that ring Antarctica and Greenland. Our model experiments, which adopt a simplified geometry, show that calving from or partial disintegration of a small ice shelf has more effect on tributary ice streams than does loss of a berg of equal length from a larger ice shelf. Our results, which are consistent with the recent observations, indicate that even small ice shelves can provide important restraint on tributary flow from ice sheets, implying that characterization and modeling of the full range of ice shelves will be required for accurate projection of ice-sheet changes and their influence on sea level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL09503
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 16 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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