Basal friction of Ice Stream E, West Antarctica

Douglas R. MacAyeal, Robert A. Bindschadler, Theodore A. Scambos
1995 Journal of Glaciology  
We use surface velocity derived from sequential Landsat imagery and a control method to estimate the basal-friction distribution of a major West Antarctic ice stream. The area-averaged basal stress is approximately 1.4 × 104 Pa, or about 29% of the area-averaged driving stress of 4.9 × 104 Pa. Uncertainty of the derived area-averaged basal stress is difficult to assess and depends primarily on spatial variation of the flow-law rate factor in the constitutive law. Spatial variation associated
more » ... ation associated with depth-averaged temperature variation gives an uncertainty of approximately ±103 Pa. Approximately 60% of the ice stream has a basal-stress magnitude less than 104 Pa, and approximately 30% has less than 103 Pa. These characteristics suggest the presence of a mechanically weak, water-charged subglacial till. Small-scale sticky spots where basal friction exceeds the area-averaged driving stress are scattered irregularly across the subglacial regime and comprise approximately 15% of the ice-stream area. Sticky spots cluster in regions where Landsat imagery suggests structural features in the underlying bedrock.
doi:10.3189/s0022143000016154 fatcat:fiiu2rezjvaqxljeucli3jrfai