Numerical assessment of a subglacial lake at Svalbard, Spitzbergen

Mansutti, Daniela and Bucchignani, Edoardo and Glowacki, Piotr (2015) Numerical assessment of a subglacial lake at Svalbard, Spitzbergen. Applied Mathematical Modelling. ISSN 0307-904X (Submitted)

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The likelihood of a subglacial lake beneath Amundsenisen Plateau at Southern Spitzbergen, Svalbard, pointed out by the flat signal within the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) remote survey of the area, is justified, here, via numerical simulation. This investigation has been developed under the assumption that the icefield thickness does not change on average, as it is confirmed by recently published physical measurements taken over the past forty years. As consequence, we have considered admissible to assume the temperature and density in-depth profiles, snow and firn layers included, to be stationary. The upper icefield surface and the rocky bed surface are known in detail. By adopting a mathematical numerical model, presented on a recent issue of this journal, based on an unsteady Stokes formulation of the ice flow and a Large Eddy Simulation formulation of the lake water flow, first, we compare the numerical results obtained with ice water content either in the form of a steady depth dependent function and as solution to the newly introduced diffusion equation, which accounts for the local strain heating effect: the last approach leads to 13% improvement of the numerical estimate of the measured ice top surface velocity. Furthermore a reduced form of the basal shear stress and normal stress, by making easier the convergence of the iterative solution procedure, allows to obtain physically consistent numerical ice sliding velocity values at the rocky bottom, quite improved in comparison to previous numerical results. After 20 000 d (physical time), although the maximum value of water temperature keeps rather low, the numerical simulation shows that metastability is overcome on more than half of the initial conjectured basin, with a progressive trend in time, granting the subglacial lake existence. Moreover, by that time, the numerical subglacial lake surface converges to the GPR flat signal spot with tolerance equal to the GPR measuring error. Then further on-site investigations on the subglacial lake (e.g. drilling operations) appear fully justified.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: subglacial lake; Svalbard, temperate ice; water content; phase-change; finite volumes
Subjects: 500 Scienze naturali e Matematica
500 Scienze naturali e Matematica > 550 Scienze della Terra > 551 Geologia, Idrologia, Meteorologia
Depositing User: Dr. D. Mansutti
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2015 16:49
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2015 16:49

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