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Behavior of flexural gravity waves on ice shelves: Application to the Ross Ice Shelf
  • Published Date:
    2017
  • Source:
    Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 122(8), 6147-6164.
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Behavior of flexural gravity waves on ice shelves: Application to the Ross Ice Shelf
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    Ocean waves continuously impact floating ice shelves and affect their stress regime. Low-frequency, long-period (75-400 s), ocean waves are able to reach ice-shelf cavities from distant sources and excite flexural gravity waves that represent coupled motion in the water of the cavity and the ice covering above. Analytic treatment of simplified geometric configuration and three-dimensional numerical simulations of these flexural gravity waves applied to the Ross Ice Shelf show that propagation and ice-shelf flexural stresses are strongly controlled by the geometry of the system, bathymetry of the ice-shelf cavity, and ice-shelf cavity thickness. The derived dispersion relationships, group and phase velocities of these waves can be used to infer poorly constrained characteristics of ice shelves from field observations. The results of numerical simulations show that the flexural gravity waves propagate as beams. The orientation of these beams is determined by the direction of the open ocean waves incident on the ice-shelf front. The higher frequency ocean waves cause larger flexural stresses, while lower frequency waves can propagate farther away from the ice-shelf front and cause flexural stresses in the vicinity of the grounding line.
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