Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

individual

Authors' Class Standing

Adriana D Formby-Fernandez, Senior

Lead Presenter's Name

Adriana D Formby-Fernandez

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Alexander Robel

Abstract

Loss of ice from glaciers and ice sheets has been steadily increasing over recent decades due to rising oceanic and atmospheric temperatures. White (1980) developed a theoretical estimate for the erosion rate of icy surface by wave activity, which has since been used as the sole basis for calculating wave melting effects in ocean and ice sheet models. In this study, we conduct the first new experiments since White (1980) to test the established parameterization and extend it to a wider range of wave and water properties. A custom-built 1.2 meter long wave tank is used to simulate the behavior of ocean waves on ice shelves in a laboratory-scaled manner. White’s theory is tested for a wide range of conditions to within a reasonable margin of error (given the limitations of the tank and required assumptions). We further discuss how the results from this experiment can help to improve models of the high-latitude oceans for the benefit of predicting future climate, and assessing iceberg hazards to shipping.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Experimental Constraints on Ocean Wave Erosion of Icebergs and Glaciers

Loss of ice from glaciers and ice sheets has been steadily increasing over recent decades due to rising oceanic and atmospheric temperatures. White (1980) developed a theoretical estimate for the erosion rate of icy surface by wave activity, which has since been used as the sole basis for calculating wave melting effects in ocean and ice sheet models. In this study, we conduct the first new experiments since White (1980) to test the established parameterization and extend it to a wider range of wave and water properties. A custom-built 1.2 meter long wave tank is used to simulate the behavior of ocean waves on ice shelves in a laboratory-scaled manner. White’s theory is tested for a wide range of conditions to within a reasonable margin of error (given the limitations of the tank and required assumptions). We further discuss how the results from this experiment can help to improve models of the high-latitude oceans for the benefit of predicting future climate, and assessing iceberg hazards to shipping.