Helene Seroussi1

1Jet Propulsion Lab, United States

Conditions at the base of ice sheets are critical to understand ice motion and the future evolution of the ice sheets but remain largely unknown due to the lack of direct measurements. These conditions are influenced by the underlying crust and mantle, including the presence of mantle plumes, which translate into high geothermal heat flux at the interface between ice and the underlying bedrock.


In this presentation, we will discuss the impact of geothermal heat flux on ice sheet dynamics, and how uncertainties in such measurements affect ice flow simulations and ice sheet future contribution to sea level rise. Ice flow models are also limited by uncertainties in many other model inputs, including geometry, boundary conditions and ice properties, so we examine how uncertainties in other model inputs compare to uncertainties in geothermal heat flux. Finally, we will consider the possibilities of using ice flow models to infer poorly known ice sheet basal properties, including sliding and geothermal heat flux, and the observations required to better constrain such parameters.


This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cryospheric Sciences and Sea Level Science Team Programs.

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