Research ArticleOCEANOGRAPHY

Modeling the breakup of tabular icebergs

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Science Advances  16 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabd1273
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1273
  • Fig. 1 Observed positions of tabular Antarctic icebergs.

    Daily positions of Antarctic icebergs larger than 5 km2 for the period 1992–2019 from the BYU/NIC database.

  • Fig. 2 Iceberg size distributions used in the simulations.

    Cumulative distribution of total freshwater input for each size class of iceberg area following the Gladstone distribution of small Antarctic icebergs (blue) and the power law distribution (red) based on the −1.5 power law (4). The iceberg area is shown on a log scale. Further details regarding the dimensions of the different size classes for the two distributions can be found in tables S1 and S2.

  • Fig. 3 Areal evolution of a simulated 300-km2 iceberg with and without the breakup scheme compared to an observed iceberg.

    Evolution of the area of iceberg B17a [black crosses, from (30)], 10,000 icebergs simulated without representation of breakup (blue), and 10,000 icebergs simulated with the breakup scheme proposed here with r = 4 breakups/day (orange). The thick lines show the median value, and the shading indicates the interquartile range. Each iceberg enters the open ocean from the Weddell Sea region.

  • Fig. 4 Trajectories and freshwater distribution for the three sets of iceberg simulations.

    (Top) Trajectories and (bottom) meltwater flux from (A and D) only nontabular icebergs (Gladstone distribution), (B and E) the power law distribution with no breakup scheme, and (C and F) the power law distribution with the proposed breakup scheme included. For the trajectory plots, the child icebergs are not shown, and only the top four size classes are plotted in red, overlaid on the observed trajectories from Fig. 1 in gray. Note that the meltwater flux is scaled so that the total flux is the same for each set of runs (1300 Gt/year) and that the meltwater flux is plotted on a log scale, in units of millimeter per day. All icebergs were simulated until they had fully melted (or a maximum of 40 years). Icebergs were seeded according to the calving distribution of Merino et al. (8) (fig. S1).

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    Modeling the breakup of tabular icebergs

    Mark R. England, Till J. W. Wagner, Ian Eisenman

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    • Tables S1 and S2
    • Figs. S1 to S6

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