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138775 - Inferring geothermal heat flux from an ice-borehole temperature.pdf (697.64 kB)

Inferring geothermal heat flux from an ice-borehole temperature profile at Law Dome, East Antarctica

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 13:58 authored by Mony, L, Jason RobertsJason Roberts, Jacqueline HalpinJacqueline Halpin
Geothermal heat flux (GHF) is an important control on the dynamics of Antarctica's ice sheet because it controls basal melt and internal deformation. However, it is hard to estimate because of a lack of in-situ measurements. Estimating GHF from ice-borehole temperature profiles is possible by combining a heat-transfer equation and the physical properties of the ice sheet in a numerical model. In this study, we truncate ice-borehole temperature profiles to determine the minimum ratio of temperature profile depth to ice-sheet thickness required to produce acceptable GHF estimations. For Law Dome, a temperature profile that is within 60% of the local ice thickness is sufficient for an estimation that is within approximately one median absolute deviation of the whole-profile GHF estimation. This result is compared with the temperature profiles at Dome Fuji and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet divide which require a temperature profile that is 80% and more than 91% of the ice thickness, respectively, for comparable accuracy. In deriving GHF median estimations from truncated temperature profiles, it is possible to discriminate between available GHF models. This is valuable for assessing and constraining future GHF models.


Publication title

Journal of Glaciology










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Int Glaciol Soc

Place of publication

Lensfield Rd, Cambridge, England, Cb2 1Er

Rights statement

© The Author(s), 2020. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts); Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

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