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Glacial cycle ice-sheet evolution controlled by oceanbed properties
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  • Clemens Schannwell,
  • Reinhard Drews,
  • Todd Ehlers,
  • Olaf Eisen,
  • Christoph Mayer,
  • Mika Malinen,
  • Emma Clare Smith,
  • Hannes Eisermann
Clemens Schannwell
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Reinhard Drews
Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen
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Todd Ehlers
University of Tubingen
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Olaf Eisen
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
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Christoph Mayer
Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanity
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Mika Malinen
CSC-IT Center for Science Ltd.
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Emma Clare Smith
Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
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Hannes Eisermann
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
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Improving constraints on the basal ice/bed properties is essential for accurate prediction of ice-sheet grounding-line positions and stability. Furthermore, the history of grounding-line positions since the Last Glacial Maximum has proven challenging to understand due to uncertainties in bed conditions. Here we use a 3D full-Stokes ice-sheet model to investigate the effect of differing ocean bed properties on ice-sheet advance and retreat over a glacial cycle. We do this for the Ekström Ice Shelf catchment, East Antarctica. We find that predicted ice volumes differ by >50%, resulting in two entirely different catchment geometries triggered exclusively by variable ocean bed properties. Grounding-line positions between simulations differ by >100% (49 km), show significant hysteresis, and migrate non-steadily with long quiescent phases disrupted by leaps of rapid migration. These results highlight that constraints for both bathymetry and substrate geologic properties are urgently needed for predicting ice-sheet evolution and sea-level change.