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Modeling the impact of moulin shape on subglacial hydrology
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  • Celia Trunz,
  • Matthew David Covington,
  • Kristin Poinar,
  • Lauren C Andrews,
  • Jessica Mejia,
  • Jason Gulley
Celia Trunz
Université de Sherbrooke

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Matthew David Covington
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
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Kristin Poinar
University at Buffalo, State University of New York
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Lauren C Andrews
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Jessica Mejia
University at Buffalo
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Jason Gulley
University of South Florida
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Subglacial models represent moulins as cylinders or cones, but field observations suggest the upper part of moulins in the Greenland Ice Sheet have more complex shapes. These more complex shapes should cause englacial water storage within moulins to vary as a function of depth, a relationship not currently accounted for in models. Here, we use a coupled englacial--subglacial conduit model to explore how moulin shape affects depth-dependent moulin water storage and water pressure dynamics within a subglacial channel. We simulate seven different moulin shapes across a range of moulin sizes. We find that the englacial storage capacity at the water level is the main control over the daily water level oscillation range and that depth-varying changes in englacial water storage control the temporal shape of this oscillation. Further, the cross-sectional area of the moulin within the daily oscillation range, but not above or below this range, controls pressures within the connected subglacial channel. Specifically, large cross-sectional areas can dampen daily to weekly oscillations that occur in the surface meltwater supply. Our findings suggest that further knowledge of the shape of moulins around the equilibrium water level would improve englacial storage parameterization in subglacial hydrological models and aid predictions of hydro-dynamic coupling.