Diurnal and semidiurnal tide-induced lateral movement of Ronne Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Keith Makinson*, Matt A. King, Keith W. Nicholls, G. Hilmar Gudmundsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recent GPS observations from a spatially extensive network across Ronne Ice Shelf show significant daily ice flow variations. At all sites, the almost-synchronous horizontal displacements occur at diurnal and semidiurnal tidal periods. During spring tides, displacements, velocities and strains near the ice front have superimposed oscillations that are 300% of their mean values and occur over a six-hour period, resulting in regular ice shelf flow reversals. Close to ice stream grounding lines, however, the horizontal diurnal and semidiurnal signals decay and almost vanish. From our analysis, we conclude that ice shelves respond primarily elastically to tidal tilting, thus accounting for the observed diurnal and semidiurnal flow variations, and their amplification toward the ice shelf front. Our findings suggest that detailed modeling of these data could provide improved ice shelf and ice stream models for correctly simulating ice shelf flow and predicting future ice sheet evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL10501
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Early online date23 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


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