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Some aspects of iceberg mechanics

Wadhams , P; Wagner , T (DAMTP, University of Cambridge)
Friday 23 November 2012, 11:30-12:30

Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute


We review the factors governing the stability, dynamics and decay of icebergs and describe areas where current models are inadequate. These include questions such as draft changes in capsizing icebergs; iceberg trajectory modelling; the melt rate of the ice underside and ways of reducing it; and wave-induced flexure and its role in the break-up of tabular icebergs. In July 2012 the authors worked on a very large (42 sq km) tabular iceberg in Baffin Bay, which had calved from the Petermann Glacier in NW Greenland. We measured incoming swell spectrum and the iceberg response; also the role of buoyancy forces due to erosion of a waterline wave cut and the creation of an underwater ram. The iceberg broke up while we were on it, allowing an instrumental measurement of the calving event. The experiments were included in the BBC-2 film "Operation Iceberg" shown on Nov 1 and repeated on Nov 18.


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