Ice-water interactions in the sublacial Lake Vostok, Antarctica: numerical simulations



Dr. Christoph Mayer 
Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Kommision für Erdmessung und Glaziologie


Project Description

The investigation of subglacial Antarctic lakes like Lake Vostok is a central goal of the SCARSALE initiative during IPY. Within this program paleo-climate record analyses, technological advances in subglacial lake access, and investigations on hydrological/limnological conditions in subglacial environments are gathered. Our project contributes with modelling efforts to these topics and yields estimates of probable lake conditions and sensitivities of the environment to changes in their setting and composition. After a delay in getting started, technical developments of the lake model, such as investigations on mixing parametrisation on the flow regime have been completed to its major part. Sensitivity studies regarding the geothermal heat flux and the salt content of the lake reveal a quite stable flow pattern, which only varies within certain limits. Only a twofold increase in salinity than estimated from ice core data yields changes hi circulation pattern and basal mass balance. These results and additional numerical experiments in progress will lead to a standard model setup, which will in the requested project phase be used to investigate the impact of drainage water on the lake system due to subglacial connection of Antarctic lakes, the isotopic composition of the lake, probable bio-geochemical lake conditions, and the impact of the basal mass balance on the overlying ice sheet dynamics.


Final Report

DFG Programme: Infrastructure Priority Programmes

Participating Person: Dr. Klaus Grosfeld, Ph.D.

Term from 2005 to 2009