Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 845–859, 2021
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 845–859, 2021

Research article 02 Aug 2021

Research article | 02 Aug 2021

Climatic controls on mountain glacier basal thermal regimes dictate spatial patterns of glacial erosion

Jingtao Lai and Alison M. Anders

Model code and software

laijingtao/pism: (jlai-Esurf-2021) C. Khrulev, E. Bueler, D. Maxwell, A. Aschwanden, J. Brown, T. Albrecht, J. Seguinot, M. Mengel, F. Ziemen, T. Kleiner, J. H. Kennedy, A. K. Mccarthy, and R. Reese

Short summary
Glaciers are strong erosive agents, and they have created many unique landforms in mountain belts. Climate has been viewed as a primary control on glacial erosion, yet our understanding of the mechanism by which climate impacts glacial erosion remains limited. Using computer simulations, we find that climate controls glacial erosion by modulating the temperature of the basal ice. Our results suggest that a warm and/or wet climate can create warm basal ice and, therefore, enhance erosion.