Landscape Modelling

A different application of modelling has developed in the last few years to explore the response of a particular sector of the ice sheet to changes on geological time scales. Taylor et al. (2004) studied the Lambert drainage basin on account of its significant size (16% of the area of the Antarctic Ice Sheet) and the fair degree of knowledge of its both bedrock topography and geological history. They found that once the climate had cooled to the point of initiating glaciation, the erosional history of the Lambert Basin became strongly influenced by continuing graben development, with past erosive deepening limiting the future extent of the ice margin regardless of the climatic regime. Jamieson et al. (2005) used a similar but broader analytical approach to reconstruct the Lambert drainage basin landscape since the first ice sheets developed 34 Ma ago, and found the relative influence of fluvial and glacial erosion through this time to be similar, with only slight glacial modification to long established fluvial drainage patterns. Jamieson and Sugden (2008) extended this approach to the landscape evolution of the whole continent with a similar result. They acknowledge the paucity of constraining geological evidence, and the lack of account taken of changes in area or elevation of various sectors on account of tectonism. However, the potential for development is plain, and a link with climate-oriented modelling will be of crucial importance.

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