Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Geophysics



Major Advisor

Ellyn Enderlin, Ph.D.


Hans-Peter Marshall, Ph.D.


Michal Kopera, Ph.D.


The widespread retreat of glaciers and the collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula has been attributed to atmospheric and oceanic warming, which promotes mass loss. However, several glaciers on the eastern peninsula that were buttressed by the Larsen A and B ice shelves prior to collapse in 1995 and 2002, respectively, have been advancing in recent years. This asymmetric pattern of rapid retreat and long-term re-advance is similar to the tidewater glacier cycle, which can occur largely independent of climate forcing. Here, I use a width- and depth-integrated numerical ice flow model to investigate glacier response to ice shelf collapse and the influence of changing climate conditions at Crane Glacier, formerly a tributary of the Larsen B ice shelf, over the last ~10 years. Sensitivity tests to explore the influence of perturbations in surface mass balance and submarine melt (up to 10 m a-1) and fresh water impounded in crevasses (up to 10 m) on glacier dynamics reveal that by 2100, the modeled mass discharge ranges from 0.53-98 Gt a-1, with the most substantial changes due to surface melt-induced thinning. My findings suggest that the growth of a floating ice tongue can hinder enhanced flow, allowing the grounding zone to remain steady for many decades, analogous to the advancing stage of the tidewater glacier cycle. Additionally, former tributary glaciers can take several decades to geometrically adjust to ice shelf collapse at their terminal boundary while elevated glacier discharge persists.