Seismic attenuation in glacial ice: A proxy for englacial temperature

L. E. Peters, S. Anandakrishnan, R. B. Alley, and D. E. Voigt

Journal of Geophysical Research (1 June 2012)

DOI: 10.1029/2011JF002201

Seismic attenuation α, or internal friction Q−1, in glacial ice is highly sensitive to temperature, particularly near the melting point. Here we detail a technique to estimate Q and apply it to active source seismic data from Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland. We compare our results to measured and modeled temperature profiles of the ice in the region. We find an excellent match, with differences between seismically estimated and modeled temperatures of less than 2°C. Mapping variations in seismic Q through glacial ice thus is shown to allow detailed estimation of englacial temperature profiles, which may be of special value in regions where in situ measurements are logistically difficult.

keywords: englacial temperature; seismic attenuation; spectral ratio method; 0768 Thermal regime; 0776 Glaciology; 0935 Seismic methods; 0994 Instruments and techniques

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