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Term: Ice shelf Class:  
 vernacular   (0%)
Created 6 June 2017
Last modified 6 June 2017
Contributed by GCW Glossary

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Definition: The floating terminus of a glacier, typically formed when a terrestrial glacier flow into a deep water basin, such as in Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic.  USGSGlaciers(ambiguous) 

Portion of an ice sheet that spreads out over water.  NSIDCCryosphere 

A floating ice sheet of considerable thickness showing 6 to 165 ft (2-50 m) or more above sea level, attached to the coast. Usually of great horizontal extent and with a level or gently undulating surface. Nourished by annual snow accumulation and also by the seaward extension of land glaciers. Limited areas may be aground. The seaward edge is termed an ice front.  WMOSeaIce 

A floating ice sheet of considerable thickness showing 2-50 m or more above sea-level, attached to the coast or a glacier. Usually of great horizontal extent and with a level or gently undulating surface. Nourished by annual snow accumulation at the surface and often also by the seaward extension of land glaciers. Limited areas may be aground. The seaward edge is termed an ice front.  Bushuyev 

A thick and extensive ice body attached to a coast and floating on the sea, gaining mass by flow from grounded glacier ice. See floating tongue, shelf ice. Ice shelves are much thicker than sea ice. Currently, nearly all are located in Antarctica. The mass balance of an ice shelf may have significant components of both gain and loss at the base.  IHPGlacierMassBalance 

Sea ice terminology. Describes a floating ice sheet of considerable thickness that is visible 2 metres or more above sea level, and is attached to the coast. They usually have great horizontal extension, and a level or gently rolling surface. Ice shelf growth occurs with annual snow accumulation, and also by the extension of land glaciers over see. Limited areas of the ice shelf may be attached to land. The edge facing the sea is termed as ice front.  ECCCanada 

A floating slab of ice of considerable thickness extending from the coast (usually of great horizontal extent with a very gently sloping surface), often filling embayments in the coastline of an ice sheet. Nearly all ice shelves are in Antarctica, where most of the ice discharged into the ocean flows via ice shelves.  IPCC2014 

Floating ice sheet of considerable thickness attached to a coast, and nourished by the accumulation of snow and often by the seaward extension of land glaciers. Limited areas may be aground as ice rises. The seaward edge is termed an ice front.  UKAntarcticTerms 

A large slab of ice floating on the sea, but remaining attached to and largely fed by land-derived ice.  Swisseduc 

A thick ice formation with a fairly level surface, formed along a polar coast and in shallow bays and inlets, where it is fastened to the shore and often reaches bottom. An ice shelf may grow hundreds of miles out to sea. It is usually an extension of land ice, and the seaward edge floats freely in deep water. The calving of an ice shelf forms tabular icebergs and ice islands. (Also called shelf ice; formerly barrier.)  AMSglossary 

Large flat layer of ice that extends from the edge of the Antarctic ice cap into the Antarctic Ocean. Source of icebergs.  PhysicalGeography 

A floating ice sheet of considerable thickness attached to a coast. Ice shelves are usually of great horizontal extent and have a level or gently undulating surface. They are nourished by the accumulation of snow and often by the seaward extension of land glaciers. Limited areas may be aground. The seaward edge is termed an ice front (q.v.).  SPRI 

Floating ice masses; Attached to the coast; Seaward extension of terrestrial glaciers beyond the grounding line; Nourished by snow accumulation and bottom freezing in addition to influx of glacier ice; The floating part is not effected by the dynamics of the nourishing glaciers ; Floating ice sheet of considerable thickness attached to a coast nourished by glacier(s); snow accumulation on its surface or bottom freezing; Generic development of an Ice shelf starts with the confluence of several floating glaciers. Therefore this classification combination should first be taken into account, before classifying an ice mass as Ice Shelf.  GLIMSGlacier 

 GCW 
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