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Surface Expression of a Wall Fountain: Application to Subglacial Discharge Plumes

McConnochie, Craig D.; Cenedese, Claudia; McElwaine, Jim N.

Surface Expression of a Wall Fountain: Application to Subglacial Discharge Plumes Thumbnail


Craig D. McConnochie

Claudia Cenedese


We use laboratory experiments and theoretical modeling to investigate the surface expression of a subglacial discharge plume, as occurs at many fjords around Greenland. The experiments consider a fountain that is released vertically into a homogeneous fluid, adjacent either to a vertical or a sloping wall, that then spreads horizontally at the free surface before sinking back to the bottom. We present a model that separates the fountain into two separate regions: a vertical fountain and a horizontal, negatively buoyant jet. The model is compared to laboratory experiments that are conducted over a range of volume fluxes, density differences, and ambient fluid depths. It is shown that the nondimensionalized length, width, and aspect ratio of the surface expression are dependent on the Froude number, calculated at the start of the negatively buoyant jet. The model is applied to observations of the surface expression from a Greenland subglacial discharge plume. In the case where the discharge plume reaches the surface with negative buoyancy the model can be used to estimate the discharge properties at the base of the glacier.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Apr 27, 2020
Publication Date 2020-05
Deposit Date Jun 17, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2020
Journal Journal of Physical Oceanography
Print ISSN 0022-3670
Electronic ISSN 1520-0485
Publisher American Meteorological Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 5
Pages 1245-1263
Public URL


Published Journal Article (8.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 American Meteorological Society.

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