Refugium for surface life on Snowball Earth in a nearly enclosed sea? A numerical solution for sea-glacier invation through a narrow strait
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Abstract Where photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms survived during the Snowball Earth events of the Neoproterozoic remains unclear. Our previous research tested whether a narrow arm of the ocean, similar to the modern Red Sea, could have been a refugium for photosynthetic eukaryotes during the Snowball Earth. Using an analytical ice-flow model, we demonstrated that a limited range of climate conditions could restrict sea-glacier flow sufficiently to allow an arm of the sea to remain partially free from sea-glacier penetration, a necessary condition for it to act as a refugium. Here we expand on the previous study, using a numerical ice-flow model, with the ability to capture additional physics, to calculate sea-glacier penetration, and to explore the effect of a channel with a narrow entrance. The climatic conditions are made selfconsistent by linking sublimation rate to surface temperature. As expected, the narrow entrance allows parts of the nearly enclosed sea to remain safe from sea-glacier penetration for a wider range of climate conditions.