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Geophysics Department Seminar - Christian Schoof: Ice Sheet Dynamics: A Cartoon

Date and Time: 
October 4, 2018 -
12:00pm to 1:15pm
Mitchell 350/372
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Event Sponsor: 
Geophysics Department

Speaker: Dr. Christian Schoof

Ice sheet simulations have become much more sophisticated over the last decade in their ability to capture small spatial detail and reproduce actual observed ice sheet behaviour. That does not mean that the underlying models are correct. Here we look "under the hood": the purpose of this talk is to present a survey of the physics in ice sheet models and its implications for the dynamics of ice sheets. I strip away much of the sophistication involved to look at the necessary ingredients in minimal continuum models of ice sheet dynamics that are able to capture land- and ocean-terminating ice sheet dynamics, identifying where the major sources of model uncertainty (as opposed to parameter uncertainty) lie, and how different choices of model closure lead to different qualitative dynamics.

I will delve into the importance of iceberg calving for the overall dynamics of ice sheets, demonstrating how the response of an ocean-terminating ice sheet is dependent on the choice of calving parameterization, and outline the major difficulties still faced by thermomechanical ice sheet models in capturing the transition in space from a cold bed, where no sliding can occur, to a temperate one, where sliding often dominates the motion of the ice sheet.