The Science of Ice Sheets: the Mathematical Modeling and Computational Simulation of Ice Flows
Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute
As a complement to the ongoing Newton Institute program "Multiscale Numerics for the Atmosphere and Ocean", we consider another component of climate systems, namely land ice. The melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica would, of course, be by far the major contributor to sea level rise. Thus, to make science-based predictions about sea- level rise, it is crucial that the ice sheets covering those land masses be accurately mathematically modeled and computationally simulated. In fact, the 2007 IPCC report on the state of the climate did not include predictions about sea level rise because it was concluded there that the science of ice sheets was not developed to a sufficient degree so that such predictions could not be rationally and confidently made. In recent years, there has been much activity in trying to improve the state-of-the-art of ice sheet modeling and simulation. In this lecture, we review a hierarchy of mathematical models for the flow of ice, pointing out the relative merits and demerits of each, showing how they are coupled to other climate system components, and discussing where further modeling work is needed. We then discuss algorithmic approaches for the approximate solution of ice sheet flow models and present and compare results obtained from simulations using the different mathematical models.