skip to content

Multi-scale modelling of ice characteristics and behaviour

11th September 2017 to 15th September 2017
Ken Golden University of Utah
Daniel Feltham University of Reading
Marika Holland National Center for Atmospheric Research
Elizabeth Hunke Los Alamos National Laboratory
Kaj Riska Total E&P UK Limited, NTNU
Vernon Squire University of Otago
Courtenay Strong University of Utah

Workshop Theme

Realistic models of Earth’s climate system are essential to making projections about what we may experience as our climate changes. Polar sea ice forms a critical system component which must be accurately accounted for in global climate models. It forms the thin boundary layer coupling the polar oceans and atmosphere, and has seen rather dramatic changes over the past two or three decades. A fascinating and important feature of sea ice is that it displays rich structure and behaviour on scales ranging over 10 orders of magnitude: length scales from microns to hundreds of kilometres, and time scales from milliseconds to decades. This broad range of scales for sea ice structure and properties is relevant to biological, chemical, industrial, weather, as well as climate–related processes. It also leads to sea ice structure at certain scales being similar to other materials​ such as porous human bone and polycrystalline metals, which can be used to bring new techniques to studying sea ice, and vice versa.

Complex behaviour of sea ice over such a large range of scales presents, however, a fundamental challenge to modelling these systems. For example, many key processes whose relevant length scales may be centimetres or meters to kilometres, impact climate, and must be incorporated into large–scale numerical climate models with grid sizes often on the order of tens of kilometres. Mathematical methods which rigorously account for these smaller scale processes, and enable computation and analysis of their effective behaviour on larger scales relevant for coarse–grained climate models will be a focus of the workshop, and linkage of scales one of its central themes. Moreover, some sea ice properties exhibit scale invariance or predictable scale dependence, while others appear to be wholly emergent, a consequence of interacting processes within and applied to the ice cover. This workshop will address sea ice processes across a wide range of length and time scales, with an emphasis on understanding emergent and scale–invariant phenomena.

NB This year the annual UK Sea Ice Group meeting will be held as part of the "Multiscale modelling of ice characteristics and behaviour" workshop, and will take place on the final day of Friday 15 September 2017. Separate attendance at UKSIG without booking the full workshop is welcome. Full details available here.

Possible topics within the full workshop include:

  1. Large-scale numerical models of the evolution of polar sea ice
  2. Sea ice simulations including variability, predictability, and climate projections
  3. Sea ice microphysics; fluid transport, convection, and the porous brine microstructure
  4. Melt ponds on Arctic sea ice
  5. Ice thickness distribution; melting, freezing, mechanical redistribution – ridging and rafting
  6. Waves in the marginal ice zone
  7. Scaling in sea ice fracture and dynamics; sea ice rheology
  8. Momentum balance including form drag, interactions with currents, tides and winds
  9. Sea ice thermodynamics and exchange processes
  10. Low order models of polar climate
  11. Tipping point phenomena
  12. Stochastic processes in sea ice modelling

Deadline for applications: 11 June 2017

Apply now

Please note members of Cambridge University are welcome to turn up and sign in as a non-registered attendee on the day(s) during the workshop and attend the lecture(s). Please note that we cannot provide you with any support including name badge, meals or accommodation.

In addition to visiting the INI, there are multiple ways in which you can participate remotely.


Registration Only    
  • Registration Package: £227
  • Student Registration Package: £177

The Registration Package includes admission to all seminars, lunches and refreshments on the days that lectures take place (Monday - Friday), wine reception and formal dinner, but does not include other meals or accommodation.

Registration and Accommodation
  • Accommodation Package: £577

The Accommodation Package includes a registration fee, bed and breakfast accommodation at Churchill College from the evening of Sunday 10th September 2017 to breakfast on Saturday 16th September 2017, together with lunches and refreshments during the days that lectures take place (Monday - Friday). The formal dinner is also included, but no other evening meals.

Formal Dinner Only
  • Formal Dinner: £50

Participants on the Accommodation Package or Registration Package, including organisers and speakers, are automatically included in this event. For all remaining participants who would like to attend, such as programme participants, the above charge will apply.


Accommodation in single study bedrooms with shared facilities and breakfast are provided at Churchill College,



Lunch will be served at Wolfson Court in the Cafeteria from 12:30 to 13:30 on days that lectures take place.

  • Accommodation Package and Registration Package participants should present their badge as payment for their meal
  • Those issued with a blue Institute door entrance card can add money onto the card via the Porters' Lodge at Wolfson Court
  • Other participants must purchase their meal using their dining card via the Porters' Lodge (forms can be found on the registration desk or at the Porters' Lodge)

Evening Meal

Participants are free to make their own arrangements for dinner.

Formal Dinner

The Formal Dinner will take place on Wednesday 13th September at Emmanuel College. Participants on the Accommodation Package or Registration Package, including organisers and speakers, are automatically included in this event.

University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons