Below is a terrific short video examining a missing persons mystery from 1926 using glacier modelling!


I was delighted to receive an email today that read as follows:

Congratulations! Your article, “A hydrologically coupled higher-order flow-band model of ice dynamics with a Coulomb friction sliding law”, was published today in Journal of Geophysical Research.

The complete citation is

Pimentel, S., G. E. Flowers, and C. G. Schoof (2010), A hydrologically coupled higher-order flow-band model of ice dynamics with a Coulomb friction sliding law, J. Geophys. Res., 115, F04023, doi:10.1029/2009JF001621.

The link to the article can be found here, although you will need personal or institutional access to read it in full.  If you are interested, but do not have access I can email you a copy.  Here is the abstract:

The influence of hydrologic transience and heterogeneity on basal motion is an often-neglected aspect of numerical ice-flow models. We present a flow-band model of glacier dynamics with a Coulomb friction sliding law that is coupled to a model of the basal drainage system by means of subglacial water pressure. The ice-flow model contains “higher-order” stress gradients from the Stokes flow approximation originally conceived by Blatter (1995). The resulting system of nonlinear equations is solved using a modified Picard iteration that is shown to improve the rate of convergence. A parameterization of lateral shearing is included to account for the effects of three-dimensional geometry. We find that lateral drag has a discernible effect on glacier speed even when glacier width exceeds glacier length. Variations in flow-band width are shown to have a greater influence on flow line speed than either different valley cross-sectional shapes or the presence or absence of glacier sliding along valley walls. Modeled profiles of subglacial water pressure depart significantly from pressures prescribed as a uniform fraction of overburden, thus producing profiles of glacier sliding that are distinctly different from those that would be described by a sliding law controlled by overburden pressures. Simulations of hydraulically driven glacier acceleration highlight the value of including a representation of basal hydrology in models aiming for improved predictive capability of glacier dynamics.

Last week I was in Toronto at a modelling workshop for the GAP (Greenland Analogue Project).  This is a project funded by three nuclear waste companies (NWMO – Canada, SKB – Sweden, and Postiva – Finland).  Why they are interested in Glaciology and my work I shall explain in a future post, but for now here are the slides from the talk that I presented.


There wasn’t too much time for playing around, but I did get to go up the CN Tower and we were treated to a 3 course meal at the 360 restaurant at the top.