Ian Hewitt

University of Oxford

Fluid Mechanical Models of Ice Sheets

Fluids and Materials Seminar

15th February 2024, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Fry Building, Fry 2.04

The volume of ice stored in glaciers and ice sheets is the primary control on Earth’s sea level, so the question of how it responds to the changing climate is of profound interest. Fundamental to addressing this question is the fluid-like creep of the ice, and the rate at which it can slip over the underlying ‘bed’. Following an introduction to the subject, I will firstly describe a simplified model for a 'marine ice sheet’ (like the Antarctic Ice Sheet) based on a lubrication-like approximation when a Coulomb-like plastic law is assumed for the slip. This yields various insights into the so-called ‘marine ice sheet instability’, which is thought to be a potential cause of more rapid future sea level rise. Secondly, I will describe a more detailed attempt to understand how slip at the ice-bed interface is modulated by the formation of water-filled cavities, a setting which constitutes an interesting free-boundary problem.

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