Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union (EGU)
We introduce a novel, higher order, finite element
ice sheet model called VarGlaS (Variational Glacier Simulator),
which is built on the finite element framework FEniCS.
Contrary to standard procedure in ice sheet modelling, Var-
GlaS formulates ice sheet motion as the minimization of an
energy functional, conferring advantages such as a consistent
platform for making numerical approximations, a coherent
relationship between motion and heat generation, and implicit
boundary treatment. VarGlaS also solves the equations
of enthalpy rather than temperature, avoiding the solution of
a contact problem. Rather than include a lengthy model spinup
procedure, VarGlaS possesses an automated framework
for model inversion. These capabilities are brought to bear
on several benchmark problems in ice sheet modelling, as
well as a 500 yr simulation of the Greenland ice sheet at high
resolution. VarGlaS performs well in benchmarking experiments
and, given a constant climate and a 100 yr relaxation
period, predicts a mass evolution of the Greenland ice sheet
that matches present-day observations of mass loss. VarGlaS
predicts a thinning in the interior and thickening of the margins
of the ice sheet.
ice sheet modelling, variational glacier simulator
© 2013 Author(s)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Brinkerhoff, Douglas John and Johnson, Jesse, "Data Assimilation and Prognostic Whole Ice Sheet Modelling with the Variationally Derived, Higher Order, Open Source, and Fully Parallel Ice Sheet Model VarGlaS" (2013). Computer Science Faculty Publications. 25.