Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Computer Science

Department or School/College

Computer Science

Committee Chair

Jesse Johnson

Committee Co-chair

Joel Harper

Commitee Members

Jesse Johnson, Joel Harper, Rob Smith


subglacial, hydrology, hydraulic, conductivity, glaciology, modeling


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing


The link between subglacial hydrology and basal sliding has prompted work on basal hydrology models with water pressure and storage as prognostic variables. We find that a commonly used model of distributed drainage through linked cavities underpredicts winter water pressure when compared to borehole observations from Issunguata Sermia in Western Central Greenland. Possible causes for this discrepancy including unrealistic model inputs or unconstrained parameters are investigated through a series of modeling experiments on both synthetic and realistic ice sheet geometries. We find that conductivity acts as a proxy for the connectivity of the linked cavity system and should therefore change seasonally. Model experiments also suggest that trends in winter sliding velocity are more closely related to winter water storage rather than pressure.



© Copyright 2016 Jacob Z. Downs