Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Computer Science

Department or School/College

Department of Computer Science

Committee Chair

Jesse Johnson

Commitee Members

James Jacobs, Joel Henry


CFD, computational fluid dyanmics, COMSOL, coordinate transformation, full Stokes, glacier, higher-order, ice sheet, modeling, multiphysics, non-Newtonian, rescaled


University of Montana


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated between 9 and 88 cm of sea level rise over the next hundred years. Of this, only negative 19 to 11 cm is attributed to the largest ice masses on the planet, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Over the last decade, dramatic activity in the outlet glaciers of Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula raise the possibility that these large ice sheets will have a much greater contribution to sea level rise over the next century than was predicted by the IPCC. Recent studies have shown these areas are exhibiting decadal scale changes in response to climate forcings, whereas IPCC models show that ice is not responsive to climate change over such short periods of time. Many believe the IPCC type models fail to show short term climate responses due to the simplifications they make to ice sheet mechanics. Here, we develop a higher-order model -- a new ice sheet model which contains all relevant flow physics. In order to gauge our progress, we perform a verification of our model around a structured set of experiments. The analysis reveals our model is performing well over a range of different scenarios.



© Copyright 2008 James Fishbaugh