Ice, Water and Sediment

Ice, Water and Sediment

Project page


The dynamics of glacial processes are highly influenced by thermo-mechanical interactions between ice, water and sediment at the glacier bed. For example, it is believed that ice streams, draining most of the Antarctic and Greenland ice to the sea, are controlled by mechanical failure of subglacial sediment.

Yet, the exact nature of the subglacial interactions between ice, water and sediment is only poorly understood. The general inaccessibility of glacier beds and the relatively long time scale of glacial phenomena pose major challenges, when exploring the physics of the subglacial environment.

For this reason, computer simulation plays an important role for understanding the response of glaciers to e.g. changing climate conditions. The computational models available today have not, however, been able to satisfactorily capture the observed nonlinear behavior of the glacier beds.

With this research project, we aim for a deeper understanding of the physics related to the subglacial environment. Extending what is currently possible in computational glaciology represents a key challenge for the project participants. Hence, we will build and apply tools for novel coupled computer simulations, which are capable of handling current hypotheses regarding non-linear bed mechanics. Process insight is generated, by evaluating the outcome of simulations against observations related to a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.