Seminar Series

Physics of fast flowing glaciers


Poul Christoffersen


Erskine Visitor with Gateway Antarctica, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Time & Place

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 11:00:00 NZST in Rutherford 531, Level 5

All are welcome


Over the last several decades, glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland have started to flow faster than originally observed, bringing more ice towards the coast and into the sea.  This discharge is often larger than the quantity of ice forming from snowfall, and this dynamical imbalance has a significant effect on global sea levels. Although the latter is well established from observations, few numerical models are available for making quantitative future predictions. The difficulty of predicting ice flow stems from a paucity of data needed to appropriately establish the basal conditions that generate fast glacier flow. In this talk I will give an overview of the physical principles of glacier motion and the research that have helped implement fast glacier motion in ice sheet models. The talk will emphasize on the integration of observational data in models, and include examples from research projects in Greenland as well as Antarctica.