Ice Sheet Modeling with Dan Martin, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Modeling the dynamics of ice sheets like those found in Antarctica and Greenland has become an exciting research topic. Once thought to be stable and uninteresting on human timescales, the response of the Earth’s ice sheets to recent climate change and their potential impact on global sea levels has produced a great deal of research energy devoted to understanding ice sheet dynamics, which has also produced a rich vein of mathematical research. This GAG will be conducted in concert with the “Theoretical and computational advancements in ice-sheet modeling” minisymposium at SIAM CSE, with the objective of preparing participants with the background needed to attend this session, including a discussion of the basic processes in play in ice sheet dynamics, the mathematical challenges in modeling ice sheets, and the broader mathematical problems in play.

The description of the minsymposium:

Theoretical and computational advancements in ice-sheet modeling.

The demand for more accurate answers to questions regarding the future of the Earth’s climate is a driving force for the development of Earth System Models (ESMs). Such questions include, for instance, assessment of climate sensitivity, and quantification of Sea Level Rise (SLR).

To answer these questions, ESMs are pushing toward higher resolution, both in computational terms (the number of degrees of freedom), and in terms of the physical processes included in the model. When it comes to quantifying SLR, accurate and robust models for ice sheets dynamics are key to achieve reliable predictions. In this respect, advancements in both the computational and modeling aspects are equally important. In fact, discretization of the governing equations of ice-sheet dynamics usually lead to difficult mathematical problems, which require robust and efficient solvers. On the other hand, an accurate modeling of ice-sheets movement can involve physical processes at completely different time and space scales, and may involve physical quantities that are hard (if possible at all) to measure directly.

This minisymposium will feature presentations aimed at improving the efficiency and reliability of ice-sheet components of ESMs. Topics of interest are: algorithmic advancements, next-generation HPC software development, model parametrizations and model extensions, multiphysics couplings, data assimilation and uncertainty quantification.