Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-53
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
03 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Ice shelf fracture parameterization in an ice sheet model
Sainan Sun1, Stephen Cornford2, Rupert Gladstone3, Liyun Zhao1, and John Moore1,3 1College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, 100082, China
2Department of Geography, College of Science, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK
3Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, 96101, Finland
Abstract. Floating ice shelves exert a stabilizing force onto the inland ice sheet. However, this buttressing effect is diminished by the fracture process, which on large scales effectively softens the ice, accelerating its flow, increasing calving, and potentially leading to ice shelf breakup. Here, we explore how the application of a continuum damage model (CDM) to the prognostic ice sheet model BISICLES can account for the effects of fracture processes on viscous ice dynamics. Damage is created by the local stress field and advects downstream. This continuum damage model is coupled to the dynamical ice flow model by decreasing the effective viscosity proportional to the damage field. To evaluate the physical role of the fracture process on large-scale ice sheet dynamics and also discern the relative importance of the parameters used in the damage model, we carry out a suite of numerical experiments based on the MISMIP+ (Marine Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project) marine ice sheet geometry. We find that behavior of the simulated marine ice sheet is sensitive to fracture processes on the ice shelf. In the case of a geometry that produces strong lateral stress, the stiffness of ice around the grounding line is essential to ice sheet evolution, with softer or more damaged ice leading to thinning and grounding line retreat.

Citation: Sun, S., Cornford, S., Gladstone, R., Zhao, L., and Moore, J.: Ice shelf fracture parameterization in an ice sheet model, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-53, in review, 2017.
Sainan Sun et al.
Sainan Sun et al.
Sainan Sun et al.

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Short summary
The buttressing effect of the floating ice shelves is diminished by the fracture process. We developed a continuum damage mechanics model component of the ice sheet model to simulate the process. The model is tested on an ideal marine ice sheet geometry. We find that behavior of the simulated marine ice sheet is sensitive to fracture processes on the ice shelf, and the stiffness of ice around the grounding line is essential to ice sheet evolution.
The buttressing effect of the floating ice shelves is diminished by the fracture process. We...
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