Inverse modelling of basal friction using a 2D higher-order ice-flow model.

Project Details


Basal processes remain one of the big unknowns in ice dynamics. yet they play an important role in the (in)stability of ice caps. For logistic reasons, basal processes are hard to measure. Inverse methods allow, through measurements of geometry and surface velocity, to get an idea of basal friction. Basal boundary condition of an ice-flow model, modelled surface velocities match observations.
The innovative element in this study, is that we use a higher-order model which accounts for both longitudinal stresses and vertical shear. As such, a realistic estimate of basal processes becomes possible for any type of ice flow. The inverse method will be applied to a number of existing glaciers (Mc Call Glacier, Alaska; Sofiyskiy Glacier, Russia; Pine Island Glacier, West-Antarctica; Jutulstraumen, East-Antarctica). this model result will be compared to basal topography and indirect measurements of basal phenomena (e.g. basal reflection power measured by radar) to build a physically coherent picture; In the estimation of basal friction, we will experiment with several minimisation algorithms. We will also evaluate the extra merit of inversions with the higher-order model as compared to inversions with simpler models.
Effective start/end date1/01/0731/12/07


  • geography

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biological sciences