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A High-resolution Coupled Permafrost - Ice Sheet Model

Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractScientific


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2018
Publication typeNot Eligible
EventPOLAR2018: SCAR/IASC Open Science Conference - Davos, Switzerland
Duration: 19 Jun 201823 Jun 2018


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We present the development of a high-resolution coupled permafrost - ice sheet model based on continuum thermodynamics. The model includes heat-transfer within ice, water and soil, including phase change, saturated groundwater flow, salinity transport as well as deformation and stress-distributions of ice, soil and bedrock. It further takes into account important couplings, such as effects of permafrost on glacier sliding and hydraulic conductivity of soil and bedrock, effects of solutes on the development of permafrost, and effects of ice flow and groundwater flow on heat transfer. Implemented in the Finite Element code Elmer, this package provides the possibility to couple a permafrost to a high-resolution glacier or ice-sheet model (Elmer/Ice) that accounts for all stress components (full-Stokes) and thereby - in contrast to usually deployed lower order approximations - has no limitations in spatial resolution. This makes it possible to study detailed processes at places that need high resolutions, such as ice-sheet margins where permafrost may play an important role in controlling the basal ice temperature, or geologically strongly varying bedrocks where permeability changes as a result of permafrost formation or degradation can significantly alter groundwater flow paths. The model is tested on problems of approaching and retreating ice margins using synthetic settings, and real geometries, where measurements for comparison and model constraints are available.

Field of science, Statistics Finland