A comparison of Eulerian and Lagrangian methods for dating in numerical ice-sheet models
Abstract:Accurate dating in ice sheets is required for a correct interpretation of palaeoclimatic records and for incorporation of material characteristics in the flow law which depend on ice age. In this paper, we make a comparison between a Lagrangian and Eulerian approach to the ice advection problem in numerical ice-sheet models. This comparison is first performed for a schematic two-dimensional ice sheet of Nye-Vialov type with a prescribed stationary velocity field. Several cases are examined which incorporate basal melting, basal sliding and an undulating bed. A further comparison is made with an analytical solution for the ice divide. Both methods are also applied in a thermomechanical model of the Antarctic ice sheet for steady-state present-day conditions. Our main conclusion is that, for similar discretization parameters, the Lagrangian method produces less error than an Eulerian approach using a second-order upwinding finitedifference scheme, though the difference is small (<1%) for the largest part of the model domain. However, problems with the Lagrangian approach are introduced by the dispersion of tracers, necessitating the use of interpolation procedures that are a main source of additional error. It is also shown that a cubic-spline approximation of Lagrangian trajectories improves accuracy, but such a method is computationally hardly applicable in large-scale ice-sheet models.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2003-06-01
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