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A two-dimensional shallow ice-flow model of Glacier de Saint-Sorlin, France

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A two-dimensional ice-flow model based on the shallow-ice approximation (SIA) is used to investigate the dynamics of Glacier de Saint-Sorlin, France. This glacier is well suited for this kind of study. First, the particular geometry of the glacier itself as well as that of the bedrock surface allows for correct applicability of the SIA (zeroth-order equations), provided that thickness changes and termini positions rather than short-scale dynamics are considered. Secondly, the wealth of available data for the glacier including mass-balance series and records of glacier changes provides a reliable forcing and a powerful constraining set for the model. Steady-state simulations show realistic results and the capabilities of the model in reproducing the glacier extent at the beginning of the 20th century. An extensive parameter study of ice rheology and sliding intensity is also carried out and the results are checked against the thickness changes as well as the glacier termini positions since 1905. It is possible to find a parameter combination that best matches these two types of data with an ice-flow rate factor of 2 x 10-24Pa-3s-1and a Weertman-type sliding factor of 5 x 10-14m 8N-3a-1which both appear to be in agreement with similar inferences from recent modelling attempts.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2003

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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