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Improvement of a 2-D SIA ice-flow model: application to Glacier de Saint-Sorlin, France

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A number of improvements have been made to an existing two-dimensional ice-flow model applied to an alpine glacier. Analysis of the results of the existing model revealed several shortcomings. The first concerns the lack of mass conservation of the applied alternating-direction-implicit (ADI) scheme. A semi-implicit (SI) scheme is therefore proposed and the effects on mass conservation assessed by a comparison with the ADI scheme. The comparison is first carried out with a simple theoretical glacier for which the improvement is significant. Concerning the real case of Glacier de Saint-Sorlin, France, the initial deviation in mass conservation was much less pronounced such that the new scheme, although improving mass conservation, does not significantly change the modelled dynamics. However, other shortcomings that have a more profound impact on the modelling of glacier behaviour have been identified. The ice thickness may become negative over some gridpoints, leading to an inconsistency. The problem is partly resolved by incorporating extra checks on critical gridpoints at the glacier border. Finally, with the help of ice particle tracking, unrealistic ice settlement above the bergschrund has been identified as the main reason for spurious dynamic effects and has been corrected.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2007

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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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