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A three-dimensional ice-sheet flow solution

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An accurate three-dimensional reduced model (shallow-ice approximation) flow with velocity depending on all three spatial coordinates is constructed for the commonly adopted isotropic viscous law with temperature-dependent rate factor. The solution is for steady flow with a prescribed temperature distribution, but can be extended to flow with a coupled energy balance, and to unsteady flow. The accuracy hinges on the reduction to a two-point ordinary differential equation problem for the surface profile, on an unknown span, for which established accurate numerical methods are available. This is achieved by setting one horizontal velocity component in elliptic cylindrical coordinates to zero, but the other two components depend on all three spatial variables. While not of direct physical interest, such an 'exact' solution is valuable as a test solution for the large-scale numerical codes commonly used in ice-sheet modelling, which have not yet been subjected to such a comparison.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-06-01

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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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