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An inexact Gauss–Newton method for inversion of basal sliding and rheology parameters in a nonlinear Stokes ice sheet model

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We propose an infinite-dimensional adjoint-based inexact Gauss–Newton method for the solution of inverse problems governed by Stokes models of ice sheet flow with nonlinear rheology and sliding law. The method is applied to infer the basal sliding coefficient and the rheological exponent parameter fields from surface velocities. The inverse problem is formulated as a nonlinear least-squares optimization problem whose cost functional is the misfit between surface velocity observations and model predictions. A Tikhonov regularization term is added to the cost functional to render the problem well-posed and account for observational error. Our findings show that the inexact Newton method is significantly more efficient than the nonlinear conjugate gradient method and that the number of Stokes solutions required to solve the inverse problem is insensitive to the number of inversion parameters. The results also show that the reconstructions of the basal sliding coefficient converge to the exact sliding coefficient as the observation error (here, the noise added to synthetic observations) decreases, and that a nonlinear rheology makes the reconstruction of the basal sliding coefficient more difficult. For the inversion of the rheology exponent field, we find that horizontally constant or smoothly varying parameter fields can be reconstructed satisfactorily from noisy observations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2012

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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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