How to choose a calving law

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Martin O'Leary, Glaciology Group, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom
Any model of an ocean-terminating ice mass requires a frontal boundary condition, often referred to as a "calving law". The choice of this boundary condition can have complex and poorly-understood effects on the behaviour of the system. Despite this, calving laws are often chosen based on numerical convenience or fashions in the literature. This can often lead to predictions which have "hidden dependencies" on the particular choice of calving law.

As an attempt to alleviate this problem, I will show results from a wide variety of calving laws, applied to tidewater glacier scenarios. I will demonstrate how the decadal-scale stability of a tidewater system can put constraints on possible calving laws, and how certain observational phenomena, such as the presence of "pinning points" are largely independent of the choice of calving law.

These results can be used by practitioners to decide on appropriate calving laws for the specific problems at hand. They should also be useful to help direct research into new calving laws, and to guide our conception of what an ideal calving law should look like.