Modelling of Glaciers, Ice-caps and Ice-sheets in a Changing Climate

Thomas Zwinger

The changing climate starts to impact land-based ice masses all over the planet. Until recently, some of the Glaciological key processes involved in those rapid changes, such as basal sliding in combination with hydrology, the instability of marine ice sheets (i.e., large outlet glaciers terminating in sea water) neither were completely understood nor sufficiently well implemented in prognostic models. Based on CSC's open source Finite Element (FE) code Elmer, a suite for complex ice dynamics simulations, Elmer/Ice, has been built up over the years. Not being constrained by approximations to the full set of governing equations (Stokes problem with non-linear shear thinning Norton-Hoff rheology) those particular open questions mentioned earlier can be addressed with this new generation of ice dynamics model. This presentation shall give an overview on the capabilities of Elmer/Ice as well as an outlook on the current work and the yet-to-come challenges in modern numerical Glaciology.