Finite Element Simulations of Wind Above and Ice Flow within Scharffenbergbottnen Blue Ice Area, East Antarctica


Thomas Zwinger

CSC – Tieteen tietotekniikan keskus Oy


Blue Ice Areas (BIA) make up a total of 1% of the glaciated surface area of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. They are situated in relative proximity to the coast and are characterized by the presence of a distinct ablation zone that – by the local dynamics – show almost vertically aligned isochrones at their surface. This potentially renders BIAs to be good sources for horizontal paleoclimate sampling at locations being influenced by maritime climate, in contrary to the way more difficult accessible vertical cores drilled in the arid regions at the interior of the ice sheet on ridges or domes. The downside of this approach is imposed by the difficult flow dynamics and surface mass balance at these sites, needed to interpret the dating. Using both, ice flow modeling inside the glacier and micro-meteorological modeling of wind fields over its surface, we aim for a better understanding of the evolution since the Late Glacial Maximum (LGM) and dynamics of the Scharffenbergbotnen Blue Ice Area, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. The two major findings of these modeling attempts are 1) that the present day ice dynamics seems to be influenced by a developed ice fabric (anisotropic flow) and 2) that the local topography of the surrounding mountains are redirecting strong winds towards the position of the ablation zone and hence determine the position of the BIA.