Volume 16, Issue 4
A Parallel Computational Model for Three-Dimensional, Thermo-Mechanical Stokes Flow Simulations of Glaciers and Ice Sheets

Wei Leng, Lili Ju, Max Gunzburger & Stephen Price

Commun. Comput. Phys., 16 (2014), pp. 1056-1080.

Published online: 2014-10

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  • Abstract

This paper focuses on the development of an efficient, three-dimensional, thermo-mechanical, nonlinear-Stokes flow computational model for ice sheet simulation. The model is based on the parallel finite element model developed in [14] which features high-order accurate finite element discretizations on variable resolution grids. Here, we add an improved iterative solution method for treating the nonlinearity of the Stokes problem, a new high-order accurate finite element solver for the temperature equation, and a new conservative finite volume solver for handling mass conservation. The result is an accurate and efficient numerical model for thermo-mechanical glacier and ice-sheet simulations. We demonstrate the improved efficiency of the Stokes solver using the ISMIP-HOM Benchmark experiments and a realistic test case for the Greenland ice-sheet. We also apply our model to the EISMINT-II benchmark experiments and demonstrate stable thermo-mechanical ice sheet evolution on both structured and unstructured meshes. Notably, we find no evidence for the “cold spoke” instabilities observed for these same experiments when using finite difference, shallow-ice approximation models on structured grids.

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COPYRIGHT: © Global Science Press

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