Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 5, 35–44, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-5-35-2011
The Cryosphere, 5, 35–44, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-5-35-2011

Research article 19 Jan 2011

Research article | 19 Jan 2011

Parameterization for subgrid-scale motion of ice-shelf calving fronts

T. Albrecht1,2, M. Martin1,2, M. Haseloff1,3, R. Winkelmann1,2, and A. Levermann1,2 T. Albrecht et al.
  • 1Earth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Institute of Physics, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Earth and Ocean Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Abstract. A parameterization for the motion of ice-shelf fronts on a Cartesian grid in finite-difference land-ice models is presented. The scheme prevents artificial thinning of the ice shelf at its edge, which occurs due to the finite resolution of the model. The intuitive numerical implementation diminishes numerical dispersion at the ice front and enables the application of physical boundary conditions to improve the calculation of stress and velocity fields throughout the ice-sheet-shelf system. Numerical properties of this subgrid modification are assessed in the Potsdam Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM-PIK) for different geometries in one and two horizontal dimensions and are verified against an analytical solution in a flow-line setup.