Enthalpy benchmark experiments for numerical ice sheet models
Abstract. We present benchmark experiments to test the implementation of enthalpy and the corresponding boundary conditions in numerical ice sheet models. Since we impose several assumptions on the experiment design, analytical solutions can be formulated for the proposed numerical experiments. The first experiment tests the functionality of the boundary condition scheme and the basal melt rate calculation during transient simulations. The second experiment addresses the steady-state enthalpy profile and the resulting position of the cold–temperate transition surface (CTS). For both experiments we assume ice flow in a parallel-sided slab decoupled from the thermal regime.
We compare simulation results achieved by three different ice flow-models with these analytical solutions. The models agree well to the analytical solutions, if the change in conductivity between cold and temperate ice is properly considered in the model. In particular, the enthalpy gradient on the cold side of the CTS goes to zero in the limit of vanishing temperate-ice conductivity, as required from the physical jump conditions at the CTS.