A three-dimensional ice-sheet flow solution

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An accurate three-dimensional reduced model (shallow-ice approximation) flow with velocity depending on all three spatial coordinates is constructed for the commonly adopted isotropic viscous law with temperature-dependent rate factor. The solution is for steady flow with a prescribed temperature distribution, but can be extended to flow with a coupled energy balance, and to unsteady flow. The accuracy hinges on the reduction to a two-point ordinary differential equation problem for the surface profile, on an unknown span, for which established accurate numerical methods are available. This is achieved by setting one horizontal velocity component in elliptic cylindrical coordinates to zero, but the other two components depend on all three spatial variables. While not of direct physical interest, such an ‘exact’ solution is valuable as a test solution for the large-scale numerical codes commonly used in ice-sheet modelling, which have not yet been subjected to such a comparison.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-480
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number191
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009

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