18 Jan 2024
 | 18 Jan 2024

A new 3D full-Stokes calving algorithm within Elmer/Ice (v9.0)

Iain Wheel, Douglas I. Benn, Anna J. Crawford, Joe A. Todd, and Thomas Zwinger

Abstract. A new calving algorithm was developed in the glacier model Elmer/Ice that allows unrestricted calving and terminus advance in 3D. The algorithm used the meshing software Mmg to implement anisotropic remeshing and allow mesh adaptation at each timestep. The development of the algorithm along with the implementation of the crevasse depth law produced a new full-Stokes calving model capable of simulating calving and terminus advance across an array of complex geometries. Using a synthetic tidewater glacier geometry the model was tested to highlight the non-physical parameters that can alter calving. For a system with no clear attractor, model timestep and mesh resolution are shown to alter the simulated calving. In particular vertical mesh resolution had a large impact, increasing calving, as the frontal bending stresses are better resolved. However, when the system had a strong attractor, provided by basal pinning points, non-physical parameters have a limited affect on the terminus evolution. The new algorithm is capable of implementing unlimited terminus advance and retreat as well as unrestricted calving geometries, applying any melt field to the front, use in conjunction with any calving law or potentially advecting variables downstream.

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Iain Wheel, Douglas I. Benn, Anna J. Crawford, Joe A. Todd, and Thomas Zwinger

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2778', Gong Cheng, 30 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2778', Stephen Cornford, 19 Feb 2024
Iain Wheel, Douglas I. Benn, Anna J. Crawford, Joe A. Todd, and Thomas Zwinger
Iain Wheel, Douglas I. Benn, Anna J. Crawford, Joe A. Todd, and Thomas Zwinger


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Short summary
Calving, the detachment of large icebergs from glaciers, is one of the largest uncertainties in future sea level rise projections. This process is poorly understood and there is an absence of detailed models capable of simulating calving. A new 3D calving model has been developed to better understand calving at glaciers where detailed modelling was previously limited. Importantly, the new model is very flexible. By allowing for unrestricted calving geometries, it can be applied at any location.