Past Mathematical Geoscience Seminar

6 May 2016
14:15
Guillaume Jouvet
Abstract

In this talk, I will present two different aspects of the ice flow modelling, including a theoretical part and an applied part. In the theoretical part, I will derive some "mechanical error estimators'', i.e. estimators that can measure the mechanical error between the most accurate ice flow model (Glen-Stokes) and some approximations based on shallowness assumption. To do so, I will follow residual techniques used to obtain a posteriori estimators of the numerical error in finite element methods for non-linear elliptic problems. In the applied part, I will present some simulations of the ice flow generated by the Rhone Glacier, Switzerland, during the last glacial maximum (~ 22 000 years ago), analyse the trajectories taken by erratic boulders of different origins, and compare these results to geomorphological observations. In particular, I will show that erratic boulders, whose origin is known, constitute valuable data to infer information about paleo-climate, which is the most uncertain input of any paleo ice sheet model. 

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
11 March 2016
14:15
Samantha Buzzard
Abstract

The accumulation of surface meltwater on ice shelves can lead to the formation of melt lakes. These structures have been implicated in crevasse propagation and ice-shelf collapse; the Larsen B ice shelf was observed to have a large amount of melt lakes present on its surface just before its collapse in 2002. Through modelling the transport of heat through the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf, where melt lakes have also been observed, this work aims to provide new insights into the ways in which melt lakes are forming and the effect that meltwater filling crevasses on the ice shelf will have. This will enable an assessment of the role of meltwater in triggering ice-shelf collapse. The Antarctic Peninsula, where Larsen C is situated, has warmed several times the global average over the last century and this ice shelf has been suggested as a candidate for becoming fully saturated with meltwater by the end of the current century. Here we present results of a 1-D mathematical model of heat transfer through an idealized ice shelf. When forced with automatic weather station data from Larsen C, surface melting and the subsequent meltwater accumulation, melt lake development and refreezing are demonstrated through the modelled results. Furthermore, the effect of lateral meltwater transport upon melt lakes and the effect of the lakes upon the surface energy balance are examined. Investigating the role of meltwater in ice-shelf stability is key as collapse can affect ocean circulation and temperature, and cause a loss of habitat. Additionally, it can cause a loss of the buttressing effect that ice shelves can have on their tributary glaciers, thus allowing the glaciers to accelerate, contributing to sea-level rise.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
26 February 2016
14:15
Chris Farmer
Abstract

Accurate methods for the first-order advection equation, used for example in tracking contaminants in fluids, usually exploit the theory of characteristics. Such methods are described and contrasted with methods that do not make use of characteristics.

Then the second-order wave equation, in the form of a first-order system, is considered. A review of the one-dimensional theory using solutions of various Riemann problems will be provided. In the special case that the medium has the ‘Goupillaud’ property, that waves take the same time to travel through each layer, one can derive exact solutions even when the medium is spatially heterogeneous. The extension of this method to two-dimensional problems will then be discussed. In two-dimensions it is not apparent that exact solutions can be found, however by exploiting a generalised Goupillaud property, it is possible to calculate approximate solutions of high accuracy, perhaps sufficient to be of benchmark quality. Some two-dimensional simulations, using exact one-dimensional solutions and operator splitting, will be described and a numerical evaluation of accuracy will be given.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
12 February 2016
14:15
Abstract

In this talk I will review mathematical models used to describe the dynamics of ice sheets, and highlight some current areas of active research.  Melting of glaciers and ice sheets causes an increase in global sea level, and provides many other feedbacks on isostatic adjustment, the dynamics of the ocean, and broader climate patterns.  The rate of melting has increased in recent years, but there is still considerable uncertainty over  why this is, and whether the increase will continue.  Central to these questions is understanding the physics of how the ice intereacts with the atmosphere, the ground on which it rests, and with the ocean at its margins.  I will given an overview of the fluid mechanical problems involved and the current state of mathematical/computational modelling.  I will focus particularly on the issue of changing lubrication due to water flowing underneath the ice, and discuss how we can use models to rationalise observations of ice speed-up and slow-down.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
29 January 2016
14:15
Abstract

Humpback whales are iconic mammals at the top of the Antarctic food chain. Their large reserves of lipid-rich tissues such as blubber predispose them to accumulation of lipophilic contaminants throughout their lifetime. Changes in the volume and distribution of lipids in humpback whales, particularly during migration, could play an important role in the pharmacokinetics of lipophilic contaminants such as the organochlorine pesticide hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Previous models have examined constant feeding and nonmigratory scenarios. In the present study, the authors develop a novel heuristic model to investigate HCB dynamics in a humpback whale and its environment by coupling an ecosystem nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton-detritus (NPZD) model, a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model, and a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. The model takes into account the seasonal feeding pattern of whales, their energy requirements, and fluctuating contaminant burdens in the supporting plankton food chain. It is applied to a male whale from weaning to maturity, spanning 20 migration and feeding cycles. The model is initialized with environmental HCB burdens similar to those measured in the Southern Ocean and predicts blubber HCB concentrations consistent with empirical concentrations observed in a southern hemisphere population of male, migrating humpback whales. 

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
4 December 2015
14:15
Abstract

It has been conjectured that marine ice sheets (those that

flow into the ocean) are unconditionally unstable when the underlying

bed-slope runs uphill in the direction of flow, as is typical in many

regions underneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This conjecture is

supported by theoretical studies that assume a two-dimensional flow

idealization. However, if the floating section (the ice shelf) is

subject to three-dimensional stresses from the edges of the embayments

into which they flow, as is typical of many ice shelves in Antarctica,

then the ice shelf creates a buttress that supports the ice sheet.

This allows the ice sheet to remain stable under conditions that may

otherwise result in collapse of the ice sheet. This talk presents new

theoretical and experimental results relating to the effects of

three-dimensional stresses on the flow and structure of ice shelves,

and their potential to stabilize marine ice sheets.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
20 November 2015
14:15
Abstract

There is wide interest in the oceanographic and engineering communities as to whether linear models are satisfactory for describing the largest and steepest waves in open ocean. This talk will give some background on the topic before describing some recent modelling. This concludes that non-linear physics produces only small increases in amplitude over that expected in a linear model — however, there are significant changes to the shape and structure of extreme wave-group caused by the non-linear physics.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
6 November 2015
14:15
Laura Stevens
Abstract

Across much of the ablation region of the western Greenland Ice Sheet, hydro-fracture events related to supraglacial lake drainages rapidly deliver large volumes of meltwater to the bed of the ice sheet. We investigate what triggers the rapid drainage of a large supraglacial lake using a Network Inversion Filter (NIF) to invert a dense local network of GPS observations over three summers (2011-2013). The NIF is used to determine the spatiotemporal variability in ice sheet behavior (1) prior to lake drainage, and in response to (2) vertical hydro-fracture crack propagation and closure, (3) the opening of a horizontal cavity at the ice-sheet bed that accommodates the rapid injection of melt-water, and (4) extra basal slip due to enhanced lubrication. We find that the opening and propagation of each summer’s lake-draining hydro-fracture is preceded by a local stress perturbation associated with ice sheet uplift and enhanced slip above pre-drainage background velocities. We hypothesize that these precursors are associated with the introduction of meltwater to the bed through neighboring moulin systems.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
16 October 2015
14:15
Abstract

Surface waves modify the fluid dynamics of the upper ocean not only through wave breaking but also through phase-averaged effects involving the surface-wave Stokes drift velocity. Chief among these rectified effects is the generation of a convective flow known as Langmuir circulation (or “Langmuir turbulence”). Like stress-driven turbulence in the absence of surface waves, Langmuir turbulence is characterized by streamwise-oriented quasi-coherent roll vortices and streamwise streaks associated with spanwise variations in the streamwise flow. To elucidate the fundamental differences between wave-free (shear) and wave-catalyzed (Langmuir) turbulence, two separate asymptotic theories are developed in parallel. First, a large Reynolds number analysis of the Navier–Stokes equations that describes a self-sustaining process (SSP) operative in linearly stable wall-bounded shear flows is recounted. This theory is contrasted with that emerging from an asymptotic reduction in the strong wave-forcing limit of the Craik–Leibovich (CL) equations governing Langmuir turbulence. The comparative analysis reveals important structural and dynamical differences between the SSPs in shear flows with and without surface waves and lends further support to the view that Langmuir turbulence in the upper ocean is a distinct turbulence regime. 

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
9 October 2015
14:15
Abstract

Studies of thermal convection in planetary interiors have largely focused on convection above the critical Rayleigh number. However, convection in planetary mantles and crusts can also occur under subcritical conditions. Subcritical convection exhibits phenomena which do not exist above the critical Rayleigh number. One such phenomenon is spatial localization characterized by the formation of stable, spatially isolated convective cells. Spatial localization occurs in a broad range of viscosity laws including temperature-dependent viscosity and power-law viscosity and may explain formation of some surface features observed on rocky and icy bodies in the Solar System.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar

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