Computing marine-ice thickness at an ice-shelf base

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The freezing of sea water to the base of an ice shelf can give rise to large patches of accumulated ice, a phenomenon known as marine ice. In this study a numerical method is presented for calculating the thickness of the marine-ice layer using an ice-shelf-ocean model. The present-day modeling paradigm of ice-shelf-ocean interaction usually involves the fixed specification of the ice-shelf geometry while the ocean circulation in the cavity beneath the ice shelf evolves freely. This approach relies on several assumptions, such as steady-state ice-shelf thickness and ice-shelf flow fields, in order to make reasonable quantitative estimates of the thermodynamic exchange processes occurring at the ice-shelf base. This paper discusses the impact of these and other assumptions on the estimation of the thickness of the marine-ice layer. Model simulation results are presented for an idealized ice-shelf-ocean configuration as a demonstration of the feasibility of the numerical method. A sensitivity analysis is given so as to quantify the relative uncertainty in the marine-ice thickness that arises from uncertainties in the model input parameters, these being principally the ice-shelf flow field, the basal accumulation rate and the ice-shelf thickness field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-19
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Glaciology
Issue number160
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Computing marine-ice thickness at an ice-shelf base'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this