Polythermal three-dimensional modelling of the Greenland Ice Sheet with varied geothermal heat flux



Computations over 50000 years into steady state with Greve's polythermal ice sheet model and its numerical code are performed for the Greenland ice sheet with today's climatological input (surface temperature and accumulation function) and three values of the geothermal heat flux: (42, 54.6, 29.4) mW/m2. It is shown that through the thermomechanical coupling the geometry as well as the thermal regime, in particular that close to the bed, respond surprisingly strongly to the basal thermal heat input. The most sensitive variable is the basal temperature field, but the maximum height of the summit also varies by more than plus/minus 100 m. Furthermore, some intercomparison of the model outputs with the real ice sheet is carried out, showing that the model provides reasonable results for the ice-sheet geometry as well as for the englacial temperatures.

Annals of Glaciology, 21, 8-12 (1995).

Last modified: 2008-09-05