A short history of the thermomechanical theory and modelling of glaciers and ice sheets

H. BLATTER, R. GREVE and A. ABE-OUCHI


Abstract

Observations of glacier flow and explanations of its origin started as early as the 18th century. Several mechanisms were suggested before gravity-driven viscous flow became the accepted theory of glacier flow in the 1950s, the early years of the Journal of Glaciology. Since the viscosity of ice is strongly temperature-dependent, the topic of glacier and ice-sheet dynamics became essentially a fluid-dynamical problem. The availability of growing computing power turned the field of glacier mechanics and thermodynamics into a field of numerical modelling with increasing sophistication.


Journal of Glaciology 56 (200), 1087-1094 (2010).

 
Last modified: 2011-04-08