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Adaptive mesh refinement versus subgrid friction interpolation in simulations of Antarctic ice dynamics

  • S. L. Cornford (a1), D. F. Martin (a2), V. Lee (a1), A. J. Payne (a1) and E. G. Ng (a2)...
Abstract
ABSTRACT

At least in conventional hydrostatic ice-sheet models, the numerical error associated with grounding line dynamics can be reduced by modifications to the discretization scheme. These involve altering the integration formulae for the basal traction and/or driving stress close to the grounding line and exhibit lower – if still first-order – error in the MISMIP3d experiments. MISMIP3d may not represent the variety of real ice streams, in that it lacks strong lateral stresses, and imposes a large basal traction at the grounding line. We study resolution sensitivity in the context of extreme forcing simulations of the entire Antarctic ice sheet, using the BISICLES adaptive mesh ice-sheet model with two schemes: the original treatment, and a scheme, which modifies the discretization of the basal traction. The second scheme does indeed improve accuracy – by around a factor of two – for a given mesh spacing, but $\lesssim 1$ km resolution is still necessary. For example, in coarser resolution simulations Thwaites Glacier retreats so slowly that other ice streams divert its trunk. In contrast, with $\lesssim 1$ km meshes, the same glacier retreats far more quickly and triggers the final phase of West Antarctic collapse a century before any such diversion can take place.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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