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Title: Numerical modelling of the Antarctic ice sheet
Author: Wang, Zheng
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis develops a three-dimensional time-dependent numerical model that dynamically simulates the evolution of the flow and thermal regime of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to climatic changes. As one of the most important heat sinks and water reservoirs in the Earth’s energy and water systems, the behaviour of the Antarctic Ice Sheet strongly influences the natural environment on the Earth. This thesis first reviews the factors that affect the thermal and dynamical processes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet system and quantifies their functions in the system by setting up their mathematical relationships with other factors. The universal conservation equations of mass and energy serve as the governing equations of the ice sheet model. Different boundary and initial conditions for solving the governing equation set represent different scenarios of the ice sheet system. They are crucial components of the ice sheet model and are analysed at every interface between the Antarctic Ice Sheet system and the outside environment. The ADI scheme is used to compute the ice sheet model in one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and finally three-dimensional systems in order to highlight the role of the various factors affecting the behaviour of the ice sheet. The sensitivities of the various factors are tested in these idealised ice sheet systems. The parameters employed to model the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the three-dimensional system are then calibrated against the field data. By reconstructing the thermal and dynamical regimes of the Antarctic Ice Sheet under present-day and glacial maximum climatic conditions, the ice sheet model simulates the behaviour of the Antarctic Ice Sheet under changing climate. The modelling results support the idea of a stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet and a comparatively dynamic West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available