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Fluid dynamics of marine ice sheets

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Part of the TCSS Annual Symposium

Marine ice sheets flow on bedrock that is below sea level and terminate in floating ice shelves. Fluid dynamics controls the location of the grounding line, where the ice sheet detaches from the bed rock and starts to float, which in turn determines the rate at which grounded ice is transported into the ocean and contributes to sea-level rise. I will describe some simple laboratory experiments and associated mathematical models that capture the dynamics of marine ice sheets, highlighting the role of the floating shelves in buttressing the grounded ice sheet. I will also describe a novel fluid-mechanical instability of shear-thinning, radially extensional flows that may describe certain longitudinal fractures in ice shelves.

This talk is part of the Trinity College Science Society (TCSS) series.

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