Ice Sheet Modelling


Our ice sheet reconstruction and palaeoclimate results go hand-in-hand with model simulations of ice sheet change, enabling us to better understand the drivers of ice sheet change in Antarctica. In collaboration with Dr Nick Golledge, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wellington, New Zealand, we are using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) to obtain millennial-scale simulations of the ice sheets’ responses to external forcing.


With its five kilometre resolution across the Antarctic, the PISM provides vital estimates of ice flux and the corresponding sea level contribution over time. Crucially, using the PISM to understand past changes in the Antarctic ice sheets, we are able to place the recent changes observed from satellites into context, leading to more informed predictions about what’s to come.


It is critical to investigate the past dynamic response of sectors of the Antarctic ice sheets to external forcing over millennia given the short observational window over which we are able to explore contemporary ice-sheet processes. Base on our ice sheet reconstruction from cosmogenic evidence we have investigated how changes at the oceanic margins of the Antarctic ice sheet in the Weddell Sea embayment (WSE) may have impacted the Rutford and Institute ice streams, two of the eight major dynamic ice streams that sustain the extensive Ronne–Filchner Ice Shelf at the margin of the WAIS.  We have examined our geological ice-sheet constraints with new high-resolution palaeo-ice-sheet model simulations to understand the drivers of ice-sheet change and the response of the ice streams to ocean forcing during the transition between the glacial and interglacial world, thus improving our understanding of ice dynamical responses to ocean change.


Key collaborator: Dr Nick Golledge.


If you would like to learn more, check out our recent research paper:

Golledge, N.R., Fogwill, C.J., Mackintosh, A.N., Buckley, K.M., 2012. Dynamics of the Last Glacial Maximum Antarctic ice-sheet and its response to ocean forcing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, 16052–16056.


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