A Flow-line Model for Calculating the Surface Profile and the Velocity, Strain-rate, and Stress Fields in an Ice Sheet
Journal of Glaciology
A flow-line model is presented for calculating the surface profile and the velocity, strain-rate, and stress fields in an ice sheet with given base-elevation profile, ice thickness at the dome (divide), flow-law parameters, mass-balance distribution, and convergence/divergence conditions along the flow line. The model, which is based on a "quasi-similarity" hypothesis as regards the horizontal velocity-depth profiles, accounts for changes along the flow line in the depth distributions of
... ributions of temperature, normal stress deviators, and possible enhanced flow of deep ice of Wisconsin origin. A curvilinear coordinate system is applied with horizontal axes along flow lines and surface-elevation contours, respectively. The flow equations are reduced to two differential equations, one for the surface-elevation profile, and the other for a profile function that determines the depth distributions of velocities and strain-rates. The two equations are coupled through a profile parameter that communicates the influence of velocity-profile changes to the surface-profile equation. It is shown that the variation along the flow line of this parameter should also be considered when deriving flow-law parameters from ice-sheet flow-line data. For a symmetric dome, explicit expressions are derived for the depth distributions of the vertical velocity, strain-rates, and stresses. The strain-rate profiles display an inflection about half-way down the ice sheet, and, in the case of isothermal ice, have surface values 2.2 times their depth-averaged values. The depth distribution of the vertical velocity indicates that a relatively thick layer of almost stagnant ice is present at the ice-sheet base below a dome.