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Dynamics of marine ice sheets

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Massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica flow slowly under their own weight towards the ocean. In many regions these ice sheets flow along bedrock that is below sea level and, once they are thin enough, detach from the bedrock to form floating ice shelves. The stability of the ice sheets is determined in part by the way they are buttressed by their ice shelves and by the way they are lubricated at their base. Much can be learned about their dynamics from small-scale laboratory experiments and simple fluid-mechanical theory, which I shall describe.

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (CUED) series.

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