Years participated in RESESS:
Academic Affiliation: College of William and Mary
Research Mentor: Jeremy Bassis
Communications Mentor: Emily Fairfax
Danya’s interest in earth science began as an offshoot of a broader interest in environmental justice and water conservation. Although her interests have since shifted to glaciology and broadly, geophysics, they remain driven by notions of community engagement and social justice. This summer, Danya designed and constructed an analogue model to simulate the flow of ice sheets and ice shelves.
A Laboratory-Scale Analogue Model to Probe Ice Sheet Grounding Line Dynamics
Uncertainty in sea level rise centers on potential mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet and West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which can be driven by changes in the grounding line position. Much research into grounding line dynamics has been observational or numerical and only a few efforts have used physical analogue models. Simple analogue models may have the potential to improve our understanding of the grounding line dynamics under idealized and more generalized conditions (i.e. not tied to a specific glaciological regime). Here, we describe a preliminary laboratory scale analogue model to examine grounding line and glacier dynamics. Our model is typified by an oil-based viscous fluid (Re <<1), dispersed on an angled ramp into an inviscid, denser fluid. We used time-lapse photography and measured the velocity, strain, and strain rates and grounding line position and compared our measurements to numerical and analytical models. Further, we can modify our model to simulate particular glaciological regimes to examine the role of ice shelves in stabilizing grounding line positions. Although our experiments are preliminary, future versions can include more complex geometries (e.g., retrograde bed slopes, pinning points and hanging glaciers) to provide insight into the stability of West Antarctica to future changes in ice shelf extent and climate forcing.