Elmer/Ice News

Modeling the Re-appearance of a Crashed Airplane

compagno2019In this study we used Elmer/Ice to reconstruct the space-time trajectory of the Dakota airplane which crashed on the Gauligletscher in 1946 and was subsequently buried by snow accumulation. Our aim was to localize its present position and predict when and where it would re-appear at the surface. As a first step we modeled the ice flow field and the evolution of Gauligletscher from 1946 using a combined Stokes ice flow and surface mass balance model, which was calibrated with surface elevation and velocity observations. In a second step the modeled ice velocity fields were integrated forward-in-time, starting from the crash location. Our results suggest that the main body of the damaged aircraft will be released approximately between 2027 and 2035, 1 km upstream of the parts that emerged between 2012 and 2018. Our modeling results indicate that the recently found pieces of the Dakota might have been removed from the original aircraft location and moved down-glacier before being abandoned in the late 40s.

Read more: Compagno L., G. Jouvet, A. Bauder, M. Funk, G. J. Church, S. Leinss and M. P. Lüthi, 2019. Modeling the re-appearance of a crashed airplane on Gauligletscher, Switzerland, Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, 170, DOI: 10.3389/feart.2019.00170

Coupling Elmer/Ice to a discrete element model

MemonEtal2019This new paper utilizes a workflow management system (WMS) to couple Elmer/Ice to HiDEM in order to enable a high resolution, physically accurate representation of calving.  Scientific computing applications involving complex simulations and data-intensive processing are often composed of multiple tasks forming a workflow of computing jobs. Scientific communities running such applications on computing resources often find it cumbersome to manage and monitor the execution of these tasks and their associated data. These workflow implementations usually add overhead by introducing unnecessary input/output (I/O) for coupling the models and can lead to sub-optimal CPU utilization. Furthermore, running these workflow implementations in different environments requires significant adaptation efforts, which can hinder the reproducibility of the underlying science. High-level scientific WMS can be used to automate and simplify complex task structures by providing tooling for the composition and execution of workflows – even across distributed and heterogeneous computing environments. The WMS approach allows users to focus on the underlying high-level workflow and avoid low-level pitfalls that would lead to non-optimal resource usage while still allowing the workflow to remain portable between different computing environments. As a case study, we apply the UNICORE workflow management system to enable the coupling of a glacier flow model and calving model which contain many tasks and dependencies, ranging from pre-processing and data management to repetitive executions in heterogeneous high-performance computing (HPC) resource environments. Using the UNICORE workflow management system, the composition, management, and execution of the glacier modelling workflow becomes easier with respect to usage, monitoring, maintenance, reusability, portability, and reproducibility in different environments and by different user groups. Last but not least, the workflow helps to speed the runs up by reducing model coupling I/O overhead and it optimizes CPU utilization by avoiding idle CPU cores and running the models in a distributed way on the HPC cluster that best fits the characteristics of each model.

Read more: Memon S., D. Vallot, T. Zwinger, J. Åström, H. Neukirchen, M. Riedel and M. Book, 2019. Scientific workflows applied to the coupling of a continuum (Elmer v8.3) and a discrete element (HiDEM v1.0) ice dynamic model, Geosci. Model Dev., 12, 3001-3015 DOI: 10.5194/gmd-12-3001-2019

A new study on tidewater glacier iceberg calving

Iceberg calving parameterisations currently implemented in ice sheet models do not reproduce the full observed range of calving behaviours. For example, though buoyant forces at the ice front are known to trigger full-depth calving events on major Greenland outlet glaciers, a multi-stage iceberg calving event at Jakobshavn Isbræ isTreversEtAl 2019 unexplained by existing models. To explain this and similar events, we propose a notch-triggered rotation mechanism, whereby a relatively small subaerial calving event triggers a larger full-depth calving event due to the abrupt increase in buoyant load and the associated stresses generated at the ice–bed interface. We investigate the notch-triggered rotation mechanism by applying a geometric perturbation to the subaerial section of the calving front in a diagnostic flow-line model of an idealised glacier snout, using the full-Stokes, finite element method code Elmer/Ice. Different sliding laws and water pressure boundary conditions are applied at the ice–bed interface. Water pressure has a big influence on the likelihood of calving, and stress concentrations large enough to open crevasses were generated in basal ice. Significantly, the location of stress concentrations produced calving events of approximately the size observed, providing support for future application of the notch-triggered rotation mechanism in ice-sheet models.


Read more: Trevers M., A.J. Payne, S.L. Cornford and T. Moon, 2019. Buoyant forces promote tidewater glacier iceberg calving through large basal stress concentrations, The Cryosphere, 13, 1877-1887 DOI: 10.5194/tc-13-1877-2019

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