Earthflow: Sticky ice and slippery rocks, What do we know and what do we want to know about glacier motion
Thomas Schuler, Andi Kaab (Department of Geosciences, UiO) and Anders Malthe-Sørenssen (Department of Physics, UiO) will give a talk in relation to the EarthFlow project (a new cross-disciplinary Strategic Research Initiative), addressed to a broad audience.
Mass loss from glaciers represents the largest (65%) contribution to observed sea level rise. In addition to mass loss by melting, glacier dynamics can drastically increase ice discharge to the ocean. Fast glacier flow is mainly accomplished by motion at the ice-solid interface (called basal motion), involving complex sliding and shearing processes which in turn are controlled by transient water pressure and varying thermal conditions. However, due to the virtual inaccessibility of the subglacial environment, the sliding mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we present a short overview of current understanding of subglacial conditions, available model tools and their limitations. We argue for the need of a new conceptual approach nourished on analogies from tribology.