Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

Wednesday October 28, 2015 4:00 PM

Dynamics of Ice Stream Variability in Past and Present Climates

Speaker: Alex Robel, Geological & Planetary Sciences, Caltech
Location: South Mudd 365

Ice streams are regions of fast ice sheet flow that exhibit temporal variability on a range of time scales. Observations indicate that centennial- to millennial-scale ice stream variability plays an important role in the current mass balance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and may be related to periods of rapid climatic change in the past. In this talk, I give an overview of my recent work on the physical mechanisms which control ice stream variability using a hierarchy of models from simple box models to 3D thermomechanical ice sheet models. I discuss the importance of ice stream variability in determining the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet under present and future climate through interactions with reverse-sloping beds. I also explain the dynamic processes through which ice streams mediated rapid Quaternary deglaciations and produced unforced iceberg discharge events during the holocene and glacial periods.

Series Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

Contact: Kathy Young at 626-395-8732 katyoung@gps.caltech.edu