Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Better climate models? Just add ice.

With the help of supercomputers, Los Alamos scientists are modeling ice sheets to predict sea level rise and coupling ice sheet models to climate models to sharpen their predictive capabilities.
September 22, 2016
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With the help of supercomputers, Los Alamos scientists are modeling ice sheets to predict sea level rise and coupling ice sheet models to climate models to sharpen their predictive capabilities.

Better Climate Models? Just Add Ice

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The global climate is a complex system, so it’s no surprise that improving the predictions made by climate models requires some serious computing power. Supercomputing power, in fact. With the help of high-performance computers, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are modeling ice sheets to predict sea level rise and coupling ice sheet models to climate models to sharpen their predictive capabilities.

This image shows the simulated speed of the Antarctic Ice Sheet across the continent using the Model for Prediction Across Scales—Land Ice. Slow-moving ice (blue and green) from the interior of the ice sheet feeds fast-moving (yellow and orange) ice streams and ice shelves that ring the margins of Antarctica. These marginal regions restrain the vast body of ice behind them but are susceptible to speedup and destabilization through melting caused by the ocean below and atmosphere above.

This simulation was produced by Matthew Hoffman and Stephen Price from the Laboratory’s Fluid Dynamics and Solid Mechanics group (T-3).


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