09/27/2016 - 2:00pm
September 27, 2:00pm
Location: Revelle 4301
Postdoctoral Scholar, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Gone with the wind: Modeling iceberg drift and decay in modern and glacial climates
Under global warming, the calving of icebergs into the polar oceans is expected to increase. As a result, questions regarding the role icebergs play in Earth's climate system have received a recent surge of interest, and efforts are underway to put explicit representations of icebergs into global climate models (GCMs). A better understanding of how icebergs drift and decay will help facilitate an accurate representation of icebergs and guide the interpretation of the GCM results. In this talk I will present an idealized analytical model that we developed to aid this effort. I will use the model to address (i) which climate model variables are most important to accurately model iceberg evolution and (ii) whether climate models do a good job simulating these variables. I will show that (i) it's winds and (ii) they don't. In the later part of the talk, I will turn to the massive iceberg discharges called Heinrich Events that occurred during the last glacial period. These events are believed to have had large-scale impacts on the global climate system. However, modeling icebergs that lived and melted more than 10,000 years ago comes with its own challenges, as we will see.
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