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CAPSizing ICE caps: identifying tipping points through global modelling

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CAPSICE (CAPSizing ICE caps: identifying tipping points through global modelling)

Reporting period: 2019-02-28 to 2021-02-27

Glaciers and ice caps are important contributors to sea level rise and act as natural water bodies that provide water to populations living downstream. Given their large importance, it is crucial to accurately model the future evolution of glaciers and ice caps. This project set out to better describe the future evolution of glaciers and ice caps by developing new methods (numerical ice flow models and algorithms) that allow us to better represent the future evolution of these precious ice bodies.
Throughout this project, we further developed a state-of-the-art glacier evolution that simulates the evolution of glaciers along flowlines. This model was applied to the European Alps in various studies, and its outcomes were used by several other scientists to work on problems in the field of hydrology (e.g. investigating the future evolution of river runoff and water temperatures). Moreover, an important part of the work also focused on the development of a 3-D type of ice flow model for large-scale applications, which is unique, as today's large-scale glacier models typically rely on strongly simplified non-dimensional and 1-D approaches. This 3-D large-scale glacier model is now in an advanced stage of development and will be further developed in a follow-up postdoctoral project.
The results from this project, such as various types of glacier simulations for the European Alps, have been widely covered by media channels (picked up by >500 media international media outlets). The many collaborations that originated from this project have resulted in various joint publications, e.g. in the field of hydrology. The new 3-D large-scale model that is being developed will allow to tackle new types of problems that are difficult to represent with simplified approaches (e.g. to represent the dynamics and evolution of ice caps, which are difficult to describe with flowline approaches).