Document Type


Publication Date

January 1996


Ice sheets -- Antarctica, Glaciers -- Antarctica, Ice shelves -- Antarctica, Glaciers -- Antarctica -- Ross Ice Shelf


A standard numerical experiment featuring the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, is presented as a test package for the development and intercomparison of ice-shelf models. The emphasis of this package is solution of stress-equilibrium equations for an ice-shelf velocity consistent with present observations. As a demonstration, we compare five independently developed ice-shelf models based on finite-difference and finite-element methods. Our results suggest that there is little difference between finite-element and finite-difference methods in capturing the basic, large-scale flow features of the ice shelf. We additionally show that the fit between model and observed velocity depends strongly on the ice-shelf temperature field for which there is presently little observational control. The main differences between model results are due to the equations being solved, the boundary conditions at the ice front and the discretization method (finite element vs. finite difference)


Originally appeared in Annals of Glaciology, published by the International Glaciological Society. Article may be found at

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