The problem of forecasting the future behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet is considered. We describe a method for optimizing this forecast by combining a model of ice sheet flow with observations. Under certain assumptions, a linearized model of glacial flow can be combined with observations of the thickness change, snow accumulation, and ice-flow, to forecast the Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise. Numerical simulations show that this approach can potentially be used to test whether changes observed in Antarctica are consistent with the natural forcing of a stable ice sheet by snowfall fluctuations. To make predictions under less restrictive assumptions, improvements in models of ice flow are needed. Some of the challenges that this prediction problem poses are highlighted, and potentially useful approaches drawn from numerical weather prediction are discussed.
One contribution of 14 to a Discussion Meeting Issue ‘Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet: new understanding and challenges’.
- © 2006 The Royal Society