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Geodesy and Glaciology


Numerical modelling

In addition to collecting observational data using a wide variety of measurement methods, the numerical modelling of the dynamic interactions between mountain glaciers and their environment is another focus of the project.

One of the major objectives is the realistic numerical description of the interactions between the ice body and the atmosphere, the hydrologic balance and the solid Earth, taking into account the specific conditions resulting from underground conditions, topography and microclimate. The coupling of the very different systems of ice dynamics and energy/mass balance models as well as the assimilation of observational data require special attention. In this regard, the good alliance with the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre) of the Academy and the geodynamics group of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) offer excellent starting conditions.

The required input data mainly result from observations and calculations at the boundary layer between ice and atmosphere: geometry, ice velocities, energy and mass balance. Basal parameters can be explored to a certain extent using geophysical methods as well. The experimental implementation in different glacier regions, or the investigation of specific phenomena, enables an internal validation of the model development directly on the research object, i.e. the glacier. This is also an indispensable prerequisite for identifying variables regarding place, time and type in order to efficiently interlink model development, parameter control and in-situ validation. In particular, the long time series of observational data in the Alpine region provide the basis for investigating transient processes and secure modelling of longer time periods.