Smoothed particle hydrodynamics non-Newtonian model for ice-sheet and ice-shelf dynamics

W. Pan, A. M. Tartakovsky, J. J. Monaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a new three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) non-Newtonian model to study coupled ice-sheet and ice-shelf dynamics. Most existing ice-sheet numerical models use grid-based Eulerian discretizations, and are usually restricted to shallow ice-sheet and ice-shelf approximations of the momentum- conservation equation. SPH, a fully Lagrangian particle method, solves the full momentum-conservation equation. Numerical accuracy of the proposed SPH model is first verified by simulating Poiseuille flow, a plane shear flow with a free surface and the propagation of a blob of ice along a horizontal surface. Next, the SPH model is used to investigate the grounding-line dynamics of a ice sheet/shelf. The steady position of the grounding line, obtained from our SPH simulations, is in good agreement with laboratory observations for a wide range of bedrock slopes, ice-to-fluid density ratios, and flux. We examine the effect of non-Newtonian behavior of ice on the grounding-line dynamics. The non-Newtonian constitutive model is based on Glen's law for a creeping flow of a polycrystalline ice. Finally, we investigate the effect of a bedrock geometry on a steady-state position of the grounding line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-842
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Grounding line
  • Ice sheet
  • Non-Newtonian fluid
  • Smoothed particle hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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