Turbulent Transfer of Heat and Moisture in the Glacier Boundary Layer

  • Date: 10/19/2006

Shawn Marshall (University of Calgary)


Calgary Place Tower (Shell)


Glaciers are retreating worldwide in response to climate change, but
glaciologists are still struggling to provide accurate predictions of
how quickly icefields will disappear from the landscape. One of the
issues involves quantification of the way in which climate change
impacts energy-balance processes at the glacier surface. This surface
energy balance drives snow and ice melt. Shortwave radiation is the
dominant component of the energy budget, but turbulent transfers of
heat and moisture are significant and these are directly sensitive to
atmospheric temperature and moisture content: two meteorological
variables that are experiencing the greatest change. I will present and
discuss the mathematical theory that is used to describe turbulent
energy fluxes at the glacier-atmosphere interface. These fluxes are
parameterized as perturbation terms in the Navier-Stokes equations of
boundary layer circulation, and the closure theory which has evolved to
estimate these energy fluxes is an interesting mixture of theory and
empiricism. Applications of the theory will be provided from
glacier-climate studies on the Haig Glacier, Alberta.

Other Information: 

PIMS/Shell Lunchbox Lecture Series 2006



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PIMS is presenting a series of lectures at the Calgary Place Tower 1 in
downtown Calgary. These lectures, given by experts from the PIMS
Universities, will focus on mathematical techniques and applications
relevant to the oil and gas industry and will demonstrate the utility
and beauty of applied mathematics. The talks are aimed at a general
audience. Attendance may qualify for APEGGA Professional Development


Shawn Marshall is an Associate Professor, Geography, University of
Calgary, and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellow, Canadian
Institute for Advanced Research.