Many glaciers are covered by a debris layer whose presence has multiple, competing effects on the glacier's melt rate. The debris layer shields the ice from incoming solar radiation and thus reduces its melt rate. However, since the albedo of the debris layer is much smaller than that of the ice, the debris layer is heated up very rapidly by the solar radiation, an effect that is likely to increase the melt rate.
The project aims to develop theoretical/computational models to study how solid objects (rocks) which are placed on (or embedded in) an ice layer affect the ice's melt rate. The work will employ (and contribute to) the object-oriented multi-physics finite-element library oomph-lib, developed by M. Heil and A.L. Hazel and their collaborators, and available as open source software at http://www.oomph-lib.org.
The project would suit students with an interest in mathematical modelling, continuum mechanics and scientific computing and will be performed in close collaborations with Glaciologists at the University of Sheffield and the Bavarian Academy of Science.