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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-249
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-249
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 09 Sep 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 09 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Modelling thermomechanical ice deformation using a GPU-based implicit pseudo-transient method (FastICE v1.0)

Ludovic Räss1, Aleksandar Licul2,3, Frédéric Herman2,3, Yury Y. Podladchikov3,4, and Jenny Suckale1 Ludovic Räss et al.
  • 1Stanford University, Geophysics Department, 397 Panama Mall, Stanford CA 94305, USA
  • 2Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 3Swiss Geocomputing Centre, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 4Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Accurate predictions of future sea level rise require numerical models that capture the complex thermomechanical feedbacks in rapidly deforming ice. Shear margins, grounding zones and the basal sliding interface are locations of particular interest where the stress-field is complex and fundamentally three-dimensional. These transition zones are prone to thermomechanical localisation, which can be captured numerically only with high temporal and spatial resolution. Thus, better understanding the coupled physical processes that govern these boundaries of localised strain necessitates a non-linear, full Stokes model that affords high resolution and scales well in three dimensions. This paper’s goal is to contribute to the growing toolbox for modelling thermomechanical deformation in ice by levering GPU accelerators’ parallel scalability. We propose a numerical model that relies on pseudo-transient iterations to solve the implicit thermomechanical coupling between ice motion and temperature involving shear-heating and a temperature-dependant ice viscosity. Our method is based on the finite-difference discretisation, and we implement the pseudo-time integration in a matrix-free way. We benchmark the mechanical Stokes solver against the finite-element code Elmer/Ice and report good agreement among the results. We showcase a parallel version of the solver to run on GPU-accelerated distributed memory machines, reaching a parallel efficiency of 93 %. We show that our model is particularly useful for improving our process-based understanding of flow localisation in the complex transition zones bounding rapidly moving ice.

Ludovic Räss et al.
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Ludovic Räss et al.
Model code and software

FastICE L. Räss, A. Licul, F. Herman, Y. Podladchikov, and J. Suckale https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3387669

Ludovic Räss et al.
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Latest update: 21 Sep 2019
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Short summary
Accurate predictions of future sea level rise require numerical models that predict rapidly deforming ice. Localised ice defromation can be captured numerically only with high temporal and spatial resolution. This paper’s goal is to propose a parallel FastICE solver for modelling ice deformation. Our model is particularly useful for improving our process-based understanding of localised ice deformation. Our solver reaches a parallel efficiency of 93 % on GPU-based supercomputers.
Accurate predictions of future sea level rise require numerical models that predict rapidly...
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