BrAHMs V1.0: a fast, physically based subglacial hydrology model for continental-scale application

Kavanagh, Mark B.(Mark Bradley) and Tarasov, L. (2018) BrAHMs V1.0: a fast, physically based subglacial hydrology model for continental-scale application. Geoscientific Model Development, 11. pp. 3497-3513. ISSN 1991-9603

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We present BrAHMs (BAsal Hydrology Model): a physically based basal hydrology model which represents water flow using Darcian flow in the distributed drainage regime and a fast down-gradient solver in the channelized regime. Switching from distributed to channelized drainage occurs when appropriate flow conditions are met. The model is designed for long-term integrations of continental ice sheets. The Darcian flow is simulated with a robust combination of the Heun and leapfrog–trapezoidal predictor–corrector schemes. These numerical schemes are applied to a set of flux-conserving equations cast over a staggered grid with water thickness at the centres and fluxes defined at the interface. Basal conditions (e.g., till thickness, hydraulic conductivity) are parameterized so the model is adaptable to a variety of ice sheets. Given the intended scales, basal water pressure is limited to ice overburden pressure, and dynamic time stepping is used to ensure that the Courant–Friedrichs–Lewy (CFL) condition is met for numerical stability. The model is validated with a synthetic ice sheet geometry and different bed topographies to test basic water flow properties and mass conservation. Synthetic ice sheet tests show that the model behaves as expected with water flowing down gradient, forming lakes in a potential well or reaching a terminus and exiting the ice sheet. Channel formation occurs periodically over different sections of the ice sheet and, when extensive, displays the arborescent configuration expected of Röthlisberger channels. The model is also shown to be stable under high-frequency oscillatory meltwater inputs.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 13701
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Science, Faculty of > Physics and Physical Oceanography
Date: 30 August 2018
Date Type: Publication
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