Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

Changing ice in a warming climate: a data-driven approach

Speaker: Yao Lai, Princeton

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 3:30 p.m.


One of the biggest uncertainties in sea-level rise projections results from our incomplete understanding of how surface melting of ice impacts the dynamics of ice shelves. In this talk I will discuss two poorly understood aspects of ice dynamics. The first concerns how melting of ice surface triggers ice-shelf collapse through “hydrofracture”, which caused the catastrophic disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf. I will introduce a new approach combining physics-based models and deep learning techniques to provide physical insights into the stability of ice fractures and predict the vulnerability of Antarctic ice shelves to atmosphere warming. In the second part of the talk, I will talk about the discovery of rheology of Antarctic Ice Shelves using physics-informed deep learning and remote-sensing observations. The flow law of ice, i.e. ice rheology, directly governs the dynamics of ice shelves but is challenging to measure in the field. Here with a data-driven approach we identify flow laws that are different from previously assumed in ice-sheet models. Our results suggest the need for reassessing the impact of ice flow law on the future projection of sea-level rise.