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A Generalized Interpolation Material Point Method for Shallow Ice Shelves. 2: Anisotropic Nonlocal Damage Mechanics and Rift Propagation


Huth AAlex , Duddu RRavindra , Smith BBen . Journal of advances in modeling earth systems. 2021 8 24; 13(8). e2020MS002292


Ice shelf fracture is responsible for roughly half of Antarctic ice mass loss in the form of calving and can weaken buttressing of upstream ice flow. Large uncertainties associated with the ice sheet response to climate variations are due to a poor understanding of these fracture processes and how to model them. Here, we address these problems by implementing an anisotropic, nonlocal integral formulation of creep damage within a large-scale shallow-shelf ice flow model. This model can be used to study the full evolution of fracture from initiation of crevassing to rifting that eventually causes tabular calving. While previous ice shelf fracture models have largely relied on simple expressions to estimate crevasse depths, our model parameterizes fracture as a progressive damage evolution process in three-dimensions (3-D). We also implement an efficient numerical framework based on the material point method, which avoids advection errors. Using an idealized marine ice sheet, we test the creep damage model and a crevasse-depth based damage model, including a modified version of the latter that accounts for damage evolution due to necking and mass balance. We demonstrate that the creep damage model is best suited for capturing weakening and rifting over shorter (monthly/yearly) timescales, and that anisotropic damage reproduces typically observed fracture patterns better than isotropic damage. Because necking and mass balance can significantly influence damage on longer (decadal) timescales, we discuss the potential for a combined approach between models to best represent mechanical weakening and tabular calving within long-term simulations.