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SC²S Colloquium - June 27, 2013

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Date: June 27, 2013
Room: 00.13.009A
Time: 10:00 am, s.t.

Tobin Isaac: Modeling ice sheet dynamics with higher-order finite elements

The polar ice sheets contain almost 70 meters of potential sea level rise, and the melting of even a small fraction of that amount would threaten the 200 million of people worldwide who live near sea level. Projecting the ice sheets' contribution to sea-level rise is difficult because of the complexity of accurately modeling ice sheet dynamics for the full polar ice sheets and the great uncertainty in key, unobservable parameters governing those dynamics.

Whether inferring for unknown parameters using a classical deterministic inverse method or using Bayesian statistical inversion, the fast and accurate solution of both the nonlinear equations of ice sheet dynamics and the linearized adjoint of those equations is critical.

I have developed a framework for the scalable solution of these equations that is effective for higher-order finite element meshes, and is robust for the highly anisotropic meshes that are typical when discretizing ice sheets. This talk will focus on the solver framework, highlighting some of the subtleties of applying algebraic multigrid to unorthodox finite element discretizations.