Glaciers: Flow instabilities and Melting Dynamics

The Himalayan glaciers are a source of fresh water for millions. So the possibility of them retreating, given the accelerated pace of climate change, is a dire one. Moreover, the melting of the glaciers could translate into a rise in flash floods. Predicting the behaviour of glaciers, however, is a difficult task, due to a dearth of observational data (campaigns have recently been launched by NCAOR to remedy this) and a lack of fundamental understanding of the mechanics of glacial flows. This project seeks to address the latter and investigate the flow of glaciers, at various scales, with an emphasis on identifying the mechanisms that govern their observed behaviour. This will require the development and analysis of mathematical models, which account for the coupling between the mechanics of flow and the thermodynamics of melting. Special attention will be paid to the stability of glacial flows, as an instability could trigger rapid melting, flash floods and a catastrophic retreat of the glacier.

Proposing Faculty
Research Area
  • Climate Change
  • Computational Flow Modelling (CFD)
  • Fluid Mechanics and Stability
  • Heat and Mass Transfer