Dynamics of Glacier Flow

  • Ralf Greve
  • Heinz Blatter
Part of the Advances in Geophysical and Environmental Mechanics and Mathematics book series (AGEM)


As mentioned in the introduction (Chapter 1), the size of land ice masses spans several orders of magnitude, from large ice sheets of a few thousand kilometres in diameter down to small glaciers of a few hundreds of metres in length. Consequently, the scaling given for ice sheets in Chapter 5 [Eqs. (5.5) and (5.102)] is not valid for smaller ice caps and glaciers, and needs to be modified. However, the Froude number (5.7) and Coriolis-force-to-pressure-gradient ratio (5.10) are always extremely small compared to unity, and therefore the Stokes flow problem formulated in Sect. 5.1 is applicable to land ice masses of all shapes and sizes. On the other hand, the applicability of the approximations defined in Sects. 5.2 to 5.4 is limited by the size of the ice masses.


Basal Shear Basal Motion Surface Mass Balance Shear Traction Horizontal Velocity Component 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Greve
    • 1
  • Heinz Blatter
    • 2
  1. 1.Inst. Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Inst. Atmospheric & Climate ScienceETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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