Now Archived! PolarConnect event with Lauren Adamo Neitzke and the research team on Sliding Glaciers from an overlook of the Rhone glacier in Switzerland on Thursday, 23 August 2018. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives site.
What Are They Doing?
The team is developing mathematical relationships needed to predict the sliding speeds of glaciers and ice sheets. The uncertainty of these relationships, called sliding laws, introduces major uncertainty in the results of computer models aimed at predicting ice-sheet flow and associated sea-level rise. Improved sliding laws are developed by visiting forefields of seven receding glaciers in the Swiss Alps and measuring in detail the topography of their exposed former beds. This topography is then used as the basis for computer models of glacier sliding that allow sliding laws to be derived. The field site is not in a polar region but the team's work can help predict glacial change that may occur at the poles in the future.
Where Are They?
The forefield of Tsanfleuron, one of glaciers where the team will be working.
Neal Iverson is the Smith Family Foundation Chair of the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University. His research is devoted primarily to understanding glaciers and the spectacular imprint they leave on the landscape. Glacier dynamics and landscape modification are particularly sensitive to processes at glacier beds, which is the focus of much of his effort.
This research involves field experiments at modern glaciers, field measurements in formerly glaciated landscapes, laboratory experiments, and the formulation of models aimed at characterizing glacial processes. He and some of his former students are the 2012 recipients of the Kirk Bryan Award, given by the Geological Society of America for research that advances the field of geomorphology. More information about Dr. Iverson can be found here
Lucas (Luke) Zoet is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geoscience, and holds an appointment in Geological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research largely focuses on understanding the physics of glacier motion through field observation, laboratory experiments, and theoretical analysis. His work largely sits at the intersection of glaciology and glacial geology. He uses a variety of geophysical and geological methods to explore glacial processes at both modern-day glaciers and landforms left behind by since melted glaciers.