Greenland ice sheet flow seasonal variation - EPSC 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Yajing Liu

Supervisor's Email: yajing.liu [at]

Supervisor's Phone: 514-398-4085

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Earth and Planetary Sciences

Course number: EPSC 396 (Earth and Planetary Science)

Term: Winter 2013-2014

Project start date: Monday, January 6, 2014

Project end date: Friday, April 11, 2014

Project title: Greenland ice sheet flow seasonal variation

Project description (50-100 words suggested): On Greenland ice sheet, surface velocity increases dramatically during summer months when surface melt water reaches the ice-bedrock interface. Associated transient basal-sliding events occur over time scales ranging from tens of seconds (glacial earthquakes) to several days or even weeks due to the evolution of basal hydraulic network. A major outstanding question is whether the observed transient speed up will increase in magnitude if mean global temperatures increase, and whether enhanced melt water transport to the bed will amplify the processes that are operating today.

In this undergraduate research project, the student will combine numerical modeling and satellite data analysis to investigate how the presence of melt water may lubricate and thus facilitate transient sliding on the ice-bedrock interface. The student will first read journal papers in (1) field observations of transient ice-sheet deformation in Greenland and Antarctica, and (2) laboratory experiments on ice-ice and ice-rock friction. The student will then build upon a numerical code (in Fortran) that incorporates the rate- and state-friction properties to simulate the ice-bedrock interface sliding process coupled with pore fluid migration. Numerical results will be constrained available GPS and satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data in west Greenland.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 40% weekly meeting with the professor to discuss progress; 60% a term paper summarizing the major findings of this project

Project status: This project is taken. The professor has no more '396' projects this term.

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves NEITHER animal subjects, nor human subjects, nor biohazardous substances, nor radioactive materials, nor handling chemicals, nor using lasers.