October 2010

Video: Modeling ice with finite element methods

Columbia University and Sandia National Laboratory researchers are employing finite element methods (FEM) as a step toward more complex models of ice shelf fracturing. This animation of a simplified ice shelf shows how regions of critical stress, colored red, grow in response to increased temperature caused by global warming, mechanical loading from movement of the ocean and other mechanical loads. Yellow, green and blue represent lesser stress levels. The animation does not represent real time, but instead is quasi-static, calculating different loading conditions with each step.