Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Towards Quantifying Uncertainty in Greenland's Contribution to 21st Century Sea-Level Rise

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 14:10
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We present recent work towards developing a methodology for quantifying uncertainty in Greenland’s 21st century contribution to sea-level rise. While we focus on uncertainties associated with the optimization and calibration of the basal sliding parameter field, the methodology is largely generic and could be applied to other (or multiple) sets of uncertain model parameter fields. The first step in the workflow is the solution of a large-scale, deterministic inverse problem, which minimizes the mismatch between observed and computed surface velocities by optimizing the two-dimensional coefficient field in a linear-friction sliding law. We then expand the deviation in this coefficient field from its estimated "mean" state using a reduced basis of Karhunen-Loeve Expansion (KLE) vectors. A Bayesian calibration is used to determine the optimal coefficient values for this expansion. The prior for the Bayesian calibration can be computed using the Hessian of the deterministic inversion or using an exponential covariance kernel. The posterior distribution is then obtained using Markov Chain Monte Carlo run on an emulator of the forward model. Finally, the uncertainty in the modeled sea-level rise is obtained by performing an ensemble of forward propagation runs. We present and discuss preliminary results obtained using a moderate-resolution model of the Greenland Ice sheet. As demonstrated in previous work, the primary difficulty in applying the complete workflow to realistic, high-resolution problems is that the effective dimension of the parameter space is very large.

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