Welcome to PSU's Glacier Simulations On-line
Numerical modeling has become a major tool in the earth sciences. In addition to being used to understand physical processes, models are used to predict behavior under a different set of conditions than observed. Applied to glaciers, models are valuable tools for explaining the behavior of glaciers, for predicting their response to climate change, and how glaciers affect stream flow. So in addition to its value as providing physical insight glacier modeling can be an important part of resource management.
This site is uses some simple models to illustrate some physical principles of glaciers. Rather than being an online report, the site is more of a digital laboratory in which users can explore and experiment with the structure and behavior of small glaciers. Though this site contains some information of interest to more advanced users, it is primarily intended for glacier novices.
The site is divided into six sections. The first of these, this page, gives the user background about the site and glaciers. The second section, the Virtual Glacier, is an interactive exploration of a typical valley glacier. Three of the other four sections are mathematical models showing the behavior of small glaciers. In addition to the model, each of these four sections includes background on how the model works and how it relates to the behavior of real glaciers. The final section is an interactive timeline of South Cascade Glacier in the North Cascades Range of Washington state. This module shows the response of a small glacier climate change.