James Fastook

Address: 223 Neville Hall, 222 East Annex, Orono, ME 04469

Research Area:

I developed and maintain UMISM, the University of Maine Ice Sheet Model, a multi-component model of ice-sheet physics. Components include mass and momentum conservation for the ice dynamics, energy conservation for the internal temperatures, a hydrostatically supported visco-elastic plate for bed depression and rebound, a conservation of water-based basal water model, and various simple climatologies for surface temperatures and mass balance. The model has been applied to both paleo- and existing ice sheets on both the Earth and Mars.


Studies of glaciology as a science began as the earliest researchers recognized that certain geological landforms had been produced by the presence of large sheets of moving ice that had covered wide expanses of the landscape. We have struggled to understand the mechanisms that produced and controlled these ice sheets. Obviously, these moving ice mountains could only have existed if the world were colder. Had they come and gone repeatedly in the past; and if so, how many times? Is it possible that the Ice Age state of the world is actually its normal state?  Would the glaciers come again, and when? What can we learn from the past climate and how it changed that will help us predict and prepare for future climate change?