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LIFD Seminar: Detlef Lohse

Wednesday 28 February 2024, 12pm

Join us on the 28th February for a seminar and lunch with Detlef Lohse from the University of Twente.

Melting of ice

The quantitative understanding of glacial ice melting into the ocean is one of the most outstanding challenges in environmental fluid dynamics. The lack of understanding is on a fundamental level, due to the highly complex multi-scale, multi-physics nature of the problem. The process involves intricate multi-way coupling effects, including thermal convection, salinity, ocean current, and radiation, etc. As ice melts into the surrounding salty water, a decrease in local salt concentration leads to reduced water density, inducing upward buoyant forces and, consequently, upward flow. This flow dynamically interacts with the ice, resulting in a feedback loop of further melting (Stefan problem). Our investigation employs direct numerical simulations with the phase field method. To capture the intricacies of melting dynamics within turbulent flows, we implement a multiple-resolution strategy for salinity and phase field simulations [3]. The versatility of our method is demonstrated through successful applications to diverse melting scenarios, including the formation of melt ponds [2], melting in Rayleigh-Bénard convection [4], vertical convection with fresh water [1], and vertical convection with salty water [3]. In this presentation, we showcase results obtained across these various geometries. This work contributes to advancing our understanding of the complex dynamics involved in glacial ice melting within oceanic environments.


  1. Rui Yang, Kai Leong Chong, Hao-Ran Liu, Roberto Verzicco, and Detlef Lohse. Abrupt transition from slow to fast melting of ice. Phys. Rev. Fluids, 7(8):083503, 2022.
  2. Rui Yang, Christopher J. Howland, Hao-Ran Liu, Roberto Verzicco, and Detlef Lohse. Bistability in radiatively heated melt ponds. Phys. Rev. Lett., 131:234002, Dec 2023.
  3. Rui Yang, Christopher J. Howland, Hao-Ran Liu, Roberto Verzicco, and Detlef Lohse. Ice melting in salty water: layering and non-monotonic dependence on the mean salinity. J. Fluid Mech., 969:R2, 2023.
  4. Rui Yang, Christopher J Howland, Hao-Ran Liu, Roberto Verzicco, and Detlef Lohse. Morphology evolution of a melting solid layer above its melt heated from below. J. Fluid Mech., 956:A23, 2023.


Speaker Biography

Detlef Lohse studied physics at the Universities of Kiel & Bonn (Germany), and got his PhD at Univ. of Marburg (1992). He then joined Univ. of Chicago as postdoc. After his habilitation (Marburg, 1997), in 1998 he became Chair at Univ. of Twente in the Netherlands and built up the Physics of Fluids group. Since 2015 he is also Member of the Max Planck Society and of the Max-Planck Institute in Göttingen.

Lohse's present research interests include turbulence and multiphase flow and micro- and nanofluidics (bubbles, drops, inkjet printing, wetting). He does both fundamental and more applied science and combines experimental, theoretical, and numerical methods.

Lohse is Associate Editor of J. Fluid Mech. (among others journals) and serves as Chair of the Executive Board of the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society and Member of the Executive Board of IUTAM. He is Member of the (American) National Academy of Engineering (2017), of the Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW, 2005), the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina, 2002) and Fellow of APS (2002). He won various scientific prizes, among which the Spinoza Prize (NWO, 2005), the Simon Stevin Meester Prize (STW, 2009), the Physica Prize of the Dutch Physics Society (2011), the AkzoNobel Science Award (2012), three European Research Council Advanced Grants (2010 & 2017 &n2023), the George K. Batchelor Prize (IUTAM, 2012), the APS Fluid Dynamics Prize (2017), the Balzan Prize (2018), and the Max Planck Medal (2019). In 2010, he got knighted to become “Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw”.