Free Glacier Simulator to Simulate Glacier Melting Rate Over Time

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This article covers a free glacier simulator to simulate glacier melting rate over time. Due to the excessive CO2 emission and other types of pollution, the climate is changing at a rapid pace. As, a result of the climate impact, the surface temperature is rising in many different areas of the planet. The areas which we should really be concerned about collectively are the glaciers.

The PHeT glacier simulator I covered here lets you simulate the melting rate of a glacier over time. You can create different environmental conditions by adjusting the temperature and snowfall to see the glacier grow and shrink. It also packs a set of scientific tools which you can use to measure the glacier snowmelt, accumulation, velocity, thickness, distance. With these options, you can mimic various climatic scenarios and estimate the melting rate of the glacier based on that scenario.

Also read: Free Volcano Simulator Software for Windows: Erupt

Free Glacier Simulator to Simulate Glacier Melting Rate Over Time

PHeT glacier simulator is created by the University of Colorado at Boulder which you can use to shrink and grow a glacier by changing the temperature and snowfall. This glacier simulator is a JAR file which you can download from the University of Colorado (link to the same is provided at the end of this article). Once downloaded, you can simply run it by a double-click. It’ll work on Windows, macOS, Linux, and any other OS that can execute Java.


When you launch this simulator, it shows you a visualization of a glacier with a timeline at the top. The timeline implies the journey of the melting ice from the glacier to sea. Below the glacier visualization, there are parameters to create different environmental scenarios. With these parameters, you can create any feasible scenario to see what is going to happen to the glacier under such circumstances. These parameters are

  • View: Change unit system, show/hide equilibrium line, and simulate snowfall.
  • Climate: Change sea-level air temperature from 55.4-degree Fahrenheit to 68.0-degree Fahrenheit, along with average snowfall rate from 4.9-feet snowfall to all the way zero.

You can also change the time speed to see the impact on glacier over time. From there, you can also view original glacier on which this simulation is based upon.

Apart from these parameters, this simulator has a set of scientific tools which you can use to measure various aspects. These tools are:

  • Temperature: Shows the temperature of the melting glacier ice.
  • Glacial Budget Meter: Shows the accumulation, ablation, and glacial budget.
  • Tracking Flag: To trace a particular section of the melting glacier.
  • Ice Thickness Tool: To measure the thickness of ice moving down from the glacier.
  • Borehole Drill: To drill a borehole on the melting glacier ice.
  • GPS Receiver: Shows the distance and elevation of any given point from the sea level.

You can place these tools on the melting glacier to get the respective measures. This way, you can collect helpful data from the simulation.

Advanced Mode


This simulator also has an advanced mode where you get a couple of measuring parameters and options to plot different graphs of glacier simulation data. You can access the advanced mode by tapping the Advanced tab which gives you the followings measuring parameters:

  • Ice Flow Vectors: Show the direction in which the ice is moving.
  • Coordinates: Shows the elevation from sea level and distance from the glacier.



From the graph section of the advanced mode, you can plot the data from simulation on the graph. You can generate the following types of glacier data graph in this simulator:

  • Glacier Length vs. Time Graph
  • Equilibrium Line Altitude vs. Time Graph
  • Glacial Budget vs. Elevation
  • Air Temperature vs. Elevation

Download this glacier simulator from here.

Wrap Up

This glacier simulator lets you simulate a glacier melting rate under different natural conditions. It is useful for academic purposes as well as to aware people about the risk of climate change and how it’s going to affect our life.

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