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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
14 Jul 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Design and results of the ice sheet model initialisation experiments initMIP-Greenland: an ISMIP6 intercomparison
Heiko Goelzer1,2, Sophie Nowicki3, Tamsin Edwards4, Matthew Beckley3, Ayako Abe-Ouchi5, Andy Aschwanden6, Reinhard Calov7, Olivier Gagliardini8, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet8, Nicholas R. Golledge9, Jonathan Gregory10,11, Ralf Greve12, Angelika Humbert13,14, Philippe Huybrechts15, Joseph H. Kennedy16,17, Eric Larour18, William H. Lipscomb19,20, Sébastien Le clec´h21, Victoria Lee22, Mathieu Morlighem23, Frank Pattyn2, Antony J. Payne22, Christian Rodehacke24,13, Martin Rückamp13, Fuyuki Saito25, Nicole Schlegel18, Helene Seroussi18, Andrew Shepherd26, Sainan Sun2, Roderik van de Wal1, and Florian A. Ziemen27 1Utrecht University, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (IMAU), Utrecht, Netherlands
2Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
3NASA GSFC, Cryospheric Sciences Branch, Greenbelt, USA
4School of Environment, Earth & Ecosystem Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
5Atmosphere Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan
6Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
7Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
8Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, IGE, F-38000 Grenoble, France
9Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
10Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
11Met Office Hadley Center, Exeter, United Kingdom
12Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
13Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
14University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
15Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
16Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, USA
17Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, USA
18Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA
19Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, USA
20National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, USA
21LSCE/IPSL, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
22University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
23University of California Irvine, Irvine, USA
24Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
25Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan
26School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
27Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
Abstract. Earlier large-scale Greenland ice sheet sea-level projections (e.g., those run during the ice2sea and SeaRISE initiatives) have shown that ice sheet initial conditions can have a large effect on the projections and give rise to important uncertainties. The goal of the initMIP-Greenland intercomparison exercise is to compare, evaluate and improve the initialisation techniques used in the ice sheet modelling community and to estimate the associated uncertainties. initMIP-Greenland is the first in a series of ice sheet model intercomparison activities within ISMIP6 (the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6). Two experiments for the large-scale Greenland ice sheet have been designed to allow intercomparison between participating models of 1) the initial present-day state of the ice sheet and 2) the response in two schematic forward experiments. The forward experiments serve to evaluate the initialisation in terms of model drift (forward run without additional forcing) and in response to a large perturbation (prescribed surface mass balance anomaly), and should not be interpreted as sea-level projections. We present and discuss results that highlight the wide diversity of data sets, boundary conditions and initialisation techniques used in the community to generate initial states of the Greenland ice sheet. We find good agreement across the ensemble for the dynamic response to SMB changes in areas where the simulated ice sheets overlap, but in general differences arise due to the initial size of the ice sheet. The spread in model drift is reduced compared to earlier intercomparison exercises.

Citation: Goelzer, H., Nowicki, S., Edwards, T., Beckley, M., Abe-Ouchi, A., Aschwanden, A., Calov, R., Gagliardini, O., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Golledge, N. R., Gregory, J., Greve, R., Humbert, A., Huybrechts, P., Kennedy, J. H., Larour, E., Lipscomb, W. H., Le clec´h, S., Lee, V., Morlighem, M., Pattyn, F., Payne, A. J., Rodehacke, C., Rückamp, M., Saito, F., Schlegel, N., Seroussi, H., Shepherd, A., Sun, S., van de Wal, R., and Ziemen, F. A.: Design and results of the ice sheet model initialisation experiments initMIP-Greenland: an ISMIP6 intercomparison, The Cryosphere Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Heiko Goelzer et al.
Heiko Goelzer et al.
Heiko Goelzer et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We have compared a wide spectrum of different initialisation techniques used in the ice sheet modelling community to define the modelled present-day Greenland ice sheet state as starting point for physically-based future sea-level change projections. Compared to earlier community-wide comparisons we find better agreement across different models, which implies overall improvement of our understanding of what is needed to produce such initial states.
We have compared a wide spectrum of different initialisation techniques used in the ice sheet...