Coupling the U.K. Earth System Model to dynamic models of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets

Smith, Robin S., Mathiot, Pierre, Siahaan, Antony, Lee, Victoria, Cornford, Stephen L., Gregory, Jonathan M., Payne, Antony J., Jenkins, Adrian, Holland, Paul R., Ridley, Jeff K. and Jones, Colin G. (2021) Coupling the U.K. Earth System Model to dynamic models of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 13 (10). e2021MS002520. ISSN 1942-2466

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The physical interactions between ice sheets and the atmosphere and ocean around them are major factors in determining the state of the climate system, yet many current Earth System models omit them entirely or treat them very simply. In this work we describe how models of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been incorporated into the global U.K. Earth System model (UKESM1) via substantial technical developments with a two‐way coupling that passes fluxes of energy and water, and the topography of the ice sheet surface and ice shelf base, between the component models. File‐based coupling outside the running model executables is used throughout to pass information between the components, which we show is both physically appropriate and convenient within the UKESM1 structure. Ice sheet surface mass balance is computed in the land surface model using multi‐layer snowpacks in subgrid‐scale elevation ranges and compares well to the results of regional climate models. Ice shelf front discharge forms icebergs, which drift and melt in the ocean. Ice shelf basal mass balance is simulated using the full three‐dimensional ocean model representation of the circulation in ice‐shelf cavities. We show a range of example results, including from simulations with changes in ice sheet height and thickness of hundreds of meters, and changes in ice sheet grounding line and land‐terminating margin of many tens of kilometres, demonstrating that the coupled model is computationally stable when subject to significant changes in ice sheet geometry.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The authors would like acknowledge Erica Neiniger for helping construct the UKESM1 ice task cycle in Cylc, Christopher Bull for collaborating on the MISOMIP1 simulations, and the UKESM core development team on whose work this model builds. The authors also thank Xavier Fettweis for providing the MAR simulation data used here for comparison. Model development and simulations were carried out on the Monsoon and NEXCS collaborative High Performance Computing facilities funded by the Met Office and the Natural Environment Research Council. The authors also acknowledge the UK JWCRP Joint Ma-rine Modeling Programme for providing support and access to ocean model configurations. R. S. Smith, A. Siahaan, V. Lee, A. J. Payne, P. R. Holland and C. G. Jones were funded by the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) national capability grants for the UK Earth System Modeling project, NE/N017978/1 and NE/N01801X/1. C. G. Jones also acknowledges funding from the European Commission under the H2020 Research grant no. 641816 (CRESCENDO). J. Ridley and P. Mathi-ot were supported by the Met Office Hadley Center Climate Programme funded by BEIS and Defra. The authors would also like to acknowledge the efforts and constructive comments of our reviewers and editor, who helped to improve this paper.
Subjects: F700 Ocean Sciences
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 09:00

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