Coupling framework (1.0) for the PISM (1.1. 4) ice sheet model and the MOM5 (5.1. 0) ocean model via the PICO ice shelf cavity model in an Antarctic domain

Moritz Kreuzer*, Ronja Reese, Willem Nicholas Huiskamp, Stefan Petri, Torsten Albrecht, Georg Feulner, Ricarda Winkelmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


The past and future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is largely controlled by interactions between the ocean and floating ice shelves. To investigate these interactions, coupled ocean and ice sheet model configurations are required. Previous modelling studies have mostly relied on high-resolution configurations, limiting these studies to individual glaciers or regions over short timescales of decades to a few centuries. We present a framework to couple the dynamic ice sheet model PISM (Parallel Ice Sheet Model) with the global ocean general circulation model MOM5 (Modular Ocean Model) via the ice shelf cavity model PICO (Potsdam Ice-shelf Cavity mOdel). As ice shelf cavities are not resolved by MOM5 but are parameterized with the PICO box model, the framework allows the ice sheet and ocean components to be run at resolutions of 16 km and 3∘ respectively. This approach makes the coupled configuration a useful tool for the analysis of interactions between the Antarctic Ice Sheet and the global ocean over time spans of the order of centuries to millennia. In this study, we describe the technical implementation of this coupling framework: sub-shelf melting in the ice sheet component is calculated by PICO from modelled ocean temperatures and salinities at the depth of the continental shelf, and, vice versa, the resulting mass and energy fluxes from melting at the ice–ocean interface are transferred to the ocean component. Mass and energy fluxes are shown to be conserved to machine precision across the considered component domains. The implementation is computationally efficient as it introduces only minimal overhead. Furthermore, the coupled model is evaluated in a 4000 year simulation under constant present-day climate forcing and is found to be stable with respect to the ocean and ice sheet spin-up states. The framework deals with heterogeneous spatial grid geometries, varying grid resolutions, and timescales between the ice and ocean component in a generic way; thus, it can be adopted to a wide range of model set-ups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3697-3714
Number of pages18
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


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