Coupled ice sheet–ocean models capable of simulating moving grounding lines are just becoming available. Such models have a broad range of potential applications in studying the dynamics of marine ice sheets and tidewater glaciers, from process studies to future projections of ice mass loss and sea level rise. The Marine Ice Sheet–Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (MISOMIP) is a community effort aimed at designing and coordinating a series of model intercomparison projects (MIPs) for model evaluation in idealized setups, model verification based on observations, and future projections for key regions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).
Here we describe computational experiments constituting three interrelated MIPs for marine ice sheet models and regional ocean circulation models incorporating ice shelf cavities. These consist of ice sheet experiments under the Marine Ice Sheet MIP third phase (MISMIP+), ocean experiments under the Ice Shelf-Ocean MIP second phase (ISOMIP+) and coupled ice sheet–ocean experiments under the MISOMIP first phase (MISOMIP1). All three MIPs use a shared domain with idealized bedrock topography and forcing, allowing the coupled simulations (MISOMIP1) to be compared directly to the individual component simulations (MISMIP+ and ISOMIP+). The experiments, which have qualitative similarities to Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf and the adjacent region of the Amundsen Sea, are designed to explore the effects of changes in ocean conditions, specifically the temperature at depth, on basal melting and ice dynamics. In future work, differences between model results will form the basis for the evaluation of the participating models.