Mass-conserving subglacial hydrology in the Parallel Ice Sheet Model version 0.6
Abstract. We describe and test a two-horizontal-dimension subglacial hydrology model which combines till with a distributed system of water-filled, linked cavities which open through sliding and close through ice creep. The addition of this sub-model to the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) accomplishes three specific goals: (a) conservation of the mass of water, (b) simulation of spatially and temporally variable basal shear stress from physical mechanisms based on a minimal number of free parameters, and (c) convergence under grid refinement. The model is a common generalization of four others: (i) the undrained plastic bed model of Tulaczyk et al. (2000b), (ii) a standard "routing" model used for identifying locations of subglacial lakes, (iii) the lumped englacial–subglacial model of Bartholomaus et al. (2011), and (iv) the elliptic-pressure-equation model of Schoof et al. (2012). We preserve physical bounds on the pressure. In steady state a functional relationship between water amount and pressure emerges. We construct an exact solution of the coupled, steady equations and use it for verification of our explicit time stepping, parallel numerical implementation. We demonstrate the model at scale by 5 year simulations of the entire Greenland ice sheet at 2 km horizontal resolution, with one million nodes in the hydrology grid.