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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 04 Aug 2020

Submitted as: model description paper | 04 Aug 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A Framework for Ice Sheet – Ocean Coupling (FISOC) V1.1

Rupert Gladstone1, Benjamin Galton-Fenzi2, David Gwyther3, Qin Zhou4, Tore Hattermann5,10, Chen Zhao3, Lenneke Jong2, Yuwei Xia6, Xiaoran Guo6, Konstantinos Petrakopoulos8, Thomas Zwinger9, Daniel Shapero7, and John Moore1,6 Rupert Gladstone et al.
  • 1Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
  • 2Australian Antarctic Division
  • 3University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • 4Akvaplan-niva AS, Tromsø, Norway
  • 5Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø Norway
  • 6Beijing Normal University, China
  • 7University of Washington, Seattle, US
  • 8Center for Global Sea Level Change, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 9CSC IT Center for Science, Espoo, Finland
  • 10Energy and Climate Group, Department of Physics and Technology, The Arctic University - University of Tromsø, Norway

Abstract. A number of important questions concern processes at the margins of ice sheets where multiple components of the Earth System, most crucially ice sheets and oceans, interact. Such processes include thermodynamic interaction at the ice-ocean interface, the impact of melt water on ice shelf cavity circulation, the impact of basal melting of ice shelves on grounded ice dynamics, and ocean controls on iceberg calving. These include fundamentally coupled processes in which feedback mechanisms between ice and ocean play an important role. Some of these mechanisms have major implications for humanity, most notably the impact of retreating marine ice sheets on global sea level. In order to better quantify these mechanisms using computer models, feedbacks need to be incorporated into the modelling system. To achieve this ocean and ice dynamic models must be coupled, allowing run time information sharing between components. We have developed a flexible coupling framework based on existing Earth System coupling technologies. The open-source Framework for Ice Sheet – Ocean Coupling (FISOC) provides a modular approach to online coupling, facilitating switching between different ice dynamic and ocean components. FISOC allows fully synchronous coupling, in which both ice and ocean run on the same time-step, or semi-synchronous coupling in which the ice dynamic model uses a longer time step. Multiple regridding options are available, and multiple methods for coupling the sub ice shelf cavity geometry. Thermodynamic coupling may also be activated. We present idealised simulations using FISOC with a Stokes flow ice dynamic model coupled to a regional ocean model. We demonstrate the modularity of FISOC by switching between two different regional ocean models and presenting outputs for both. We demonstrate conservation of mass and other verification steps during evolution of an idealised coupled ice – ocean system, both with and without grounding line movement.

Rupert Gladstone et al.

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Rupert Gladstone et al.

Rupert Gladstone et al.


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Latest update: 01 Dec 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Retreat of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and hence its contribution to sea level rise, is highly sensitive to melting of its floating ice shelves. This melt is caused by warm ocean currents coming into contact with the ice. Computer models used for future ice sheet projections are not able to realistically evolve these melt rates. We describe a new coupling framework to enable ice sheet and ocean computer models to interact, allowing projection of the evolution of melt and its impact on sea level.
Retreat of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and hence its contribution to sea level rise, is highly...