Submitted as: model description paper 12 Jan 2021

Submitted as: model description paper | 12 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

icepack: a new glacier flow modeling package in Python, version 1.0

Daniel Shapero1, Jessica Badgeley2, Andrew Hoffmann2, and Ian Joughin1 Daniel Shapero et al.
  • 1Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Abstract. We introduce a new software package called icepack for modeling the flow of glaciers and ice sheets. Icepack is built on the finite element modeling library Firedrake, which uses the domain-specific language UFL for describing weak forms of partial differential equations. The diagnostic models in icepack are formulated through action principles that are specified in UFL. The components of each action functional can be substituted for different forms of the user’s choosing, which makes it easy to experiment with the model physics. The action functional itself can be used to define a solver convergence criterion that is independent of the mesh and requires little tuning on the part of the user. Icepack includes the 2D shallow ice and shallow stream models. We have also defined a 3D hybrid model based on spectral semi-discretization of the Blatter-Pattyn equations. Finally, icepack includes a Gauss-Newton solver for inverse problems that runs substantially faster than the BFGS method often used in the glaciological literature. The overall design philosophy of icepack is to be as usable as possible for a wide a swath of the glaciological community, including both experts and novices in computational science.

Daniel Shapero et al.

Status: open (until 09 Mar 2021)

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Daniel Shapero et al.

Model code and software

icepack: glacier flow modeling with the finite element method in Python Daniel Shapero, Jessica Badgeley, and Andrew Hoffman

Daniel Shapero et al.


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Short summary
This paper describes a new software package called icepack for modeling the flow of ice sheets and glaciers. Glaciologists use tools like icepack to better understand how ice sheets flow, what role they have played in shaping earth's climate, and how much sea-level rise we can expect in the coming decades to centuries. Icepack includes several innovations to help researchers describe and solve interesting glaciological problems and to experiment with the underlying model physics.