Submitted as: model description paper
07 Jun 2022
Submitted as: model description paper | 07 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

The CryoGrid community model (version 1.0) – a multi-physics toolbox for climate-driven simulations in the terrestrial cryosphere

Sebastian Westermann1,2, Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen3, Johanna Scheer3, Kristoffer Aalstad1, Juditha Aga1,2, Nitin Chaudhary1,4, Bernd Etzelmüller1, Simon Filhol1, Andreas Kääb1, Cas Renette1, Louise Steffensen Schmidt1, Thomas Vikhamar Schuler1, Robin B. Zweigel1,2, Léo Martin5, Sarah Morard6, Matan Ben-Asher7, Michael Angelopoulos8, Julia Boike8, Brian Groenke8,9, Frederieke Miesner8, Jan Nitzbon8, Paul Overduin8, Simone M. Stuenzi8, and Moritz Langer8,10 Sebastian Westermann et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 2Center for Biogeochemistry of the Anthropocene, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 3DTU Sustain, Technical Univeristy of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • 4Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sweden
  • 5Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 6Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 7EDYTEM Lab, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
  • 8Permafrost Research Section, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 9Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Technical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 10Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Abstract. The CryoGrid community model is a flexible toolbox for simulating the ground thermal regime and the ice/water balance for permafrost and glaciers, extending a well-established suite of permafrost models (CryoGrid 1, 2 and 3). The CryoGrid community model can accommodate a wide variety of application scenarios, which is achieved by fully modular structures through object-oriented programming. Different model components, characterized by their process representations and parametrizations, are realized as classes (i.e. objects) in CryoGrid. Standardized communication protocols between these classes ensure that they can be stacked vertically. For example, the CryoGrid community model features several classes with different complexity for the seasonal snow cover which can be flexibly combined with a range of classes representing subsurface materials, each with their own set of process representations (e.g. soil with and without water balance, glacier ice).

We present the CryoGrid architecture as well as the model physics and defining equations for the different model classes, focusing on one-dimensional model configurations which can also interact with external heat and water reservoirs. We illustrate the wide variety of simulation capabilities for a site on Svalbard, with point-scale permafrost simulations using e.g. different soil freezing characteristics, drainage regimes and snow representations, as well as simulations for glacier mass balance and a shallow water body. The CryoGrid community model is not intended as a static model framework, but aims to provide developers with a flexible platform for efficient model development. In this study, we document both basic and advanced model functionalities to provide a baseline for the future development of novel cryosphere models.

Sebastian Westermann et al.

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2022-127', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Jul 2022 reply

Sebastian Westermann et al.

Sebastian Westermann et al.


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Short summary
The CryoGrid community model is a new tool for simulating ground temperatures and the water and ice balance in cold regions. It is a modular design which makes it possible to test different schemes to simulate for example permafrost ground in an efficient way. The model contains tools to simulate frozen and unfrozen ground, snow, glaciers and other massive ice bodies, as well as water bodies.