Incorporation of ice sheet models into an Earth system model: Focus on methodology of coupling

  • Oleg Rybak
  • Evgeny Volodin
  • Polina Morozova
  • Artiom Nevecherja


Elaboration of a modern Earth system model (ESM) requires incorporation of ice sheet dynamics. Coupling of an ice sheet model (ICM) to an AOGCM is complicated by essential differences in spatial and temporal scales of cryospheric, atmospheric and oceanic components. To overcome this difficulty, we apply two different approaches for the incorporation of ice sheets into an ESM. Coupling of the Antarctic ice sheet model (AISM) to the AOGCM is accomplished via using procedures of resampling, interpolation and assigning to the AISM grid points annually averaged meanings of air surface temperature and precipitation fields generated by the AOGCM. Surface melting, which takes place mainly on the margins of the Antarctic peninsula and on ice shelves fringing the continent, is currently ignored. AISM returns anomalies of surface topography back to the AOGCM. To couple the Greenland ice sheet model (GrISM) to the AOGCM, we use a simple buffer energy- and water-balance model (EWBM-G) to account for orographically-driven precipitation and other sub-grid AOGCM-generated quantities. The output of the EWBM-G consists of surface mass balance and air surface temperature to force the GrISM, and freshwater run-off to force thermohaline circulation in the oceanic block of the AOGCM. Because of a rather complex coupling procedure of GrIS compared to AIS, the paper mostly focuses on Greenland.


Earth system model Greenland Antarctica ice sheet climate dynamics surface mass balance 



This paper is dedicated to the memory of Julián Adem (1924–2015, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM), who brilliantly proved that simplified modelling methods could be successfully applied in climatological studies. Research was carried out in the Institute of Numerical Mathematics of RAS (Moscow) and was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 14-27-00126 ‘Study of the Earth’s climate with the next generation Earth system model’). Authors appreciate comments of anonymous reviewers, which helped to essentially improving earlier version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Numerical Mathematics of RASMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Sochi Research CenterSochiRussia
  3. 3.Institute of Geography of RASMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Kuban State UniversityKrasnodarRussia

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