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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: M. Mas e Braga; M. Mas e Braga; R. Selwyn Jones; R. Selwyn Jones; +8 Authors

    Numerical models predict that discharge from the polar ice sheets will become the largest contributor to sea-level rise over the coming centuries. However, the predicted amount of ice discharge and associated thinning depends on how well ice sheet models reproduce glaciological processes, such as ice flow in regions of large topographic relief, where ice flows around bedrock summits (i.e. nunataks) and through outlet glaciers. The ability of ice sheet models to capture long-term ice loss is best tested by comparing model simulations against geological data. A benchmark for such models is ice surface elevation change, which has been constrained empirically at nunataks and along margins of outlet glaciers using cosmogenic exposure dating. However, the usefulness of this approach in quantifying ice sheet thinning relies on how well such records represent changes in regional ice surface elevation. Here we examine how ice surface elevations respond to the presence of strong topographic relief that acts as an obstacle by modelling ice flow around and between idealised nunataks during periods of imposed ice sheet thinning. We find that, for realistic Antarctic conditions, a single nunatak can exert an impact on ice thickness over 20 km away from its summit, with its most prominent effect being a local increase (decrease) of the ice surface elevation of hundreds of metres upstream (downstream) of the obstacle. A direct consequence of this differential surface response for cosmogenic exposure dating is a delay in the time of bedrock exposure upstream relative to downstream of a nunatak summit. A nunatak elongated transversely to ice flow is able to increase ice retention and therefore impose steeper ice surface gradients, while efficient ice drainage through outlet glaciers produces gentler gradients. Such differences, however, are not typically captured by continent-wide ice sheet models due to their coarse grid resolutions. Their inability to capture site-specific surface elevation changes appears to be a key reason for the observed mismatches between the timing of ice-free conditions from cosmogenic exposure dating and model simulations. We conclude that a model grid refinement over complex topography and information about sample position relative to ice flow near the nunatak are necessary to improve data–model comparisons of ice surface elevation and therefore the ability of models to simulate ice discharge in regions of large topographic relief.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2021
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2021
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: X. Fettweis; S. Hofer; S. Hofer; U. Krebs-Kanzow; +50 Authors

    Observations and models agree that the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface mass balance (SMB) has decreased since the end of the 1990s due to an increase in meltwater runoff and that this trend will accelerate in the future. However, large uncertainties remain, partly due to different approaches for modelling the GrIS SMB, which have to weigh physical complexity or low computing time, different spatial and temporal resolutions, different forcing fields, and different ice sheet topographies and extents, which collectively make an inter-comparison difficult. Our GrIS SMB model intercomparison project (GrSMBMIP) aims to refine these uncertainties by intercomparing 13 models of four types which were forced with the same ERA-Interim reanalysis forcing fields, except for two global models. We interpolate all modelled SMB fields onto a common ice sheet mask at 1 km horizontal resolution for the period 1980–2012 and score the outputs against (1) SMB estimates from a combination of gravimetric remote sensing data from GRACE and measured ice discharge; (2) ice cores, snow pits and in situ SMB observations; and (3) remotely sensed bare ice extent from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Spatially, the largest spread among models can be found around the margins of the ice sheet, highlighting model deficiencies in an accurate representation of the GrIS ablation zone extent and processes related to surface melt and runoff. Overall, polar regional climate models (RCMs) perform the best compared to observations, in particular for simulating precipitation patterns. However, other simpler and faster models have biases of the same order as RCMs compared with observations and therefore remain useful tools for long-term simulations or coupling with ice sheet models. Finally, it is interesting to note that the ensemble mean of the 13 models produces the best estimate of the present-day SMB relative to observations, suggesting that biases are not systematic among models and that this ensemble estimate can be used as a reference for current climate when carrying out future model developments. However, a higher density of in situ SMB observations is required, especially in the south-east accumulation zone, where the model spread can reach 2 m w.e. yr−1 due to large discrepancies in modelled snowfall accumulation.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2020
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2020
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Seroussi, Hélène; Nowicki, Sophie; Simon, Erika; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; +35 Authors

    Ice sheet numerical modeling is an important tool to estimate the dynamic contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise over the coming centuries. The influence of initial conditions on ice sheet model simulations, however, is still unclear. To better understand this influence, an initial state intercomparison exercise (initMIP) has been developed to compare, evaluate, and improve initialization procedures and estimate their impact on century-scale simulations. initMIP is the first set of experiments of the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6), which is the primary Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) activity focusing on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Following initMIP-Greenland, initMIP-Antarctica has been designed to explore uncertainties associated with model initialization and spin-up and to evaluate the impact of changes in external forcings. Starting from the state of the Antarctic ice sheet at the end of the initialization procedure, three forward experiments are each run for 100 years: a control run, a run with a surface mass balance anomaly, and a run with a basal melting anomaly beneath floating ice. This study presents the results of initMIP-Antarctica from 25 simulations performed by 16 international modeling groups. The submitted results use different initial conditions and initialization methods, as well as ice flow model parameters and reference external forcings. We find a good agreement among model responses to the surface mass balance anomaly but large variations in responses to the basal melting anomaly. These variations can be attributed to differences in the extent of ice shelves and their upstream tributaries, the numerical treatment of grounding line, and the initial ocean conditions applied, suggesting that ongoing efforts to better represent ice shelves in continental-scale models should continue.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Gladstone, Rupert Michael; Warner, Roland Charles; Galton-Fenzi, Benjamin Keith; Gagliardini, Olivier; +2 Authors

    Computer models are necessary for understanding and predicting marine ice sheet behaviour. However, there is uncertainty over implementation of physical processes at the ice base, both for grounded and floating glacial ice. Here we implement several sliding relations in a marine ice sheet flow-line model accounting for all stress components and demonstrate that model resolution requirements are strongly dependent on both the choice of basal sliding relation and the spatial distribution of ice shelf basal melting.Sliding relations that reduce the magnitude of the step change in basal drag from grounded ice to floating ice (where basal drag is set to zero) show reduced dependence on resolution compared to a commonly used relation, in which basal drag is purely a power law function of basal ice velocity. Sliding relations in which basal drag goes smoothly to zero as the grounding line is approached from inland (due to a physically motivated incorporation of effective pressure at the bed) provide further reduction in resolution dependence.A similar issue is found with the imposition of basal melt under the floating part of the ice shelf: melt parameterisations that reduce the abruptness of change in basal melting from grounded ice (where basal melt is set to zero) to floating ice provide improved convergence with resolution compared to parameterisations in which high melt occurs adjacent to the grounding line.Thus physical processes, such as sub-glacial outflow (which could cause high melt near the grounding line), impact on capability to simulate marine ice sheets. If there exists an abrupt change across the grounding line in either basal drag or basal melting, then high resolution will be required to solve the problem. However, the plausible combination of a physical dependency of basal drag on effective pressure, and the possibility of low ice shelf basal melt rates next to the grounding line, may mean that some marine ice sheet systems can be reliably simulated at a coarser resolution than currently thought necessary.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: H. Goelzer; H. Goelzer; S. Nowicki; T. Edwards; +34 Authors

    Earlier large-scale Greenland ice sheet sea-level projections (e.g. those run during the ice2sea and SeaRISE initiatives) have shown that ice sheet initial conditions have a large effect on the projections and give rise to important uncertainties. The goal of this initMIP-Greenland intercomparison exercise is to compare, evaluate, and improve the initialisation techniques used in the ice sheet modelling community and to estimate the associated uncertainties in modelled mass changes. initMIP-Greenland is the first in a series of ice sheet model intercomparison activities within ISMIP6 (the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6), which is the primary activity within the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) focusing on the ice sheets. Two experiments for the large-scale Greenland ice sheet have been designed to allow intercomparison between participating models of (1) the initial present-day state of the ice sheet and (2) the response in two idealised forward experiments. The forward experiments serve to evaluate the initialisation in terms of model drift (forward run without additional forcing) and in response to a large perturbation (prescribed surface mass balance anomaly); they should not be interpreted as sea-level projections. We present and discuss results that highlight the diversity of data sets, boundary conditions, and initialisation techniques used in the community to generate initial states of the Greenland ice sheet. We find good agreement across the ensemble for the dynamic response to surface mass balance changes in areas where the simulated ice sheets overlap but differences arising from the initial size of the ice sheet. The model drift in the control experiment is reduced for models that participated in earlier intercomparison exercises.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2018
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: M. Mas e Braga; M. Mas e Braga; R. Selwyn Jones; R. Selwyn Jones; +8 Authors

    Numerical models predict that discharge from the polar ice sheets will become the largest contributor to sea-level rise over the coming centuries. However, the predicted amount of ice discharge and associated thinning depends on how well ice sheet models reproduce glaciological processes, such as ice flow in regions of large topographic relief, where ice flows around bedrock summits (i.e. nunataks) and through outlet glaciers. The ability of ice sheet models to capture long-term ice loss is best tested by comparing model simulations against geological data. A benchmark for such models is ice surface elevation change, which has been constrained empirically at nunataks and along margins of outlet glaciers using cosmogenic exposure dating. However, the usefulness of this approach in quantifying ice sheet thinning relies on how well such records represent changes in regional ice surface elevation. Here we examine how ice surface elevations respond to the presence of strong topographic relief that acts as an obstacle by modelling ice flow around and between idealised nunataks during periods of imposed ice sheet thinning. We find that, for realistic Antarctic conditions, a single nunatak can exert an impact on ice thickness over 20 km away from its summit, with its most prominent effect being a local increase (decrease) of the ice surface elevation of hundreds of metres upstream (downstream) of the obstacle. A direct consequence of this differential surface response for cosmogenic exposure dating is a delay in the time of bedrock exposure upstream relative to downstream of a nunatak summit. A nunatak elongated transversely to ice flow is able to increase ice retention and therefore impose steeper ice surface gradients, while efficient ice drainage through outlet glaciers produces gentler gradients. Such differences, however, are not typically captured by continent-wide ice sheet models due to their coarse grid resolutions. Their inability to capture site-specific surface elevation changes appears to be a key reason for the observed mismatches between the timing of ice-free conditions from cosmogenic exposure dating and model simulations. We conclude that a model grid refinement over complex topography and information about sample position relative to ice flow near the nunatak are necessary to improve data–model comparisons of ice surface elevation and therefore the ability of models to simulate ice discharge in regions of large topographic relief.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ The Cryosphere (TC)arrow_drop_down
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    Article . 2021
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      Article . 2021
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    Authors: X. Fettweis; S. Hofer; S. Hofer; U. Krebs-Kanzow; +50 Authors

    Observations and models agree that the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface mass balance (SMB) has decreased since the end of the 1990s due to an increase in meltwater runoff and that this trend will accelerate in the future. However, large uncertainties remain, partly due to different approaches for modelling the GrIS SMB, which have to weigh physical complexity or low computing time, different spatial and temporal resolutions, different forcing fields, and different ice sheet topographies and extents, which collectively make an inter-comparison difficult. Our GrIS SMB model intercomparison project (GrSMBMIP) aims to refine these uncertainties by intercomparing 13 models of four types which were forced with the same ERA-Interim reanalysis forcing fields, except for two global models. We interpolate all modelled SMB fields onto a common ice sheet mask at 1 km horizontal resolution for the period 1980–2012 and score the outputs against (1) SMB estimates from a combination of gravimetric remote sensing data from GRACE and measured ice discharge; (2) ice cores, snow pits and in situ SMB observations; and (3) remotely sensed bare ice extent from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Spatially, the largest spread among models can be found around the margins of the ice sheet, highlighting model deficiencies in an accurate representation of the GrIS ablation zone extent and processes related to surface melt and runoff. Overall, polar regional climate models (RCMs) perform the best compared to observations, in particular for simulating precipitation patterns. However, other simpler and faster models have biases of the same order as RCMs compared with observations and therefore remain useful tools for long-term simulations or coupling with ice sheet models. Finally, it is interesting to note that the ensemble mean of the 13 models produces the best estimate of the present-day SMB relative to observations, suggesting that biases are not systematic among models and that this ensemble estimate can be used as a reference for current climate when carrying out future model developments. However, a higher density of in situ SMB observations is required, especially in the south-east accumulation zone, where the model spread can reach 2 m w.e. yr−1 due to large discrepancies in modelled snowfall accumulation.

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    Article . 2020
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2020
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    Authors: Seroussi, Hélène; Nowicki, Sophie; Simon, Erika; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; +35 Authors

    Ice sheet numerical modeling is an important tool to estimate the dynamic contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise over the coming centuries. The influence of initial conditions on ice sheet model simulations, however, is still unclear. To better understand this influence, an initial state intercomparison exercise (initMIP) has been developed to compare, evaluate, and improve initialization procedures and estimate their impact on century-scale simulations. initMIP is the first set of experiments of the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6), which is the primary Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) activity focusing on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Following initMIP-Greenland, initMIP-Antarctica has been designed to explore uncertainties associated with model initialization and spin-up and to evaluate the impact of changes in external forcings. Starting from the state of the Antarctic ice sheet at the end of the initialization procedure, three forward experiments are each run for 100 years: a control run, a run with a surface mass balance anomaly, and a run with a basal melting anomaly beneath floating ice. This study presents the results of initMIP-Antarctica from 25 simulations performed by 16 international modeling groups. The submitted results use different initial conditions and initialization methods, as well as ice flow model parameters and reference external forcings. We find a good agreement among model responses to the surface mass balance anomaly but large variations in responses to the basal melting anomaly. These variations can be attributed to differences in the extent of ice shelves and their upstream tributaries, the numerical treatment of grounding line, and the initial ocean conditions applied, suggesting that ongoing efforts to better represent ice shelves in continental-scale models should continue.

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    Authors: Gladstone, Rupert Michael; Warner, Roland Charles; Galton-Fenzi, Benjamin Keith; Gagliardini, Olivier; +2 Authors

    Computer models are necessary for understanding and predicting marine ice sheet behaviour. However, there is uncertainty over implementation of physical processes at the ice base, both for grounded and floating glacial ice. Here we implement several sliding relations in a marine ice sheet flow-line model accounting for all stress components and demonstrate that model resolution requirements are strongly dependent on both the choice of basal sliding relation and the spatial distribution of ice shelf basal melting.Sliding relations that reduce the magnitude of the step change in basal drag from grounded ice to floating ice (where basal drag is set to zero) show reduced dependence on resolution compared to a commonly used relation, in which basal drag is purely a power law function of basal ice velocity. Sliding relations in which basal drag goes smoothly to zero as the grounding line is approached from inland (due to a physically motivated incorporation of effective pressure at the bed) provide further reduction in resolution dependence.A similar issue is found with the imposition of basal melt under the floating part of the ice shelf: melt parameterisations that reduce the abruptness of change in basal melting from grounded ice (where basal melt is set to zero) to floating ice provide improved convergence with resolution compared to parameterisations in which high melt occurs adjacent to the grounding line.Thus physical processes, such as sub-glacial outflow (which could cause high melt near the grounding line), impact on capability to simulate marine ice sheets. If there exists an abrupt change across the grounding line in either basal drag or basal melting, then high resolution will be required to solve the problem. However, the plausible combination of a physical dependency of basal drag on effective pressure, and the possibility of low ice shelf basal melt rates next to the grounding line, may mean that some marine ice sheet systems can be reliably simulated at a coarser resolution than currently thought necessary.

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    Authors: H. Goelzer; H. Goelzer; S. Nowicki; T. Edwards; +34 Authors

    Earlier large-scale Greenland ice sheet sea-level projections (e.g. those run during the ice2sea and SeaRISE initiatives) have shown that ice sheet initial conditions have a large effect on the projections and give rise to important uncertainties. The goal of this initMIP-Greenland intercomparison exercise is to compare, evaluate, and improve the initialisation techniques used in the ice sheet modelling community and to estimate the associated uncertainties in modelled mass changes. initMIP-Greenland is the first in a series of ice sheet model intercomparison activities within ISMIP6 (the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6), which is the primary activity within the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) focusing on the ice sheets. Two experiments for the large-scale Greenland ice sheet have been designed to allow intercomparison between participating models of (1) the initial present-day state of the ice sheet and (2) the response in two idealised forward experiments. The forward experiments serve to evaluate the initialisation in terms of model drift (forward run without additional forcing) and in response to a large perturbation (prescribed surface mass balance anomaly); they should not be interpreted as sea-level projections. We present and discuss results that highlight the diversity of data sets, boundary conditions, and initialisation techniques used in the community to generate initial states of the Greenland ice sheet. We find good agreement across the ensemble for the dynamic response to surface mass balance changes in areas where the simulated ice sheets overlap but differences arising from the initial size of the ice sheet. The model drift in the control experiment is reduced for models that participated in earlier intercomparison exercises.

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    The Cryosphere (TC)
    Article . 2018
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      The Cryosphere (TC)
      Article . 2018
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