A brief history of PISM

Photo: J. Garbe

A brief history of PISM

Before 2001:

  • First approach of a (nominally Antarctic) ice-sheet model by Craig Lingle
  • Elena Suleimani (née Troshina) improves model based on Mahaffey’s equations and other numerical methods
  • Accuracy test against the analytical solution for a circular ice cap on a flat bed with constant accumulation and for CLIMAP reconstruction of the Antarctic ice sheet (20 kyr BP)
  • Model equations transformed to forms with a stretched vertical coordinate in Fortran 90 (3-D temperature equation not stable yet)
  • First paper on “Relative magnitudes of shear and longitudinal strain rates in the inland Antarctic ice sheet, and response to increasing accumulation” by Lingle and Troshina (1998)

2001: A team forms

  • Lingle attends talk by Ed Bueler on heat equations on manifolds with potential application to glacier models
  • Short course by Lingle on glaciological basics, with Bueler, Latrice Bowman, Jed Brown, and Dave Covey in attendance at various points
  • Application for NASA model-development funding with Bueler and Covey as Co-Is, to build an Antarctic model which added thermo-mechanical coupling and ice-shelf dynamics to the existing Fortran model, as a modeling component (sub-grant) of the U Kansas “Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements” (PRISM) project
  • Paper on understanding numerical models by checking them against exact predictions (solutions) of the differential equations: Bueler et al. (2005)
  • Bowman first graduate student to work on ice flow with Bueler

2003: PETSc and C++ … and PISM

  • Brown (as undergraduate) reports about PETSc library that allows to work in parallel at a higher conceptual level, requiring switch to C++
  • Brown and Bueler define object classes and rebuild isothermal SIA model, with under-development thermomechanical coupling code
  • Bueler adds thermocoupling to the SIA with Brown and Lingle assistance, and emphasizing exact solutions to check: Bueler et al. (2007)
  • Brown adds and tests a SSA solver in PISM, leading to successful MS project defense in August 2006
  • NetCDF is adopted as the input/output format (instead of PETSc binary files that lack included and standardized metadata)
  • Bueler suggests model name “the C-plus-plus Object-oriented Multi-Modal, Verifiable Numerical Ice Sheet Model”, a.k.a. COMMVNISM
  • Brown proposes new name “Parallel Ice Sheet Model”, short PISM

2006: PISM goes public

2007: PISM gets ice streams

2008: New team

2008: PIK collaboration

  • Anders Levermann and students (Maria Martin and Ricarda Winkelmann) from PIK come to Fairbanks to propose a collaboration in which they would add what PISM needed for applications to the Antarctic Ice Sheet (ability to move the calving front and the grounding line)
  • Model description paper by Winkelmann et al. (2011)
  • Andy Aschwanden is hired as an ARSC PostDoc in Fall 2009, implementing an enthalpy formulation

2011: PISM goes viral

2012: Community building

2014: More processes

2015: Paleo and WAIS

2016: High resolution

2017: Inversion

2018: MIPs and PICO

2019: Projections

2020: MIPs and Antarctic thresholds

2021: PISM-ocean coupling

Latest news

Version 1.2

We are pleased to announce the release of the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) v1.2.

MPI-M Hamburg, Germany: open postdoc for coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice sheet model

The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) contributes to the BMBF project “From the Last Interglacial to the Anthropocene: Modeling a Complete Glacial Cycle” (PalMod, www.palmod.de), which aims at simulating the climate from the peak of the last interglacial up to the present using comprehensive Earth System Models. Phase II of this project has an open position Postdoctoral Scientist (W073). The successful candidate will be part of a local team performing and analysing long-term transient simulations covering the last glacial and the transition into the Holocene with an interactively coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice sheet model. Additionally, the candidate will contribute to the continued development of this model. The model system consists of the MPI-Earth system model, the ice sheet model PISM, and the solid-earth model VILMA.

AWI PostDoc: Antarctic Ice Sheets in warming climates

Dr. Lohmann’s group at AWI is seeking a postdoc to work with PISM and the multi-scale Earth system model AWI-ESM. See