Frequently asked questions

FAQs and PISM life hacks

Photo: J.-M. Nasse / imaggeo

How do I visualize PISM results?


For a quick view into PISM’s NetCDF output files, Ncview is a useful tool.


Some recommendations for Python packages that allow easy plotting of NetCDF datasets are listed below:

For a list of more useful Python plotting tools, see here.


See repos and resources for more information.


Panoply is a cross-platform NetCDF data viewer actively developed by NASA and more comprehensive than Ncview (requires Java).

Color tables

Here’s a link collection to some nice color maps:

  • Scientific colour maps by Fabio Crameri: perceptually uniform, readable both by colour-vision deficient and colour-blind people, citable & reproducible
  • cmocean: Perceptually uniform beautiful color maps for oceanography
  • ColorBrewer: Color advice for cartography

For even more scale color tables, J.J. Green’s cpt-city website includes countless color palettes in various file formats.

How do I install PISM on a High Performance Computer?

Scripts that help build PISM and its prerequisites (such as PETSc) on some HPC system are provided here.

How do I prepare real data for input to PISM?

This page lists resources that can help you prepare input data for Antarctic, Greenland and Arctic PISM applications.

Furthermore, command line tools

are useful for manipulating data in the NetCDF format.

See Regridding with CDO for a good overview of regridding (interpolation between different grids) using CDO.

How do I report a bug in PISM?

Please see the Issue tracking at github to check if someone already found a similar bug. You can post an issue there, and label it as a bug, if it is new. For more information, see here.

How do I cite PISM in a publication that uses it?

See the information given here.

PISM’s stress balance solver failed. What do I do?

This page gives more information on this.

How do I create a parameter ensemble of PISM simulations?

For an example for Antarctica, see the pism-ensemble.

Latest news

MARUM Bremen: open postdoc in ice-sheet modeling

MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen is offering a position for one postdoctoral researcher in ice-sheet modeling, in the project “PalMod III-From the Last Interglacial to the Anthropocene”.

PISM 2.1 is out

We are pleased to announce the release of PISM v2.1.

Congrats to Constantine

Dear PISM users and developers