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: Coupling

Latest news

PISM 2.1 is out

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

Congrats to Constantine

Dear PISM users and developers