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William H. Lipscomb and Elizabeth C. Hunke

Abstract

Sea ice models contain transport equations for the area, volume, and energy of ice and snow in various thickness categories. These equations typically are solved with first-order-accurate upwind schemes, which are very diffusive; with second-order-accurate centered schemes, which are highly oscillatory; or with more sophisticated second-order schemes that are computationally costly if many quantities must be transported [e.g., multidimensional positive-definite advection transport algorithm (MPDATA)]. Here an incremental remapping scheme, originally designed for horizontal transport in ocean models, is adapted for sea ice transport. This scheme has several desirable features: it preserves the monotonicity of both conserved quantities and tracers; it is second-order accurate except where the accuracy is reduced locally to preserve monotonicity; and it efficiently solves the large number of equations in sea ice models with multiple thickness categories and tracers. Remapping outperforms the first-order upwind scheme and basic MPDATA scheme in several simple test problems. In realistic model runs, remapping is less diffusive than the upwind scheme and about twice as fast as MPDATA.

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William H. Lipscomb and Todd D. Ringler

Abstract

Weather and climate models contain equations for transporting conserved quantities such as the mass of air, water, ice, and associated tracers. Ideally, the numerical schemes used to solve these equations should be conservative, spatially accurate, and monotonicity-preserving. One such scheme is incremental remapping, previously developed for transport on quadrilateral grids. Here the incremental remapping scheme is reformulated for a spherical geodesic grid whose cells are hexagons and pentagons. The scheme is tested in a shallow-water model with both uniform and varying velocity fields. Solutions for standard shallow-water test cases 1, 2, and 5 are obtained with a centered scheme, a flux-corrected transport (FCT) scheme, and the remapping scheme. The three schemes are about equally accurate for transport of the height field. For tracer transport, remapping is far superior to the centered scheme, which produces large overshoots, and is generally smoother and more accurate than FCT. Remapping has a high startup cost associated with geometry calculations but is nearly twice as fast as FCT for each added tracer. As a result, remapping is cheaper than FCT for transport of more than about seven tracers.

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Miren Vizcaíno, William H. Lipscomb, William J. Sacks, and Michiel van den Broeke

Abstract

This study presents the first twenty-first-century projections of surface mass balance (SMB) changes for the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) with the Community Earth System Model (CESM), which includes a new ice sheet component. For glaciated surfaces, CESM includes a sophisticated calculation of energy fluxes, surface albedo, and snowpack hydrology (melt, percolation, refreezing, etc.). To efficiently resolve the high SMB gradients at the ice sheet margins and provide surface forcing at the scale needed by ice sheet models, the SMB is calculated at multiple elevations and interpolated to a finer 5-km ice sheet grid. During a twenty-first-century simulation driven by representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) forcing, the SMB decreases from 372 ± 100 Gt yr−1 in 1980–99 to −78 ± 143 Gt yr−1 in 2080–99. The 2080–99 near-surface temperatures over the GIS increase by 4.7 K (annual mean) with respect to 1980–99, only 1.3 times the global increase (+3.7 K). Snowfall increases by 18%, while surface melt doubles. The ablation area increases from 9% of the GIS in 1980–99 to 28% in 2080–99. Over the ablation areas, summer downward longwave radiation and turbulent fluxes increase, while incoming shortwave radiation decreases owing to increased cloud cover. The reduction in GIS-averaged July albedo from 0.78 in 1980–99 to 0.75 in 2080–99 increases the absorbed solar radiation in this month by 12%. Summer warming is strongest in the north and east of Greenland owing to reduced sea ice cover. In the ablation area, summer temperature increases are smaller due to frequent periods of surface melt.

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Miren Vizcaíno, William H. Lipscomb, William J. Sacks, Jan H. van Angelen, Bert Wouters, and Michiel R. van den Broeke

Abstract

The modeling of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) requires high-resolution models in order to capture the observed large gradients in the steep marginal areas. Until now, global climate models have not been considered suitable to model ice sheet SMB owing to model biases and insufficient resolution. This study analyzes the GIS SMB simulated for the period 1850–2005 by the Community Earth System Model (CESM), which includes a new ice sheet component with multiple elevation classes for SMB calculations. The model is evaluated against observational data and output from the regional model Regional Atmospheric Climate Model version 2 (RACMO2). Because of a lack of major climate biases, a sophisticated calculation of snow processes (including surface albedo evolution) and an adequate downscaling technique, CESM is able to realistically simulate GIS surface climate and SMB. CESM SMB agrees reasonably well with in situ data from 475 locations (r = 0.80) and output from RACMO2 (r = 0.79). The simulated mean SMB for 1960–2005 is 359 ± 120 Gt yr−1 in the range of estimates from regional climate models. The simulated seasonal mass variability is comparable with mass observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), with synchronous annual maximum (May) and minimum (August–September) and similar amplitudes of the seasonal cycle. CESM is able to simulate the bands of precipitation maxima along the southeast and northwest margins, but absolute precipitation rates are underestimated along the southeastern margin and overestimated in the high interior. The model correctly simulates the major ablation areas. Total refreezing represents 35% of the available liquid water (the sum of rain and melt).

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Marika M. Holland, Cecilia M. Bitz, Elizabeth C. Hunke, William H. Lipscomb, and Julie L. Schramm

Abstract

The sea ice simulation of the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) T42-gx1 and T85-gx1 control simulations is presented and the influence of the parameterized sea ice thickness distribution (ITD) on polar climate conditions is examined. This includes an analysis of the change in mean climate conditions and simulated sea ice feedbacks when an ITD is included. It is found that including a representation of the subgrid-scale ITD results in larger ice growth rates and thicker sea ice. These larger growth rates represent a higher heat loss from the ocean ice column to the atmosphere, resulting in warmer surface conditions. Ocean circulation, most notably in the Southern Hemisphere, is also modified by the ITD because of the influence of enhanced high-latitude ice formation on the ocean buoyancy flux and resulting deep water formation. Changes in atmospheric circulation also result, again most notably in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are indications that the ITD also modifies simulated sea ice–related feedbacks. In regions of similar ice thickness, the surface albedo changes at 2XCO2 conditions are larger when an ITD is included, suggesting an enhanced surface albedo feedback. The presence of an ITD also modifies the ice thickness–ice strength relationship and the ice thickness–ice growth rate relationship, both of which represent negative feedbacks on ice thickness. The net influence of the ITD on polar climate sensitivity and variability results from the interaction of these and other complex feedback processes.

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William H. Lipscomb, Jeremy G. Fyke, Miren Vizcaíno, William J. Sacks, Jon Wolfe, Mariana Vertenstein, Anthony Craig, Erik Kluzek, and David M. Lawrence

Abstract

The Glimmer Community Ice Sheet Model (Glimmer-CISM) has been implemented in the Community Earth System Model (CESM). Glimmer-CISM is forced by a surface mass balance (SMB) computed in multiple elevation classes in the CESM land model and downscaled to the ice sheet grid. Ice sheet evolution is governed by the shallow-ice approximation with thermomechanical coupling and basal sliding. This paper describes and evaluates the initial model implementation for the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS). The ice sheet model was spun up using the SMB from a coupled CESM simulation with preindustrial forcing. The model's sensitivity to three key ice sheet parameters was explored by running an ensemble of 100 GIS simulations to quasi equilibrium and ranking each simulation based on multiple diagnostics. With reasonable parameter choices, the steady-state GIS geometry is broadly consistent with observations. The simulated ice sheet is too thick and extensive, however, in some marginal regions where the SMB is anomalously positive. The top-ranking simulations were continued using surface forcing from CESM simulations of the twentieth century (1850–2005) and twenty-first century (2005–2100, with RCP8.5 forcing). In these simulations the GIS loses mass, with a resulting global-mean sea level rise of 16 mm during 1850–2005 and 60 mm during 2005–2100. This mass loss is caused mainly by increased ablation near the ice sheet margin, offset by reduced ice discharge to the ocean. Projected sea level rise is sensitive to the initial geometry, showing the importance of realistic geometry in the spun-up ice sheet.

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Alexandra Jahn, Kara Sterling, Marika M. Holland, Jennifer E. Kay, James A. Maslanik, Cecilia M. Bitz, David A. Bailey, Julienne Stroeve, Elizabeth C. Hunke, William H. Lipscomb, and Daniel A. Pollak

Abstract

To establish how well the new Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) simulates the properties of the Arctic sea ice and ocean, results from six CCSM4 twentieth-century ensemble simulations are compared here with the available data. It is found that the CCSM4 simulations capture most of the important climatological features of the Arctic sea ice and ocean state well, among them the sea ice thickness distribution, fraction of multiyear sea ice, and sea ice edge. The strongest bias exists in the simulated spring-to-fall sea ice motion field, the location of the Beaufort Gyre, and the temperature of the deep Arctic Ocean (below 250 m), which are caused by deficiencies in the simulation of the Arctic sea level pressure field and the lack of deep-water formation on the Arctic shelves. The observed decrease in the sea ice extent and the multiyear ice cover is well captured by the CCSM4. It is important to note, however, that the temporal evolution of the simulated Arctic sea ice cover over the satellite era is strongly influenced by internal variability. For example, while one ensemble member shows an even larger decrease in the sea ice extent over 1981–2005 than that observed, two ensemble members show no statistically significant trend over the same period. It is therefore important to compare the observed sea ice extent trend not just with the ensemble mean or a multimodel ensemble mean, but also with individual ensemble members, because of the strong imprint of internal variability on these relatively short trends.

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