Understanding the mechanics of ice sheet collapse is a crucial step in describing the potential impacts of sea level rise. In order to further that understanding, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been developing models that examine how ice sheets will respond to changing environmental conditions. This research is being conducted in collaboration with the Advanced Scientific Computing Research Office (ASCR), which is working to bridge the gap between computing experts and earth systems experts.
One such model is the Berkeley Ice Sheet Initiative for Climate Extremes – or “BISICLES” – which uses adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) to enable fully resolved modeling of the marine ice-sheet dynamics found in Antarctica and Greenland. AMR focuses high-resolution meshes in areas where rapid change is expected and accurate solutions are necessary. In other areas, it applies a coarser resolution, allowing for greater efficiency.
In the BISICLES experiment pictured below, we can see the Antarctic ice sheet completely collapsing over the course of five hundred years.
In this second video, we can see how the AMR model evolves throughout the simulation.
Both visualizations were produced by Dan Martin, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and generated as part of the paper “Millennial-Scale Vulnerability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to Regional Ice Shelf Collapse.”
In the future, researchers aim to integrate the ice sheet model into the DOE’s Energy Exascale Earth System Modeling (E3SM).
Additional information: https://e3sm.org/antarctic-ice-sheet-simulations