Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Firn Model Intercomparison Experiment (FirnMICE)

  • JESSICA M.D. LUNDIN (a1), C. MAX STEVENS (a1), ROBERT ARTHERN (a2), CHRISTO BUIZERT (a3), ANAIS ORSI (a4), STEFAN R.M. LIGTENBERG (a5), SEBASTIAN B. SIMONSEN (a6), EVAN CUMMINGS (a7), RICHARD ESSERY (a8), WILL LEAHY (a1), PAUL HARRIS (a1), MICHIEL M. HELSEN (a5) and EDWIN D. WADDINGTON (a1)...

Abstract

Evolution of cold dry snow and firn plays important roles in glaciology; however, the physical formulation of a densification law is still an active research topic. We forced eight firn-densification models and one seasonal-snow model in six different experiments by imposing step changes in temperature and accumulation-rate boundary conditions; all of the boundary conditions were chosen to simulate firn densification in cold, dry environments. While the intended application of the participating models varies, they are describing the same physical system and should in principle yield the same solutions. The firn models all produce plausible depth-density profiles, but the model outputs in both steady state and transient modes differ for quantities that are of interest in ice core and altimetry research. These differences demonstrate that firn-densification models are incorrectly or incompletely representing physical processes. We quantitatively characterize the differences among the results from the various models. For example, we find depth-integrated porosity is unlikely to be inferred with confidence from a firn model to better than 2 m in steady state at a specific site with known accumulation rate and temperature. Firn Model Intercomparison Experiment can provide a benchmark of results for future models, provide a basis to quantify model uncertainties and guide future directions of firn-densification modeling.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Firn Model Intercomparison Experiment (FirnMICE)
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Firn Model Intercomparison Experiment (FirnMICE)
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Firn Model Intercomparison Experiment (FirnMICE)
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Edwin D. Waddington <edw@uw.edu>

References

Hide All
Alley, RB (1987) Firn densification by grain-boundary sliding: a first model. J. Phys., 48(C1), C1C1249
Arnaud, L, Barnola, J-M and Duval, P (2000) Physical modeling of the densification of snow/firn and ice in the upper part of polar ice sheets. International Symposium on Physics of Ice Core Records. Shikotsukohan, Hokkaido, Japan, September 14-17, 1998. Phys. Ice Core Rec., 285305
Arthern, RJ and Wingham, DJ (1998) The natural fluctuations of firn densification and their effect on the geodetic determination of ice sheet mass balance. Clim. Change, 40(3–4), 605624
Arthern, RJ, Vaughan, DG, Rankin, AM, Mulvaney, R and Thomas, ER (2010) In situ measurements of Antarctic snow compaction compared with predictions of models. J. Geophys. Res., 115(F3)
Aster, RC, Borchers, B and Thurber, C (2005) Parameter estimation and inverse problems. Elsevier, Amsterdam
Bader, H (1954) Sorge's Law of densification of snow on high polar glaciers. J. Glaciol., 2(15), 319322
Barnola, J-M, Pimienta, P, Raynaud, D and Korotkevich, YS (1991) CO2-climate relationship as deduced from the Vostok ice core: a re-examination based on new measurements and on a re-evaluation of the air dating. Tellus B, 43(2), 8390
Battle, MO and 8 others (2011) Controls on the movement and composition of firn air at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11(6), 1863318675
Best, MJ and 16 others (2011) The Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES), model description – Part 1: Energy and water fluxes. Geoscientific Model Development, 4(3), 677699
Buizert, C and Severinghaus, JP (2016) Dispersion in deep polar firn driven by synoptic-scale surface pressure variability. Cryosphere, 10(5), 20992111
Buizert, C and 25 others (2012) Gas transport in firn: multiple-tracer characterisation and model intercomparison for NEEM, Northern Greenland. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12(9), 42594277
Buizert, C and 9 others (2014) Greenland temperature response to climate forcing during the last deglaciation. Science, 345(6201), 11771180
Buizert, C and 9 others (2015) The WAIS Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology–Part 1: Methane synchronization (68–31 ka BP) and the gas age–ice age difference. Clim. Past, 11(2), 153173
Capron, E and 12 others (2013) Glacial-interglacial dynamics of Antarctic firn columns: comparison between simulations and ice core air-δ15N measurements. Clim. Past, 9(3), 983999
Coble Robert, L (1970) Diffusion models for hot pressing with surface energy and pressure effects as driving forces. J. Appl. Phys., 41, 4798
Cuffey, KM and Paterson, WSB (2010) The Physics of Glaciers, 4th edn. Butterworth-Heinemann/Elsevier, Burlington, MA
Cummings, E, Johnson, J and Brinkerhoff, D (2013) Development of a finite element firn densification model for converting volume changes to mass changes. ArXiv e- prints (https://arxiv.org/abs/1308.6616)
Essery, R, Morin, S, Lejeune, Y and Ménard, CB (2013) A comparison of 1701 snow models using observations from an alpine site. Adv. Water Resour., 55, 131148
Freitag, J, Kipfstuhl, S, Laepple, T and Wilhelms, F (2013) Impurity-controlled densification: a new model for stratified polar firn. J. Glaciol., 59(218), 7
Gagliardini, O and Meyssonnier, J (1997) Flow simulation of a firn-covered cold glacier. Ann. Glaciol., 24, 242248
Giese, AL and Hawley, RL (2015) Reconstructing thermal properties of firn at Summit, Greenland, from a temperature profile time series. J. Glaciol., 61(227), 503510
Goujon, C, Barnola, J-M and Ritz, C (2003) Modeling the densification of polar firn including heat diffusion: application to close-off characteristics and gas isotopic fractionation for Antarctica and Greenland sites. J. Geophys. Res., 108(D24)
Gow, AJ, Meese, DA and Bialas, RW (2004) Accumulation variability, density profiles and crystal growth trends in ITASE firn and ice cores from West Antarctica. Ann. Glaciol., 39, 101109
Hawley, RL and Waddington, ED (2011) In situ measurements of firn compaction profiles using borehole optical stratigraphy. J. Glaciol., 57(202), 289294
Helm, V, Humbert, A and Miller, H (2014) Elevation and elevation change of Greenland and Antarctica derived from CryoSat-2. Cryosphere, 8(4), 15391559
Helsen, MM and 7 others (2008) Elevation changes in Antarctica mainly determined by accumulation variability. Science, 320(5883), 16261629
Herron, M and Langway, CC (1980) Firn densification: an empirical model. J. Glaciol., 25(93), 373385
Hörhold, MW, Kipfstuhl, S, Wilhelms, F, Freitag, J and Frenzel, A (2011) The densification of layered polar firn. J. Geophys. Res., 116(F1)
Kojima, K (1967) Physics of Snow and Ice, Inst. Low Temp. Sci., Hokkaido Univ., Sapporo, Japan, vol. 1 Part 2, chap. Densification of seasonal snow cover, 929–952
Kuipers Munneke, P and 9 others (2015) Elevation change of the Greenland Ice Sheet due to surface mass balance and firn processes, 1960–2014. Cryosphere, 9(6), 20092025
Leuenberger, MC, Lang, C and Schwander, J (1999) Delta 15N measurements as a calibration tool for the paleothermometer and gas-ice age differences: a case study for the 8200 BP event on GRIP ice. J. Geophys. Res.: Atmos. (1984–2012), 104(D18), 2216322170
Li, J and Zwally, HJ (2004) Modeling the density variation in the shallow firn layer. Ann. Glaciol., 38(1), 309313
Li, J and Zwally, HJ (2011) Modeling of firn compaction for estimating ice-sheet mass change from observed ice-sheet elevation change. Ann. Glaciol., 52(59), 17
Ligtenberg, SRM, Helsen, MM and van den Broeke, MR (2011) An improved semi-empirical model for the densification of Antarctic firn. Cryosphere, 5(4), 809819
Lüthi, M and Funk, M (2000) Dating ice cores from a high Alpine glacier with a flow model for cold firn. Ann. Glaciol., 31(1), 6979
Morris, EM and Wingham, DJ (2011) The effect of fluctuations in surface density, accumulation and compaction on elevation change rates along the EGIG line, central Greenland. J. Glaciol., 57(203), 416430
Morris, EM and Wingham, DJ (2014) Densification of polar snow: measurements, modelling and implications for altimetry. J. Geophys. Res.: Earth Surf., 119(2), 349365
Morse, DL and 7 others (1999) Accumulation rate measurements at Taylor Dome, East Antarctica: techniques and strategies for mass balance measurements in polar environments. Geogr. Ann.: Ser. A Phys. Geogr., 81(4), 683694
Orsi, AJ, Cornuelle, BD and Severinghaus, JP (2012) Little Ice Age cold interval in West Antarctica: evidence from borehole temperature at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39(9)
Parrenin, F and 8 others (2012) On the gas-ice depth difference (Δdepth) along the EPICA Dome C ice core. Clim. Past, 8(4), 12391255
Pitman, AJ, Liang, ZL, Cogley, JG and Henderson-Sellers, A (1992) Description of bare essentials of surface transfer for the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre AGCM BMRC Research Report 32. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia
Pritchard, HD and 5 others (2012) Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves. Nature, 484(7395), 502505
Proksch, M, Löwe, H and Schneebeli, M (2015) Density, specific surface area, and correlation length of snow measured by high-resolution penetrometry. J. Geophys. Res.: Earth Surf., 120(2), 346362
Rasmussen, SO and 9 others (2013) A first chronology for the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core. Clim. Past, 9(6), 27132730
Reeh, N (2008) A nonsteady-state firn-densification model for the percolation zone of a glacier. J. Geophys. Res.: Earth Surf., 113(F3)
Robin, G de Q (1958) Seismic shooting and related investigations Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition, 1949-52. Scientific Results 5.
Sandberg Sørensen, L and 7 others (2011) Mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (2003–2008) from ICESat data–the impact of interpolation, sampling and firn density. Cryosphere, 5, 173186
Schleef, S and Löwe, H (2013) X-ray microtomography analysis of isothermal densification of new snow under external mechanical stress. J. Glaciol., 59(214), 233243.
Schwander, J and Stauffer, B (1984) Age difference between polar ice and the air trapped in its bubbles. Nature, 311, 4547
Schwander, J and 6 others (1993) The age of the air in the firn and the ice at Summit, Greenland. J. Geophys. Res.: Atmos., 98(D2), 28312838
Schwander, J and 5 others (1997) Age scale of the air in the Summit ice: implication for glacial-interglacial temperature change. J. Geophys. Res., 102(D16), 1948319493
Severinghaus, JP and Brook, EJ (1999) Abrupt climate change at the end of the last glacial period inferred from trapped air in Polar Ice. Science, 286(5441), 930934
Shepherd, A and 9 others (2012) A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance. Science, 338(6111), 11831189
Simonsen, SB and 5 others (2013) Assessing a multilayered dynamic firn-compaction model for Greenland with ASIRAS radar measurements. J. Glaciol., 59(215), 545558
Spencer, MK, Alley, RB and Creyts, TT (2001) Preliminary firn-densification model with 38-site dataset. J. Glaciol., 47(159), 671676
Thompson, DC (1969) The coreless winter at Scott Base, Antarctica. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 95(404), 404407
Van den Broeke, MR (2008) Depth and density of the Antarctic firn layer. Arct. Antarct. Alp. Res., 40(2), 432438
Waddington, ED and Morse, DL (1994) Spatial variations of local climate at Taylor Dome, Antarctica: implications for paleoclimate from ice cores. Ann. Glaciol., 20(1), 219225
WAIS Divide Project Members (2015) Precise interpolar phasing of abrupt climate change during the last ice age. Nature, 520(7549), 661665
Wingham, DJ, Ridout, AJ, Scharroo, R, Arthern, RJ and Shum, CK (1998) Antarctic elevation change from 1992 to 1996. Science, 282(5388), 456458
Zwally, HJ and Li, J (2002) Seasonal and interannual variations of firn densification and ice-sheet surface elevation at the Greenland summit. J. Glaciol., 48(161), 199207
Zwally, HJ and 7 others (2005) Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992–2002. J. Glaciol., 51(175), 509527
Zwinger, T, Greve, R, Gagliardini, O, Shiraiwa, T and Lyly, M (2007) A full Stokes-flow thermo-mechanical model for firn and ice applied to the Gorshkov crater glacier, Kamchatka. Ann. Glaciol., 45(1), 2937

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed