Scientists in Europe favor modeling program developed in Alaska, host workshop

Release Date: 
Monday, May 21, 2012

Fairbanks, Alaska— Ed Bueler, Associate Professor of Mathematics at UAF and member of the Geophysical Institute glaciers group, will travel to Germany later this month to present on the Parallel Ice Sheet Model, referred to as PISM. The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany will the host the first Euro-PISM workshop.

In 2003, glaciologists and mathematicians at the Geophysical Institute developed PISM to better understand the physics of ice sheets, a process that is often difficult to observe in the field. In building PISM, researchers have incorporated ice physics and the affects of snow, air temperature, ocean temperature and other environmental influences on ice sheet flow.

To Bueler and the GI glaciology group, the upcoming Euro-PISM workshop is indicative that PISM has surpassed in popularity similar models.

“We made it available for public use and we documented it well,” said Bueler. That accessibility, combined with improved physics and the ability to look at larger ice sheets at a higher resolution, has propelled PISM into international use. Over the past decade, research institutions in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have adopted PISM and aided the GI group in programming the model.

“Having more international users and co-developers is a step in the right direction, but it goes with a lot of uncertainty, too,” said Bueler, who is both excited and anxious to see how PISM evolves now that momentum is building around modeling ice sheet response to climate change and the workshop in Europe is set for this month.

The Euro-PISM workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology will take place on May 21 – 22, 2012 and has been coordinated in collaboration with the Comprehensive Modelling of the Earth System for Better Climate Prediction and Projection, a part of the European Network for Earth System Modelling. A poster session will highlight research that has been completed using PISM and the capabilities that the program holds for future projects.

Euro-PISM will be the first technical conference held in Europe to focus on PISM. A similar workshop was hosted by the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the Geophysical Institute in 2010. Bueler, principal investigator for current NASA-funded research using PISM at the GI, is slated to present the introduction at the technical conference.

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