Summer Modeling School

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The summer ice sheet modeling school will be held in Portland Oregon, August 3-14, 2009



Ice Sheet Models for the 21st Century Summer School will be an intensive short course that brings current and future ice-sheet scientists together to develop better models for the projection of future sea-level rise (slr). The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report [1] acknowledged that current models do not adequately treat the dynamic response of ice sheets to climate change, and that this is the largest uncertainty in assessing potential rapid sea-level rise. Recognizing this, an ice-sheet modelling Workshop was held during the July 2008 SCAR/IASC [2] meeting, in St. Petersburg, Russia. This meeting developed a community strategy on how best to (i) improve the physical understanding of ice-sheet processes responsible for rapid change; (ii) incorporate improved physical understanding into numerical models; (iii) assimilate appropriate data into the models for calibration and validation; and (iv) develop prognostic whole ice-sheet models that better incorporate non-linear ice-sheet response to environmental forcing (such as change in surface mass balance, loss of buttressing from floating ice shelves and ice tongues, and rising sea level).

The two-week Summer School is a first step towards implementing this strategy. It will bring scientists from differing backgrounds together and allow more extensive and in-depth interactions between the relevant scientific research communities. A series of general background lectures as well as discussions of more specialized and advanced topics during this Summer School will provide the foundation for cross-disciplinary research, particularly for early career scientists. We anticipate publication of lecture notes both in hard copy and on a dedicated home page, to provide the glaciological community with an up-to-date overview of the science and observational techniques that will serve to guide further research efforts. Direct beneficiaries will be young researchers; indirect beneficiaries will be coastal zone communities who will gain improved sea level change forecasts to underpin their plans for sustainable development.


The modeling school was held on the campus of Portland State University in Portland, Oregon August 3-14, 2009.

  • Map from airport to University Place Hotel using public transport (note that the directions in your travel letter are better than the Google generated instructions here).

Student Participants

Lectures and Planned Activities

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You can view a summary of the subjects covered at the Summer Modeling School by clicking on the following link. Subject Overview

Dates Lecture Topics Lecturers Laboratory Topics Laboratory Instructors
4-5 August Introduction to and theoretical basis for ice sheet modeling. Kees van der Veen, Nina Kirchner Finite differencing and pragmatic programming using Fortran[3] 95...

computing divergence and gradient... from conservation equation to matrix algebra... rheology and that which makes ice ice... simple, ideal models... that which makes ice-sheet modeling hard...

Gethin Williams, Ian Rutt, Jesse Johnson
6 August Basal Conditions, Data sets for ice sheet modeling Alan Rempel, Slawek Tulaczyk and Ken Jezek COMSOL Multiphysics Olga Sergienko and Jesse Johnson
7 August The world of ice shelves and 'distributed stress-field solutions'. Modelling mountain glaciers. Todd Dupont, Olga Sergienko, and Brian Anderson Linear Algebra of ice-sheet modeling, relaxation methods, finite-element methodology, solution of Laplace equation in arbitrary domain, creation of an ice-shelf flow-field model (snap shot of flow field), Models of the Ross Ice Shelf Olga Sergienko and Todd Dupont
8 August Student Presentation Modeling School Students open work day with breakfast at 8 am & student presentation at 9 am go to the farmer's market
9 August Free day; possible PDX tour
10 August Excursion to Mt. Hood and Eliot Glacier field trip‎
Meet at 7:00 am for breakfast in Cramer Hall. Bring a jacket, water, and sensible (supportive) shoes.
Box lunches are provided and we will stop for dinner on the return trip (bring cash).
Guided by Hassan Basagic
11 August Quantifying model uncertainty Charles Jackson and Patrick Heimbach Uncertain lab, Dynamic response to the enhanced basal flow in the Greenland ice sheet Weili Wang Charles Jackson, Patrick Heimbach, and Weili Wang
12-13 August Introduction to Glimmer-CISM (Part I, Part II); Higher-order models Ian Rutt, Magnus Hagdorn, Stephen Price, Bill Lipscomb, Jesse Johnson Software development and creating a module for Glimmer, representing and manipulating data. Grounding line treatments, presented by Sophie Nowicki. Verifying ice sheet models, presented by Aitbala Sargent Ian Rutt, Magnus Hagdorn, Gethin Williams, Stephen Price, Bill Lipscomb, Jesse Johnson
14 August Coupling the Cryosphere to other Earth systems: part I, part II ; Course Evaluation Bill Lipscomb and Ian Rutt Community Climate System Model (CCSM) Lab Bill Lipscomb, Jesse Johnson, Stephen Price and Ian Rutt

Typical Daily Schedule


Additional student/instructor resources for the Summer School:

Application and Registration

The window for receipt of student applications has closed. Thank you for your interest in the program.

The registration fee for the course is US $350.

Funding Agencies

Iscu.jpg Scar.jpg
Wcrp.jpg Nsf logo.gif
Cresis.jpg Cires.jpg
IASC logo 07 RGB.jpg

Organizing Committee

Christina Hulbe, Jesse Johnson, Cornelis van der Veen