CCR downtime is scheduled for Tuesday 28 December 2021. Details: close


ISMIP6 Ice Sheet Model Comparison Tool

By Erika Simon1, sophie nowicki2, Elliot Snitzer3, Jeanette Sperhac2

1. NASA--Goddard 2. University at Buffalo 3. University of Pittsburgh

This Jupyter notebook plots and compares a field from multiple ice sheet models directly in the notebook.

Launch Tool

You must login before you can run this tool.

Version 1.6 - published on 25 Aug 2021

Open source: license | download

View All Supporting Documents



Published on


This tool plots a single variable from one or several ISMIP6-formatted netCDF ice sheet models for visual inspection, comparison, and download.

The output shows plots of the user-selected variable from each model and from a reference dataset (the IMAUICE1 ice sheet model).

Using the tool

  1. Click Upload Files and select netCDF ice sheet model files from your local machine.
    • You may select between 1 and 6 files.
    • Input files must be ISMIP6-formatted, and share a common experiment and variable name.
  2. Once files have uploaded:
    • Select either a standard or model-based stereographic projection.
    • Click Plot Data to create the output plot.
  3. The selected variable will be plotted for each uploaded model file and for the reference dataset.
  4. Click Download Plot to display a copy of the plot for download, via a popup browser window.

Tool input

Input files must be ISMIP6-formatted ice sheet models with a common experiment and variable name. Inputs may be either Greenland (GIS) or Antarctic (AIS) ice sheet models.

Input data are plotted alongside a reference dataset (the IMAUICE1 ice sheet model) for comparison.

Reference Datasets

Reference datasets are selected automatically when the tool runs. They are available for the IMAUICE ice sheet model for these ice sheets and experiments:

  • Greenland: asmb, ctrl, init
  • Antarctica: abmb, asmb, ctrl, init

Models that do not correspond to one of these reference datasets will not be plotted.


The user can specify the projection used: either the model projection information from the netCDF file, or using the standard definition:


File storage locations

  • User-uploaded files are stored in the /data/groups/ghub/tools/gisplot2 directory on GHub.
  • Reference data used by the tool is stored in the /data/groups/ghub/tools/reference directory on GHub.

File naming convention

The ISMIP6 filename provides information about its contents.

For the example file name:

  • acabf -- 2D variable name
  • GIS -- Greenland Ice Sheet
  • IMAU -- Modeling group name
  • IMAUICE1 -- Ice sheet model name
  • init -- experiment name

Tool output

The ice sheet model variables are plotted alongside the reference. This output plot is shown directly in the notebook, and stored in png format in the /data/groups/ghub/tools/gisplot2 directory on GHub. The Download Plot button can be used to download the output plot to your local machine. For a successful download, please enable popups in your browser window.

Example output

A sample set of output plots are shown. Here, the ice thickness variable is plotted for three user-supplied models of the Greenland ice sheet, and a reference dataset.

Example gisplot2 output

Python Libraries

import os, sys, io, shutil
import warnings
import numpy
import xarray
import matplotlib
import cartopy
import ipywidgets
import hublib.ui
import math
import collections

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Erika Simon; sophie nowicki; Elliot Snitzer; Jeanette Sperhac (2021), "ISMIP6 Ice Sheet Model Comparison Tool,"

    BibTex | EndNote