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ISMIP6 21st Century Forcing Datasets

By sophie nowicki1, Erika Simon2, ISMIP6 Team (contributor)

1. Department of Geology and RENEW Institute, University at Buffalo 2. NASA

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These datasets contain the 21st century atmospheric and oceanic forcing datasets used for Greenland and Antarctic standalone ice sheet model simulations as part of the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6). ISMIP6 is a targeted activity of the Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) project of the World Climate Research Project (WCRP) and has been formally endorsed by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6; Eyring et al., 2016). 

The datasets were prepared using CMIP5 and CMIP6 models listed in the table below (see also Table 1, Nowicki et al. 2020). The CMIP5 models were selected independently for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets (Barthel et al., 2020), using atmospheric and oceanic metrics appropriate for each ice sheet. As CMIP6 models started to become available in late spring–summer 2019, ISMIP6 selected four CMIP6 models based solely on their availability. The ISMIP6 forcing datasets are presented in Nowicki et al. (2020). For more information on how the oceanic dataset were prepared, please see Slater et al. (2019; 2020) for Greenland  and Jourdain et al. (2020) for Antarctica. 


Downloading Data

The data can be downloaded from the Globus GHub-ISMIP6-Forcing endpoint. Please log in and click on the Download tab to receive the Download instructions.


The experimental protocol and datasets for the ISMIP6-Projections-Antarctica and ISMIP6-Projections-Greenland standalone ice sheet simulations would not have been possible without the effort of many scientists that have given their time and expertise, and have run models to convert the CMIP5 and CMIP6 models output into datasets that standalone ice sheet models can use. ISMIP6 would like to thank the ocean focus group under the leadership of Fiamma Straneo, the atmospheric focus group under the leadership of Bill Lipscomb and Robin Smith, and the CMIP5 model evaluation focus group under the leadership of Alice Barthel. Xylar Asay-Davis, Nicolas Jourdain, Tore Hattermann, Chris Little, Helene Seroussi have been instrumental in the development of the Antarctic ice shelf basal melt rate parameterization and associated datasets. Erika Simon, Richard Cullather and Sophie Nowicki prepared the Antarctic atmospheric dataset. Luke Trusel and Helene Seroussi prepared the Antarctic ice shelf fracture dataset. Xavier Fettweis, Heiko Goelzer and Patrick Alexander prepared the Greenland atmospheric dataset using the MAR regional climate model. Donald Slater, Denis Felikson and Mathieu Morlighem prepared the Greenland oceanic forcing. Alice Barthel, Chris Little, Cecile Agosta, Nicolas Jourdain, and Tore Hattermann provided a rigorous analysis of the CMIP5 models against historical data, which allowed the CMIP5 model evaluation group and the ISMIP6 steering committee to select the CMIP5 models used in this effort. Finally, we thank the ISMIP6 ice sheet modelers for their feedback on the design of the protocol and their willingness to participate in ISMIP6.

Terms of use and citation requirements

To enable modeling groups and others who support CMIP6 and ISMIP6 to demonstrate its impact (and secure ongoing funding), you are required to cite and acknowledge those who have made CMIP6 and ISMIP6 possible. Please read and adhere to the CMIP6 and ISMIP6 Terms of Use.