SEMIC: an efficient surface energy and mass balance model applied to the Greenland ice sheet



Downloads per month over past year

Krapp, Mario and Robinson, Alexander James and Ganopolski, Andrey (2017) SEMIC: an efficient surface energy and mass balance model applied to the Greenland ice sheet. Cryosphere, 11 (4). pp. 1519-1535. ISSN 1994-0416

[thumbnail of robinson17libre+CC.pdf]
Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL:


We present SEMIC, a Surface Energy and Mass balance model of Intermediate Complexity for snow-and ice-covered surfaces such as the Greenland ice sheet. SEMIC is fast enough for glacial cycle applications, making it a suitable replacement for simpler methods such as the positive degree day (PDD) method often used in ice sheet modelling. Our model explicitly calculates the main processes involved in the surface energy and mass balance, while maintaining a simple interface and requiring minimal data input to drive it. In this novel approach, we parameterise diurnal temperature variations in order to more realistically capture the daily thaw-freeze cycles that characterise the ice sheet mass balance. We show how to derive optimal model parameters for SEMIC specifically to reproduce surface characteristics and day-to-day variations similar to the regional climate model MAR (Modele Atmospherique Regional, version 2) and its incorporated multilayer snowpack model SISVAT (Soil Ice Snow Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer). A validation test shows that SEMIC simulates future changes in surface temperature and surface mass balance in good agreement with the more sophisticated multilayer snowpack model SISVAT included in MAR. With this paper, we present a physically based surface model to the ice sheet modelling community that is general enough to be used with in situ observations, climate model, or reanalysis data, and that is at the same time computationally fast enough for long-term integrations, such as glacial cycles or future climate change scenarios.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:

© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. We would like to thank Xavier Fettweis for providing MAR/CanESM2 data. Mario Krapp is also grateful to Malte Heinemann and Axel Timmermann for their kind hospitality during his research visit at the International Pacific Research Center (SOEST, University of Hawaii). Alexander Robinson was funded by the Marie Curie 7th Framework Programme (Project PIEF-GA-2012-331835, EURICE). Mario Krapp was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Project "Modeling the Greenland ice sheet response to climate change on different timescales".

Uncontrolled Keywords:Climate-change; Performance; Simulation; Insolation; System; Snow; Mar
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
Sciences > Physics > Astronomy
ID Code:44320
Deposited On:04 Sep 2017 09:21
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:04

Origin of downloads

Repository Staff Only: item control page