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Publication Date
18 September 2018

MPAS-Albany Land Ice (MALI): A Variable-Resolution Ice Sheet Model for Earth System Modeling Using Voronoi Grids



We introduce MPAS-Albany Land Ice (MALI) v6.0, a new variable-resolution land ice model that uses unstructured Voronoi grids on a plane or sphere. MALI is built using the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) framework for developing variable-resolution Earth system model components and the Albany multi-physics code base for the solution of coupled systems of partial differential equations, which itself makes use of Trilinos solver libraries. MALI includes a three-dimensional first-order momentum balance solver (Blatter–Pattyn) by linking to the Albany-LI ice sheet velocity solver and an explicit shallow ice velocity solver. The evolution of ice geometry and tracers is handled through an explicit first-order horizontal advection scheme with vertical remapping. The evolution of ice temperature is treated using operator splitting of vertical diffusion and horizontal advection and can be configured to use either a temperature or enthalpy formulation. MALI includes a mass-conserving subglacial hydrology model that supports distributed and/or channelized drainage and can optionally be coupled to ice dynamics. Options for calving include eigencalving, which assumes that the calving rate is proportional to extensional strain rates. MALI is evaluated against commonly used exact solutions and community benchmark experiments and shows the expected accuracy. Results for the MISMIP3d benchmark experiments with MALI's Blatter–Pattyn solver fall between published results from Stokes and L1L2 models as expected. We use the model to simulate a semi-realistic Antarctic ice sheet problem following the initMIP protocol and using 2km resolution in marine ice sheet regions. MALI is the glacier component of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) version 1, and we describe current and planned coupling to other E3SM components.

“Mpas-Albany Land Ice (Mali): A Variable-Resolution Ice Sheet Model For Earth System Modeling Using Voronoi Grids”. 2018. Geoscientific Model Development 11: 3747-3780. doi:10.5194/gmd-11-3747-2018.
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