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H(m) is the thickness of the ice at a given point.

H(m) is the surface height at a given point.


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This is an animation showing the simulated retreat of the Southwestern portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the Holocene (~ the last 12,000 years). The simulation begins 12,000 years ago when annual temperatures across this region were ~10-15 degrees Celsius colder than present day and where geologic reconstructions indicate that the ice margin in this region was at or near the present day coastlines. This is the product of ongoing work to integrate cutting edge reconstructions of past climate within the ice sheet modeling framework and compare the simulated ice retreat over Southwestern Greenland with geologic reconstructions constraining the past ice retreat history. Together, this work aims to establish controls and sensitivities of past ice sheet retreat to variations in past climate.

Further information can be found in the publication on which this simulation is based: Cuzzone, J. K., Schlegel, N.-J., Morlighem, M., Larour, E., Briner, J. P., Seroussi, H., and Caron, L.: The impact of model resolution on the simulated Holocene retreat of the southwestern Greenland ice sheet using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), The Cryosphere, 13, 879-893, 2019.

Model Settings

To construct the surface mass balance forcing necessary to force the model through time, the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) delta O-18 record was used to scale present day datasets of temperature and precipitation back through time. A positive degree day model was then used to then construct the transient ice sheet surface mass balance.

This model uses the Higher Order ice flow approximation of Blatter (1995) and Pattyn (2003). The mesh is created using anisotropic mesh capabilities, with horizontal resolution raging from 15 km over the interior of the domain to 2 km in areas of high bed topographical relief.

Datasets Used for the Simulation

  • Present day temperature and precipitation (Box, 2013).
  • Greenland Ice Core Project delta O-18┬árecord (Dansgaard et al., 1993).
  • BedMachine v3 bedrock topography (Morlighem et al., 2017).

How to Run the Simulation

To run the simulation, click any of the "LET'S GO" buttons, then click the button. Playback can be paused by clicking the button a second time.

Individual frames of the animation can be displayed by changing the "Playback Controls" slider.



If you have any questions or feedback, please send us an email.

      Average Temperature Difference From Present Day