Documentation for PISM, the Parallel Ice Sheet Model

NEWS: PISM v1.2 released


Projection of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 2008-2300 under RCP 8.5. Video by Cindy Starr (NASA SVS).

The Parallel Ice Sheet Model PISM v1.2 is open source and capable of high resolution. It has been widely adopted as a tool for doing science.

Features include:

Latest News

PhD Studentship: Palaeoglaciology of Eurasian Ice Sheets

Dr. Ely's group at the University of Sheffield is advertising for a PhD student in paleo-ice sheet modeling, possibly including PISM:

2019/12/05 17:11 · Ed Bueler

Two ice sheet modeling postdocs at University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks invites applications for two postdoctoral scholars in ice sheet modeling. The positions are based at the Geophysical Institute, a world-renowned institute for Arctic research. Our team in the glaciology group is a dynamic, international, and interdisciplinary team, and welcomes all kinds of people who share our values of curiosity, creativity, and initiative.

Project 1: Greenland

The goal of this project to improve the representation of the processes “where the ice meets the ocean” in a high-resolution whole-ice sheet model. This is a crucial step on the way to the ultimate goal of fully coupled high-resolution ice-ocean-atmosphere models, which are currently not in the realm of the possible.

The project is in collabration with Drs Patrick Heimbach and Feras Habbal at University of Texas at Austin. The successful candidate will use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) and implement frontal melt parameterizations currently being developed by Drs Heimbach and Habbal, as well as contribute to the development. Frequent telecoms and annual visits are an integral aspect of the project.

Project 2: Antarctic Peninsula

The interactions between prevailing winds and mountain topography give rise to order-of-magnitude variations in precipitation For mountain ranges in which ice overtops the bedrock to form ice sheets these orographically driven feedbacks between precipitation and surface topography occur on timescales much shorter than for normal mountain building. The Antarctic Peninsula is an archetype of these feedbacks. It is aligned perpendicular to the prevailing winds and precipitation ranges from as high as 10 m/yr on the wet side of the mountain range to 10 cm/yr on dry side over less than 50 km. Despite the low snowfall on the dry side, the northern Antarctic Peninsula hosts large trunk glaciers like Crane, Flask and Leppard. We hypothesize that the feedbacks between orographic precipitation, ice dynamics, and thermodynamics drive asymmetry in the topography and behavior of the ice sheet.

This project is a collaboration with Dr Erin Pettit (Oregon State University) and Dr Gerad Roe (University of Washington). The successful candidate will implement an orographic precipitation module into the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) and conduct the proposed research with the coupled ice dynamic-orographic precipitation model. Frequent telecoms and annual visits are an integral aspect of the project. 


  • PhD in Glaciology, Geophysics, Physics, Math, or related field.
  • Experience in numerical modeling and scientific computation on high-performance computers.
  • Experience with ice sheet modeling is required and experience with the Parallel Ice Sheet Model is an asset.
  • A peer-reviewed publication record that is commensurate with experience.
  • Applicants should have excellent English language skills and enjoy working in an international and interdisciplinary team.

The positions are for a fixed term of 1.5 years with an anticipated starting date of Spring 2020. Interested candidates should contact Dr. Andy Aschwanden ( with a CV including information on your academic background, experience in glaciology/modeling/programming, field experience, publication record, and contact information of 2-3 referees (only email addresses), and any other relevant information..

The call is open until the positions are filled.

Fairbanks is a city in the heart of sub-Arctic Alaska, with out-the-front-door access to unparalleled wilderness for skiing, paddling, fishing, and hunting. It is a vibrant community with a strong university presence. More information about life in Fairbanks is available at

As a public, regional, comprehensive university, UAF is committed to building a culturally diverse and inclusive organization and strongly encourages women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

2019/12/05 00:33 · Ed Bueler

PISM (and other source codes) go into cold storage

In February they are going to put PISM in the bottom of an old coal mine in Svalbard:

GitHub Archive Program, with video.

But don't worry. Development continues.

2019/11/21 03:33 · Ed Bueler


PISM is jointly developed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). For more about the team see the UAF Developers and PIK Developers pages.

UAF developers, who are in the Glaciers Group at the GI, are supported by NASA's Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction and Cryospheric Sciences Programs (grants NAG5-11371, NNX09AJ38C, NNX13AM16G, NNX16AQ40G, NNX17AG65G) and by NSF grants PLR-1603799 and PLR-1644277.

home.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/20 17:52 by Ed Bueler
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