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a core project of

Glacier Model Intercomparison Project

1-BMarzeion-suldenfernerBackground and motivation

Currently, glaciers (here defined as all glaciers other than the ice sheets) contribute approximately just as much to global sea level as the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets combined, and will continue to be important contributors during the 21st century. They are also important regulators of seasonal water availability in many regions, and both growing and shrinking glaciers may cause geohazards. Hence, it is essential to develop accurate predictive tools of the glaciers’ response to climate variability and change suitable for regional to global scales.

Goals and Objectives of GlacierMIP

The overall goal is to provide – for the first time - a framework for a coordinated intercomparison of global-scale glacier mass change models to foster model improvements and reduce uncertainties in global glacier projections.

The specific objectives are:

  1. to coordinate a model intercomparison of existing state-of-the-art large-scale glacier models with respect to decadal to century scale glacier mass change projections (and possibly century scale past reconstructions),
  2. to identify current model deficiencies and data needs, and work towards a new generation of global-scale glacier models that allow more accurate projections
  3. to work closely with other internationally coordinated activities/organizations such as the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6, ISMIP6, to ensure our data outputs follow shared standards, or the IACS Working Groups on the “Randolph Glacier Inventory and Infrastructure for Glacier Monitoring”, and “Glacier Ice Thickness Estimation”) to ensure that necessary data for initial and boundary conditions of the experiments are available.
  4. to disseminate results through publications and presentations at conferences and workshops.


Our goals will be achieved through a community-based definition of standardized experiment designs, forcing data, and deliverable output variables, as well as the definition of deadlines, milestones and deliverables.

2-BMarzeion-shallapOpen call for participation

The 4-year activity was started in February 2015. Modelers performing global-scale modeling are invited to participate in the model intercomparison. Participants are expected to:

  1. contribute to the definition of standardized model experiments including model design, forcing data, and output variables,
  2. run these experiments with their large-scale model
  3. participate in group workshops (if possible).


Modeling efforts including at least one entire major RGI region (e.g. all glaciers in the High Asian Mountains) are also welcome.

For more information, please contact the co-chairs of this Targeted Activity, Regine Hock and Ben Marzeion.