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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-361
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-361
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 20 Jan 2020

Submitted as: model description paper | 20 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

The Community Firn Model (CFM) v1.0

C. Max Stevens1, Vincent Verjans2, Jessica M.D. Lundin1,3, Emma C. Kahle1, Annika N. Horlings1, Brita I. Horlings1, and Edwin D. Waddington1 C. Max Stevens et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, WA, USA
  • 2Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YW, UK
  • 3Salesforce, San Francisco, C

Abstract. Models that simulate evolution of polar firn are important for several applications in glaciology, including converting ice-sheet elevation-change measurements to mass change and interpreting climate records in ice cores. We have developed the Community Firn Model (CFM), an open-source, modular model framework designed to simulate numerous physical processes in firn. The modules include firn densification, heat transport, meltwater percolation and refreezing, water-isotope diffusion, and firn-air diffusion. The CFM is designed so that new modules can be added with ease. In this paper, we first describe the CFM and its modules. We then demonstrate the CFM's usefulness in two model applications that utilize two of its novel aspects. The CFM currently has the ability to run any of 13 previously published firn-densification models, and in the first application we compare those models' results when they are forced with regional climate model outputs for Summit, Greenland. The results show that the models do not agree well (spread greater than 10 %) when predicting depth-integrated porosity, firn age, or trend in surface-elevation change trend. In the second application, we show that the CFM's coupled firn-air and firn-densification models can simulate noble-gas records from an ice core better than a firn-air model alone.

C. Max Stevens et al.

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Status: open (until 21 Mar 2020)
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C. Max Stevens et al.

Model code and software

UWGlaciology/CommunityFirnModel: Version 1.0.5 of the Community Firn Model (Version v1.0.5) C. M. Stevens, V. Verjans, J. M. D Lundin, E. C. Kahle, A. N. Horlings, B. I. Horlings, and E. D. Waddington https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3585885

C. Max Stevens et al.

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Latest update: 28 Feb 2020
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Short summary
Understanding processes in snow (firn), including compaction and air flow, is important for calculating how much mass the ice sheets are losing and for interpreting climate records from ice cores. We have developed the open-source 'Community Firn Model' to simulate these processes. We use it to compare 13 different firn-compaction equations and found that they do not agree to within 10%. We also show that including firn compaction in firn-air model improves the match with data from ice cores.
Understanding processes in snow (firn), including compaction and air flow, is important for...
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