News and Events
Join us for a new ISSM town hall meeting and ISSM presentations at the AGU Fall Meeting 2016  more >>
On ISSM and leveraging the Cloud towards faster quantification of the uncertainty in ice-sheet mass balance projections  more >>
Thank you to all the participants for a successfull workshop  more >>
ISSM-SESAW: ISSM’s Solid Earth and Sea-level Adjustment Workbench  more >>
We use the level set method to model the evolution of Store Gletscher's ice front dynamics under different ocean thermal forcings.  more >>


to the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) website. ISSM is the result of a collaboration between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and University of California at Irvine. Its purpose is to tackle the challenge of modeling the evolution of the polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica.
ISSM is open source and is funded by the NASA Cryosphere, IceBridge Research and MAP (Modeling Analysis and Prediction) programs, JPL R&TD; (Research, Technology and Development) and the National Science Foundation. Our main collaborators are: MSSMat Laboratory of École Centrale Paris, Argonne National Laboratory and the Department of Geology of University of Buffalo, NY.
As synthesized in the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report AR5, "significant uncertainties remain, particularly related to the magnitude and rate of the ice-sheet contribution for the 21st century and beyond".
To remedy this problem, large scale ice flow models are necessary that can accurately model the evolution of Greenland and Antarctica in a warming climate. In order to achieve this goal, and improve projections of future sea level rise, ISSM relies on state of the art technologies. These include:
  • Finite Element Modeling, which allows for the use of unstructured meshes to reach high resolutions in areas where ice flow dynamics is critical.
  • Parallel technologies, using state of the art clusters such as the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Pleiades cluster. This allows ISSM to run bigger models, with a faster turn around.
  • Anisotropic mesh refinement, which allows ISSM to zoom in on areas of interest, while saving computational resources by using coarse meshes where ice flow is stagnant.
  • Data assimilation using inverse methods with InSAR derived surface velocities to infer basal drag coefficients, ice rigidity and damage.
  • Sensitivity analysis tools, based on the Dakota toolkit from Sandia National Laboratories. This suite of tools allows ISSM to constrain projections of future sea level rise, and to assess the reliability of such projections.

Capability Support

Capability Support Contacts
Stress balance ISSM Team
Thermal (cold ice) Seroussi
Thermal (enthalpy) Bondzio & Seroussi
Mass transport ISSM team
Transient ISSM team
Static inversions (friction, B) ISSM Team
Mesh generation Bamg: Morlighem
Grounding line (hydrostatic) Seroussi
Python Interface Borstad & De Fleurian
GIA Adhikari
UQ (dakota) Schlegel
Balance velocities Morlighem
Calving Morlighem & Bondzio
Damage Borstad
Rifts Larour
Hydrology De Fleurian
Grounding line (FS, contact) Seroussi
Mass Conservation Morlighem
MITgcm coupling Seroussi
Automatic Differentiation Larour
Sea level Larour & Adhikari
Production (fully Supported)
Development (not fully supported)
Experimental (not supported)