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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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In the vast interior of the Greenland ice sheet, snow accumulates into a thick and porous layer called firn. Each summer, the firn retains part of the meltwater generated at the surface and buffers sea-level rise. In this study, we compare nine firn models traditionally used to quantify this retention at four sites and evaluate their performance against a set of in situ observations. We highlight limitations of certain model designs and give perspectives for future model development.
TC | Articles | Volume 14, issue 11
The Cryosphere, 14, 3785–3810, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-3785-2020
The Cryosphere, 14, 3785–3810, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-14-3785-2020

Research article 06 Nov 2020

Research article | 06 Nov 2020

The firn meltwater Retention Model Intercomparison Project (RetMIP): evaluation of nine firn models at four weather station sites on the Greenland ice sheet

Baptiste Vandecrux et al.

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Cited articles

Ahlstrøm, A. P., Gravesen, P., Andersen, S. B., van As, D., Citterio, M., Fausto, R. S., Nielsen, S., Jepsen, H. F., Kristensen, S. S., Christensen, E. L., Stenseng, L., Forsberg, R., Hanson, S., and Petersen, D.: A new programme for monitoring the mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet, Geol. Surv. Denmark Greenl. Bull., 15, 61–64, https://doi.org/10.34194/geusb.v15.5045, 2008. 
Albert, M. R. and Shultz, E. F.: Snow and firn properties and air–snow transport processes at Summit, Greenland, Atmos. Environ., 36, 2789–2797, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1352-2310(02)00119-X, 2002. 
Alexander, P. M., Tedesco, M., Koenig, L., and Fettweis, X.: Evaluating a Regional Climate Model Simulation of Greenland Ice Sheet Snow and Firn Density for Improved Surface Mass Balance Estimates, Geophys. Res. Lett., 46, 12073–12082, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL084101, 2019. 
Anderson, E. A.: A point energy and mass balance model of a snow cover, NOAA technical report NWS 19, available at: https://repository.library.noaa.gov/view/noaa/6392/noaa_6392_ DS1.pdf (last access: 2 November 2020), 1976. 
Arthern, R. J., Vaughan, D. G., Rankin, A. M., Mulvaney, R., and Thomas, E. R.: In situ measurements of Antarctic snow compaction compared with predictions of models, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth Surf., 115, 1–12, https://doi.org/10.1029/2009JF001306, 2010. 
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Short summary
In the vast interior of the Greenland ice sheet, snow accumulates into a thick and porous layer called firn. Each summer, the firn retains part of the meltwater generated at the surface and buffers sea-level rise. In this study, we compare nine firn models traditionally used to quantify this retention at four sites and evaluate their performance against a set of in situ observations. We highlight limitations of certain model designs and give perspectives for future model development.
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