22 Jan 2024
 | 22 Jan 2024

Introducing ELSA v2.0: an isochronal model for ice-sheet layer tracing

Therese Rieckh, Andreas Born, Alexander Robinson, Robert Law, and Gerrit Gülle

Abstract. We provide a detailed description of the ice-sheet layer age tracer ELSA – a model that uses a straightforward method to simulate the englacial stratification of large ice sheets – as an alternative to Eulerian or Lagrangian tracer schemes. ELSA’s vertical axis is time and individual layers of accumulation are modeled explicitly and are isochronal. ELSA is not a stand-alone ice-sheet model, but requires uni-directional coupling to another model providing ice physics and dynamics (the “host model”). Via ELSA’s layer tracing, the host model’s output can be evaluated throughout the interior using ice core or radiostratigraphy data. We describe the stability and resolution-dependence of this coupled modeling system using simulations of the last glacial cycle of the Greenland ice sheet using one specific host model. Key questions concern ELSA’s design to maximize usability, which includes making it computationally efficient enough for ensemble runs, as well as exploring the requirements for offline forcing of ELSA with output from a range of existing ice-sheet models. ELSA is an open source and collaborative project, and this work provides the foundation for a well-documented, flexible, and easily adaptable model code to effectively force ELSA with (any) existing full ice-sheet model via a clear interface.

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Therese Rieckh, Andreas Born, Alexander Robinson, Robert Law, and Gerrit Gülle

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CEC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3127', Juan Antonio Añel, 26 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Therese Rieckh, 31 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on CEC1', Therese Rieckh, 01 Feb 2024
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3127', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Feb 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Therese Rieckh, 26 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3127', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Feb 2024
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC2', Therese Rieckh, 26 Mar 2024
Therese Rieckh, Andreas Born, Alexander Robinson, Robert Law, and Gerrit Gülle
Therese Rieckh, Andreas Born, Alexander Robinson, Robert Law, and Gerrit Gülle


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Short summary
We present the open-source model ELSA, which simulates the internal age structure of large ice sheets. ELSA is used coupled to a full ice sheet model and creates individual layers of accumulation with fixed time stamps during the simulation, modeling the internal stratification of the ice sheet. Together with reconstructed isochrones from radiostratigraphy data, ELSA can be used to assess ice sheet models and to improve their parametrization.