6.9. Mass balance accounting¶

The global mass balance of an ice sheet reads

(6.12)$\frac{\mathrm{d}V}{\mathrm{d}t} = \mathrm{SMB} + \mathrm{BMB} + \mathrm{CALV}\,,$

where $$\mathrm{d}V/\mathrm{d}t$$ is the rate of volume change, SMB the total surface mass balance, BMB the total basal mass balance and CALV the total calving rate (all counted as positive for a volume gain and negative for a volume loss). SICOPOLIS attempts at closing this balance as accurately as possible by applying the so-called “hidden ablation scheme” (Calov et al. [13]).

SICOPOLIS always employs a zero-ice-thickness boundary condition at the margin of the computational domain ($$i=0,\,i_\mathrm{max}$$; $$j=0,\,j_\mathrm{max}$$). However, for accurate accounting of calving near the margin, the “hidden ablation scheme” also requires the next lines of grid points ($$i=1,\,i_\mathrm{max}-1$$; $$j=1,\,j_\mathrm{max}-1$$) to be ice-free. Since this is not always desirable, it can be controlled by the run-specs-header parameter MB_ACCOUNT:

• 0: Glaciation of all inner points of the domain allowed (prevents accurate accounting of calving near the margin).

• 1: Outermost inner points of the domain ($$i=1,\,i_\mathrm{max}-1$$; $$j=1,\,j_\mathrm{max}-1$$) not allowed to glaciate (required for accurate accounting of calving near the margin).

For real-world problems, the setting MB_ACCOUNT = 1 is usually fine. However, for some simple-geometry experiments that require the simulated ice sheet to cover the entire domain [e.g., the test simulation repo_vialov3d25 (3D Vialov profile)], MB_ACCOUNT = 0 must be chosen to allow that.