Documentation for PISM, a parallel Ice Sheet Model

NEWS: PISM v0.7.1 adds bug fixes, supports PETSc >= 3.6.1

NEWS: Summer time!

The Parallel Ice Sheet Model pism0.7 is an open source, parallel, high-resolution ice sheet model. Features:

  • hierarchy of shallow stress balances
  • marine ice sheet physics, dynamic calving fronts
  • polythermal, enthalpy-based conservation of energy scheme
  • subglacial hydrology and till model
  • extensible coupling to atmospheric and ocean models
  • inversion toolbox in Python
  • verification and validation tools
  • complete documentation for users and developers
  • uses MPI and PETSc for parallel simulations
  • reads and writes CF-compliant NetCDF

PISM Application of the Month

April 2015


Click the image to go to The Cryosphere page.

Interaction of marine ice-sheet instabilities in two drainage basins: simple scaling of geometry and transition time
investigators: J. Feldmann and A. Levermann
journal: The Cryosphere

The marine ice-sheet instability generally comes from the ocean side of the ice sheet. Using a flow-line geometry in PISM, this paper investigates whether instability can be triggered from the direction of the ice divide. The authors find that the instability in one basin can induce a destabilization in the other. The underlying mechanism is dynamic thinning and consequent motion of the ice divide. They conclude that for the three-dimensional case, the possibility of drainage basin interaction on timescales on the order of 1 kyr or larger cannot be excluded and needs further investigation.

2015/04/02 09:57 · Ed Bueler

Latest News

PISM version 0.7 is out

Major PISM release

This release has substantial changes to the code base, but users will not see large differences. The goal of most code changes is to improve maintainability, and our speed in fixing bugs and adding features, so we ask users to update from v0.6 unless they have a good reason against it.

If you already have a git repo for pism then upgrade by doing

git fetch origin
git checkout stable0.7

in the PISM source tree. (Or get a new tagged .tar.gz or .zip at Then do

make install

in the build directory.

The install directions in, included in the source release, should help with installation errors, but there is also an Installation Manual. Feel free to email with installation questions; please include the failed commands and the error message(s).

Lists below give user-visible changes. For a full list of changes since v0.6, please see in the source release.

Installation changes

Click here to see the list

New physical model features

Click here to see the list

New and renamed diagnostics

Click here to see the list

Changes which might break run scripts

Click here to see the list

Getting more help

Please send email to for help with any version of PISM.

2015/05/12 19:07 · Ed Bueler

PISM at AGU 2014

At the AGU Fall Meeting 2014, PISM simulations and results were featured in a number of posters and oral presentations.


oral presentations

2014/12/23 08:53 · Ed Bueler

PISM team

PISM is jointly developed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). UAF developers, who are in the Glaciers Group at the GI, are supported by NASA's Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction and Cryospheric Sciences Programs (grants NAG5-11371, NNX09AJ38C, NNX13AM16G, NNX13AK27G) and by the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center.

home.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/13 07:36 by Ed Bueler
© 2015 by PISM | webmaster