Glacier Model Intercomparison Project

Background and motivation

Currently, glaciers (here defined as all glaciers other than the ice sheets) contribute approximately just as much to global sea level as the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets combined, and will continue to be important contributors during the 21st century. They are also important regulators of seasonal water availability in many regions, and both growing and shrinking glaciers may cause geohazards. Hence, it is essential to develop accurate predictive tools of the glaciers’ response to climate variability and change suitable for regional to global scales.

Goals and Objectives of GlacierMIP

The overall goal is to provide – for the first time – a framework for a coordinated intercomparison of global-scale glacier mass change models to foster model improvements and reduce uncertainties in global glacier projections.

The specific objectives are:

  1. to coordinate a model intercomparison of existing state-of-the-art large-scale glacier models with respect to decadal to century scale glacier mass change projections (and possibly century scale past reconstructions),
  2. to identify current model deficiencies and data needs, and work towards a new generation of global-scale glacier models that allow more accurate projections
  3. To work closely with other internationally coordinated actvities/organizations such as the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6, ISMIP6, to ensure our data outputs follow shared standards, or several IACS Working Groups focused on glacier inventory and mass balance data to ensure that necessary data for initial boundary conditions of the experiments are available.
  4. to disseminate results through publications and presentations at conferences and workshops.

Our goals will be achieved through a community-based definition of standardized experiment designs, forcing data, and deliverable output variables, as well as the definition of deadlines, milestones and deliverables.

To keep GlacierMIP focused, all GlacierMIP participants must have developed, or have access to, a glacier evolution model capable of computing glaciers on large scales, preferably global (at least one complete RGI region must be covered). Please contact the chairs if you are interested in participating.

GlacierMIP was started in February 2015. The first two phases focusing on model intercomparison of century-scale GCM driven global projections are finalized.

Currently the third phase of GlacierMIP (GlacierMIP3) is underway focusing on the equilibration of glaciers under various climatic conditions. An open call for participation was announced in summer 2021 and modelers performing global-scale modeling were invited to participate. Participants are expected to:

  1. Run equilibrium experiments with their large-scale model and submit their model runs following GlacierMIP´s experiment protocol
  2. Participate in group workshops (if possible)

All details about GlacierMIP3 including the protocol for the model experiments are available on:

To participate in GlacierMIP3 and to be included in any resulting publications, the experiment design has to be followed and model results submitted to GlacierMIP latest by the given deadline in spring 2022.

For more information, please contact Harry Zekollari (lead of phase III) or the co-chairs Regine Hock and Ben Marzeion.