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The Community Firn Model (CFM) v1.0

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • C.M. Stevens
  • V. Verjans
  • J.M.D. Lundin
  • E.C. Kahle
  • A.N. Horlings
  • B.I. Horlings
  • E.D. Waddington
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>17/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Geoscientific Model Development
Issue number9
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)4355-4377
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Models that simulate the evolution of polar firn are important for several applications in glaciology, including converting ice-sheet elevation change measurements to mass change and interpreting climate records in ice cores. We have developed the Community Firn Model (CFM), an open-source, modular model framework designed to simulate numerous physical processes in firn. The modules include firn densification, heat transport, meltwater percolation and refreezing, water isotope diffusion, and firn-air diffusion. The CFM is designed so that new modules can be added with ease. In this paper, we first describe the CFM and its modules. We then demonstrate the CFM's usefulness in two model applications that utilize two of its novel aspects. The CFM currently has the ability to run any of 13 previously published firn densification models, and in the first application we compare those models' results when they are forced with regional climate model outputs for Summit, Greenland. The results show that the models do not agree well (spread greater than 10 %) when predicting depth-integrated porosity, firn age, or the trend in surface elevation change. In the second application, we show that the CFM's coupled firn-air and firn densification models can simulate noble gas records from an ice core better than a firn-air model alone.