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Title: Predicting Ice Sheet and Climate Evolution at Extreme Scales

A main research objectives of PISCEES is the development of formal methods for quantifying uncertainties in ice sheet modeling. Uncertainties in simulating and projecting mass loss from the polar ice sheets arise primarily from initial conditions, surface and basal boundary conditions, and model parameters. In general terms, two main chains of uncertainty propagation may be identified: 1. inverse propagation of observation and/or prior onto posterior control variable uncertainties; 2. forward propagation of prior or posterior control variable uncertainties onto those of target output quantities of interest (e.g., climate indices or ice sheet mass loss). A related goal is the development of computationally efficient methods for producing initial conditions for an ice sheet that are close to available present-day observations and essentially free of artificial model drift, which is required in order to be useful for model projections (“initialization problem”). To be of maximum value, such optimal initial states should be accompanied by “useful” uncertainty estimates that account for the different sources of uncerainties, as well as the degree to which the optimum state is constrained by available observations. The PISCEES proposal outlined two approaches for quantifying uncertainties. The first targets the full exploration of the uncertainty in model projections withmore » sampling-based methods and a workflow managed by DAKOTA (the main delivery vehicle for software developed under QUEST). This is feasible for low-dimensional problems, e.g., those with a handful of global parameters to be inferred. This approach can benefit from derivative/adjoint information, but it is not necessary, which is why it often referred to as “non-intrusive”. The second approach makes heavy use of derivative information from model adjoints to address quantifying uncertainty in high-dimensions (e.g., basal boundary conditions in ice sheet models). The use of local gradient, or Hessian information (i.e., second derivatives of the cost function), requires additional code development and implementation, and is thus often referred to as an “intrusive” approach. Within PISCEES, MIT has been tasked to develop methods for derivative-based UQ, the ”intrusive” approach discussed above. These methods rely on the availability of first (adjoint) and second (Hessian) derivative code, developed through intrusive methods such as algorithmic differentiation (AD). While representing a significant burden in terms of code development, derivative-baesd UQ is able to cope with very high-dimensional uncertainty spaces. That is, unlike sampling methods (all variations of Monte Carlo), calculational burden is independent of the dimension of the uncertainty space. This is a significant advantage for spatially distributed uncertainty fields, such as threedimensional initial conditions, three-dimensional parameter fields, or two-dimensional surface and basal boundary conditions. Importantly, uncertainty fields for ice sheet models generally fall into this category.« less
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States