Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Modeling Sea Ice with CICE

Climate scientist Elizabeth Hunke reflects on ice, music, and 25 years at Los Alamos.
February 1, 2019

Elizabeth Hunke with a simulation of Arctic sea ice thickness produced by the Los Alamos sea ice model, CICE. Hunke’s work promotes a better understanding of how sea ice responds to and helps modulate the global climate.

The most rewarding aspect has been fostering collaboration among scientists, including students, postdocs, and experts from outside high-latitude climate.

“I chose science over music as my career but I’ve always been passionate about both,” says Hunke. “I came to Los Alamos 25 years ago to join the ocean modeling team in the Theoretical Division, just when climate change was becoming a hot topic. The team wanted to develop a computationally efficient sea ice model that would be compatible with an ocean circulation model developed at Los Alamos in the early 1990s. The first Los Alamos sea ice model, CICE 1.0, rolled in out 1998 and the most recent version, CICE 6.0 rolled out last year.  A widely used tool in the sea ice modeling community, CICE solves a collection of mathematical equations that represent the physical processes that occur during sea ice evolution. I feel fortunate to have quickly found my niche doing Earth system modeling at the Laboratory, and my career here has been varied, challenging, and enormously fun.”


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