Loading VESL Page loader

Virtual Earth System Laboratory

Welcome to the Virtual Earth System Laboratory (VESL). Here, the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) team hosts simulations related to glaciers, ice sheets, sea level, and solid earth. The technology behind the lab is described in a GMD paper, see the following JPL news release for more info.

Our earth science simulations fall into one or more categories, which can be reached via the links below.

What's New

Check out our featured simulations and news


Simulations of Glacier Flow and Sensitivity to Climate

Model the evolution of glaciers in Alaska, Patagonia and the Himalayan regions in response to variations in surface temperature, snow precipitation, and other factors related to climate change.
Preview of Columbia Glacier simulation
Columbia Glacier
Model the evolution of Columbia glacier, Alaska. Based on work carried out by Dr. Gardner and Dr. Larour.
Preview of Haig Glacier simulation
Haig Glacier
Understand the evolution of Haig glacier, Canada over 30 years. Based on work carried out by Dr. Adhikari.

Ice Sheets

Simulations of Ice Sheet Flow and Sensitivity to Climate and Forcings

Model the evolution of ice sheets such as Greenland and Antarctica. Understand the factors that control their evolution and and how they will contribute to sea level rise in the coming decades/centuries. This includes basal friction at the ice/bed interface, snow precipitation, temperature, etc.
Preview of Greenland Basal Friction simulation
Greenland Basal Friction
This simulation of Greenland is the result of work carried out by the ISSM team for the SeaRISE experiments.

Sea Level

Simulations of Sea Level Rise and Contribution from the Cryosphere

Model the evolution of sea level over the entire Earth, and understand the contribution of glaciers and polar ice caps to its rise or decline in a changing climate.
Preview of Coastline Retreat From Sea Level Rise simulation
Coastline Retreat From Sea Level Rise
This model quantifies the impact of Antarctica and Greenland melt on the coastlines of several states in the US assuming the so-called bath-tub model ( sea level is evenly distributed over the entire oceans as though Earth is a nongravitating, nonrotating, rigid planet).
Preview of Global Relative Sea Level Rise simulation
Global Relative Sea Level Rise
This model computes local sea level rise (or decrease) using GRACE observations of melt in Greenland and Antarctica, for present-day.
Preview of Gradient Fingerprint Mapping simulation
Gradient Fingerprint Mapping
Gradient fingerprint mapping of local sea level with respect to ice thickness changes over all glaciated areas of the world.

Solid Earth

Simulations of Processes Undergone by the Earth's Lithosphere and Mantle

Here you will find simulations related to the Earth's interior. This includes models of geothermal heat flux and their impact on the thermal profile of polar ice sheets, models of mantle plumes under the ice, models of Glacio-Isostatic Rebound, and other models related to processes undergone by the earth lithosphere and mantle.
Preview of Greenland Geothermal Sensitivity simulation
Greenland Geothermal Sensitivity
This simulation of Greenland explores the sensitivity of melt-rate and temperature at the ice/bed interface to geothermal heat flux distribution.
Preview of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment simulation
Glacial Isostatic Adjustment
Present-day GIA trends (gravity, uplift and geoid). Statistics (expectation and standard deviation) were derived from a Bayesian ensemble of 100,000 models constrained by a global data set of relative sea level and GPS data.