CLIVAR SOFIA task team

Southern Ocean Freshwater release model experiments Initiative (SOFIA)


The Southern Ocean is the largest oceanic sink of both anthropogenic heat and carbon, and plays a key role in natural mitigation of global warming. Despite its remoteness, the Southern Ocean thus plays a major role in influencing the climate that we currently experience and will increasingly steer our actions over the 21st Century. Oceanic heat is the greatest threat to the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS): accelerated mass loss has been observed over the past two decades and is expected to strongly modulate future climate change. This will cause sea-level rise, directly affecting populated coasts across the globe. Moreover, the meltwater added to the Southern Ocean is anticipated to alter large-scale ocean circulation with unknown consequences for heat and carbon sequestration. See more...


The objectives of establishing the international SOFIA Task Team under CLIVAR are to:

1) Enhance awareness of a global ocean and climate response to accelerated Antarctic mass loss
2) Promote international cooperation among the modeling community
3) Reconcile a growing pool of similar but not coordinated model experiments
4) Advance scientific knowledge on ice-ocean interaction and ocean processes redistributing meltwater

Terms of Reference

  • Encourage the participation of a wide and diverse group of models in the freshwater-release experiments
  • Estimate model uncertainty in projections of Antarctic freshwater release and its impacts on the global climate system
  • Address important questions surrounding detection and attribution of climate changes to freshwater forcing
  • Quantify the impact of a missing climate feedback in the CMIP6 model projections through analysis of future climate scenario runs with freshwater forcing coordinate related conference and workshop participation


Tier 1 experiment
Tier 2 experiment

Current models that have joined SOFIA



SOFIA experiment protocol paper has been published in Geoscientific Model Development (GMD)

Swart, N. C., Martin, T., Beadling, R., Chen, J.-J., Danek, C., England, M. H., Farneti, R., Griffies, S. M., Hattermann, T., Hauck, J., Haumann, F. A., Jüling, A., Li, Q., Marshall, J., Muilwijk, M., Pauling, A. G., Purich, A., Smith, I. J., and Thomas, M.: The Southern Ocean Freshwater Input from Antarctica (SOFIA) Initiative: scientific objectives and experimental design, Geosci. Model Dev., 16, 7289–7309,, 2023.

SOFIAMIP is a registered Community MIP under CMIP.

Qian Zhao