Ice Dynamics (ICE)

Ice Dynamics (ICE)
Capsized blue iceberg in Weddell Sea, Antarctica, with resting Adélie penguins. Copyright Torsten Albrecht (PIK)

About the working group

With more than 65 meters of sea-level potential, the ice-sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are the largest freshwater reservoirs on Earth. They have undergone extensive retreat and re-advance in their glacial-interglacial history, and with progressing anthropogenic climate change, they are now among the most vulnerable parts of the Earth System. In the Ice Dynamics Group at PIK, we study the dynamics of ice sheets and shelves, and their interactions with the atmosphere and ocean. We are core developers of the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) and the Potsdam Ice-Shelf Cavity Model (PICO). Based on our insights into the dynamics of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and related feedback mechanisms, we investigate their long-term stability as well as their contributions to global sea-level change in the future.

Working Group Leader:

Prof. Dr. Ricarda Winkelmann

Related Projects

Projects and Funding

Key research objectives

  • Comprehensive understanding of key processes including sub-shelf melting, surface mass balance changes, iceberg calving, ice-shelf buttressing
  • Further development of the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) and the Ice Shelf Cavity Model (PICO)
  • Configuration and coupling of PISM within the Potsdam Earth Model POEM
  • Reconstruction / modelling of the glacial-interglacial history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet
  • Projections of future sea-level contributions from Greenland and Antarctica
  • Role of extreme events for the ice-sheet mass balance
  • Assessment of the long-term stability, critical thresholds and tipping dynamics of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets