Ice Dynamics (ICE)


About the 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.

  • 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

    • 16-25 June 2020
      The ICE group hosted the FRISP meeting 2020 as virtual event with more than 100 participants worldwide

    Current members

    Former members

    • Ronja Gebel (MSc in Geoecology, 2016: Grounding line response to changes in surface mass balance)
    • Jan Haacker (MSc in Physics, 2019: The interaction of ice dynamics, lapse rate, and bedrock uplift observed in surface temperature step-forcing simulations of the GrIS using PISM; now PhD student @ TU Delft)
    • Daniela Littmann (MSc in Physics, 2018: Fracture field in ice shelf calving; now PhD student @ AWI)
    • Moritz Löffler (MSc in Physics, 2016: Surface waves on ice sheets)
    • Matthias Mengel (PhD in Physics, 2015: Antarctic Instabilities; PostDoc: Sea-level rise & impacts; now Deputy Head & Group Lead @ RD3)
    • Lena Nicola (BSc in Geoecology, 2019: Ice-drainage basins in Antarctica; now MSc student @ Uni Hamburg)
    • Jan Wohland (MSc in Physics, 2016: Ice sheet shapes; now PostDoc @ ETH Zürich)

    • Tipping Points in Antarctic Climate Components (EU H2020: TiPACCs)
    • PROjecTing sEa-level rise: from iCe sheets to local implicaTions (EU H2020: PROTECT)
    • Vulnerability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a changing thermocline (DFG-SPP 1158: VAST)
    • Glacial and erosional contributions to Late Quaternary uplift of the European Alps (DFG SPP 4D-MB: GEOLQUEA)
    • Impact of extreme melt events on the future mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet (DFG: XMELT)
    • On the importance of rapid dynamics for the stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet (DFG: GIS-TIP)
    • Hysteresis of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (DFG-SPP 1158: HASH)
    • Constraining future Antarctic ice loss with the coupled ice-ocean model PISM-FESOM (DFG-SPP 1158: PISM-FESOM)
    • Systematic investigation of the role of bed topography in the marine ice-sheet instability (DFG-SPP 1158: ANTBASE)
    • Domino effects in the Earth system: can Antarctica tip climate policy? (Leibniz Association: DominoES)
    • PalMod II WG1: Key Processes: TP2 Ice sheets/shelves interacting with the solid earth and ocean in the Antarctic (BMBF-FONA: PalMod II WP 1.4)
    • PalMod II CC: Model Coupling and Runtime Optimisation: TP4 Development of the PICO ice shelf cavity model into a “pop-up” model for use in transient glacial simulations (BMBF-FONA: PalMod II CC.1)