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Research on Antarctica awarded with prize for upcoming scientists

05/03/2013 - For her research on climate change and the Antarctic ice shield, Ricarda Winkelmann was awarded with a young scientists prize. The Natural Sciences Department at the University of Potsdam presents this prize for outstanding publications. Winkelmann, aged 27, leads the group on projections of Antarctica´s contribution to future global sea level rise at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The jury highlighted her "most impressive contribution to our understanding of the physics of Antarctica's ice shield dynamics."
Research on Antarctica awarded with prize for upcoming scientists

Ricarda Winkelmann in Antarctica with the German research vessel "Polarstern", operated by the Alfred-Wegener-Institute. Photo: M. Martin

"Her findings have crucial importance for societies, ecology and economics," a statement by the University of Potsdam says. Along with her colleagues, Winkelmann showed that stronger snowfall increases future ice discharge from Antarctica. Global warming leads to more precipitation as warmer air holds more moisture – hence earlier research suggested the Antarctic ice sheet might grow under climate change. Now a study published in Nature shows that a lot of the ice gain due to increased snowfall is countered by an acceleration of ice-flow to the ocean.

Winkelmann presented her doctoral thesis at the University of Potsdam, supervised by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, who is also Co-Chair of PIK's research domain Earth System Analysis.

Weblink to the study "Increased future ice discharge from Antarctica owing to higher snowfall". Nature [doi:10.1038/nature11616]

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