For several summers this deeply incised melt channel transported overflow from a large melt lake to a Moulin (a conduit drains the water through many hundreds of feet to the ice sheet’s bed). (note people near left edge for scale).

Welcome! We are the Ice Sheets and Climate research group, led by Jan Lenaerts. We are part of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC).

In our group, we try to understand and answer the following scientific questions:

How do ice sheets respond to climate and climate change? 

What are the main processes driving this ice sheet response?

How can we improve the models that represent these processes?

Our research focuses on the interaction between the ice and snow in the polar regions and the remainder of the global climate system. We are interested in the processes that drive this change, especially in the atmosphere (large-scale atmospheric circulation, atmospheric warming), but also in the snow and ice (surface melt, runoff) and especially these processes that are a combination of the two (albedo-melt feedback, drifting snow, polar clouds, etc.). Our main tools are climate models, which we try to understand & improve by combining observations (in-situ, remote sensing) with knowledge on the physical processes. 

Our group is strongly involved in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) consortium. As members of the Land Ice Working Group, we aim to understand ice sheet changes in a global context. 


Our group is looking for two graduate students! Please come by Jan’s office (N257) or send an e-mail if you are interested!

Project 1: NASA Sea Level Team (SLT) – Improving projections of ice sheet mass loss
Start: as soon as possible, January 2018 at the latest
Project duration: 3 years
Overall lead: Steve Nerem (U Colorado)
Tools: NASA remote sensing observations, climate models
Selling points: Integral part of NASA SLT with regular meetings, outreach, contact with stakeholders, etc.
Description: In this project we aim to evaluate future projections of ice sheet mass loss using NASA satellite data (from GRACE/GRACE-FO, ICESat and ICESat-2, and IceBridge,…). We will focus on the upcoming CMIP6 multi-model ensemble. Our assessment will allow us to select a suite of ‘best models’ that will help us to provide reliable estimates of future sea level rise.
Project 2: East Antarctic climate and SMB reconstruction
Start: January 2018 or soon after
Project duration: 2 years
Overall lead: Hugues Goosse (UCL, Belgium)
Tools: Ice coring, weather station observations, stake observations, snow models, regional climate models
Selling points: Fieldwork to Antarctica; international project
Description: This project aims to understand recent changes in coastal East Antarctic snowfall. We will combine different sources of observations as well as models to understand spatiotemporal variability in different SMB components. The observations will be collected during three consecutive field seasons (2017-2020). 

Antarctica from space (NASA)