Ice physics studies in the light of global warming

Ilka.Weikusat [ at ]


Our changing climate will affect human lives in manifold ways. Especially sea-level rise is driven by diminishing amounts of snow and land ice. The cryosphere as part of the Earth’s climate system provides interconnecting feedbacks between its components, leading to multifaceted changes. To understand these feedback mechanisms we have to consider the various interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans and the ice covering both polar land and seas. The state and evolution of Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets play a key role therein and thus profound ice physics knowledge with respect to ice sheet dynamics is required. Ice sheet dynamics on multiple scales, from microscopic processes to continental-sized phenomena, are in the focus of scientific attention to improve climate predictions on a global scale. Snow and ice physics are mutual research interests for AWI glaciologists and ILTS researchers. The state and evolution of ice sheets and glaciers is partly recorded in deep ice cores drilled through the Antarctic and Greenlandic ice. Two upcoming drilling projects will further strengthen the Japanese-German cooperation in glaciological research: EGRIP(Greenland) focusing on questions concerning the dynamics of ice streams and IPICS Oldest Ice (Antarctica) focusing on obtaining oldest paleao-climate information from ice cores. Advanced analysis of ice core material can teach us the climate history of our planet and reveal physical mechanisms leading to ice motion. Selected ice-related research topics relevant for AWI and ILTS will be presented, as for example, the mapping of ice micro-structures, which are reflecting the deformation and recrystallisation processes that control ice sheet flow. The connection between ice dynamics, microstructures, and climatic changes is tackled by additional application of palaeo-climate record methods on impurities measured in ice cores. Experiments on pure and doped ice material (e.g. with solved or insoluble chemicals and antifreeze proteins) provide better understanding of basic processes in ice polycrystals. Process modelling as well as phenomenological modelling of ice deformation then tests and completes our current understanding of ice sheet dynamics and result in improved future projections.

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Conference (Keynote)
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ILTS International Symposium on Low Temperature Science, 30 Nov 2015 - 02 Dec 2015, Hokkaido University.
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Weikusat, I. (2015): Ice physics studies in the light of global warming , ILTS International Symposium on Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, 30 November 2015 - 2 December 2015 .

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