keynote: Prof. dr. Michiel R. van den Broeke

Michiel van den Broeke Professor of Polar Meteorology
Utrecht University
Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (UU/IMAU)

Probing the cold: assessing the mass loss of Earth’s largest ice bodies

When completely melted, the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain sufficient water to raise average global sea level by more than 60 m. But, because of their remoteness and hostile climate, only very few in situ data of their climate and mass balance are available. Satellite remote sensing partly alleviates this problem, but model simulations of the climate of the ice sheets remains necessary to close and uncderstand their changing mass budgets. In this presentation I will show how sophisticated regional climate models, which run on large supercomputers, enable us to reconstruct recent – and predict future – mass loss of the great ice sheets, and how the model results are evaluated using sparsely sampled data. We will also show a newly developed ultralight ‘suitcase’ research weather station for use in the Polar regions.

Short biosketch:
Michiel van den Broeke (Rotterdam, 1968) is trained as a meteorologist and in 2008 became professor of Polar Meteorology at Utrecht University. He teaches courses on climate and atmospheric science at the bachelor and master level, and his research team uses observational and modelling techniques to study the climate and mass balance of Greenland, Antarctica and other glaciated regions. For his research he did fieldwork in Antarctica, Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland and on glaciers in Norway and the Alps. For more detailed information, including an overview of research projects and a list of publications, please visit his university webpage.

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