Ice and Climate

Land ice plays an important role in the earth climate system. Through its albedo, ice masses affect the global energy budget directly, while the interaction between atmosphere and glacier surfaces determines the local climate to a high degree. A warmer greenhouse climate might lead to enhanced melting of glaciers and ice caps, and changes in the dynamics of glaciers, causing changes in ocean circulation and sea level. Furthermore, the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain the most accurate proxy records of climate and atmospheric composition currently available. Drilling deep ice cores can retrieve this information. A proper interpretation of these records requires a good understanding of the exchange processes between atmosphere and ice/snow surfaces and the dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets.

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Ice and Climate in Antarctica

In 2014, IMAU polar researcher Jan Lenaerts was awarded the prestigious € 150,000 InBev-Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship Award for his proposal to study the melting ice shelves in East Antarctica and their impact on the stability of the ice sheet and global sea level. Later that year he spent four weeks in East Antarctica to set up a weather station and carry out the first measurements on the site.