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Poul Christoffersen MSc PhD

Poul Christoffersen MSc PhD

Reader in Glaciology

Glaciologist, researching glacier & ice sheet interactions with atmosphere and ocean, and climate change; using geophysical techniques, sensing & instrumentation and numerical models.

Biography

Career

  • 2007 to present, Scott Polar Research Institute & Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2004-2006, Centre for Glaciology & Department of Geography and Earth Science, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • 2003-2004, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • 2000-2003, Technical University of Denmark
  • 1998-1999, Coffey Geosciences, Melbourne, Australia

Research

The most pressing societal challenges today are tied to climate change and how to address it through effective mitigation and adaptation practises. My research focuses on glacier dynamics and ice sheet interactions with atmosphere and ocean, with the aim of understanding how glaciers are changing and why ice sheets make sustained and growing contributions to global sea level rise. My Lab in Cambridge is at the forefront of its field and our research is novel and wide-ranging. One strand of the Lab is developing observational understanding of Earth's glaciated environment using autonomous radar systems, drones, GNSS, seismology and records from boreholes drilled through 1-km-thick ice to the base of fast-flowing glaciers. Another strand integrates those observations as constraints for 3D numerical models, thereby making predictions of glacial changes in the future more accurate.

My research in Greenland (RESPONDER) is currently funded by the European Research Council and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. My Antarctic research falls under the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration in which I am a UK Lead PI in project TIME, co-funded by NERC and the National Science Foundation in USA.

Graduate students

Graduate students are an integral part of my Lab. I firmly believe that one of the most fruitful components of graduate training is the integration of students in my own research. The opportunities for student-led research in my group are wide-ranging and often inter-disciplinary in scope. Currently, Tom Chudley is using unmanned aerial systems, i.e. drones to investigate hydrological networks, calving and rapid lake drainage on Store Glacier in Greenland. Samuel Cook is using the Elmer/ICE finite element model to investigate basal hydrological systems and how hydrology influences ice flow and iceberg calving through plume-induced frontal melting at Store Glacier. Robert Law is using fibre-optic sensing in boreholes to investigate heat flow and thermal conditions of ice. Isabel Hagen is using satellite observations and time-lapse imagery to investigate glacier hydrology and meltwater plumes.

I am always happy to discuss project ideas and funding opportunities by e-mail, skype or telephone.

Research grants

Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution (TIME) - $3.4m

UK Lead PI: Poul Christoffersen (University of Cambridge)

US Lead PI: Slawek Tulaczyk (University of California Santa Cruz)

Other PI's:

Adam Booth (University of Leeds, UK), Marion Bougamont (University of Cambridge, UK), Steve Harder (University of Texas, El Paso, USA), Galen Kaip (University of Texas, El Paso,USA), Marianne Karplus (University of Texas, El Paso, USA), Norimitsu Nakata (University of Oklahoma, USA), Dustin Schroeder (Stanford University, USA), Jenny Suckale (Stanford University, USA), Jacob I. Walter (University of Oklahoma, USA)

Funding: The National Science Foundation (US) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Resolving subglacial properties, hydrological networks and dynamic evolution of ice flow on the Greenland Ice Sheet (RESPONDER) - €2.4m

PI: Poul Christoffersen
Funding: European Research Council, £2,443,800 (2016-2021)

Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE) - £598k

PI and Co-I: Poul Christoffersen and Marion Bougamont
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, £257,028 to Cambridge (2013-2016)

PI on Joint Project: Bryn Hubbard (Aberystwyth)

Dynamical Response of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica (iSTAR-C) - £1.3m

PI and Co-I: Poul Christoffersen and Marion Bougamont
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, £91,800 (2013-2017) and Isaac Newton Trust, £42,609 (2012-2014)

PI's on Joint Projects: David Vaughan (BAS), Tony Payne (Bristol), Andrew Shepherd (Leeds), Matt King (Newcastle), Robert Bingham (Edinburgh)

Airborne geophysical investigations of conditions at the bed of fast-flowing outlet glaciers of large Canadian Arctic ice caps

PI and Co-I: Julian Dowdeswell and Poul Christoffersen
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, w/ £540,000 to Cambridge (2013-2016)

Airborne geophysical investigations of basal conditions at flow transitions of outlet glaciers on the Greenland Ice Sheet

PI and Co-I: Julian Dowdeswell and Poul Christoffersen
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, w/ £809,856 to Cambridge (2010-2013)

PI's on Joint Projects: Martin Siegert (Edinburgh) and Jonathan Bamber (Bristol)

Determining the Dynamical Response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to Climate Forcing using a Geophysical, Remote-Sensing and Numerical Modelling Framework

PI and Co-I: Poul Christoffersen and Marion Bougamont
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, w/ £88,193 to Cambridge (2009-2012)

PI's on Joint Projects: Alun Hubbard (Aberystwyth) and Bernd Kulessa (Swansea)

Investigating basal conditions and flow dynamics on Vestfonna Ice Cap

PI and Co-I: Poul Christoffersen and Julian Dowdeswell
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, £53,258 (2008-2009)

Understanding contemporary changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet

PI and Co-I: Poul Christoffersen and and Marion Bougamont
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, w/ £165,878 to Cambridge (2007-2010)

PIs on Joint Projects: Tony Payne (Bristol) and Andreas Vieli (Durham)

Publications

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