Sea Level, Ice and Climate Change

Sea level rise is one of the major effects of ongoing climate change. During the two last decades, sea level has risen at a rate of ~3 mm/yr. The main contributors to this are ocean thermal expansion, glacier change and ice sheet change. The ice sheet contribution is accelerating.

Sea level rise is not spatially uniform. Regional sea level change is affected by ocean circulation patterns, by the gravitational effect of glacier and ice sheet mass change, and by the solid earth response to past glaciations.

Our research on Sea Level and Ice Sheets aims to quantify, understand and project regional and global sea level changes, and the specific contribution of ice sheets. Our past research has contributed to the last IPCC report AR5 (chapter 13, Sea Level,

Sea level change

Within this theme we aim at understanding past and ongoing sea level change, with an emphasis on the interpretation of in-situ (tide gauges, Argo floats) and space-geodetic (satellite altimetry and gravimetry) observation.

We are also specialized in modeling the sea level effects of ice and water mass redistribution at the earth surface and the coupled response of the solid earth.

Our current research focuses on the estimation of contemporary sea level change at global and regional scales, and it is manly funded by the Earth and Life Sciences division (ALW) of the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO), through Vidi grant "Multi-scale and self-consistent observations of recent sea level change (MuSSeL)".

Ice sheets and climate change

Within this theme we investigate the interactions between climate and ice sheet change. Our main research tool are numerical models of the global climate system coupled to ice sheet flow and ice/snow surface models. We use in-situ and remote sensing observations to evaluate our models, as well as the output from high resolution climate models.

We collaborate with our remote-sensing colleagues at GRS monitoring ice sheet and glacier change with diverse techniques (altimetry, gravimetry, InSAR) in the investigation of the processes of ice sheet and climate interaction.

We also collaborate with the Land Ice Working Group of the Community Earth System Model (link), the Ice and Climate group of IMAU, Utrecht University, and the group of Dr. Uwe Mikolajewicz at the Max Planck Institute. We take part in the Ice Sheet Modelling Intercomparison Project ISMIP6.