Research: Polar and Climate Sciences

The anthropogenic warming of the earth's climate system in recent decades is inducing rapid changes in sea ice, ice sheets, land snow cover, and mountain glaciers in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The net impact is a loss of ice volume and a rise in global sea level due to increases in melting (or break-up) of glaciers, ice caps, ice shelves, and ice sheets. In the Arctic, the resulting ice volume reduction is unprecedented, leading to a "new normal" with environmental implications that are just beginning to be examined.

To address these pressing issues, our Polar and Climate Sciences research focuses on answering questions that include: What are the variations and trends in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice volumes? How do these sea-ice changes feed back into the global exchanges of heat, mass, and greenhouse gases? How do iceberg and ice shelf melting contribute to freshwater input into the ocean? What are the variations and trends in glaciers, snow cover, and lakes over the Tibetan Plateau which is sometimes referred as The Third Pole? What are the processes associated with changes in the rate of sea level rise? What will be the impact of sea level rise to the coastal environment and how will coastal communities adapt and respond?