Physics of Ice Climate and Earth
The section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth at the Niels Bohr Institute studies the elements of the Earth system – the atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets and glaciers, sea ice, and the solid Earth itself – and the interactions between them.
We have a world-leading role in the drilling of ice cores from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, analyse the ice samples in our laboratories, and interpret the data together with results from computer models of all parts of the climate system, including general circulation models and models of ice flow.
We also work with theoretical aspects of meteorology, oceanography and complex system dynamics to understand both gradual and abrupt climatic changes of the past, present, and future. We study the physics of the solid Earth with seismic data, gravity and magnetic observations from satellites, inverse method theory and numerical modelling.
The Niels Bohr Institute’s section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth (PICE) was created in 2019 by merging the former sections for Ice and Climate and Climate and Computational Geophysics.
It includes the Ice and Climat Research Group which in 2007-2017 was a centre of excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, and which was also a focal point for a large number of independently funded research projects. The Centre for Ice and Climate builds on a long tradition that goes back to the birth of ice-core palaeoclimatology and the centre home page contains extensive data and publication collections that are still maintained.
The research in the section for Ice, Climate and Earth deals with all elements of the climate system and the processes and feedbacks that connect them.
We perform field work to obtain samples and data and employ a combination of state-of-the-art measurements, computational methods, and novel theoretical approaches to improve our knowledge of past, present, and future climate. Choose a topic below to learn more.
Meteorology: The dynamical atmosphere
We study and develop models of the physical processes of the atmosphere, e.g. for numerical weather prediction. Other topics are air quality and pollution.
The research is focused on ocean processes that contribute to water mass transformations and the large climate fluctuations observed in the last million years.
Solid Earth Physics and geostatistics
We study the solid Earth using field experiments, theory and numerical modelling based on seismic data and satellite measurements of gravity and magnetism.
Climate change: past, present & future
Climate models and ice core data improves our ability to predict future climate change.
Ice flow models are important tools for dating and for understanding ice dynamics.
The group uses methods from theoretical physics to describe and model atmospheric processes. The aim is to capture emergent aspects, e.g. self-organization, that originate from small scales but can impact on larger scales.
Computing at Danish Center for Climate Computing, DC3
The DC3 (Danish Center for Climate Computing) provides High Performance Computing (HPC) resources to scientists and students at the Physics of Ice, Climate, and Earth section. There are state-of-the-art ocean, climate, weather and ice-sheet models as well as different compilers, debuggers and scientific libraries available to users. All details related to supercomputer hardware, software and access are available on the DC3 web-page.
Centre for Ice and Climate was a Danish National Research Foundation centre of excellence from April 1st, 2007, to March 31st, 2017, and is now a part of the section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth.
The diverse research at the Section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth is funded by the Niels Bohr Institute and numerous grants of all sizes from both public and private foundations in Denmark and abroad.
A non-exhaustive list of current project can be found below, while previous projects can be found here >>
The project, which is supported by the Carlsberg Foundation, provides new knowledge about the mechanisms of the abrupt climate changes of the past based on ice-core data and new climate model results.
The East Greenland Ice-core Project - EastGRIP - is an international ice-core research project aimed at understanding the physics of ice streams by analysing an ice core drilled through the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS).
EU synergy project with Norwegian and Danish project partners exploring the main hypothesis that Arctic and sub-Arctic sea-ice cover exerts important controls on past and future Greenland temperature and ice-sheet variations.
A VILLUM Investigator project with the overall aim to investigate how ice flows and how ice streams influence the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet and thus sea level.
In Greenlandic, Isaaffik means ’portal’. Isaaffik is an Artic web portal that promotes Artic research and collaboration between polar researchers and institutions.
The RECAP project (2014-16) retrieved a 584 meter ice core drilled to bedrock on the Renland ice cap. Analysis and interpretation of the ice core data is on going and the publications will be available here >>
TiPES aims to understand the tipping points of the climate system in a joint effort of 18 European institutions, combining paleoclimatology, time series analysis, Earth system modelling of past and future climates, applied mathematics and dynamical system theory, as well as decision theory.
Master thesis projects at PICE
Do your Master Thesis Project at the section of Ice Climate and Earth. We work on analyzing past climate variability by means of ice core analysis.
As a Master student at the section, you will work in active and dynamic groups on a real research project. We offer both 6-month and 12-month projects. Below you can find thesis project suggestions. You are also very welcome to come by the centre and ask the researchers for further options or present your own idea that we can develop together.
High school classes and other groups can request a visit at the section. The most common topic is climate change with focus on ice-core science, but other topics are possible.
Web pages, movies, popular science papers about our research
and A lot of the section’s ice-core-based climate research is described for non-specialists on the pages of the former Centre of Excellence for Ice and Climate in both English and Danish. The Centre for Ice and Climate also has outreach-relevant material in English and Danish, where there is also information about our available high-school projects “studieretningsprojekter”. Finally, we provide a list of popular science texts in Danish.
Willi Dansgaard founded the world’s first research group focused on climate research based on ice-core analysis (read a short version of the background story here).
After his retirement in 1992, Willi Dansgaard wrote an autobiograhic book in Danish, Grønland i Istid og Nutid (Rhodos, 2000, ISBN 8772457996). Later, he compiled an English version, Frozen Annals, which focuses more on the scientific part of the story. The book can be downloaded here as a pdf file.
No current open calls
The personal profile page of each scientists in the section (find the staff list below) features a personal list of published scientific papers.
For a list of the collected published works (including theses) within the working area of the former Centre of Excellence for Ice and Climate, which is now a part of the Section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth, follow this link.
Section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth (PICE)
Niels Bohr Institute
University of Copenhagen
Fax: +45 35 32 06 21
VAT.no./CVR. no.: 29979812
General inquiries and press contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Section leader: professor Thomas Blunier
Deputy section leader: professor Jørgen Peder Steffensen
Section secretary (web, communication, guests): Tina Bang-Christensen,
phone (+45) 35 33 62 48
Section secretary (finance): Ellen Chrillesen
Inquiries about EastGRIP field work: logistics coordinator Marie Kirk and Iben Koldtoft
School and high school visits: See the “outreach” tab above.