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Petra Langebroek

Research Director Earth Systems

+47 56 10 75 32
Jahnebakken 5, 5007 Bergen, Norway


My research focusses on how ice sheets interact with climate. I find it fascinating (and scary at the same time) that we know so little about the behaviour of ice sheets. How stable or rather vulnerable are the present Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets? Are we close to cross - or have we already crossed - a tipping point, where ice will continue to melt even if climate change stabilizes? And how large and (un)stable were ice sheets in the past, during warmer-than-present climates?

Exactly those questions we addressed in the recently finished EU Horizon 2020 project TiPACCs, where we investigated how stable the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic ice sheet are. Is either component close to tipping over to a different regime? What if the water below ice shelves becomes relatively warm and the ice sheet experiences a large retreat. Ice loss from Antarctica causes global sea levels to rise, so this important topic needs to be understood better! Curious about our results? You can find a summary in our Policy Brief and/or our latest TiPACCs video. More videos introducing the project and the scientific ideas, and on explaining our latest research on Antarctic ice sheet tipping points are available on our website (www.tipaccs.eu) and YouTube channel.

We continue to study the impact of ice sheet changes, mostly from Antarctica, but also a bit from the Greenland ice sheet, on the global ocean circulation in another European project fittingly called OCEAN:ICE. I co-lead WP5.

To put the current and future ice sheet changes in a larger perspective, we need to also find out how much and how fast ice sheets changed during past warm periods. In our new ERC Synergy Grant i2B we will study how the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and ocean behaved during the warm "blue ocean" periods of the last interglacial, Pliocene and Miocene. In the ongoing RCN project DOTpaleo we go even further back in time, to the Eocene!

I am furthermore involved in our current efforts to include a dynamic ice sheet model into our Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM). This work is supported by the large infrastructure project INES, and scientific projects such as GREASE and KeyCLIM. All funded by the Norwegian Research Council (RCN).

Since July 2023 I also hold an adjunct associate professor position at the University of Tromsø, where I am heavily involved in the exciting new Centre of Excellence iC3 - Centre for ice, Cryosphere, Carbon and Climate.


Besides my research, I am also the Research Director of the Earth Systems research group at NORCE Climate here in Bergen. This group includes just over 20 researchers with a focus on Earth System Modelling (ice sheets, ocean, biogeochemistry, atmosphere, …). I also have experience leading large projects, such as the EU project TiPACCs, where I was the scientific coordinator.

Outreach - some examples


Summer 2019 I was so lucky to join a deep ice core drilling campaign in central Greenland. I brought LEGO figures to explain to my family back home how it was to live and work on top of the ice sheet. The EastGRIPninja comic is still available here (in English) and here (in Nynorsk). We also converted it into a comic book, which was peer-reviewed by a primary school class in Bergen. The book, together with 2 sequels on the LEGO ninja going to Antarctica and a Norwegian fjord were distributed to (school) libraries all over western Norway!

Antarctic science and art meets policy

In 2022, we showed how the scientific ideas of TiPACCs about tipping points in Antarctica and potential instability of the ice sheet are highly relevant for Norwegian people. We chose to use art to communicate this heavy basic research to a broad audience starting from school pupils to high-level decision makers. How? School pupils were asked to make their own art based on Antarctic science presented to them. Our collaborating artist Laura Gaiger walked them through the artistic process (finding ideas, topics, images, and work with those in your preferred art type). The pupil’s art inspired Laura to create her own walk-able art piece in the shape of the map of Antarctica! Both Laura and the pupil’s art were exhibited during the Om I Morgen conference September 2022. A place where academia, companies and politicians meet to discuss the climate crisis and interdisciplinary solutions. An interview with Laura on her art is available here. We worked with Mathew Stiller-Reeve from Village Green, whom I highly recommend. Many thanks also to the RCN, who supported this work financially through the TiPACCs4stake project.

Super short biography

Since 2023: Adjunct associate prof at UiT (Tromsø)

Since 2017: Research Director of Earth Systems research group

Since 2011: Senior Researcher at Uni Research/NORCE, Bergen (Norway)

Since 2011: Active member of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR)

2009-2011: PostDoc, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Germany)

2005-2009: PhD in Geosciences, University of Bremen (Germany)

1999-2005: BSc and MSc in Earth Sciences, University of Utrecht (the Netherlands)

Petra Langebroek


Climate & Environment

Research Groups

Earth Systems

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