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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?

I am currently coordinating an EU Horizon 2020 project TiPACCs (see also Projects below) where we investigate 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? Please watch our first video: TiPACCs: Antarctica and Tipping Points

I am also leading, together with my colleague Anna Hughes, one of the 5 new strategic projects of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research entitled RISES. In this project we aim to better understand and quantify rates of ice sheet change. Here we focus on the deglaciation of the Eurasian Ice Sheet as analogue for future Greenland Ice Sheet changes. Additionally we assess the impact of atmospheric forcing (Greenland Blocking) and basal hydrology on the expected future retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

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 the scientific project KeyCLIM. Both funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Besides my research, I am also the Research Director of the Earth Systems research group here at NORCE Climate. This group includes approximately 20 researchers with a focus on Earth System Modelling (atmosphere, ocean, ice, biogeochemistry, …).

If you are based in Bergen, and are interested in discussing recent publications dealing with ice sheet dynamics, please consider joining our Ice Dynamics journal club.


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).

If you like to know more about Tipping points related to ice sheets, this presentation (in broken Norwegian!) might be of interest to you: Bjerknessenterets jubileumsseminar (start at 1:10:00).

Super short biography

Since 2017: Research Director of Earth Systems research group

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

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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The stability of present-day Antarctic grounding lines - Part 2: Onset of irreversible retreat of Amundsen Sea glaciers under current climate on centennial timescales cannot be excluded – The Cryosphere 2023
The stability of present-day Antarctic grounding lines-Part 1: No indication of marine ice sheet instability in the current geometry – The Cryosphere 2023
Impact of seasonal fluctuations of ice velocity on decadal trends observed in Southwest Greenland – Remote Sensing of Environment 2023
Simulated Cycles of East Asian Temperature and Precipitation Over the Past 425 ka – Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Atmospheres 2022
Policy Brief: Key findings and recommendations from three H2020 Projects on Tipping Points: TiPES, COMFORT, and TiPACCs – Zenodo 2022
Impact of runoff temporal distribution on ice dynamics – The Cryosphere 2022
Southern Ocean sea surface temperature synthesis: Part 2. Penultimate glacial and last interglacial – Quaternary Science Reviews 2021
Southern Ocean sea surface temperature synthesis: Part 1. Evaluation of temperature proxies at glacial-interglacial time scales – Quaternary Science Reviews 2021
Hydrological impact of Middle Miocene Antarctic ice-free areas coupled to deep ocean temperatures – Nature Geoscience 2021
A modeling study of the tripole pattern of East China precipitation over the past 425 ka – Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Atmospheres 2021
DeepMIP: model intercomparison of early Eocene climatic optimum (EECO) large-scale climate features and comparison with proxy data – Climate of the Past 2021
Eemian Greenland ice sheet simulated with a higher-order model shows strong sensitivity to surface mass balance forcing – The Cryosphere 2019
Eemian Greenland SMB strongly sensitive to model choice – Climate of the Past 2018
How stable is the Greenland Ice Sheet? – NSF 2017
The DeepMIP contribution to PMIP4: experimental design for model simulations of the EECO, PETM, and pre-PETM (version 1.0) – Geoscientific Model Development 2017
DeepMIP: experimental design for model simulations of the EECO, PETM, and pre-PETM – Geoscientific Model Development Discussions 2016
How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period? – Climate of the Past 2016
Moderate Greenland ice sheet melt during the last interglacial constrained by present-day observations and paleo ice core reconstructions – The Cryosphere Discussions 2016
Havets hemmeligheter – Bergens Tidende 2015
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