Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in Ice Sheets

Location: Virtual
Dates: 25 January 2022, 16:00-17:30 CET

About this event

This discussion series aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. It supports efforts to increase consistency in the treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments and ideas for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

This discussion series is a joint activity of the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) global research project of Future Earth, the Earth Commission Working Group 1 Earth and Human Systems Intercomparison Modelling Project (EHSMIP) under the Global Commons Alliance and the Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP).

This event will focus on the ice sheets:

  • Introduction and moderation – Heiko Goelzer and Hannah Liddy (10min)
  • Projections from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets: insights from IPCC AR6 – Sophie Nowicki (20min)
  • Beyond gradual change: Tipping points in Greenland and Antarctica – Ricarda Winkelmann (20min)
  • Questions and discussion (20min)

The final 20 minutes is reserved for informal discussions on the research agenda and the development of a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip). The event will be recorded.

This event is free of charge, but please register. The event will be recorded.

Speaker Information

Sophie Nowicki, University of Buffalo
Dr. Sophie Nowicki is an Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Geology and RENEW Faculty. Her research focusses on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, their connections to the Earth’s climate system and their impact on sea level. Her work is aligned with the RENEW Climate Change and Socioeconomic Impacts focus areas.

Through applied mathematics, remote sensing observations and numerical modeling, her work spans the spectrum of local processes, such as understanding the physics of ice sheet grounding lines, or the impact of bedrock topography on ice dynamics, to that of large-scale continental ice sheet models and their use in projections of sea level change. As sea level projections from ice sheet models require knowledge of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that drive ice sheet evolution, Dr. Nowicki is also interested in how to improve climate models in the polar regions, as well as the use of multiple models for projections.

Prior to joining UB, Dr. Nowicki was a Research Scientist and Deputy Chief for the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory (Code 615) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. While at NASA Goddard, Sophie was a science team member for Operation IceBridge, and co-lead the SeaRISE (Sea-Level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution), an international effort that investigated the sensitivity of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to external environmental forcings. She led many competed efforts such as an effort to couple ice sheet models to the two Goddard climate models (i.e., GEOS-5 and ModelE), and an effort that investigated the feedbacks, processes and impacts of contemporary changes in the Arctic using satellite observations, ice sheet and climate models.

Dr. Nowicki is a member of the NASA Sea Level Change Team (N-SLCT), a member of the SEARCH Land Ice Action Team (LIAT), an executive committee member for the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise phase 2 (IMBIE2), a member of the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) and co-leads the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6). She is the Division Head for Ice Sheets for the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and a member of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts Chand Challenge. She was invited to be a lead author on the IPCC 6th Assessment Report Chapter on “Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level change”.

Dr. Nowicki holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Glaciology from University College London (UK), an MSc in Remote Sensing and Image Processing and a bachelor degree in Geophysics from The University of Edinburgh (UK). Over her time as a scientist, Dr. Nowicki has received numerous awards including that of NASA Cryospheric Sciences Most Valuable Player, awards for Outstanding Publications and Scientific Achievements. She is most proud of her mentoring award (the Robert Goddard Honor Award for Mentoring) which recognizes not only her work with postdocs and young scientists, but also the amazing work that they did.

Ricarda Winkelmann, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Prof. Winkelmann is a professor at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and University of Potsdam. She is Co-Chair of Working Group 1 of the Earth Commission and leads the TIP-MIP intercomparison project (that we will hear more about later). Trained as a mathematician and theoretical physicist in Germany and the United States, Winkelmann received her PhD with distinction from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and was a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford before returning to Germany as professor of Climate System Analysis. Ricarda has received numerous awards for her work, including being named Young Scientist of the Year by Academics and ZEIT Publishing Group. Her research at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research focuses on ice-dynamics in Greenland and Antarctica, future sea-level rise and tipping elements in the Earth System.