Climate relevant research using near-surface geophysics in polar regions

The melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets is a major contributor to sea level rise. Therefore, it is crucial to determine how the ice masses are changing due to global warming. The Geophysics group at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Tübingen investigates the mass balance of the two remaining ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. We use geophysical techniques (e.g. Radar) to quantify ice thickness and ice velocities. These observations are combined with ice-flow models to reconstruct the history and eventually also the future of the ice giants at the poles.

Research questions

  • What are the controls on ocean-induced melt rates beneath Antarctic Ice Shelves?
  • What are stabilizing and destabilizing factors of the sheet-shelf system?
  • How important are ice-mechanical properties, e.g. for ice-stream dynamics?


  • Ground-penetrating radar, Seismics
  • Radar Interferometry
  • Data integration and inversion

Responsible person

Prof. R. Drews, Geophysics group, University of Tübingen