Analysis and prediction of global climate change and its effects on polar land ice masses and glaciers using remote sensing, field measurements and modeling

The polar ice masses are melting due to global warming. This contributes to sea level rise, one of the many serious consequences of climate change. It is therefore important to understand the changes in the ice sheets and glaciers. The polar ice masses extend over vast, usually very remote and difficult to access areas, so satellite-based remote sensing is ideal for measuring the changes. Various radar and optical remote sensing systems are used to determine changes in ice flow, ice thickness, ice surface features and ice extent. The satellite data are supplemented by measurements from aircraft and helicopters, e.g. ice thickness radar measurements, as well as field measurements during expeditions. These data are the cornerstone for robust model simulations of glacier development, also in the large mountainous regions, of our planet. A deep understanding of atmospheric processes and their changes as well as the effects on the ice masses are also necessary. The core idea of our activities is therefore a systematic and in-depth fusion of Earth observations and model predictions to improve our understanding of environmental interactions.

Research goals

  • Measurement of ice masses and their changes
  • Survey of supra-glacial lakes
  • Analysis of the influence of atmospheric changes on ice masses
  • Reliable predictions of glacier development in this century


  • Remote sensing with different sensors
  • Ice thickness radar measurements
  • Atmospheric and ice dynamics simulations
  • Structured & automated data assimilation

Responsible persons

Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun, Insitute for Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Prof. Dr. Thomas Mölg, Insitute for Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Dr. Johannes Fürst, Insitute for Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Projects we participate in

UNLOC (DFG priority program 1158)

CSAPIS (DFG priority program 1158)



ENB M³OCCA (International Doctoral Program, Elitenetzwerk Bayern)

Satellite & Satellite-II (DFG priority program 1889)

BMBF GROCE, GROCE-II TP 7&8 (completed)