GFZ German research centre for geo sciences

Our Research Program 2021-2027

Topic 2 "Oceans and Cryosphere in Climate Change" │ GFZ-Participation

The oceans and the snow and ice regions of the Earth play an important role in the complex climate system. However, important data is lacking, especially from the deeper ocean layers and from the polar regions. With new observation systems and methods for data analysis and modelling, we aim to clarify how the oceans and cryosphere influence climate and how they react to global warming, for example with regard to temperature distribution, carbon storage, nutrient cycles, sea level rise or the expansion of sea ice.

In Topic 2, common research activities of the three Helmholtz Centres AWI, GEOMAR, and GFZ focus, on the one hand, on changes in sea level and ice masses and, on the other hand, on how the frequency and extent of extreme climate events change in a warming world - in past, in present and in future. Our research is aimed at improving monitoring and forecasting capacities on time scales ranging from days to one hundred years. The GFZ contribution to Topic 2 focuses, in particular, on the following aspects:


  • reconstruction of past climate states and weather extremes through the development of novel paleo-proxy data and the precise dating of seasonally resolved non-marine sediments
  • operation and analysis of geodetic observation systems to provide a database for quantifying global to regional changes in sea level
  • development of capacity for Earth system modelling, e.g. by developing and coupling a three-dimensional model of the solid Earth with a global system model
  • development of advanced data assimilation capabilities and interactive data exploration tools to advance ocean and cryosphere research (e.g. process separation)
  • improve quantification of current and projections of future regional sea level change by addressing critical gaps in knowledge with regard to processes in the ocean, cryosphere and geosphere and their interactions (e.g. through integration of monitoring data and model development)
  • contributions to the development and use of innovative (geodetic) monitoring systems for optimised long-term observations of oceanic and cryospheric processes Reconstruction of past climate states and weather extremes by developing novel paleo proxy data and precise dating of seasonally resolved non-marine sediment records

Further information: Link to T2│Alfred-Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Ocean Research


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