Dr. Ngai Ham Chan

Dr. Ngai Ham Chan
Building A 27, Room 101
14473 Potsdam

Function and Responsibilities:

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Research Interests:

  • Arctic sediment transport and its relationship with the permafrost landscape and the formation of Arctic deltas
  • Applications of cutting-edge machine-learning methods to improve Arctic remote-sensing data qualities
  • Design and adaptation of state-of-the-art machine-learning frameworks to speed up and upscale numerical models of physical Earth-surface processes


Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences [September, 2019-present]

Research Associate, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University [April-August, 2019]

McGill Space Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University [January, 2017-March, 2019]

NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physics & the Centre for Planetary Sciences, University of Toronto [January, 2015-December, 2016]

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona [June-December, 2014]


Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University [May, 2014]

A.M. in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University [March, 2012]

M.Sc. in Geophysics, University of Toronto [November, 2008]

Hon. B.Sc. in Astronomy and Physics (specialist), University of Toronto [June, 2007]


[Current and primary projects]
  • Effects of climate change on Arctic deltas

Augmenting and using an Arctic sediment transport model, we examine the impact of various evolving conditions under climate change on the fate of Arctic deltas and their permafrost landscapes. We also use relevant numerical simulations and available data from our partners at the Alfred Wegener Institute to calibrate our model, and to infer past evolutions of the deltas.

  • Improving Remote-Sensing Data Quality using Deep-Learning Methods

I adapted, programmed, and trained a generative adversarial network (GAN) model to improve the resolution of multi-band satellite images of Arctic permafrost land-surface features. This project is funded by a Helmholtz Information and Data-science Academy (HIDA) Trainee Network grant, and enabled me to take an official three-month visit to our partners at the Alfred Wegener Institute, who provided data and resources support and a lot of helpful discussions.

[Past and affiliated projects]

  • The trapping of water and other volatiles on tidally-locked extrasolar planets, the implications on their rotational dynamics and, ultimately, habitability. 
  • Utilisation of state-of-the-art three-dimensional planetary sea-level model to simulate and to help understand the complex interactions between climate, ice-sheet evolution, planetary deformation, and global sea level. 
  • Various geophysical aspects in the examination of whether or not Mars once hosted an ocean. 
  • The rotational stability of terrestrial planets and how it is affected by a planet's climate history, interior structure and rheology, internal dynamics, and other factors. 


McGill Space Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, McGill Space Institute, McGill University [2017-2019]

NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [2014-2016]

University of Toronto Fellowship, University of Toronto [2007-2009]

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