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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Dr Poul Christoffersen

    01223 336516
    Murray Edwards College
    CB3 0DF

    Fellow in Geography; Director of Studies



    Murray Edwards College is a modern college with a vibe that stimulates contemporary thinking and learning in a candid intellectual atmosphere.

    Degrees and honours

    MSc, PhD

    Awards and prizes

    Resolving subglacial properties, hydrological networks and dynamic evolution of ice flow on the Greenland Ice Sheet (RESPONDER)

    European Research Council, Consolidator Grant: €2,440,000 (2016-2021)

    Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment (SAFIRE)

    Natural Environment Research Council: £257,028 (2013-2017)

    Dynamical Response of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica (iSTAR-C)

    Natural Environment Research Council: £91,800 (2013-2017) and Isaac Newton Trust: £42,609 (2012-2014)


    I am glaciologist and physical geographer who researches glaciers and ice sheets and polar landscapes. I work in the Arctic and the Antarctic where the impact of climate change is sustained and growing year after year. Understanding and tackling climate change and its impact are, to me, urgent tasks for scientists, policymakers, NGO’s, journalists, responsible private corporations, and people in general. My research focuses on glacier dynamics and glaciers’ interaction with the atmosphere and the ocean. My work in the Arctic includes investigations of Store Glacier in west Greenland, with the aim of understanding why it discharges 30 million cubic metres of ice into the sea every day. To resolve this problem, I use images collected by satellites and unmanned aircraft (UAV), data from sensors and instruments installed at the surface and the bottom of the glacier, and computer models. My Antarctic research focuses Pine Island Glacier and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is losing mass and therefore becoming precariously unstable as a consequence of climate change.


    • Bougamont, M., Christoffersen, P., Price, S.F., Fricker, H.A., Tulaczyk, S. and Carter, S.P., 2015. Reactivation of Kamb Ice Stream tributaries triggers century-scale reorganization of Siple Coast ice flow in West Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 42, p.8471-8480. doi:10.1002/2015GL065782.
    • Doyle, S.H., Hubbard, A., Van De Wal, R.S.W., Box, J.E., Van As, D., Scharrer, K., Meierbachtol, T.W., Smeets, P.C.J.P., Harper, J.T., Johansson, E., Mottram, R.H., Mikkelsen, A.B., Wilhelms, F., Patton, H., Christoffersen, P. and Hubbard, B., 2015. Amplified melt and flow of the Greenland ice sheet driven by late-summer cyclonic rainfall. Nature Geoscience, v. 8, p.647-653. doi:10.1038/ngeo2482.
    • Bougamont, M., Christoffersen, P., Hubbard, A.L., Fitzpatrick, A.A., Doyle, S.H. and Carter, S.P., 2014. Sensitive response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to surface melt drainage over a soft bed.. Nature Communications, v. 5, p.5052-5052. doi:10.1038/ncomms6052.
    • Christoffersen, P., Bougamont, M., Carter, S.P., Fricker, H.A. and Tulaczyk, S., 2014. Significant groundwater contribution to Antarctic ice streams hydrologic budget. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 41, p.2003-2010.
    • Palmer, S.J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Christoffersen, P., Young, D.A., Blankenship, D.D., Greenbaum, J.S., Benham, T., Bamber, J. and Siegert, M.J., 2013. Greenland subglacial lakes detected by radar. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 40, p.6154-6159.