The Physical System

WG 1: The Physical System


Prof. Dr. Gerrit Lohmann

Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI) Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Bussestr. 24, 27570 Bremerhaven


Dr. Uwe Mikolajewicz

Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie,
Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg


Participating institutions

  1. Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI) Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven
  2. GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, Kiel
  3. Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Potsdam
  4. MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften der Universität Bremen, Bremen
  5. Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie (MPI-M), Hamburg
  6. Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK) e. V., Potsdam



Assessments of sea level and climate change require precise knowledge of the key processes in the Earth system. Especially the evolution of ice sheets provides a major uncertainty for past and long-term future scenarios. Within PalMod, Working Group 1 (WG1: Physical System) aims at modeling, understanding, and quantifying feedbacks during the last glacial-interglacial cycle. Based on the achievements of PalMod Phase I (e.g. incorporation of interactive ice sheets and solid earth to the climate models), we will continue to develop the physical components of our Earth System Models (ESMs). Among others, we consider and explore the effects of background climate and parameterizations addressing processes in the Southern Ocean and beneath Antarctic ice shelves. The biogeochemical components of these ESMs will be provided by WG2. In collaboration with WG2, we will conduct coordinated ESM-experiments for the time periods inception, deglaciation and the Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3). These time intervals are key to understanding the Earth system dynamics during a glacial cycle. By modeling the inception and the deglaciation we can disentangle processes underlying build-up and decay of ice sheets in both hemispheres. In MIS3, we study the enhanced millennial climate variability of the last glacial. Finally, our paleoclimate simulations will be extended into the future to estimate possible climatic pathways in the next millennia.