About ICE

The Norwegian Polar Institute's centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE) was opened in 2009. ICE will position itself as a national competence centre for ice and climate research and environmental monitoring of the polar regions.

Ice landscape in the ice shelf area east of Greenland

Photo: Rudi Cayers / Norwegian Polar Institute

The research focus of ICE :

ICE will further develop the Norwegian Polar Institute's position as a stakeholder in climate related research, such as ice, sea ice, alpine glaciers and effects of climate change on ecosystems, including ice-associated species.

The exchange of energy and matter between sea, ice and atmosphere is a main focus, as is the thickness and spread of sea ice in Antarctica. The ocean circulation in the Arctic and its link to energy flows and ice spread is also a primary subject for ICE.

The goal is to contribute with knowledge to improve the presicion of climate models in the future. Through field studies and process modelling, which will later be used in collaboration with the Norwegian Climate Centre to improve process descriptions in climate models, ICE provides a better understanding of the processes.

Effects on ecosystems are investigated by integrating studies of ecosystems with studies of the physical environment in icy waters. Species that are particularly dependant on sea ice – like the Polar Bear, some seal species and the Ivory Gull – are given special attention. The goal is to develop an understanding of ecosystem processes that can be linked to physical climate models, in order to provide better predictions on possible consequences of climate change in the biological systems.

In Antarctica, ICE is concentrating on ice shelves – how they are affected by climate change (especially ocean temperature and circulation), and how they affect glacial Antarctic ice. A long-term project on the Fimbul Ice Shelf and Jutulstraumen (glacier / ice stream) in Antarctica has been initiated through ICE.

More: ICE opening at the Norwegian Polar Institute

Scientific advisory board

The ICE board has appointed the following persons for the scientific advisory board:

  • Region Leader Helge Tangen
    Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Leader of the scientific advisory board
  • Professor Jon Ove Hagen
    Universitetet of Oslo
  • Director Cecilie Mauritzen
    Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo
  • Research Scientist Mette Mauritzen
    Norwegian Institute of Marine Research
  • Professor Marit Reigstad
    University of Tromsø
  • Professor Glen Liston
    Colorado State University
  • Professor David Barber
    University of Manitoba

The designation is effective from 1 January 2013 through 31 December 2015.


Integrated into the Norwegian Polar Institute, ICE has it own centre leader is organized in projects. These projects are led by project leaders, and are divided into three groups:

  • scientific flagships
  • stategic development projects
  • guest research programmes

ICE has an external board that advises the management on strategic goals and centre activities.

The Norwegian Polar Institute and ICE will always have a need for high compentence co-workers. To address this, the centre will cooperate with relevant Norwegian institutions, collaborating with a main focus on Ph.d. candidate education.

Outreach and conferences

Outreach and conferences are the main tools used to coordinate and spread knowledge obtained through ICE.

In February 2009 the centre hosted a field trip for environmental ministers and climate advisors from 11 countries to the Norwegian research station Troll, Antarctica. Preceedeing this trip, a climate meeting was hosted in Cape Town, where Lord Nicholas Stern (leader of the Stern Review on the economics of climate change) and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008) participated.

During the official centre opening, the Norwegian Polar Institute hosted a concurrent meeting under the Polar Bear agreement for the five countries with Polar Bears as part of their fauna.

In June 2009 an international conference on high mountain glaciers and challenges caused by climate change was arranged. The conference focused on the exchange of knowledge on melting ice in alpine areas, such as the Himalyas and the Andes, and the consequence of this melting.

In September 2009 ICE launched ICE Fimbul Ice Shelf, a website aimed at students in secondary school. The students were provided the opportunity to follow the Antarctic expedtion live online, do excersises in science classes and submit project assignments to compete for a prize. The students who submitted the best project assignment were awarded a research trip to Svalbard.