Dr. Christian Haas is a Professor of Sea Ice Geophysics and Remote Sensing at the University of Bremen, Germany. He is also the Head of the Sea Ice Research Group at the German Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). Before moving to Germany in 2016, he was an Alberta Ingenuity Scholar at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair at York University, Toronto. Christian’s main research interest is the role of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice in the climate, eco-, and human systems. In 2019/20, he was the Chief Scientist of the highly successful midwinter leg of the international MOSAiC Transpolar Drift experiment. Christian studies sea ice properties and processes by means of in-situ measurements, airborne and satellite remote sensing, and modeling. He is an expert in electromagnetic ice thickness measurements and has established routine sea ice observations in the Canadian Arctic and adjacent Last Ice Area (LIA) as part of his Canadian Sea Ice Mass Balance Observatory (CASIMBO) project. This work now continues with AWI’s IceBird programme. Christian has led more than 30 field campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic, using aircraft, ships, and snowmobiles. He has extensively traveled with local hunters in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. This led to his development of the ice measuring SmartQAMUTIK which is now used by Inuit throughout the Canadian Arctic to evaluate the safety and trafficability of the ice as part of the SmartIce (Sea-ice Monitoring and Real-Time Information for Coastal Environments) programme. SmartIce was a recipient of the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) in 2016.

  • Recent advances and challenges in hydro-environmental sea ice research

Christian Haas

University of Bremen & Alfred Wegener Institute

Bremerhaven, Germany


Sea ice is the most important component of the Arctic and Antarctic climate systems, and it’s extent decreases strongly, with fundamental but insufficiently understood consequences for climate and weather, ecosystems, and human access and exploitation. Ice thickness is the most important sea ice property needed to advance our understanding and prediction. Here we provide an overview of present advances and challenges of hyrdo-environmental sea ice thickness research. The talk will span topics from satellite to in-situ ice thickness observations and will present results related to long-term thickness change and relation to ice dynamics, icebreaker performance in ice, and the safety of over-ice travel. It will end with a discussion of sea ice interaction with oceans and ice shelves in Antarctica, demonstrating the importance of sea ice for other components of the cryosphere and it’s indirect links to sea level rise.

Keywords: Arctic climate change; Sea ice thickness; Ship performance in ice; Ice travel safety; Antarctic ice-shelf, ocean, and sea ice interaction