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Belgian researchers - Cryosphere

Pattyn Frank
Professor, Dr

Being a glaciologist and ice-sheet modeller, I study the dynamics of ice sheets, glaciers and ice streams. Studying the dynamical behaviour of ice sheets and glaciers is of importance if we want to understand and predict how they react to changes in the environment (climate), of which the recent global warming is of major concern. I developed a number of ice-sheet models, such as a three-dimensional thermomechanical ice-sheet model including higher-order stress gradients (a so-called 'higher-order' model). Such a model is capable of simulating the behaviour of ice streams and their interaction with the ice sheet, as well as the ice flow over subglacial lakes. Most of my research is a contribution to the Belgian Scientific Research Programme on the Antarctic


Numerical modelling of the cryosphere (ice sheets, glaciers, ice streams), i.e. development of a 3D thermomechanically coupled ice-sheet model including higher-order stress gradients, as well as a 2D higher-order flowline model for ice sheets and glaciers;

Model intercomparison: EISMINT Model intercomparison and Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison (ISMIP) on higher-order models

Dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet, i.e. study of the ice flow over subglacial lakes (dynamics of the ice sheet in the vicinity of subglacial Lake Vostok, Antarctica); force and mass balance of large Antarctic glaciers and ice streams in combination with satellite radar interferometry; influence of basal conditions on the dynamic behaviour of Antarctic glaciers and ice streams; paleo-reconstruction of the glacial history of ice sheets

Glacier studies, i.e. basal properties and dynamics of glaciers using radio-echo sounding (ice radar) in combination with numerical modelling: Altai Mountains (Siberia); McCall Glacier Project (Alaska)

  • Research programme:
    - SPSD I: Antarctica IV
    - SPSD II: Antarctica V
    - SD: Antarctica VI
  • Research group: Glaciology lab-ULB
  • Research projects:
    • INTERICE - Inter disciplinary Ice tank Experiment
    • Basal Ice at Lake Vostok
    • SIBClim - Sea Ice Biogeochemistry in a CLimate change perspective
    • BIFTeG - Basal Ice Facies of Temperate Glaciers
    • ISMIce - Ice Shelf Marine Ice
    • AMICS - Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics and climatic change: modelling and ice composition study
    • EPICA - Dynamics of the Antarctic ice cap and climate changes (a contribution to EPICA)
  • Related activities:

List of publications

Pattyn F. (2004) Comment on the comment by M. J. Siegert on “A numerical model for an alternative origin of Lake Vostok and its exobiological implications for Mars” by N. S. Duxbury et al. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109 (E11004), doi:10.1029/2004JE002329.

Pattyn F. , M. Nolan, B. Rabus and S. Takahashi (accepted) Localized basal motion of a polythermal Arctic glacier: McCall Glacier, Alaska, USA . Accepted for Annals of Glaciology 40.

Pattyn, F. , S. De Brabander and A. Huyghe (accepted) Basal and thermal control mechanisms of the Ragnhild glaciers, East Antarctica . Accepted for Annals of Glaciology 40.

Pattyn, F. , B. De Smedt and R. Souchez (2004) Influence of subglacial Lake Vostok on the regional ice dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet: a model study . Accepted for Journal of Glaciology.

Souchez, R., D. Samyn, R. Lorrain, F. Pattyn, and S. Fitzsimons (2004) An isotopic model for basal freeze-on associated with subglacial upward flow of pore water , Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L02401, doi:10.1029/2003GL018861.

Pattyn, F. and R. Naruse (2003) The nature of complex ice flow in Shirase Glacier catchment, East Antarctica . Journal of Glaciology 49 (166): 429-436.

Pattyn, F. (2003) A new three-dimensional higher-order thermomechanical ice sheet model: basic sensitivity, ice stream development and ice flow across subglacial lakes . Journal of Geophysical Research (Solid Earth), 108 (B8), 2382, doi:10.1029/2002JB002329.

Pattyn, F. , B. De Smedt, S. De Brabander, W. Van Huele, A. Agatova, A. Mistrukov and H. Decleir (2003) Ice dynamics and basal properties of Sofiyskiy Glacier (Altai, Russia) based on DGPS and radio-echo sounding surveys . Annals of Glaciology 37: 286-292.

De Smedt, B. and F. Pattyn (2003) Numerical modelling of historical front variations and dynamic response of Sofiyskiy glacier, Altai Mountains, Russia . Annals of Glaciology 37: 143-149.

Pattyn, F. (2002) Transient glacier response with a higher-order numerical ice-flow model . Journal of Glaciology 48(162): 467-477

Pattyn, F. and D. Derauw (2002) Ice-dynamic conditions of Shirase Glacier, Antarctica, inferred from ERS-SAR interferometry . Journal of Glaciology 48(163): 559-565.

Pattyn, F. (2002) Ice-flow characteristics over a rough bedrock: implications for ice-core interpretation . Polar Meteorology and Glaciology 16: 42-52.

Pattyn, F. (2000) Ice-sheet modelling at different spatial resolutions: focus on the grounding zone . Ann. Glaciol. 31: 211-216.

Pattyn, F. (1999) The variability of Antarctic ice-sheet response to the climatic signal . Ann. Glaciol. 29: 273-278.

Pattyn, F. and Decleir, H. (1998) Ice dynamics near Antarctic marginal mountain ranges: implications for interpreting the glacial-geological signal . Annals of Glaciology 27: 327-332.

Pattyn, F. and H. Decleir (1998) The Shirase flow line model: an additional tool for interpreting the Dome-F signal , Polar Meteorol. Glaciol. 12: 104-111.

Pattyn, F. and Van Huele, W. (1998) Power law or power flaw? Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 23: 761-767.

Pattyn, F. (1996) Numerical modeling of a fast flowing outlet glacier: experiments with different basal conditions. Annals of Glaciology 23: 237-246.

Pattyn, F. and H. Decleir (1995) Numerical simulation of Shirase Glacier, East Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Proc. NIPR Symp. Polar Meteorol. Glaciol., 9: 88-110.

Pattyn, F. and H. Decleir (1995) Subglacial topography in the central Sør Rondane Mountains, East Antarctica: configuration and morphometric analysis of valley cross profiles. Nankyoku Shiryo (Antarctic Record) 39 (1): 1-24.

Pattyn, F. and H. Decleir (1993) Satellite Monitoring of Ice and Snow Conditions in the Sør Rondane, Antarctica , Annals of Glaciology 17: 41-48.

Pattyn, F. , H. Decleir and Ph. Huybrechts (1992) Glaciation of the Central Part of the Sør Rondane, Antarctica : Glaciological Evidence , in Yoshida, Y., K. Kaminuma and K. Shiraishi (Eds.) Recent Progress in Antarctic Earth Sciences, TERRABUB, Tokyo: 669-678.

Iwata, S., K. Shiraishi, Y. Ebina, N. Matsuoka, T. Toyoshima, M. Owada, H. Hasegawa, H. Decleir and Pattyn, F. (1991) Report on the geomorphological, geological, geodetic, and glaciological fieldwork in the Sør Rondane Mountains, 1990/91 Summer (JARE-32), Antarctic Record 35(3): 355-401.

Pattyn, F. , Ph. Huybrechts and H. Decleir (1989) Modelling Glacier Fluctuations in the Sør Rondane, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica , Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie, 25(1): 33-47.

Complementary resources


Pattyn Frank
Faculté des Sciences
Campus du Solbosch
ULB CP160/03
avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50 - 1050 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 2 650 28 46 - Fax: +32 2 650 22 26

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