Wolfgang Rack

Associate ProfessorWolfgang Rack

Julius von Haast Rm 722
Internal Phone: 95960

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

As glaciologist I study the mass balance of the polar cryosphere with focus on sea ice – ocean – ice shelf interaction. I discovered the instability of Antarctic outlet glaciers following the Larsen-A ice shelf collapse, and lead a research group pioneering the satellite based measurement of grounding line ice thickness in Antarctica. As a research tool for mapping ice dynamics and thickness I make use of satellite remote sensing (Synthetic Aperture Radar – SAR; interferometric SAR - InSAR). An essential part of my research is satellite validation using airborne measurements (electromagnetic induction sounding of sea ice), ground based geophysics (phase sensitive radar for detecting basal melting of ice shelves; GPS and tiltmeters for ice shelf tidal bending), amongst other glaciological research tools. I spent 15 field seasons in Antarctica, and participated in ground validation and airborne geophysical work in the Arctic (Greenland, Svalbard), Patagonia, and the Alps (Europe and New Zealand). More recently, I lead a team for developing a drone system to measure snow depth on sea ice, and participated in airborne sea ice thickness measurements in the Ross Sea.

Recent Publications

  • Baumann S., Anderson B., Chinn T., MacKintosh A., Collier C., Lorrey AM., Rack W., Purdie H. and Eaves S. (2021) Updated inventory of glacier ice in New Zealand based on 2016 satellite imagery. Journal of Glaciology 67(261): 13-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jog.2020.78.
  • Haas C., Langhorne PJ., Rack W., Leonard GH., Brett GM., Price D., Beckers JF. and Gough AJ. (2021) Airborne mapping of the sub-ice platelet layer under fast ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Cryosphere 15(1): 247-264. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-247-2021.
  • Rack W., Price D., Haas C., Langhorne PJ. and Leonard GH. (2021) Sea Ice Thickness in the Western Ross Sea. Geophysical Research Letters 48(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090866.
  • Tan AE-C., McCulloch J., Rack W., Platt I. and Woodhead I. (2021) Radar Measurements of Snow Depth Over Sea Ice on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 59(3): 1868-1875. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/tgrs.2020.3006182.
  • Brett GM., Irvin A., Rack W., Haas C., Langhorne PJ. and Leonard GH. (2020) Variability in the Distribution of Fast Ice and the Sub-ice Platelet Layer Near McMurdo Ice Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 125(3) http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2019JC015678.