Wolfgang Rack

Associate ProfessorWolfgang Rack

Beatrice Tinsley Rm 413
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

  • Christie FDW., Benham TJ., Batchelor CL., Rack W., Montelli A. and Dowdeswell JA. (2022) Antarctic ice-shelf advance driven by anomalous atmospheric and sea-ice circulation. Nature Geoscience 15(5): 356-362. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00938-x.
  • Farooq U., Rack W., McDonald A. and Howell S. (2022) Representation of sea ice regimes in the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica, based on satellite imagery and AMPS wind data. Climate Dynamics http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-022-06319-9.
  • Gomez-Fell R., Rack W., Purdie H. and Marsh O. (2022) Parker Ice Tongue Collapse, Antarctica, Triggered by Loss of Stabilizing Land-Fast Sea Ice. Geophysical Research Letters 49(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2021GL096156.
  • Lavergne T., Kern S., Aaboe S., Derby L., Dybkjaer G., Garric G., Heil P., Hendricks S., Holfort J. and Howell S. (2022) A New Structure for the Sea Ice Essential Climate Variables of the Global Climate Observing System. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 103(6): E1502-E1521. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-21-0227.1.
  • 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.