Stefan Ligtenberg
PostDoctoral researcher

About me

I am a postdoctoral researcher in polar meteorology and glaciology at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU), Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


21-27 Jun. 2015
IGS Symposium (Höfn, IS)

19-28 Aug. 2015
SEES expedition around Edgeøya (Svalbard, NO)

14-18 Dec. 2015
AGU Fall Meeting (San Francisco, USA)

Latest publications

16 Mar. 2015
Consistent evidence of increasing Antarctic accumulation with warming, published in Nature Climate Change. Details.

07 Jan. 2015
Response of dry and wet firn to climate change, published in Annals of Glaciology. Details.

24 Nov. 2014
Detailed study on the persistent ice loss in the northern Antarctic Peninsula, published in The Cryosphere. Details.

17 Sep. 2014
Spatial and temporal variations in Antarctic firn air content, simulated by our firn model, published in The Cryosphere. Details.


Welcome to my website! My name is Stefan Ligtenberg, and I work as a PostDoctoral researcher at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

In 2010, I started my PhD at IMAU under the supervision of Michiel van den Broeke. I developed the firn densification model IMAU-FDM to study spatial and temporal variability of the Antarctic firn layer and the subsequent effect on surface elevation changes. With the inclusion of a meltwater module, the IMAU-FDM is capable to assess changes in both dry and wet firn simulatenaously. Parallel to this, I simulated the future surface mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet with our regional climate model RACMO2, as a contribution to the EU-project Ice2sea. On 23 April 2014, I defended my thesis, called "The present and future state of the Antarctic firn layer".

Currently, my research focusses on heterogeneous percolation of meltwater in snow and firn. In Antarctica, almost all meltwater refreezes locally in the cold firn pack. On Greenland however, it is shown that meltwater can heterogeneously infiltarte the firn pack ("piping") and also show horizontal flow behaviour under certain conditions. I try to include these effects in our IMAU-FDM. To read more about my research activities, see the research section or my publications.


16 March 2015
Today, our paper in Nature Climate Change on the increasing Antarctic accumulation with atmospheric warming got published. Consistent evidence for 5% accumulation increase per degree of warming is found in several model simulation and ice cores. The study received some media attention, with an article in De Volkskrant.

26 November 2014
My participation in the SEES expedition to Edgeøya (Svlabard, NO) is confirmed today!
Coming August, I will join a group of Dutch scientists, journalists, and other enthusiasts on a scientific cruise around the island of Edgeøya in south-eastern Svalbard. This cruise is organised as a follow-up of previous visits of Dutch ecologists to Edgeøya around 1970-80. This time however, the expedition will be much broader and combines all polar research topics in The Netherlands; climate, oceanography, biology, ecology, etc. Our contribution will be to install an automatic weather station (AWS) and temperature sensors to measure the climate on Edgeøya and the melt of winter snow.
For more details, see the SEES website.

23 April 2014
It is dr. S.R.M. Ligtenberg from now on! Today, I successfully defended my PhD thesis. A hard copy of my thesis is avaiable on request, or you can download a digital version here.

15 September 2013
Today, our Nature paper on calving fluxes and melt rates of Antarctic ice shelves got published.

11 March 2013
Our paper in Climate Dynamics describing the future climate and surface mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet has been accepted, just in time for the IPCC deadline... Details.

30 November 2012
Today the Science paper of the IMBIE project group got published! Here is a radio interview with Michiel van den Broeke about the paper (in Dutch).

4 November 2012
Our GRL paper on the seaonsal "breathing" of the Antarctic ice sheet has been accepted! Details.

1 May 2012
Sunday, I made my debut on national radio, during the 'Vroege Vogels' show on Radio 1. Listen here at 1:28:25

26 April 2012
Today our Nature paper got published, including a lot of media attention (NOS).

27 January 2011
Finally! It took a while, but my website is now up and running.