Willem Jan van de Berg


Speaking is silver, laughing is gold

This website is in an everlasting construction.


Welcome to my homepage!
It is meant to give a small overview of my research, but it won't be very up-to-date.
My research focuses on the climate of the large ice sheets, thus Greenland and Antarctica. The primary tool that I use is the regional climate model RACMO2.
The IMAU has been the host of my career. In 1998, I started at the University Utrecht with the study Meteorology and Physical Oceanography. In 2003, I continued with a PhD on the climate of Antarctica. Next, I was a post-doc designated to improve our understanding of the climate of Greenland during the Eemian (the pervious interglacial). And in December 2008, I started as UD (Assistant professor).


My PhD-research concerned the Antarctic climate. That is where I started using the regional atmospheric climate model RACMO2. In four years, one cannot investigate everything, therefore, two topics were highlighted, the surface mass balance and climate change. You can download the thesis from here.
For my post-doc and first years thereafter, I shifted the focus to Greenland and to past climate. I paid attention to the Eemian, the last interglacial. Specifically, I looked into the complex interplay between the surface mass balance (SMB) and ice sheet evolution. Our results showed that a modest warming (1 K with respect to preindustrial climate) combined with higher summer insolation was enough to resemble the partial deglaciation of Greenland. It made me aware that the Greenland Ice Sheet is in a precious balance, only a little climate warming may cause its slow but inevitable disappearance.
In recent years, my focus is on improving and applying RACMO2 for Antarctica, Greenland and elsewhere - e.g. Svalbard. For example, I'm leading a project to improve the albedo model within RACMO2. It's currently a broadband albedo model, it will become a narrowband albedo model, which explicitly can represent the different effects of clouds, solar zenith angle and snow cover on the net absorption of sunlight.
Besides this, I'm involved in the much of the RCM work of our ice and climate group.
Read more -->
Publications -->


Currently I'm teaching the bachelor course "Numerieke methodes" and the master course "Ice and climate". I'm further involved in the course "Simulation of Ocean and Climate (SOAC)"
Besides that, I'm master coordinator of the master Climate Physics. If you are interested in the master, have a look here. For current students, general information on the master can be found here. Specific information, e.g. the slides shown during the introduction, can be found here.