Prorector and Professor in Climate Change

Sebastian H. Mernild , Ph.D., Dr. Scient.

Lead Author on the upcoming IPCC Assessment Report, AR6

Getting to the facts


Dr. Scient. Sebastian H. Mernild is Prorector and a Full Professor in Climate Change and Glaciology. Since, 2020 he has been Prorector at the Southern Danish University (SDU). At present, he is also affiliated (20%) with University of Bergen (Geophysical Institute), and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Department of Environmental Sciences), where he is a full professor in Climate Change and Glaciology. Mernild is e.g., also a Lead Author on the upcoming IPCC AR6 Climate Report. In 2018, Mernild won the Rosenkjær Prize, and was nominated Dane of the Year, and in 2019, he was included in Kraks Blå Bog.


Mernild worked in the US for seven years at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks (2006-2009), and at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (2009-2013), and three years as senior research scientist/research leader at Centro de Estudios Científicos (CECs) in Valdivia, Chile (2013-2016). Further, he worked in Norway for another five yeras as professor in Climate Change and Glaciology, and as Director of the Nansen Center in Bergen (2016-2020). The Nansen Center is an independent research foundation conducting basic and applied environmental, climate, ocean, and sea-ice research.


In 2006, he was awarded a Ph.D. degree in climate change, glaciology, and hydrology from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2002 he won  the University of Copenhagen Silver Medal for a Price Dissertation in Hydrology, and in 2016 he was awarded a Dr. Scient. degree also from University of Copenhagen based on a  habilitation thesis in climate change, glaciology,  hydrology, and sea-level change with the title: "Water balance from mountain glacier scale to ice sheet scale - with focus  on Mittivakkat Gletscher, Southeast Greenland, and the Greenland Ice Sheet".


Since 2010, he has been the Danish representative of the International Commission on Snow and Ice Hydrology (ICSIH), under the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS), and from 2015-2018 been the Vice-President for ICSIH. Between 2014-2018 he has  been a member of the Steering Group for CliC (Climate and Cryosphere) under the UN World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), playing a vital and active role in identifying and discussing high-priority research gabs in climate and ice. Between 2016-2020, Mernild was also a board member of the Bjerknes Center for Climate Center, Bergen, and of Nansen Environmental Research Centre India, Kochin.


His research centers on local, regional, and global modeling using a wide variety of atmospheric and terrestrial models and observations with a specific focus on understanding and simulating climate change interactions related to snow, glacier ice mass-balance (for the Greenland Ice Sheet and mountain glaciers), and freshwater runoff (the water balance components) in Arctic, Antarctic, Patagonia, and the Andes. He has been leading several funded projects and expeditions to these  geographical locations.


He has been co-author on numerous international reports e.g., the annual Arctic Report Card from NOAA, and was a Contributing Author on the latest UN IPCC WG1 report, the fifth Assessment Report Report (Chapter 13). Also, he is a Lead Author on the upcoming  Working Group 1 Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. Mernild was co-author on the 'Melting Snow and Ice: A call for action' report. This report was presented by Vice President  Al Gore at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15).


On several occasions he has  been a visiting professor e.g., at Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, New York University, New York University Abu DhabiHokkido University, and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).


Mernild's interest and knowledge about climate change and ice in Polar and high mountain regions has been communicated in international peer-reviewed scientific papers (89, including in the journal Nature; h-index 36), popular scientific papers (60+), newspapers, newspaper chronicles (80+)(e.g., published together with Foreign Ministers of Denmark and industrial CEO's), radio, TV (media outreach 750+, e.g., live debates), and in the form of conferences and public presentations (e.g., at the Royal Danish Academy of Science, Danish Parliament, and Nordic Council of Ministers). Also in 2019 Mernild produced together with Danish Radio the radio podcast series Manden på gletsjeren (The Man on the Glacier), five episodes, as part of the Rosenkjær Prize: A podcast series about climate change, melting glaciers, sea-level changes, and future challenges.


Further, Mernild has a long leader education from the military (since 1993). Has been trained as an officer (Captain of the Reserve) in the Danish Army, and has been active in The Danish Reaction Brigade from 1996-2010. He has served under NATO in both Kosovo (2002) and Afghanistan (2006).


Marital Status: Married to Birgitte. Two children: Frederik (born 2008) and Benedikte (born 2012).


Link to Wikipedia.





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