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PAGE21 Researcher Profiles: Moritz Langer

Moritz Langer, a Post-doctoral researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany, is this week's PAGE21 young researcher.

P1020653smallMoritz at Samoylov Island this summer. Photo by Karoline Wischnewski.Name

Moritz Langer


Alfred Wegener Institute



Research Focus

I study the thermal dynamics of permafrost soils which are controlled by various factors such as the snow cover, the vegetation cover, the soil moisture, and the soil ice content just to mention a few. With my investigations I try to get better insights into the heat transfer processes between the soil and the atmosphere and how they might change under warming climate conditions in the Arctic.
Therefore, we put much effort in measuring the heat and water exchange between the soil, the snow cover, and the atmosphere. We make use of various instruments such as micro-meteorological stations and boreholes which are equipped with temperature and moisture sensors. These investigations are important as many processes in the Arctic ecosystem such as green house gas emissions are directly linked to the stability of permafrost.
It is the aim of my research to identify the dominate processes which must be incorporated into climate models in order to enhance our predictions of the impact of climate change in the Arctic.

spring 2011smallWinter field season. Photo by Sebastian Zubrzycki.What is the current challenge within this topic?

It is quite challenging to transfer our observations and processes knowledge into parameterizations that are useful for climate models.

How did it happen that you became a researcher?

I guess this was more like growing into it and not a clear decision.

Why do you like being a researcher?

I always liked to figure things out, but most importantly I love the field work that comes with the job.

How does a typical working day look like?

Most of the time I work in my office, but for one or two months of the year I am on expedition to exciting locations in the Arctic.

Funniest response ever when you told somebody that you are a "polar researcher"?

Have you ever kissed a polar bear?

IMG 0473smallAt Samoylov Island, 2012. Photo by Max Heikenfeld, Alfred Wegener Institute.

What are your plans for the upcoming three / five years?

I hope to delve deeper into the field between field work and modeling

Which expeditions do you participate this year?

I will participate in a field campaign to Samoylov Island in the Lena Delta during April. For my work, the focus of this expedition lies on snow cover properties and on the freeze dynamics of lakes.

What do you usually miss the most when being on the field?

During expeditions to the Arctic I usually miss to have a good beer after a long field day.

What will be this years biggest challenges?

This year, the biggest challenges are the new and so far unknown conditions at our field site due to the new research station on Samoylov Island.