Cryosphere & Climate Lab

Luke D. Trusel, Penn State University



The Cyrosphere & Climate Lab (CryoLab) is the research group of Dr. Luke Trusel in the Department of Geography at Penn State University.

Our research explores the response of Earth's ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland to past, ongoing, and future climate change.

We integrate observations, ice cores, and climate models to contextualize recent change and elucidate connections between the polar regions and the broader Earth system.

Fundamentally, we seek to understand how climate impacts the ice sheets, and in turn, what these changes mean for us.


Recent news & events

Seeking graduate students for Fall 2020!

Join the CryoLab and the Penn State University Department of Geography in Fall 2020!

I am seeking a highly-motived PhD student interested in applying remote sensing to understand interactions among the ocean, atmosphere, and Antarctic ice sheet surface mass balance, as part of a NASA-funded project. The prospective student would be part of the dual-title PhD program in Geography and Climate Science and join excellent faculty and students in the Penn State Ice and Climate group as well as the CLIM (Climate Impacts) group in Geography.

Additional opportunities may exist for students interested in pursing a MS degree in Geography in topics of cryospheric and climate change.

Please reach out soon via email if you are interested in applying so that we can discuss the opportunities. Please also note that applications to The Graduate School at Penn State are due December 13, 2019.


August 2019: I have been quoted in several recent news articles about the exceptional Greenland Ice sheet surface melt this summer:

June 2019: Move to Penn State University. I am pleased to announce that I will be moving to a tenure-track position in the Department of Geography at Penn State University later this summer. Very excited about the opportunities that this will present. Students already at Penn State as well as prospective graduate students are encouraged to reach out about research opportunities! More to come soon…

May 2019: Thrilled to contribute to an important new paper in Nature led by Matt Osman of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. Here, we use Greenland ice cores and a geochemical proxy to reconstruct marine primary productivity in the North Atlantic Ocean over the last several centuries. Our reconstruction reveals an Industrial-era decline in productivity in this biologically and economically-important region. These declines track the anthropogenic warming and increased runoff from the Greenland ice sheet. Further productivity declines due to continued warming could result in further reductions in productivity, with cascading effects across marine food webs.

March 2019: Very honored to be this year’s recipient of the Rowan University Research Achievement Award! This is a university-wide award given to one faculty member each year.

December 2018: New lead paper in Nature! “Nonlinear rise in Greenland runoff in response to post-industrial Arctic warming” was published December 5, 2018!

November 2018: We have a (second) new paper out in Nature Climate Change: “Antarctic surface hydrology and impacts on ice-sheet mass balance” was published online today, November 19, 2018.

November 2018: New paper “The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets under 1.5 °C global warming” led by Frank Pattyn, Catherine Ritz, and Edward Hanna published in Nature Climate Change!

September 2018: We are seeking to build a partnership with a nearby high school science teacher to develop hands-on lessons using satellite observations of Antarctic ice shelves.

  • Update! We are pleased to be partnering with Penny Rodrick-Williams of Tower Hill School in Wilmington, DE!

August 2018: The CryoLab was featured in a news article by Rowan University.

August 2018: Co-authored paper led by Kristin Schild on ice-ocean interactions and glacier calving in Svalbard published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

June 2018: Led two presentations at the SCAR/IASC POLAR 2018 meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

June 2018: Research project to investigate Antarctic surface mass balance funded by NASA Cryosphere Science Program. This is a collaborative project between Rowan, University of Colorado, and University of Maryland.

April 2018: CryoLab undergrad, Leanne Cioffi, presented her research, “Predicting the next big ‘berg: assessing rift propagation on Larsen D ice shelf, Antarctica” at the Rowan University STEM Symposium.

April 2018: Co-authored paper led by Melchior van Wessem on modeling Antarctic climate published in The Cryosphere.

April 2018: Co-organized and participated in Vast and Vanishing: Art and Science Perspectives on Climate Change panel discussion, coinciding with artwork exhibit by Diane Burko at the Rowan University Art Gallery. See news feature in The Whit.

February 2018: Co-led and organized NSF-funded Workshop on Antarctic Surface Hydrology and Future Ice-shelf Stability at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

November 2017: Presented a research seminars at Rutgers University Department of Geography and Temple University Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

November 2017: Co-authored paper led by Jan Lenaerts on high resolution modeling of West Antarctic surface mass balance processes published in Annals of Glaciology.

October 2017: Research seminar presented as part of the Pegrum Lecture Series in the Department of Geology at University at Buffalo.

September 2017: Research seminar presented at the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

August 2017: Work commences on NSF-funded project on Antarctic ice shelf surface melting and supraglacial lakes!

June 2017: Multi-authored paper led by Ted Scambos on the state of Thwaites Glacier and its potential future evolution published in Global and Planetary Change.

June 2017: Gave invited presentation at the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Workshop in Boulder, CO.