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Research group Physical Geography

WELCOME

RESEARCH GROUP PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY (FARD)
 

Welcome on the website of the research group of Physical Geography (FARD) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Activities in our research group focus on both education and scientific research, in which the processes that shape the physical environment are key. More specifically, emphasis is laid on ice and climate interactions, as well as volcanology, geomorphology and natural hazard assessment, for both past, current and future conditions. In this regard, various research methods are being applied and developped, including numerical modelling, hazard management and field-based quantitative data collection campaigns abroad. 

"GEOGRAPHY EXPLAINS THE PAST, ILLUMINATES THE PRESENT AND PREPARES US FOR FUTURE. WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT?" - MICHAEL PALIN

OUR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

ICE AND CLIMATE GROUP
 

Antarctica

CRYOSPHERIC PROCESSES

 
Climate

THE CLIMATE SYSTEM

 
Paleoclimatology

PALEO-CLIMATOLOGY

Annual field work is conducted on the Morteratsch and Pers glaciers in Switzerland

The Ice and Climate research group focuses on the dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets and their interaction with the climatic system. Main research activities concentrate on modelling studies of past and future behavior of large continental ice sheets and mountain glaciers.

We are mainly working on 3-D thermomechanical models, which are used to simulate the ice sheets of Antarctica, Greenland, and those that covered the northern hemisphere continents during the ice ages, on time scales ranging from Tertiary ice-sheet inception to glacial-interglacial cycles and future anthropogenic warming. 

This work is complemented with numerical modelling of Arctic ice caps and field-based activities on alpine mountain glaciers in Switzerland (the European Alps), the Russian Federation (the Caucasus), Kyrgyzstan (High Mountain Asia). Of specific interest is a better understanding of the role and dynamics of land ice in relation to the climate and its consequences for global sea level.

Involvement in earler and/or finished projects of the ice and climate group include the following list: 

  • NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling): modelling the Greenland ice sheet in support of ice-core drilling.

  • ISMIP6 (Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6): intercomparison of presently existing ice-sheet and ice-shelf models.

  • Ice2sea: an EU FP7 project to further refine projections of the large ice sheets over the next 200 years and their contribution to sea level change.

  • iCLIPS: Constraining long-term climate and sea-level projections using the Last Interglacial.

FARD ON SOCIAL MEDIA

FARD IN THE NEWS

Latest media appearances

Philippe Huybrechts: ‘Brand op Noordpool heeft directe impact op Antwerpse kaaien’
De Morgen (21/07/2020)

Een grote olieramp, wegglijdende huizen en ongezien veel natuurbranden zijn slechts de lokale gevolgen van tropische temperaturen op de Noordpool. Klimaatwetenschapper Philippe Huybrechts (VUB), die de ijsmassa’s bestudeert, ziet gebeuren waar hij dertig jaar geleden al voor waarschuwde... pdf fileRead more (16.56 MB)

 
Na dodelijke uitbarsting: 'Vulkaaneruptie moeilijk te voorspellen'
De Standaard (09/12/2019) 

De vulkanologen in Nieuw-Zeeland zijn experts in hun vakgebied, maar konden niet voorkomen dat bij een uitbarsting van de actieve vulkaan White Island minstens vijf mensen het leven lieten. ‘De activiteit van een actieve vulkaan is heel moeilijk te voorspellen’, zegt vulkanoloog Matthieu Kervyn... Read more
 

Morteratschgletsjer in Zwitserland verliest recordhoeveelheid ijs
VRTNWS (09/11/2018)

De gletsjers in Europa zijn sinds 2000 sterk beginnen te krimpen. Sinds 2001 meten glaciologen van de VUB de omvang van de Morteratschgletsjer in Zwitserland. Die verloor gemiddeld 40 meter per jaar. In 2015 was dat al 70 meter. Dit jaar kalfde 130 meter ijs af. De Morteratschgletsjer verloor... Read more

 

Klimatoloog Philippe Huybrechts bespreekt conclusies VN-klimaatrapport 
VRTNWS (09/10/2018)

De tijd dringt enorm om de opwarming van de aarde onder de 1,5 graden te houden, dat is een van de conclusies van het VN-klimaatrapport. Maar is dat wel realistisch? En wat moeten we daarvoor doen? Klimatoloog Philippe Huybrechts, die indirect aan dit klimaatrapport heeft... Read more

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VOLCANOLOGY, GEOMORPHOLOGY AND NATURAL HAZARD GROUP
 

Volcano

VOLCANO-LOGY

  Erosion

GEOMOR-PHOLOGY

  Erosion

NATURAL HAZARDS

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The Volcanology, Geomorphology and Natural Hazard group focuses on hazardous geomorphological and volcanological processes in developing countries, with specific interest in geomorphology, landslides and volcano-tectonic aspects.

Current projects are dedicated to the study of hazardous morpho-structural processes in active volcanic regions, including the modelling of volcano growth through eruptive and intrusive processes, lava flow emplacement, flank collapse, interactions with tectonic structures and erosion processes (EVoLVe project).

The applications concentrate in various volcanic regions of Africa, including Tanzania, South West Uganda and Ethiopia. Latest projects also encompass research activities in the Hoa Binh Province in Vietnam. Research approaches involve combining remote sensing and field observations with scaled quantitative analogue models and application of existing numerical models.

Involvement of the volcanology, geomorphology and natural hazard group in earler projects include:

  • Serious games for disaster risk awareness: Our group has designed, tested and validated two serious game to raise awareness about disaster risk reduction and risk management: Hazagora and DisCOORD.

  • Q-LavHA: A plugin to simulate lava flows.

  • AFRESLIDE: Landslides in Equatorial Africa: Identigying culturally, technically and economically feasible resilience strategies. Find the final report here

  • GEORISCA: GeoRisk in Central Africa: integrating multi-hazards and vulnerability to support risk management. Find the final report here

HOW TO CONTACT US

Philippe HUYBRECHTS - Director and professor
Philippe Huybrechts

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Department of Geography
Room 4F114a
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels 

Phone: +32-2-6293593
Mobile: +32-474-993395
philippe.huybrechts@vub.be
Specialization: climatology,
paleoclimatology, glaciology

Matthieu KERVYN DE MEERENDRE - Professor
Matthieu Kervyn

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Department of Geography
Room F 8.67
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels 

Phone: +32-2-629 36 61
Fax: +32-2-629-3378
matthieu.kervyn.de.meerendre@vub.be
Specialization: geomorphology,
volcanology and natural hazard

Deparment of Geography - Secretariat
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Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Department of Geography
Room F.4.61
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels 

Tel: +32 2 629 33 82
Open: mon to thu 9-12 am and 2-4 pm
and fri 9-12 am
inge.meyskens@vub.be
How to reach:
Campus Etterbeek

WHERE TO FIND US