June 2020

Soraya Kaiser receives a completion scholarship for excellent female doctoral candidates from the Family Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The funding is awarded for six months and starts in November 2020.

March 2020

Soraya Kaiser receives another year of funding from Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation that supports excellent female scientists in the field of experimental natural sciences with children.



The second edition of the CryoGrid hackathon took place from 18-20.11.2019 in Kloster-Lehnin. Primary goals of the meeting were on the one hand the exchange of information on how the individual developer and user groups are currently using and expanding CryoGrid and how they will do so in the future.On the other hand, the source code of CryoGrid was also worked on pragmatically in groups or individually, in order to initialise and implement concrete ideas on site.

The participants came from the

University of Oslo: Sebastian Westermann (Project Manager PermaNor), Juditha Schmidt, Nitin Chaudhary, Robin Zweigel, Luc Girod,

Technical University of Denmark: Thomas Ingemann-Nielsen, Johanna Scheer,

Alfred Wegener Institute: Paul Overduin, Thomas Schneider von Deimling, Rebecca Rolph, Jan Nitzbon, Frederieke Miesner, Simone Stünzi, Rui Chen, Moritz Langer (Project Manager PermaRisk).

Since November 2019 Juliane Wolter supports our team until the end of the year. Juliane will help find possible fields of application outside of science for the CryoGrid model system. She will analyze the need for it, and then to get in touch with the relevant persons.


Becca Rolph, who completed her PhD in the Sea Ice group at University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2018, has joined the PermaRisk group as a new postdoc in October. The goal of Becca's project is to model coastal permafrost erosion on a pan-Arctic scale.  With the open water season extending into the fall storm season, enhanced wave action allows for increased erosion not just along Arctic coastlines, but also along the much larger cumulative perimeter of Arctic lakes.  She will investigate the increases in wind-wave energy associated with less ice, and what this means for Arctic erosion rates using simplified process-based modelling.

Rui Chen who graduated from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2019 is the new PhD student of Dr. Moritz Langer at the PermaRisk young research group. With the scholarship from China scholarship council, he will be able to study in Potsdam for about 4 years. His doctoral research topic will focus on improving the land surface models and their validation in cold regions. The main purpose of his project is to develop the land-surface models from the perspective of parametric schemes such as freeze-thaw process, waterbodies and snow cover, so as to improve their simulation ability for the arctic region and the Tibetan plateau.

July / August

Alex, Stephan, Soraya and Moritz participate in the second field campaign in Alaska and Canada for three weeks:


Thomas Schneider von Deimling and Elimar Precht organized and held a stakeholder workshop on "Model-Based Prediction for the Usability of IceRoads" in Fairbanks (USA). The aim of the workshop was to establish contacts with potential future users, to inform about the current state of the possibilities and limitations of Modelling of IceRoads and to understand the needs of the different user groups with regard to a later application development.
Participants included the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

AWI Potsdam's junior research group PermaRisk has developed and produced an exhibit for MS Wissenschaft in collaboration with the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology. The MS Wissenschaft is an exhibition ship financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research that tours Germany with current research on socially relevant topics. The present exhibition theme for “Wissenschaftsjahr 2019” is Artificial Intelligence. Our exhibit deals with the micro mapping process. In this method, many people evaluate small sets of satellite imagery with respect to certain properties (infrastructure, polygonal tundra). These training data sets then form the basis for computers to independently interpret much larger satellite image data sets with high efficiency in fractions of time.


Soraya Kaiser receives a grant from the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation which supports female scientists with children. For the duration of a year, the foundation provides money for additional childcare and household assistance to help young scientists successfully manage their family and research responsibilities and ensure equal opportunities.


The second workshop of the PermaRisk project organized by Moritz Langer and hosted by the Geography Department of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Main objectives of the workshop were the impacts of rapid permafrost degradation to the infrastructure and the results, potentials, objectives and plans on modelling of permafrost processes. Furthermore there were sessions about future colaborations for scientific publications and proposals. For this purpose impulse talks, poster sessions, discussions, announcements and summary talks took place.

20 participants from the following institutes attended:

  • Department of Geography, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (Germany)
  • Alfred-Wegener Institute, Potsdam (Germany)
  • Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo (Norway)
  • NORCE, Uni Research, Bergen (Norway)
  • Permafrost Laboratory, University of Alaska, Fairbanks (USA)
  • International Arctic Research Center, Fairbanks, (USA)
  • College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter (UK)
  • Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Hamburg (Germany)
  • Department of Geography, University of Leipzig (Germany)
  • Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (Denmark)
  • Department of Geography and Planning, Queens University, Kingston (Canada)
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam (Germany)
  • Institute for Geosciences and Environmental Research, University of Grenoble-Alpes (France)


Defense of the master thesis of Tarek Kemper with the title "MODIS-based climate monitoring and snow cover modeling in the area of Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, Alaska". Supervisor of the master thesis was Moritz Langer.



Conduction of the 1st International Think-In CryoGrid Hackathon in the AWI-guesthouse in Sylt. Meeting for discussion and implementation of strategies and necessities of the development of the CryoGrid model environment.

PermaNor/PermaRisk Mini-Workshop at the Humboldt-University Berlin organized and conducted by Moritz Langer with the entire PermaRisk junior group, Sebastian Westermann (University of Oslo, Norway), Hannah Lee (University of Bergen, Norway) and Scott Lamoureux (Queens University, Canada). Objectives of the workshop were the presentation current state of research in the projects, the outlining of joint publications and planning of a bigger workshop in spring 2019.

July / August

Soraya, Thomas and Moritz participate in a field campaign in Canada and Alaska:


Moritz Langer, Thomas Schneider von Deimling and Soraya Kaiser participate at the European Conference on Permafrost in Chamonix.

Participation in the "Telling and shooting science" workshop specially designed for the PermaRisk working group. Here, guided by the service provider "denkbargrün", possibilities were developed how research results can be conveyed to the public as specific as possible to certain target groups. Content included digital storytelling, shooting videos and photos, and interview basics.

Test flights in the field with colleagues from the Humboldt University Berlin to test the generation of aerial imagery with the help of a photo drone, ground control points and dGPS over the model airport at Trebbin.


Moritz Langer and Thomas Schneider von Deimling present the PermaRisk junior group to the BMBF in Bonn.

Since May Simone Stünzi from the University of Zurich enhances our Young Investigator Group as a PhD-candidate. Simone will study the climate-vegetation-soil interactions in permafrost-dominated areas over a large transect of Eastern Siberia in a multi-proxy and multidisciplinary approach. The findings will be used to further develope the CryoGrid3 landsurface model in terms of vegetation interactions and facilitate the coupling to the larch forest simulator LaVeSi.

Stakeholder Meeting
In May the research group – represented by Soraya Kaiser and Moritz Langer – visited cooperation partners at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). They met with researchers investigating the area close to the study site Prudhoe Bay to gain insight into the regional permafrost processes and data archives.
They also introduced the PermaRisk project to the local stakeholders of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Bureau of Land Management that are responsible for the exploration permitting and infrastructural planning in the region.
The representatives showed great interest in being provided with the risk and ecosystem change analyses that will be performed within the project.


The first Git/GitHub managed version of the land surface model CryoGrid3 is freely available online. This version published by Sebastian Westermann 2016, has now been supplemented with an additional hydrological infiltration module that calculates water transport in the "active layer".


26.-28. November 2017

The first workshop since start of the PermaRisk project was organized and conducted by Moritz Langer and Sebastian Westermann and hosted by the Geography Department of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Objectives of the workshop were the introduction of involved projects and the conception of collaborations between participating working groups.
More than 25 people attended the workshop. Alongside the projects PermaRisk (Moritz Langer), PermaNor (Sebastian Westermann) and Feedback (Hanna Lee) the following institutions were involved:

  • Geography Department, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (Germany)
  • Alfred-Wegener Institut, Potsdam (Germany)
  • Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo (Norway)
  • Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen (Norway)
  • Department of Geography and Planning, Queens University, Kingston (Canada)