Luke D. Trusel
Assistant Professor
Rowan University
Department of Geology

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology in the School of Earth & Environment at Rowan University.

My research explores the response of Earth's ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland to past, ongoing, and future climate change. To do so, I integrate observations, ice core proxy records, and climate models in order to contextualize recent cryospheric change and elucidate connections between the polar regions and the broader Earth system.

I encourage students at Rowan interested in issues surrounding climate change and its impacts on Earth's cryosphere to contact me about potential research opportunities.


Move to Rowan University

In September 2016 I joined the faculty at Rowan University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the newly-formed Department of Geology and School of Earth & Environment. Prior to Rowan, I was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow at Clark University. Here at Rowan, I am excited to help build the Geology program while teaching courses and mentoring students in earth, climate, and cryospheric sciences.


Future Antarctic melt trajectories

This research published in Nature Geoscience assesses the evolution of surface melt across Antarctic ice shelves over the recent past and under two future IPCC climate scenarios. Utilizing observations and climate modeling, we find ice shelf melting is nonlinearly related to air temperature. This means that as climate warms, melting can increase very rapidly. Ice shelves in existing warmer regions like the Antarctic Peninsula are therefore particularly sensitive to temperature change. Over the last few decades in this region, warming has increased melt to the point where several ice shelves have collapsed. Land-based ice that once fed these collapsed ice shelves has accelerated its flow into the ocean, adding to sea level. Over the coming century, we find melt increases across Antarctica to levels similar to today's Antarctic Peninsula. In the mid-range RCP4.5 scenario, melt overwhelmingly remains below intensities that occurred on ice shelves that have collapsed. However, following the high emissions scenario of RCP8.5, melting intensifies to levels comparable to that experienced on now-collapsed ice shelves of the northeast Antarctic Peninsula. This work underscores an important human influence on the past and future evolution of melting in Antarctica. And while not predicting ice shelf collapse, our projected melt increases would combine with already existing ocean-induced ice shelf melting, thus raising concern about the future stability of many Antarctic ice shelves.


Spring 2015 Greenland fieldwork

In April and May 2015, I was part of a team of WHOI glaciologists collecting firn cores from the Greenland ice sheet and ice caps around Disko Bay, central west Greenland. A major goal of this project is to develop ice core records of past sea surface conditions that predate the modern satellite era. Our firn cores also present an opportunity to investigate past variability in surface melting, and thus develop an important spatial and temporal context for the recent melt intensification across this sector of Greenland. Read more about the project in an article I wrote for the National Ice Core Laboratory's In Depth Newsletter.


Remotely sensing surface melt

In Geophysical Research Letters, we present novel, satellite-based estimates of Antarctic surface meltwater production. This study calibrates and assesses radar backscatter measurements during melt from the QuikSCAT satellite with melt derived from ground-based modeling of the surface energy balance. We also find that over most ice sheet and ice shelf areas, our satellite-based results significantly agree with surface meltwater production simulated by the state of the art regional climate model, RACMO2.1. Across inner Larsen C ice shelf (LCIS) on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), our satellite results indicate persistent and intense melting consistent with the influence of warm föhn winds descending from the nearby AP mountains. This pattern of melt observed on LCIS is spatially consistent with recently reported LCIS thinning, affirming the importance of surface melt to firn compaction and overall LCIS volume reductions.


Melt ponds on George VI Ice Shelf.

Publications & CV
Trusel, L. D., K. E. Frey, S. B. Das, K. B. Karnauskas, P. Kuipers Munneke, E. van Meijgaard, and M. R. van den Broeke (2015), Divergent trajectories of Antarctic surface melt under two twenty-first-century climate scenarios. Nature Geoscience, 8, (12), 927-932 doi:10.1038/ngeo2563.

Trusel, L. D., K. E. Frey, S. B. Das, P. Kuipers Munneke, and M. R. van den Broeke (2013), Satellite-based estimates of Antarctic surface meltwater fluxes, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, doi:10.1002/2013GL058138.

Abram, N. J., R. Mulvaney, E. W. Wolff, J. Triest, S. Kipfstuhl, L. D. Trusel, F. Vimeux, L. Fleet, and C. Arrowsmith (2013), Acceleration of snow melt in an Antarctic Peninsula ice core during the twentieth century, Nature Geoscience, 6, (5), 404-411 doi:10.1038/ngeo1787.

Trusel, L. D., K. E. Frey, and S. B. Das (2012), Antarctic surface melting dynamics: Enhanced perspectives from radar scatterometer data, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 117, F02023, doi:10.1029/2011JF002126.
Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar
Recent publications

Twitter: @highlatitude.

Mailing address: Robinson Hall / 201 Mullica Hill Rd. / Glassboro, New Jersey, 08028, USA.