Sea Ice Group at the Geophysical Institute logo1
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Chris Petrich

Research Associate

Office: 104D West Ridge Research Building (WRRB), UAF
Phone: +1 907 474 6832
Email: chris.petrich at

Research Interests:
Sea ice properties during growth and decay,numerical simulation of porous medium fluid flow, percolation modeling.

Photo: Sebastian Gerland, NPI

Chris is working on sea ice properties and processes. He is part of the Snow, Ice & Perfmafrost Group at the Geophysical Institute at UAF where he performs observations on growth and decay processes of sea ice and corresponding fluid dynamics modeling. Most recently, he developed an operational break-up forecast model for landfast sea ice in Barrow, Alaska, and tracked the evolution of the sea ice surface from the formation of snow dunes in winter to the development of melt ponds in summer. He is currently involved in an international effort to assess the fate of oil and contaminants in sea ice (JIP Oil in ice), and he is investigating the relationship between ice optics and biological activity in the ice in collaboration with Marcel Nicolaus at AWI and Rolf Gradinger at the UAF School of Fish. Prior to coming to Alaska, he investigated sea ice growth processes with Pat Langhorne (U. Otago, New Zealand), and disintegrating sea ice in collaboration with Sebastian Gerland (NPI, Norway) on Svalbard. As part of his Ph.D. project at the University of Otago, Chris studied the structure and the refreezing process of cracks with Pat Langhorne and Tim Haskell in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica during spring (September–November). He developed a two-dimensional fluid dynamics model to simulate growth of sea ice, desalination, and ice–ocean interface flux, and he modeled the pore structure of random porous media. Before he studied sea ice, Chris obtained his Diplom in physics at the Universität Rostock with thesis work on Ultra High Vacuum surface characterization of a semiconductor at North Carolina State University.