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  • E-mailwillemvanderbilt@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 81 08+47 451 28 612
  • Visitor Address
    Realfagbygget, Allégt. 41
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7803
    5020 Bergen

My research is geared towards understanding and utilizing the climate sensitivity of alpine glaciers to reconstruct Late Quaternary climate variability in Earth`s high latitudes. I investigate sites near both poles - on Svalbard, Greenland, South Georgia and the Kerguelen islands. Although the methods I employ also encompass geomorphological mapping and remote sensing techniques, I primarily harness the potential of lake sediments as continuous records of past (glacier) change. My past (PhD) research mostly focused on fingerprinting the signature of glacial rock flour - reflective of variations in glacier extent. To do so, I employed a combination of established physical analyses as well as novel techniques like X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and CT scanning. My current research integrates this sedimentological approach with biomarker (alkenones) paleothermometry to help constrain the climate signature of past glacier change. As a scarcity or organic material often precludes precise classic 14C dating of high-latitude (lake) sediments, I also utilize the geochronological potential of isochronously deposited layers of microscopic volcanic ash (tephra). My future research will expand the outlined multi-disciplinary method toolbox with molecular paleohydrology (hydrogen isotopes) techniques. When successful, this new approach will advance our understanding of our climate system by yielding quantitative reconstructions of glacier size, precipitation and temperature – key parameters of atmospheric climate change.

2019 Forskning.no (news site; NO), Naturlig nedkjøling fikk isbreene til å vokse

2019 Radio interview (Radio 1; NL), Awaking scientist’

2019 TV documentary (NRK; NO), ’Does the Earth go under?’

2018 Arctic Research blog (online) for the EU-Interact transnational access program

2017 National Geographic (online), Expedition Braves Arctic Perils for Climate Science

2017 Harvest.no kronikk (NO), ‛Ice adrift’

2017 IB Times interview, Ash from ancient volcano halfway round the world‛

2016 Science Daily, Algal fat opens window on past Arctic temperatures

GEOV 322 Master Level Field Excursion in Quaternary Geology (course co-leader)

GEOV 101 Undergraduate course Introduction to Geology (lecturer)

 

1. 2020 Møller, T.E., van der Bilt, W.G.M., Roerdink, D.L., Jørgensen, S.L. Microbial community structure in Arctic lake sediments reflect variations in Holocene climate conditions. In press. Frontiers in Microbiology, without PhD supervisors 

2. 2020 Alsos, I.G., Sjögren, P.J., Brown, A.G., Gielly, L., Føreid Merkel, Paus, A., Lammers, Y., Edwards, M.E., Alm, T., Leng, M., Goslar, T. Langdon, C.T., Bakke, J., van der Bilt, W.G.M. Last Glacial Maximum environmental conditions at Andøya, northern Norway; evidence for a northern ice-edge ecological “hotspot”. In press. Quaternary Science Reviews

3. 2020 Rutledal S, Berben SM, Dokken TM, van der Bilt W.G.M., Cederstrøm JM, Jansen E. Tephra horizons identified in the western North Atlantic and Nordic Seas during the Last Glacial Period. Quaternary Science Reviews, without PhD supervisors

4. 2019 van der Bilt, W.GM., D`Andrea, W.J., Bakke. J. Early Holocene temperature oscillations exceed amplitude of measured and modelled change in three Svalbard lakes. Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), Volume 46, Issue 24

5. 2019 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Lane, C.S. Late glacial lake sediments with Azorean tephra reveal ice-free interval on coastal northwest Spitsbergen. Science Advances, vol. 5 no. 10, without PhD supervisors

6. 2019 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Born, A., Haaga, K.A. Was Common Era glacier expansion in the Arctic Atlantic region triggered by unforced atmospheric cooling? Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 222, without PhD supervisors

7. 2019 Ólafsdóttir, S., Bakke, J., Stoner, J.S., Bradley, R.S, Gjerde, M., van der Bilt, W.G.M. Holocene paleomagnetic secular variation (PSV) near 80° N, Northwest Spitsbergen, Svalbard: Implications for evaluating High Arctic sediment chronologies. Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 210, pp. 90-102

8. 2019 Beldring, S., van der Bilt, W.G.M., Bogen J. and 7 other lead authors. Climate in Svalbard 2100: a knowledge base for climate adaptation. The Norwegian Centre for Climate Service. NCCS report 01/2019, without PhD supervisors

9. 2018 Oppedal, L.T., van der Bilt, W.G.M., Balascio, N.L., Bakke, J. Patagonian ash on sub-Antarctic South Georgia: expanding the tephrostratigraphy of southern South America into the Southern Ocean. Journal of Quaternary Science. Volume 33, pp. 482-486

10. 2018 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Roerdink, D.L., Jørgensen, S.L., Spagnolo, M., Rea, B., Bakke, J. East Greenland lake sediments highlight geomorphological sensitivity to Holocene climate transitions. Global and Planetary Change.

11. 2018 Bakke, J., Balascio, N.L., van der Bilt, W.G.M., Bradley, R.S., D`Andrea W.J., Gjerde, M., Ólafsdóttir, S., Røthe, T., De Wet, G. The Island of Amsterdamøya: a key site for studying past climate in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 183, pp. 188-203

12. 2018 Oppedal, L.T., Bakke, J., Paasche, Ø., Werner, J., van der Bilt, W.G.M. Cirque glacier rejuvenation and retreat on South Georgia during last 10 ka. Frontiers in Earth Science.

13. 2017 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Lane, C.S., Bakke, J. Ultra-distal Kamchatkan ash on Arctic Svalbard: Towards hemispheric cryptotephra correlation. Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 164

14. 2017 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Bakke, J., Werner, J.P., Paasche, Ø., Rosqvist, G., Vatle, S.S. Late Holocene glacier reconstruction reveals retreat behind present limits and two-stage Little Ice Age on sub-antarctic South Georgia. Journal of Quaternary Science. V.32, pp. 888–901

15. 2017 Sijtsma, F.J., van der Bilt, W.G.M., van Hinsberg, H., de Knegt, B., van der Heide, M., Leneman, H., Verburg, R. Planning nature in an urbanized country: an analysis of impacts of conservation policy scenarios in the Netherlands. Heliyon. V.3, without PhD supervisors

16. 2016 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Bakke, J., Vasskog, K., Røthe, T., Støren, E.N. Glacier-fed lakes as paleoenvironmental archives. Geology Today. Volume 32, pp. 188-203

17. 2016 van der Bilt, W.G.M., D`Andrea, W.J., Bakke, J., Balascio, N.L., Werner, J., Gjerde, M., Bradley, R.S. Alkenone-based reconstructions reveal four-phase Holocene temperature evolution for High Arctic Svalbard. Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 183, pp. 204-213

18. 2016 van der Bilt, W.G.M. Towards a process-based understanding of Holocene polar climate change. Doctoral thesis, University of Bergen, ISBN 978-82-308-3337-7, pp. 1-133

19. 2015 van der Bilt, W.G.M., Bakke, J., Balascio, N.L. Mapping sediment–landform assemblages to constrain lacustrine sedimentation in a glacier-fed lake catchment in northwest Spitsbergen. Journal of Maps. Volume 12

20. 2015  van der Bilt, W.G.M., Bakke, J., Vasskog, K., D'Andrea, W.J., Bradley, R.S., Ólafsdóttir, S. Reconstruction of glacier variability from lake sediments reveals dynamic Holocene climate in Svalbard. Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 126, pp. 201-218

  • 2020. Tephra horizons identified in the western North Atlantic and Nordic Seas during the Last Glacial Period: Extending the marine tephra framework. Quaternary Science Reviews.
  • 2019. Was common Era glacier expansion in the Arctic Atlantic region triggered by unforced atmospheric cooling? Quaternary Science Reviews. 6 pages.
  • 2019. Last Glacial tephra horizons identified in the North Atlantic and the Nordic Seas.
  • 2019. Lake sediments with Azorean tephra reveal ice-free conditions on coastal northwest Spitsbergen during the Last Glacial Maximum. Science Advances. 8 pages.
  • 2019. Holocene paleomagnetic secular variation (PSV) near 80° N, Northwest Spitsbergen, Svalbard: Implications for evaluating High Arctic sediment chronologies . Quaternary Science Reviews. 90-102.
  • 2019. Harnessing the potential of CT scanning to identify cryptotephra in sediment cores: a controlled experiment.
  • 2019. Early Holocene Temperature Oscillations Exceed Amplitude of Observed and Projected Warming in Svalbard Lakes. Geophysical Research Letters. 14732-14741.
  • 2019. Climate in Svalbard 2100 . 1/2019. 1/2019. .
  • 2019. Climate Hazards and Extremes (CHEX) – palaeoflood reconstructions from southernmost Norway.
  • 2018. The biogeochemistry of Arctic lake sediments: paleoclimate signal or post-depositional cycling? .
  • 2018. The Island of Amsterdamøya: A key site for studying past climate in the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard. Quaternary Science Reviews. 157-163.
  • 2018. Patagonian ash on sub-Antarctic South Georgia: expanding the tephrostratigraphy of southern South America into the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Journal of Quaternary Science. 482-486.
  • 2018. Novel sedimentological fingerprints link shifting depositional processes to Holocene climate transitions in East Greenland. Global and Planetary Change. 52-64.
  • 2018. Late Holocene glacier change on Kerguelen Island tracks shifts of the southern Westerly Winds.
  • 2018. Evidence for a spontaneous onset of Little Ice Age change in the North Atlantic Arctic.
  • 2018. Evidence for a spontaneous onset of Little Ice Age change in the Arctic North Atlantic. Geophysical Research Abstracts.
  • 2018. East Greenland lake sediments capture surface process response to Holocene climate transitions. Geophysical Research Abstracts.
  • 2018. Early Holocene temperature oscillations exceed amplitude of measured and modeled change in three Svalbard lakes.
  • 2018. Cirque glacier on South Georgia shows centennial variability over the last 7000 years. Frontiers in Earth Science.
  • 2018. Arctic Research blog.
  • 2018. Alkenone-based reconstructions reveal four-phase Holocene temperature evolution for High Arctic Svalbard. Quaternary Science Reviews. 204-213.
  • 2017. Ultra-distal Kamchatkan ash on Arctic Svalbard: Towards hemispheric cryptotephra correlation. Quaternary Science Reviews. 230-235.
  • 2017. Planning nature in urbanized countries. An analysis of monetary and non-monetary impacts of conservation policy scenarios in the Netherlands. Heliyon.
  • 2017. Late Holocene glacier reconstruction reveals retreat behind present limits and two-stage Little Ice Age on subantarctic South Georgia. Journal of Quaternary Science. 888-901.
  • 2017. Ash from large ancient volcano eruption at the edge of Siberia ended up halfway round the world. International Business Times.
  • 2016. Towards a process-based understanding of Holocene polar climate change. Using glacier-fed lake sediments from Arctic Svalbard and Antarctic South Georgia.
  • 2016. Mapping sediment–landform assemblages to constrain lacustrine sedimentation in a glacier-fed lake catchment in northwest Spitsbergen. Journal of Maps. 985-993.
  • 2016. Glacier-fed lakes as palaeoenvironmental archives. Geology Today. 213-218.
  • 2016. A continuous record of Late Holocene glacier fluctuations on South Georgia, placed in a Southern Ocean climate context.
  • 2015. Veldwerk op Spitsbergen. EOS blogs. 70-73.
  • 2015. The Dark Ages in Svalbard: colder and dryer than the Little Ice Age?
  • 2015. Reconstruction of glacier variability from lake sediments reveals dynamic Holocene climate in Svalbard. Quaternary Science Reviews. 201-218.
  • 2015. Rapidly shifting Holocene Arctic climate conditions recorded in a distal glacier-fed lake in Svalbard, Spitsbergen.
  • 2015. Prehistorisch vet van algenfamilie vertelt klimaatverhaal.
  • 2015. Poolgletsjers Spitsbergen zeer veranderlijk sinds laatste ijstijd. EOS blogs.
  • 2015. Mapping sediment-landform assemblages to constrain the impact of paraglacial catchment processes on sedimentation in a glacier-fed lake on Northwest Spitsbergen.
  • 2015. De koude douche voor het warme bad: wat was de Kleine IJstijd precies? EOS blogs.
  • 2015. Constraining Age-Depth-Models of Lacustrine Sediments using Bayesian inference .
  • 2014. Towards a process‐based understanding of Holocene Arctic climate dynamics using sediments from a glacier‐fed lake on Svalbard.
  • 2014. Towards a process-based understanding of Holocene Arctic climate dynamics using sediments from glacier-fed lakes.
  • 2014. Field update from a fruitful INTERACTion in Greenland.
  • 2014. East Greenland in a nutshell.
  • 2014. Constraining the glacier-climate signal recorded by glacier-fed lake sediments-An example from Svalbard.
  • 2014. Climate change 'secrets' recovered from bottom of Greenland lake.
  • 2014. Bereneiland: In de schaduw van Barentsz. Op Lemen Voeten. 6 pages.
  • 2014. Arctic mission searches for lake `secrets`. The Press and Journal. 20-20.
  • 2013. IJspret op Folgefonna, Noorwegen. Op Pad. 1 pages.
  • 2013. De geologie van Noorwegen. Op Pad. 1 pages.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

Interested in climate science? Would you like to familiarize yourself with new instruments and techniques that will help shape the future of paleoclimate science? Are you interested in working on unique sediments from some of the most remote and fast-changing regions of our planet? Or do you want to bulk up your resume with hands-on experience with various analytical techniques that could help you land a job?

Then please contact me about available research opportunities (MSc projects, PhD or Postdoc proposals, internships, Erasmus etc.). Current opportunities include:

  • Unravelling seasonal-annual changes in weather patterns over Europe by applying lipid biomarker approaches and high-fidelity scanning (CT/XRF) techniques on laminated Maar lake sediments from the Azores archipelago
  • Fingerprinting the timing and magnitude of glacio-volcanic megafloods using tephrochronology and advanced sediment fingerprints on slackwater sediments from northern Iceland
  • Advancing the potential of Computed Tomography (CT) scanning to identify the invisible fingerprints of extreme events (volcanic eruptions, ice rafting, avalanches) in geological archives
  • Resolving the Holocene behavior of the Southern Westerly Winds and their links with temperature, precipitation and glacier change in the region

2017-2022 Norwegian Research Council (NFR) Polar Program, Past behavior of the Southern Ocean’s atmosphere and cryosphere (SOUTHSPHERE, WP leader

2020-2021 Centre for Climate Dynamics at the Bjerknes Centre (SKD), Fast Track Initiative (FTI), diagnosing sediment archives with Computed Tomography (DISECT), PI

2020-2021 Positioning Funding (POS), Past fingerprints of future European weather extremes, PI

2020-2021 Norwegian Research Council (NFR), Svalbard Strategic Grant (SSG), Svalbard Holocene Assembly (SVALHOLA), co-leader

2018-2020 European Research Council (ERC), Transnational Access grant (INTERACT), 2018, Glacier-climate fingerprints of cooling events in the subarctic Atlantic (GLACTIC), PI

2020 Research school on changing climates in the coupled earth system (CHESS), Summer School funding, past present and future glacier-climate change in an interdisciplinary light, co-leader

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