Ole Humlum
M.Sc., Ph.D., Professor of Physical Geography


Address: The University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS), P.O. Box 156, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, N9170 Norway.

Phone: +47 79 02 33 00 (department); +47 79 02 33 20 (direct).  Fax:  +47 79 02 33 01.

E-mail: oleh@unis.no   Web : www.unis.no  

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Research Interest:

  • Glacial- and periglacial geomorphology, with main emphasis on the climatic control on glacial and periglacial geomorphic activity in cold-climate, high-relief areas, past as well as present. 

  • Landforms derived from bedrock weathering in high-relief areas, with special emphasis on rock glaciers. 

  • Climate variability and associated geomorphic response. Reconstruction of Quaternary ice sheets, glaciers and periglacial environments in the North Atlantic region. 

  • Historical and modern climatology (modern data series as well as the use of documentary and early instrumental records for the reconstruction of late Holocene climate) of the Arctic region, the North Atlantic region, including the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Svalbard and Norway. 

  • The impact of climate on societies (human dimensions) in the North Atlantic region. 

  • Comparison and integration of different climate proxy series. 

  • Scientific applications of numerical modelling in geomorphology; e.g. modelling of  active layer and permafrost thermal characteristics. 

  • Mapping Arctic and Antarctic surface temperature changes and geomorphic effects during the observational period. 

  • Mapping, monitoring and modelling natural cold-climate geomorphic processes and -hazards.

  • Permafrost and periglacial processes. International Permafrost Association.

  • Physical Geography of Svalbard

  • Snow avalanche risk in Svalbard

Professional Experience:

  • 1976-1980: Research fellow, Ph.D. student, Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • 1980-1982: Research fellow, Post.Doc, Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 

  • 1982-1983: Post.Doc., Danish Science Research Councils, Denmark . 

  • 1983-1986: Scientific Director, Arctic Station, Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn), Greenland. 

  • 1986-1996: Associate professor, Arctic Geomorphology, Institute of Geography., University of Copenhagen . 

  • 1995-1999: Pedagogical Mentor, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark . 

  • 1996-1997: Special Consultant, GeoBasis Programme, Zackenberg, NE Greenland, Danish Polar Center (DPC), Copenhagen . 

  • 1997-1998: Visiting Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St. Andrews, Scotland . 

  • 1998: Visiting Associate Professor, Faroese Natural Museum, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands . 

  • 1998-1999: Associate professor, Arctic Geomorphology, Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen . 

  • 1999-2003: Full Professor of Physical Geography, The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway. 

  • 2001-2003: Head of the Geological Department, The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway. 

  • Since 2003 Full Professor of Physical Geography at the Department of Physical Geography, Institute of Geoscience, University of Oslo. 

  • Since 2003 Adjunct Professor at The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway.

Professional Services:

  • Treasurer, Royal Danish Geographical Society (1989-1995). 

  • Member of the board, Knud Rasmussens Foundation, Denmark (since 1991). 

  • Water power consultant, Greenland Technical Organization (GTO, 1984-86). 

  • Editor, Greenland Home Rule Office, Pilersuiffik, Denmark. 

  • Secretary for the INQUA Working Group on Geospatial Analysis of Glaciated Environments (GAGE, 1994-1999). 

  • Member of the Commission on Telemetry, the Danish Ministry for Research, 1994-1996. 

  • Co-opted member of the Executive Committee for the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG, 1997-2001).

  • Co-chair for the Working Group on Periglacial Processes and Environments, International Permafrost Association (IPA, 1998-2004). 

  • Ex-Officio member IGU (International Geographical Union) Commission on Climate Change and Periglacial Environments (1998-2003). 

  • Member of the editorial board, Geografiska Annaler, Sweden (since 1996). 

  • Official IPA (International Permafrost Association) liaison officer to IAG (International Association of Geomorphologists, since 1998). 

  • Official IAG liaison officer to IPA (since 1998). 

  • Member of the editorial board, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift (Norwegian Journal of Geography), Norway (since 2000).  

  • Member of the editorial board, Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, U.K. (since 2000). 

  • Co-ordination committee member of the ESF-funded network ‘Permafrost and Climate in Europe in the 21th Century (PACE21); since April 2003. 

  • Head of the Norwegian Research Council’s Commision for promotion of Professors in Geography; since May 2004. 

  • International member of the Advisory Board for the Abisko Scientific Research Station, Northern Sweden . The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, since June 2004.

  • Co-chair for the Working Group on Periglacial Processes and Climate, International Permafrost Association (IPA, since 2004). 



Physical geography, glaciology, glacial geomorphology, periglacial geomorphology, climatic geomorphology, geomorphic mapping using aerial photos, history of geomorphology, statistics for geographers, the physical geography of Svalbard, glacial- and periglacial processes.

Courses at the University Centre in Svalbard:

Courses at the University of Oslo:


Ongoing research activities at UNIS:


Selected publications since 1998:

  • Humlum, O. 1998. Active Layer Thermal Regime at Three Rock Glaciers in Greenland. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol.8, 383-408.

  • Humlum, O. 1998. Rock Glaciers on the Faroe Islands, the North Atlantic. Journal of Quaternary Sciences, 13(4), 293-307.

  • Humlum, O. 1998. Active Layer Thermal Regime 1991-1996 at Qeqertarsuaq, Disko Island, Central West Greenland.  Arctic and Alpine Research, 30(3), 295-305.

  • Humlum, O. and Christiansen, H.H. 1998. Mountain Climate and Periglacial Phenomena in the Faroe Islands, SE North Atlantic Ocean. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 9, 189-211. 

  • Nielsen, N., Hansen, B.U.H. and Humlum, O. 1998. Meteorological Observations 1997 at the Arctic Station, Qeqertarsuaq (69o15'N), Central West Greenland.  Danish Journal of Geography, 98, 81-83.

  • Humlum, O. 1999. The Climatic Significance of Rock Glaciers. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 9(4), 375-395.

  • Humlum, O. and Christiansen, H.H. 1999. Late Holocene Climatic Forcing of Geomorphic Activity in the Faroe Islands, North Atlantic Ocean. Fróðskaparrit, 46-2, 169-189.

  • Christiansen, H.H., Murray, A., Mejdahl, V. and Humlum, O. 1999. Luminescence Dating of Holocene Geomorphic Activity on the Angmassalik Island, SE Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 18(2), 191-205.

  • Humlum, O. 1999. Late Holocene Climate in Central West Greenland: Meteorological Data and Rock Glacier Isotope Evidence. The Holocene 9, 5, 581-594.

  • Humlum, O., Hansen, B.U. and Nielsen, N. 1999. Meteorological Observations 1998 at the Arctic Station, Qeqertarsuaq (69o15'N), Central West Greenland.  Danish Journal of Geography, 99, 113-115.

  • Hansen, B.U., Nielsen, N. and Humlum, O. 2000.  Meteorological Observations in 1999 at the Arctic Station, Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn), Central West Greenland. Danish Journal of Geography, 100, 85-87.

  • Humlum, O. 2000.  The Geomorphic Significance of Rock Glaciers: estimates of rock glacier debris volumes and headwall recession rates in West Greenland.  Geomorphology , 35, 41-67. 

  • Nielsen, N., Humlum, O. and Hansen, B.U. 2001.  Meteorological Observations in 2000 at the Arctic Station, Qeqertarsuaq (69o15’N), Central West Greenland. Danish Journal of Geography 2001, 155-158.

  • Christiansen, H.H., Bennike, O., Böcher, J., Elberling, B., Humlum, O. and Jakobsen, B.H. 2002. Holocene environmental reconstruction from deltaic deposits in northeast Greenland. Journal of Quaternary Science 17, 145-160.

  • Humlum, O. and Ziaja, W. 2002.  Discussion of "Glacial Recession in Sørkappland and Central Nordenskiöldland, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, during the 20th Century"; Comments and response.  Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 34, 226-229.

  • Humlum, O. 2002.  Modelling late 20th-century precipitation in Nordenskiöld Land, Svalbard, by geomorphic means. Norwegian Journal of Geography 56, 96-103.   

  • Ingólfsson, O., Hjort, C. and Humlum, O. 2003. Glacial and Climate History of the Antarctic Peninsula since the Last Glacial Maximum. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 35(2), 175-186.

  • Christiansen, H.H. and Humlum, O. 2003.  The southern boundary of the Northern Hemisphere periglacial zone at the Faroe Islands . In Phillips, M., Springman, S.M. and Arenson, L.U. (Eds.): Proceedings 8Ith International Permafrost Conference, Zürich , Switzerland . Volume 1, 139-144.

  • Hansen, B.U., Humlum, O. and Nielsen, N. 2003.  Meteorological Observations 2002 at the Arctic Station, Qeqertarsuaq (69o15'N), Central West Greenland. Danish Journal of Geography 103(2), 93-97.

  • Matsuoka, N. and Humlum, O. 2003.  Monitoring Periglacial Processes: New Methodology and Technology. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 14(4), 299-303.

  • Humlum, O. Instanes, A. and Sollid, J.L. 2003: Permafrost in Svalbard: a review of research history, climatic background and engineering challenges. Polar Research 22(2), 191-215.

  • Callaghan, T.V., Johansson, M., Heal, O.W., Saelthun, N.R., Barkved, L., Bayfield, N., Brandt, O., Brooker, R., Christiansen, H.H., Høye, T.T., Humlum, O., Järvinen, A., Jonasson, C., Kohler, J., Magnusson, B., Meltofte, H., Mortensen, L., Neuvonen, S., Pearce, I., Rasch, M., Turner, L., Hasholt, B., Huhta, E., Leskinen, E., Nielsen, N. and Siikamäki, P. 2004. Environmental Changes in the North Atlantic Region: SCANNET as a collaborative approach for documenting, understanding and predicting changes. Ambio, Special Report Number 13, 39-50.

  • Humlum, O. 2004.  Meteorological stations at the Sermilik Station, Southeast Greenland : physical environment and meteorological observations 2002. Danish Journal of Geography 104, 47-58.

  • Humlum, O. 2005.  Holocene permafrost aggradation in Svalbard . British Geomorphological Research Group and Joint Association for Quaternary Research. Cryospheric Systems, London, 13-14. January 2003. The Geological Society of London, Special Publications, 242, 119-130.

  • Humlum, O. 2005. The Faroe Islands . In M.Nuttall (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Arctic, Routledge, New York and London, Vol.1, 608-611.

  • Humlum, O. 2005. Rock glaciers. In M.Nuttall (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Arctic, Routledge, New York and London, Vol.3, 1771-1772.

  • Humlum, O. 2005. Svalbard . In M.Nuttall (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Arctic,  Routledge, New York and London, Vol.3, 1975-1982. 

  • Humlum, O., Elberling, B., Hormes, A., Fjordheim, K., Hansen, O.H. and Heinemeier, J. 2005. Late Holocene glacier growth in Svalbard , documented by subglacial rellict vegetation and living soil mocrobes. The Holocene, 15(3), 396-407.

  • Lucas, S., Nicholson, L.I., Ross, F.H. and Humlum, O. 2005. Formation, meltout processes and landscape alteration of High-Arctic ice-cored moraines – examples from Nordenskiöldland, central Spitsbergen . Polar Geography 29(2), 79-109.
  • Humlum, O. 2006. Titanic i Arktis. Chronicle in Norwegian newspaper 'Nordlys'.
  • Romanovsky, V., Smith, S., Brown, J., Humlum, O. and Marchenko, S. 2006. The Thermal State of Permafrost: A Contribution to the International Polar Year. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 8, 05319, 2006. SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU06-A-05319.
  • Hansen, B.U., Elberling, B., Humlum, O. and Nielsen, N. 2006. Meteorological trends (1991-2004) at Arctic Station, Central West Greenland (69o15’N) in a 130 years perspective. Danish Journal of Geography 106(1), 45-55.
  • Haeberli, W., Hallet, B., Arenson, L., Elconin, R., Humlum, O., Kääb, A., Kaufmann, W., Ladanyi, B., Matsuoka, N., Springman, S. and Vonder Mühll, D. 2006. Permafrost Creep and Rock Glacier Dynamics. Permafrost and Periglacial Research 17(3), 189-214.
  • Humlum, O. 2006. Al Gore er ikke forsker. Kronikk i www.forskning.no, 20061003.
  • Humlum, O, Christiansen, H.H. and Juliussen, H. 2007. Avalanche Derived Rock Glaciers in Svalbard. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 18, 75-88.
  • Farbrot, H., Etzelmüller, B., Schuler, T.V., Guðmundsson, Á., Eiken, T., Humlum, O. and Björnsson, H. (in press).  Thermal Characteristics and Impact of Climate Change on Mountain Permafrost in Iceland . Permafrost and Periglacial Processes.

  • Etzelmüller, B., Farbrot, H., Guðmundsson, Á, Humlum, O., Tveito, O.E. and Björnsson, H. (in press).  The Regional Distribution of Mountain Permafrost in Iceland . Permafrost and Periglacial Processes.

  • Juliussen, H. and Humlum, O. (in press). Towards a TTOP ground temperature model for mountain terrain in central-eastern Norway. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes.

  • Juliussen, H. & Humlum, O. (in press). Preservation of block fields beneath Pleistocene ice sheets on Sølen and Elgåhogna, central-eastern Norway. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie.



Latest update: 23. April 2007.


visits since 23 April 2007