The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) International Project Office supports the project Scientific Steering Group in coordinating and implementing the CliC projects and tasks. Its functions of international communication and liaison make it the primary point of contact for those wishing to participate in, contribute to, or learn more about the CliC projects.

The IPO was hosted by the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway between 2020 and 2022.

In 2023, the office will move to its new host, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and new staff will be employed.

Beatriz Balino –  Executive Director (2020-2022). Interim Director 2023

Beatriz has more than twenty five years of experience in management and administration of multidisciplinary scientific programmes and research centres, on marine, climate and global environmental research at the national and international level. Her international experience includes the positions of deputy director at the Secretariat of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP, 2006) and as Assistant Executive Officer at the International Project Office of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS, 1996-2000). At WCRP she held the position of regional science coordinator at the Coordination Office for Regional Activities (CORA 2019-2021,

Beatriz holds a Ph.D. in marine biology from University of Bergen, and has conducted fundamental and applied research in marine biology and fjord ecology, theoretical studies of plankton dynamics and ecosystem modelling, sea ranching and aquaculture of marine species. At the University of Bergen she held leader and managerial positions such as: Deputy Director at the Division of Research Management, Science Advisor for Marine Research, and National Coordinator of the Norwegian Consortium of Marine Research Universities.


Narelle van der Wel – WCRP Secretariat Liaison

Narelle joined the WCRP Secretariat as a Science and Communications Officer in June 2021. She was previously a consultant with WCRP since April 2016. She works in a range of areas including strategic planning and implementation, communication and outreach, and science coordination and support. Narelle is responsible for the process of implementing the WCRP Strategic Plan, which involves consultation with stakeholders and the wider science community and supporting the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) in developing an Implementation Plan. This includes overseeing and supporting the WCRP Lighthouse Activities. Narelle is also responsible for communication, including the conceptualization, writing, editing and design of newsletters, website content and other WCRP communication products. She also supports early career researchers to facilitate capacity building, education and outreach activities.

Narelle previously took charge of the logistics and planning for the WCRP Climate Science Week and the 40th Anniversary Symposium (December 2019), the WMO Public Science Lecture (2019), and took overall responsibility for the process of developing the WCRP Strategic Plan 2019-2028 (2019) and the WCRP Communication Strategy 2017-2020 (2017).

Narelle completed a Ph.D. in Polar Studies (Glaciology) at Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (UK), focusing on numerically modelling the flow of ice streams in Antarctica. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Scott Polar Research Institute on two projects, modelling of the flow of Greenland glaciers. In September 2018 she also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Climate Change Management at the University of Edinburgh.

Past Staff Members

Michael Sparrow – WCRP Secretariat Liaison (2014-2021)

Dr. Michael (Mike) Sparrow is the WCRP Joint Planning Staff (JPS) Senior Scientific Officer, in charge of CliC, the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) project, and Sea Level and Cryosphere Grand Challenges, succeeding Vladimir Ryabinin. Mike comes from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, where he has been Executive Director for the last five years and Executive Officer before that. During this time his role was to guide and implement SCAR’s vision and objectives, develop and implement SCAR activities, assist in raising external funds, oversee SCAR’s communications, represent SCAR at international meetings and manage the SCAR Secretariat. Mike is a Southern Ocean physical oceanographer, with a PhD in Oceanography, a Masters degree in Atmospheric Sciences and a Bachelors in Physics. Previous to moving to the SCAR Secretariat in 2007, Mike was based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, working for the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) project of the World Climate Research Programme, where he was responsible for coordinating CLIVAR’s interests in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic region as well as in Africa. He has also worked and lived in Spain and China and taken part in four cruises to the Antarctic, including two as co-chief scientist. He has published scientific papers ranging on subjects as diverse as the flow of Antarctic Bottom Water around Antarctica to the study of regional climate change in China, and given media interviews to e.g. Sky News, the Chinese Broadcasting Corporation and Antartida Urbana. His interests include Capoeira, yoga, writing historical fiction and surviving his two boys…

Helene Asbjørnsen –  Executive Officer (Jan-July 2021)

Helene is a physical oceanographyer with a PhD from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen in Norway.  Her research focuses on obtaining a more robust understanding of regional ocean heat content variability in the Arctic-Atlantic sector on interannual to decadal time scales. Helene uses regional heat budget analysis and Lagrangian trajectory modeling to assess the link between anomalous ocean heat, large-scale ocean circulation changes, and atmospheric forcing. She joined the CliC IPO to assist Beatriz mainly with CliC communications (web and social media).

Gwénaëlle Hamon – Executive Officer – 2014-2020

Gwen holds a Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Studies from the University Paris-Sud XI in France where she comes from. She specialized in ocean issues through an internship at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with a focus on scientific research and commercial uses of marine genetic resources, and on the development of a database on marine bio-prospecting in 2007. From 2009 to 2014 she worked as an officer at the Global Ocean Forum (NGO) based at the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy of the University of Delaware in the USA where she was in charge of coordinating the activities of the organization related to marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, marine biodiversity, climate change, capacity building and outreach.

After her first visit in Tromsø early 2014, Gwen knew that she would be back in the Arctic eventually! In September 2014 she joined the CliC office in Tromsø to work with the team on the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis project as well as other CliC activities. She moved from CliC Officer to Executive Officer in January 2015. From January 2019 to October 2020, Gwen coordinated the CliC Project as a consultant for WMO, working from Geneva.

Lawrence Hislop – Director – 2016-2018

Lawrence is from Montreal, Canada and has more than ten years of international experience leading UN and EU funded projects, and has produced many environmental assessments and related communications products. From 2009-2014, Lawrence led the Polar and Cryosphere programme at GRID-Arendal in Norway and collaborated on projects with the Arctic Council, University of the Arctic and UNEP-linked activities in Polar and mountain regions. He was also on the management team of the Himalayan Climate Adaptation Programme (HICAP) from 2011 – 2014 and initiated long-term research on environmental impacts in Nepal, India, Pakistan and China. In addition to his research work, Lawrence also produces documentary photography, films and infographics.

Jenny Baeseman – Director – 2012-2015

Dr. Baeseman began her love of the cold growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, USA and has a B.S. in Water Chemistry from the University of WI – Stevens Point, M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Ph.D. also in Civil Engineering with an environmental emphasis from the University of Colorado, and postdoctoral training in Geosciences from Princeton University. She has spent 4 seasons in Antarctica, 3 in the McMurdo Dry Valleys and 1 on the peninsula. Jenny was very involved in the planning of the International Polar Year (IPY) and through this co-founded and subsequently became the Founding Director of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) which grew to over 3500 members from 76 countries during her leadership. One of her main objectives in developing APECS was to help young researchers combine their interests in interdisciplinary polar science with education and outreach and gain international leadership through professional development activities. In April 2012 she turned over the reigns of the early career group to become the Director of the Climate and the Cryosphere Project (CliC), sponsored by the World Climate Research Programme, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the International Arctic Science Committee. The CliC Project office is hosted by the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, Norway. She continues research in her spare time through an adjunct position at the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. One of Jenny’s personal goals is to make sure everyone she meets knows that polar bears don’t eat penguins – as they live at different Poles.

Vladimir Ryabinin – WCRP Joint Planning Staff Liaison

Vladimir Ryabinin is a Senior Scientific Officer, World Climate Research Programme, Geneva, where he works on international coordination of climate research with a focus on high latitudes, cryosphere, hydrological cycle, stratosphere, atmospheric chemistry, and the role of oceans in climate. He has a background in hydrometeorology and engineering with a PhD in physics and mathematics from the Hydrometeorological Research Centre of USSR and the Degree of Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in Geophysics and Oceanography from the Hydrometeorological Research Centre of the Russian Federation. Before joining WCRP, he was a researcher, developer of weather and oceanographic prediction technologies and, later, the Executive Director of the International Ocean Institute with headquarters in Malta. Vladimir is passionate about helping researchers address questions to better predict climate variability and project climate change and has been a great asset for the CliC project.

Lorna Little – Volunteer Frostbyte Editor

Lorna is a polar botanist from New Zealand. After studying the potential for weeds to invade alpine regions at the University of Otago, New Zealand, she went on to study all things Antarctic in the Post Graduate Certificate of Antarctic Studies at the University of Canterbury. Her background in botany and passion for polar places sent her to the northern hemisphere however, when she began her PhD investigating the role of flower colour in the New Zealand Subantarctic and Arctic Svalbard with the University of Otago and the University Center in Svalbard. She has been involved in various APECS Oceania initiatives in New Zealand, and since completing her PhD in December of 2013, has been developing outreach and education activities about polar regions and botany. Lorna has been a Frostbyte Editor since May 2014.

Erik Warming – Administrative Officer from April 2014 to November 2014

Erik is a Danish geophysicist from Copenhagen University. Originally he studied meteorology but by random inspiration he spent 6 month on Svalbard at the University Centre in Svalbard and then his heart meet the Arctic. Twice he returned to continue the study of study glaciers, snow, sea ice and atmosphere chemistry.

His Master’s thesis tackled the issue of drill liquid contamination of Ice cores using the Continuous Flow Analysis system (CFA), which does chemical analysis of ice cores. His new instrument was field tested at the NEEM ice core drill site on the Greenland ice sheet. This was also the topic of one of the very first FrostBytes, which was produced for the IPY conference in Montreal 2012.Erik has a deep rooted interest in polar science and research, and has been the prime video and FrostByte editor for CliC since 2013.

Heidi Isaksen – Administrative Officer from June 2012 to July 2014

Past CliC Fellows

Alice Bradley – Year of Polar Prediction Activities – 2015-2017

Alice is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder in the aerospace engineering department, focusing on remote sensing and Earth sciences. She is currently working on her dissertation, titled “Ice formation in the Arctic Ocean: Observed processes and climate feedbacks.” Alice’s research broadly focuses in sea ice – ocean – atmosphere interactions in environments with partial sea ice cover; ongoing research includes both the marginal ice zone in the Arctic and polynyas in the Antarctic, with a special focus in unmanned aircraft as a sensing platform. She did her undergraduate work in electrical engineering at Dartmouth College and received her M.S. in remote sensing from the University of Colorado.

For more information on Alice, visit:

François Massonnet – Year of Polar Prediction Activities – 2015-2017

Dr Massonnet obtained his PhD in Sciences in 2014 from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL). During his PhD, he developed various metrics to evaluate sea ice models used in the framework of climate reconstructions, predictions and projections. He participated as a contributing author to the IPCC WG1 AR5 and was involved in several national and international research projects about climate prediction and predictability. He also implemented data assimilation methods in large-scale sea ice models for state and parameter estimation.

Dr Massonnet is now a F.R.S.-FNRS Post-Doctoral Fellow from the UCL and undertakes a 18-month scientific visit at the Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences (IC3, Barcelona) in the Climate Forecasting Unit (CFU) where he explores the seasonal-to-interannual predictability of extreme winters at mid-latitudes in response to Arctic climate change. In parallel, he is also implementing initialization methods for near-term prediction in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. He is also part of the CliC Sea Ice and Modeling Forum and has written several reports for CliC on sea ice observation needs for modeling.

Ylva Sjöberg – Permafrost Research Priorities – 2014-2015

Ylva’s PhD project focuses on exploring the interactions between permafrost and groundwater, which is crucial for understanding future changes that can be expected in the Arctic with climate warming. The aim is to assess the effects of permafrost thaw on hydrology both at a detailed and process-oriented scale, and at catchment scales. This is done by analyzing long-term river discharge data, field mapping of ground-ice using geophysical methods, and physically-based modeling of coupled groundwater flows and heat transport.

Ylva is helping to facilitate the IPA/CliC Permafrost Research Priorities Targeted Activity.