Helene Hoffmann

Dr Helene Hoffmann


  • Position Fellow Junior Research Fellow
  • Subject areas Earth Sciences Physical Sciences
  • School Physical Sciences
  • Department Earth Sciences, British Antartic Survey
  • Email hmh52@cam.ac.uk

Helene Hoffmann is a Physicist specialising in Environmental Physics and ice core science. She is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Earth Sciences

Helene Hoffmann

Helene completed her doctoral degree in Physics at the Institute of Environmental Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, in 2016. In her doctoral studies she focused on paleoclimate reconstructions from investigations of Alpine glaciers and developed a method for radiocarbon dating of non-polar ice cores. After her graduation she spent fourteen months in Antarctica as part of the 38th overwintering team at the German research base Neumayer III. At the base she was responsible for operation and maintenance of the air chemistry observatory including greenhouse gas concentration monitoring, as well as aerosol studies for atmospheric chemistry analyses and ozone measurements.

For her current project she moved back to paleoclimate studies but stayed with Antarctic research and joined the ERC funded project WACSWAIN (Warm Stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet in the last Interglacial) led by Professor Eric Wolff. Since September 2019 she works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Earth Sciences in Cambridge.

Helene's current focus in the WACSWAIN project is to setup and run an analytical system for ice core analysis via Laser Ablation Inductively coupled Plasma Mass spectrometry. This innovative method enables to resolve very thin annual layers and to perform chemical analysis of the ice composition in very high depth resolution, down to several tens of micrometres. This is especially important for analysis of very deep and old ice.

In a more general approach she is using many different chemical and physical analysing techniques aiming to decipher past atmospheric conditions from Alpine and Antarctic ice cores. These findings subsequently can help to investigate what could happen to the climate system in a warming future.


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