Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Denis Felikson


Denis Felikson's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6835
Org Code: 615
Mail Code 615
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

My research interests focus on combining observations and models of Earth’s ice sheets to understand the processes that drive their change and to improve projections of sea-level rise. I was a member of the Greenland Ocean Forcing Working Group for the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6), a data contributor to the Ice-sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise (IMBIE), a member of the NASA Sea-Level Change Team (N-SLCT), and a member of the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) Science Team.


Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (2018)

Dissertation: Inland thinning propagation along Greenland outlet glaciers (link)

M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (2013)

Thesis: Elevation and volume change of the ice sheets from GLAS (link)

B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park (2007)

Minor: Physics


Research Physical Scientist

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

September 2023 - Present

Research Scientist

GESTAR II, Morgan State University - Baltimore, MD

December 2021 - September 2023

Research Scientist

GESTAR, Universities Space Research Association - Greenbelt, MD

August 2020 - November 2021

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow

Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory (Code 615), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

August 2018 - August 2020

Graduate Research Assistant

University of Texas at Austin - Austin, TX

September 2011 - August 2018

Flight Dynamics Analyst

a.i. solutions, Inc. - Lanham, MD

July 2008 - August 2011

Systems Engineer

Integral Systems, Inc. - Lanham, MD

June 2007 - June 2008



2023. "A Changing Antarctica: How Computer Models Help Scientists Look Into the Future." Frontiers for Young Minds 11 1114876 [10.3389/frym.2023.1114876] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Choice of observation type affects Bayesian calibration of Greenland Ice Sheet model simulations." The Cryosphere 17 (11): 4661-4673 [10.5194/tc-17-4661-2023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Topographic modulation of outlet glaciers in Greenland: a review." Annals of Glaciology 63 (87-89): 171-177 [10.1017/aog.2023.55] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Modelling the Greenland Ice Sheet’s committed contribution to sea level during the 21st Century." Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 128 (2): e2022JF006914 [10.1029/2022jf006914] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Helheim Glacier ice velocity variability responds to runoff and terminus position change at different timescales." Nature Communications 13 6022 [10.1038/s41467-022-33292-y] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "GBaTSv2: A revised synthesis of the likely basal thermal state of the Greenland Ice Sheet." The Cryosphere [10.5194/tc-16-3033-2022] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Ambiguous stability of glaciers at bed peaks." Journal of Glaciology [10.1017/jog.2022.31] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Brief communication: Preliminary ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2) measurements of outlet glaciers reveal heterogeneous patterns of seasonal dynamic thickness change." The Cryosphere 16 (4): 1341-1348 [10.5194/tc-16-1341-2022] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Seasonal tidewater glacier terminus oscillations bias multi‐decadal projections of ice mass change." Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 127 (2): e2021JF006249 [10.1029/2021JF006249] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "High‐spatial‐resolution mass rates from GRACE and GRACE‐FO: Global and ice sheet analyses." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 126 (12): e2021JB023024 [10.1029/2021JB023024] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Projected land ice contributions to twenty-first-century sea level rise." Nature 593 74-82 [10.1038/s41586-021-03302-y] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Future Sea Level Change Under Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and Phase 6 Scenarios From the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets." Geophysical Research Letters e2020GL091741 [10.1029/2020GL091741] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Steep glacier bed knickpoints mitigate inland thinning in Greenland." Geophysical Research Letters 48 e2020GL090112 [10.1029/2020gl090112] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The future sea-level contribution of the Greenland ice sheet: a multi-model ensemble study of ISMIP6." The Cryosphere [10.5194/tc-14-3071-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Experimental protocol for sealevel projections from ISMIP6 stand-alone ice sheet models." The Cryosphere 13 2331–2368 [10.5194/tc-14-2331-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2018." Nature 579 233-239 [10.1038/s41586-019-1855-2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Twenty-first century ocean forcing of the Greenland ice sheet for modelling of sea level contribution." The Cryosphere 14 (3): 985-1008 [10.5194/tc-14-985-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Estimating Greenland tidewater glacier retreat driven by submarine melting." The Cryosphere 13 (9): 2489–2509 [10.5194/tc-13-2489-2019] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017." Nature 558 (7709): 219-222 [10.1038/s41586-018-0179-y] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Subsurface iceberg melt key to Greenland fjord freshwater budget." Nature Geoscience 11 (1): 49-54 [10.1038/s41561-017-0018-z] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Comparison of Elevation Change Detection Methods From ICESat Altimetry Over the Greenland Ice Sheet." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 55 (10): 5494-5505 [10.1109/tgrs.2017.2709303] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Inland thinning on the Greenland ice sheet controlled by outlet glacier geometry." Nature Geoscience 10 (5): 366-369 [10.1038/ngeo2934] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "The impact of glacier geometry on meltwater plume structure and submarine melt in Greenland fjords." Geophysical Research Letters 43 (18): 9739-9748 [10.1002/2016GL070170] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Contrasts in the response of adjacent fjords and glaciers to ice-sheet surface melt in West Greenland." Ann. Glaciol. 57 (73): 25-38 [10.1017/aog.2016.19] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "ESA ice sheet CCI: derivation of the optimal method for surface elevation change detection of the Greenland ice sheet – round robin results." International Journal of Remote Sensing 36 (2): 551-573 [10.1080/01431161.2014.999385] [Journal Article/Letter]


2011. "On-Orbit Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Star Tracker Warm Pixel Analysis." AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Portland, Oregon, August 8 - August 11, 2011 [10.2514/6.2011-6728] [Proceedings]

2009. "Use of fuzzycones for sun-only attitude determination: THEMIS becomes ARTEMIS." Proceedings of the 21st International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics, Toulouse, France, September 28 – October 2, 2009, NASA Technical Report, Document ID 20090032015 [Report]


Peer Award for Scientific Achievement, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Code 610HBG, 2022

Spot Award for Leadership, Universities Space Research Association, 2021

Early Career Scientist Award, International Association of Cryospheric Sciences, 2019

NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2018-2020

Gale White Fellowship, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, 2017

Texas Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship, Texas Space Grant, 2016

Cryosphere Student Innovation Award, American Geophysical Union, 2016

Talks, Presentations and Posters


Greenland Ice Sheet outlet glacier dynamics: Measurements and predictions of seasonal to decadal changes

November 14, 2021

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences Department, George Mason University

Greenland outlet glacier shapes control the timing and magnitude of dynamic mass loss from the ice sheet

November 31, 2019

Environmental Sciences Department, University of Virginia

What lies beneath? How topography underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet controls timing and magnitude of sea-level rise

April 11, 2019

Physics Department, Portland State University


Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, Applied Orbital Mechanics, University of Texas at Austin, Spring 2015

Teaching Assistant, Spacecraft Mission Design, University of Texas at Austin, Spring 2015

Guest Lecturer, Introduction to the Cryosphere, University of Texas at Austin, Fall 2016

Professional Service

Organizer and co-leader, NASA Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory retreat, 2019

  • Planned and led discussions on mentorship and collaboration with 20 person group.
  • Organized and led team-building activities.
  • Developed survey to poll about lab culture.

Member, Greenland ocean-forcing working group, ISMIP6, 2018-2019

  • Planned and managed working group activites; analyzed ocean data from global climate models; created ocean forcing data products for ISMIP6; and published results of analysis.

Contributor, Ice-sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise (IMBIE), 2012, 2016

  • Managed consistency in ice sheet mass balance estimates from two researchers.
  • Submitted ice sheet mass balance estimates for Greenland and Antarctica for intercomparison.

Convener, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting sessions

  • AGU 2020: Controls on Marine-Terminating Glacier, Ice Stream, and Ice Shelf Dynamics in Observations and Models
  • AGU 2019 Session C009: Controls on Tidewater Glacier Terminus Dynamics in Observations and Models

Reviewer, Geophysical Research Letters, Quaternary Science Reviews, Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Geophysical Research Letters, Computers & Geosciences, Remote Sensing of Environment, IPCC Second Order Draft from Working Group 1 of Assessment Report 6 (SOD-WGI-AR6, 2020), IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC, 2019)

Judge, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Outstanding Student Presentation Award, 2018, 2019, 2021