skip to primary navigation skip to content
 

Dr Ian Willis, BSc PhD

Dr Ian Willis, BSc PhD

University Senior Lecturer

Glaciologist with interests in the meteorology, thermal regime, mass balance, hydrology and dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets.

Biography

Career

  • 2002-Now: Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2003-2004: Visiting Academic, University of Canterbury, New Zealand (while on leave from Cambridge)
  • 1994-2002: Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 1995-1997: Visiting Scholar, Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington (while on leave from Cambridge)
  • 1989-1994: Assistant Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 1985-1986: Research Assistant, Department of Geography, Polytechnic of North London

Research

Current research

  • Mass balance of glaciers and icecaps using a combination of physically-based modelling, airborne remote sensing, and ground survey, with current projects in Svalbard, Iceland and New Zealand.
  • Effects of glacier thermal regime on the hydrology, dynamics and sediment delivery processes of polythermal glaciers, with particular emphasis on Svalbard.
  • Surface and subsurface hydrology of glaciers and icesheets, with particular reference to the controls on surface melt, snowpack and subglacial drainage processes, through a combination of GIS, numerical modelling and field verification. Current projects in Switzerland, Svalbard and Greenland.
  • Subglacial hydro-mechanical coupling and effects on 3-D patterns of glacier velocity and strain. This is approached through geophysical investigations at the base of ice masses (accessed by boreholes) and geomorphic and sedimentological analysis of glacier forefields. Recent projects in Switzerland and Iceland, respectively.

Supervision of Doctoral and Masters dissertations

Recent Doctoral and Masters dissertations supervised include the following:

  • Enhanced melting beneath supra-glacial lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Energy Balance Modeling at the Glacier Surface: A Model Comparison, with Implications for Mass Balance Calculation, Langjökull 2013
  • Modelling meltwater drainage in the Paakitsoq region, western Greenland, and its response to 21st century climate change
  • Surface reflectance characteristics of Langjökull, Iceland
  • Application of Wavelet Analysis for Examining Climate and Meltwater Runoff in the Paakitsoq Region, West Greenland
  • Surface Topography and change, Langjökull, Iceland
  • Temporal and spatial patterns of supraglacial lake drainage and implications for the hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Climate and pro-glacial discharge interactions in the Paakitsoq region of Western Greenland
  • Recent changes in the surging outlet glaciers of Langjökull, Iceland
  • Mass balance modelling of Svalbard glaciers
  • Supraglacial lake evolution on the Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Recent changes to Langjökull , Iceland: An investigation integrating airborne lidar and satellite imagery
  • A distributed, physically based model of glacier hydrology applied to Paakitsoq, Ilulissat, western Greenland
  • Numerical analysis of rapid water transfer beneath Antarctica
  • Development, testing and application of a one-dimensional mass balance flow model - Midre Lovénbreen, Svalbard
  • A sedimentological investigation of glacigenic deposits in Iceland
  • Soft-sediment deformation beneath a surge-type glacier
  • A distributed, physically based snow melt and runoff model for alpine glaciers
  • The hydrology and dynamics of polythermal glaciers
  • Hydrological influences on the dynamics of valley glaciers
  • Seasonal and spatial variations in the surface energy-balance of valley glaciers

Publications

Selected publications:

  • Miles, E.S., Pellicciotti, F., Willis, I.C., Steiner, J.F., Buri, P., & Arnold, N.S. 2016. Refined energy-balance modeling of a supraglacial pond, Langtang Khola, Nepal. Annals of Glaciology, 57(71). doi:10.3189/2016AoG71A421
  • Robb, C., Willis, I., Arnold, N. and Guðmundsson, S. 2015. A semi-automated method for mapping glacial geomorphology tested at Breiðamerkurjökull, Iceland. Remote Sensing of Environment. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2015.03.007
  • Anderson, B., Willis, I., Goodsell, B., Banwell, A., Owens, I., Mackintosh, A. and Lawson, W. 2014. Annual to daily ice velocity and water pressure variations on Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere / Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1657/1938-4246-46.4.919
  • Mayaud, J., Banwell, A. F., Arnold, N. S., and Willis, I. C. 2014, Modeling the response of subglacial drainage at Paakitsoq, W Greenland, to 21st century climate change, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 119, doi:10.1002/2014JF003271
  • Arnold, N.S., Banwell, A.F., and Willis, I.C. 2014. High-resolution modelling of the seasonal evolution of surface water storage on the Greenland Ice Sheet, The Cryosphere, 8, 1149-1160, doi:10.5194/tc-8-1149-2014
  • Tedesco, M., Willis, I.C., Hoffman, M.J., Banwell, A.F., Alexander, P. and Arnold, N.S. 2013. Ice dynamic response to two modes of surface lake drainage on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Environ. Res. Lett. 8 034007 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034007
  • Banwell, A.F., Willis, I.C. and Arnold, N.S. 2013. Modeling subglacial water routing at Paakitsoq, W Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface. 118, doi:10.1002/jgrf.20093
  • Pope, A., Willis, I.C., Rees, W.G., Arnold, N.S. and Pálsson, F. 2013. Combining airborne LiDAR and Landsat ETM+ data with photoclinometry to produce a digital elevation model for Langjökull, Iceland. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 34(4), 1005-1025. doi:10.1080/01431161.2012.705446
  • Banwell, A. F., Arnold, N. S. Willis, I. C., Tedesco, M. and Ahlstrom, A. P. 2012. Modelling supraglacial water routing and lake filling on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research. doi:10.1029/2012JF002393.
  • Banwell, A.F., Willis, I.C., Arnold, N.S., Messerli, A., Rye, C.J., Tedesco, M. and Ahlstrøm, A.P. 2012. Calibration and evaluation of a high resolution surface mass balance model for Paakitsoq, west Greenland. Journal of Glaciology, 58(212), 1047–1062. doi:10.3189/2012JoG12J034
  • Kargel, J.S., A. P. Ahlstrøm, R.B. Alley, J.L. Bamber, T.J. Benham, J.E. Box, C. Chen, P. Christoffersen, M. Citterio, J.G. Cogley, H. Jiskoot, G.J. Leonard, P. Morin, T. Scambos, T. Sheldon, and I. Willis. 2012. Brief Communication: Greenland's shrinking ice cover: "fast times" but not that fast. The Cryosphere, 6, 533-537. doi:10.5194/tc-6-533-2012
  • Rye, C.J., Willis, I.C., Arnold, N.S. and Kohler, J. 2012. On the need for Automated Multi-Objective Optimization and Uncertainty Estimation of Glacier Mass Balance Models. Journal of Geophysical Research. doi:10.1029/2011JF002184
  • Tedesco, M., Lüthje, M., Steffen, K., Steiner, N., Fettweis, X., Willis, I., Bayou, N. and Banwell, A. 2012. Measurement and modeling of ablation of the bottom of supraglacial lakes in western Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(2), L02502. doi:10.1029/2011GL049882
  • Willis, I.C., Fitzsimmons, C. Melvold, K., Andreassen, L.M. and Giesen, R.H. 2012. Structure, morphology and water flux of a subglacial drainage system, Midtdalsbreen, Norway. Hydrological Processes. doi:10.1002/hyp.8431.
  • Covington, M.D., Banwell, A.F., Gulley, J., Saar, M.O., Willis, I., Wicks, C.M. 2011. Quantifying the effects of glacier conduit geometry and recharge on proglacial hydrograph form. Journal of Hydrology. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.10.027
  • Willis, I.C. 2011. Hydrographs. In V.P. Singh, P. Singh and U. K. Haritashya. Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers, Part 8, 534-538. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_248
  • Willis, I.C. 2011. Hydrological Response in Glacierized Basins. In V.P. Singh, P. Singh and U. K. Haritashya. Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers, Part 8, 541-544. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_250
  • Willis, I.C. 2011. Rating Curve. In V.P. Singh, P. Singh and U. K. Haritashya. Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers, Part 17, 918-922. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_435
  • Fischer, U.H., Mair, D., Kavanaugh, J.L., Willis, I., Nienow, P., Hubbard, B. 2011. Modelling ice-bed coupling during a glacier speed-up event: Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Hydrological Processes, 25(9), 1361-1372. doi:10.1002/hyp.7895
  • Rye, C. J., Arnold, N. S., Willis, I.C. and Kohler, J. 2010, Modelling the surface mass balance of a High Arctic glacier using the ERA-40 Reanalysis, Journal of Geophysical Research (Earth Surface). doi:10.1029/2009JF001364.
  • Peters, N., Willis, I. and Arnold, N. 2009. A numerical analysis of rapid water transfer beneath Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 55(192), 640-650. doi:10.3189/002214309789470923
  • Willis, I., Lawson, W., Owens, I., Jacobel, B. and Autridge, J. 2008. Subglacial drainage system structure and morphology of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand. Hydrological Processes. doi:10.1002/hyp.7146
  • Fox, A.M., Willis, I.C. and Arnold, N.S. 2008. Modification and testing of a one-dimensional energy and mass balance model for supraglacial snowpacks. Hydrological Processes. doi:10.1002/hyp.6908.
  • Willis, I.C., Rippin, D.M. and Kohler, J. 2007. Thermal regime changes of the polythermal Midre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. In The Dynamics and Mass Budget of Arctic Glaciers (Extended Abstracts). IASC Working Group on Arctic Glaciology Meeting. Pontresina (Switzerland). IMAU. p130-133. http://www.iasc-nag.org/reports/abstracts_ws2007.pdf
  • Rye, C., Willis, I. and Arnold, N. Modelling the 21st Century mass balance of Svalbard glaciers using ERA-40 reanalysis and general circulation models. In The Dynamics and Mass Budget of Arctic Glaciers (Extended Abstracts). IASC Working Group on Arctic Glaciology Meeting. Pontresina (Switzerland). IMAU. p96-98 http://www.iasc-nag.org/reports/abstracts_ws2007.pdf
  • Mair, D., Hubbard, B., Nienow, P., Willis, I. and Fischer, U. 2007. Diurnal fluctuations in glacier motion and ice deformation: Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms doi:10.1002/esp.1612.
    Brock, B.W., Willis, I.C. and Sharp, M.J. 2006. Measurement and parameterisation of surface (aerodynamic) roughness variations at Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Journal of Glaciology, 52(177), 281-297. doi:10.3189/172756506781828746.
  • Willis, I.C. 2005. Hydrology of Glacierised Basins. In Anderson, M.G. (Ed). Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. Wiley. Volume 4, Chapter 168, 2601-2631. doi:10.1002/0470848944.hsa174.
  • Nelson, A.E., Willis, I.C. and Ó Cofaigh, C. 2005. Till genesis and glacier motion inferred from sedimentological evidence associated with the surge-type glacier, Brúarjökull, Iceland. Annals of Glaciology, 42, 14-22. doi:10.3189/172756405781812961.
  • Rippin, D.M., Willis, I.C. and Arnold, N.S. 2005. Seasonal patterns of velocity and strain across the tongue of the polythermal glacier Midre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. Annals of Glaciology, 42, 445-454. doi:10.3189/172756405781812781.
  • Rippin, D.M., Willis, I.C., Arnold, N.S., Hodson, A.J. and Brinkhaus, M. 2005. Spatial and temporal variations in surface velocity and basal drag across the tongue of the polythermal Midre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. Journal of Glaciology, 51, 588-600. doi:10.3189/172756505781829089.
  • Kononov, Y.M., Ananicheva, M.D. and Willis, I.C. 2005. High-resolution reconstruction of Polar Ural glacier mass balance for the last millennium Annals of Glaciology, 42, 163-170. doi:10.3189/172756405781812709.
  • Irvine-Fynn T.D.L., Moorman, B.J., Willis, I.C., Sjogren, D.B., Hodson, A.J. Mumford, P.N., Walter, F.S.A. and Williams, J.L.M. 2005. Geocryological processes linked to High-Arctic pro-glacial stream suspended sediment dynamics: examples from Bylot Island, Nunavut and Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Hydrological Processes, 19, 115-135. doi:10.1002/hyp.5759.
  • Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., Moorman, B.J., Sjogren, D.B., Walter, F.S.A., Willis, I.C., Hodson, A.J., Williams, J.L.M. and Mumford, P.N. 2005. Cryological processes implied in Arctic pro-glacial stream sediment dynamics using principal components analysis and regression. In Harris, C. and Murton, J.B. (Eds.) Cryospheric Systems: Glaciers and Permafrost. Geological Society Special Publication, 242. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2005.242.01.08.
  • Nienow, P.W., Hubbard, A.L., Hubbard, B.P., Chandler, D.M., Mair, D.W.F., Sharp, M.J. and Willis, I.C. 2005. Hydrological controls on diurnal ice flow variability in valley glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, F04002. doi:10.1029/2003JF000112.
  • Willis, I., Mair, D., Hubbard, B. Fischer, U., Nienow, P. and Hubbard, A. 2003. Seasonal variations in ice deformation and basal motion, Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Annals of Glaciology, 36, 157-167. doi:10.3189/172756403781816455
  • Mair, D., Willis, I. Hubbard, B. Fischer, U., Nienow, P. and Hubbard, A. 2003. Hydrological controls on patterns of surface, internal and basal velocities during three "spring events": Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Journal of Glaciology, 49, 555-567. doi:10.3189/172756503781830467.
  • Rippin, D., Willis, I., Arnold, N., Hodson, A., Moore, J., Kohler, J. and Bjornsson, H. 2003. Changes in geometry and subglacial drainage of Midre Lovénbreen, Svalbard, determined from digital elevation models. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 28, 273-298. doi:10.1002/esp.485.
  • Willis, I., Arnold, N. and Brock, B. 2002. Effect of snowpack removal on energy balance, melt and runoff in a small supraglacial catchment. Hydrological Processes, 16, 2721-2749. doi:10.1002/hyp.1067.
  • Mair, D., Sharp, M. and Willis, I. 2002. Evidence for basal cavity opening from analysis of surface uplift during an early melt-season high velocity event: Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Journal of Glaciology, 48(161), 208-216. doi:10.3189/172756502781831502.
  • Mair, D., Nienow, P., Sharp, M., Wohlleben, T. and Willis, I. 2002. Influence of subglacial drainage system evolution on glacier surface motion: Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107(B8), EPM 8-1 to EPM 8-13. doi:10.1029/2001JB000514.
  • Tranter, M., Sharp, M.J., Lamb, H.R., Brown, G.H., Hubbard, B.P. and Willis, I.C. 2002. Geochemical weathering at the bed of Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland - a new model. Hydrological Processes 16, 959-993. doi:10.1002/hyp.309.
  • Mair, D., Nienow, P., Willis, I. and Sharp, M. 2001. Spatial patterns of glacier dynamics during an early melt-season high velocity event: Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Journal of Glaciology, 47(156), 9-20. doi:10.3189/172756501781832412
  • Gordon, S., Sharp, M., Hubbard, B., Willis, I., Smart, C., Copland, L., Harbor, J. and Ketterling, B. 2001. Borehole drainage and its implications for the investigation of glacier hydrology: experiences from Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Hydrological Processes, 15, 797-813. doi:10.1002/hyp.184.
  • Brock, B.W., Willis, I.C. Sharp, M.J. and Arnold, N.S. 2000. Modelling seasonal and spatial variations in the surface energy balance of Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Annals of Glaciology, 31, 53-62. doi:10.3189/172756400781820183
  • Brock, B.W., Willis, I.C. and Sharp, M.J. 2000. Measurement and parameterisation of albedo variations at Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. Journal of Glaciology, 46(155), 675-688. doi:10.3189/172756500781832675
  • Hubbard, A., Willis, I, Sharp, M., Mair, D., Nienow, P., Hubbard, B. and Blatter, H. 2000. Glacier mass balance determination by remote-sensing and high-resolution modelling. Journal of Glaciology, 46(154), 491-498. doi:10.3189/172756500781833016.
  • Knap, W.H., Brock, B.W., Oerlemans, J. and Willis, I.C. 1999. Comparison of Landsat-TM derived and ground-based albedos of Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 20(17), 3293-3310. doi:10.1080/014311699211345.

External activities

  • Member of the International Glaciological Society. Treasurer 2006-present. President of the British Branch 1999-2001.
  • Co-Chief Editor of Annals of Glaciology, 42. Arctic Glaciology. Proceedings of the Geilo Symposium, August 2004.