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Department of Geography

 

Glaciology and Glacial Geology

Glaciology and Glacial Geology

The research carried out by members of this thematic group concerns Earth's cryosphere (glaciers and ice sheets, sea ice and permafrost) and the landscapes affected by the cryosphere.

Research into Earth's cryosphere takes place using a variety of geophysical techniques, including ground-, ship-, airborne and satellite-based observations, in order to investigate glaciers and ice sheets, to identify their environmental settings, and to pinpoint the processes that govern their flow. The research also includes development of numerical modelling techniques, allowing a better understanding of the processes which control the cryosphere, and more accurate predictions of future change.

The landforms and landscapes affected by ice (both in terrestrial and marine settings) are studied with the aim of understanding physical and biological changes on Earth's surface and their chronology at timescales from decades up to the past few million years. Examining such landscapes allows a better insight into the behaviour of the cryosphere under different climates, which can then inform present-day understanding, and future prediction. This research addresses scientific uncertainties related to ice ages, including recurring periods of rapid warming and cooling, together with the configuration of past ice sheets and palaeogeography. This research takes place both on land and in the polar seas, where marine-geological and -geophysical work from ships forms an important part of our research strategy.

Themes

Glaciology and Climate Change

Glaciology and Climate Change

Research into glaciers and ice sheets is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute, where staff use observational data, laboratory experiments and numerical models to understand the dimensions and flow of ice masses, and to assess the impact of climate change. Current research focuses on fast-flowing glaciers and ice streams, hydrological processes and pathways within ice sheets, mass- and energy-balance, and glacier mass- and energy-balance.

Glacimarine Environments

Glacimarine Environments

Research into the glacimarine environment takes place in the Scott Polar Research Institute. Research focuses on modern processes of sediment transport, delivery and sedimentation in the glacier-influenced marine system on modern high-latitude margins, and on the geological and geomorphological products and record of these processes. A major aim is the reconstruction of the form and flow of past ice sheets from the well-preserved geological record in Arctic and Antarctic fjords, on high-latitude continental shelves and on the continental slopes and deep basins beyond.

Glacial Geology

Glacial Geology

Earth's glacial geological record spans the Quaternary and earlier glaciations through geological time. The Quaternary record of past ice sheets is found both on land and in marine sediments. Glacial geological investigations usually comprise both sedimentological and stratigraphic elements and, where, possible detailed chronological control. Recent work has included studies of the glacial history of Europe and the UK and the Quaternary stratigraphy of the Canadian Beaufort margin, and previous work has also involved the late Ordovician glacial rocks of Northern Africa.

Terrestrial cryosphere

Terrestrial Cryosphere

Research on the terrestrial cryosphere includes modelling based studies of permafrost, satellite-based monitoring of the Arctic landscape, biosphere, and snow cover. The research is carried out at the Department of Geography as well as the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Group members

Dr Antonio Abellan-Fernandez Engineering Geologist interested in monitoring, modelling and predicting gravity-driven instabilities in rock and ice cliffs (e.g. calving) using high resolution 3D remote sensing techniques
Dr David Amblas Geologist studying the shaping mechanisms of submarine continental slopes, with particular interests on the physics of dense shelf-water flows and their impact on the high-latitude seafloor.
Dr Neil Arnold Glaciologist and computational modeller, investigating the interactions between ice masses, climate and glacier hydrology.
Dr Alison Banwell Glaciologist, with interests in field-based and modeling studies of ice sheet hydrology.
Dr Christine Batchelor
Convenor
Glaciologist and Quaternary geologist, with interests in glacial geomorphology and the marine geological record of high-latitude continental margins.
Toby Benham Glaciologist, with expertise in Geographical Information Systems, remote sensing and glaciological application of earth observation data.
Dr Steve Boreham Quaternary geologist, with interests in Quaternary palaeoenvironments and biogeography, as well as coastal, geochemical and geoforensic studies.
Dr Marion Bougamont Glaciologist and computational modeller, investigating the dynamics of polar ice sheets and environmental controls on fast glacier flow.
Dr Poul Christoffersen
Convenor
Glaciologist and engineer, researching glacier dynamics, interactions of ice sheets with the ocean, and the cryosphere's response to climate change.
Evelyn Dowdeswell Glacial geologist working on the marine imprint of past ice sheets and satellite remote sensing of glaciers
Professor Julian Dowdeswell
Convenor
Glaciologist, working on the form and flow of glaciers and ice caps and their response to climate change, as well as the links between former ice sheets and the marine geological record.
Professor Philip Gibbard Quaternary geologist, whose interests include Pleistocene/Neogene geology, sedimentation and stratigraphy.
Professor Elizabeth Morris OBE Glaciologist, working on the mass balance of polar ice sheets and their response to climate change using field observations, remote sensing techniques and modeling.
Dr Gareth Rees Research interests predominantly in the development and application of spaceborne remote sensing techniques to monitoring the dynamics of Arctic glaciated and vegetated terrain
Dr Chris Rolfe Quaternary geologist, whose interests include sedimentation and stratigraphy, Quaternary palaeoenvironments; glacial and periglacial geomorphology, hydrogeology and coastal studies.
Dr Ian Willis Glaciologist, with particular interests in meteorology, thermal regime, mass balance, hydrology and the dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets.

Graduate students

The following graduate students are also associated with the group:

Corinne Benedek Using Sentinel-1 SAR data to map the fate of meltwater in the percolation zone
Thomas Chudley Tracking water under the Greenland Ice Sheet with UAVs
Samuel Cook
Convenor
Will fast glaciers accelerate under a warming climate?
Sebastian Gibson The Pleistocene History of the Birmingham District
Conrad Koziol The impact of surface melt on ice acceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet
Michael McCarthy Rubble Matters! How can we map the thickness of debris on Himalayan Glaciers?
Evan Miles Regional coupled glacier and hydrologic modeling in the Himalaya: Lake formation and outburst hazards
Aleksandr Montelli Investigating glacial history and sedimentary architecture of marine glaciated margins and their linkages to global climate
Della Murton Late Pleistocene palaeoenvironmental change in the Vale of York and Humber gap
Emily Potter Melting Himalayas: using a regional climate model to simulate the effect of future climate change in the 'Water Tower of Asia'
Simon Price Geology and geotechnical properties of Quaternary sediments in the English South Midlands
Nicholas Toberg Sea Ice pressure ridge structure
Andrew Williamson Remote sensing of the supraglacial hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet
Matthew Wise Processes and patterns of glacier-influenced sedimentation on Arctic and Antarctic continental margins
Tun Jan Young Investigating sea ice fluxes through Arctic gateways