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Department of Geography




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# Deep channels link ocean to vulnerable West Antarctic glacier

James Kirkham

Newly-discovered deep seabed channels beneath Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica may be the pathway for warm ocean water to melt the underside of the ice.

Researchers from UK and US International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, including James Kirkham from SPRI, collected data from offshore of the glacier during January-March 2019 aboard the icebreaker the RV Nathaniel B Palmer.

Exceptional sea-ice break up in early 2019 enabled the team to survey over 2000 square kilometres of sea floor right in front of the glacier — an area which had previously been hidden beneath part of the floating ice shelf extending from Thwaites Glacier.

The team's findings reveal that the sea floor contains deep channels leading under the ice shelf towards the grounding line which may provide pathways along which warm water can reach the underside of Thwaites Glacier, causing it to melt and contribute to global sea-level rise.

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# Past subglacial water flow beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet

James Kirkham

A new paper by James Kirkham, Julian Dowdeswell and others has used two decades of multibeam bathymetric data to explore the meltwater drainage imprint left by the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the past.

High-resolution maps of seabed areas previously covered by ice reveal over 2700 channels carved by subglacial rivers of meltwater flowing beneath the ice sheet.

The seafloor channels are extremely large (up to 3 km wide and over 200 m deep) and inform us about processes that are difficult to observe beneath the modern day ice sheet, and which occur over timescales much longer than covered by existing glaciological observations. The authors conclude that the channels were most likely incised by the periodic drainage of subglacial lakes over multiple glacial cycles.

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# Undergraduate Open Days 17 & 18 September

Find out more about studying Undergraduate Geography at Cambridge at the online Undergraduate Open days 17-18th September.

Sign up to attend.

# Course changes 2020-21

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and government guidance, we have had to make some changes to some elements of our teaching programmes for 2020-21 in order to mitigate against risks to health and to give students the best possible academic experience in the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation.

Please follow these links for further information for our taught programmes:

# PhD students shortlisted for Glaciology award

Former SPRI PhD students, Andrew Williamson and Tun Jan Young, supervised by Neil Arnold, Alison Banwell, Poul Christoffersen and Ian Willis, were shortlisted for the 2020 IACS-IGS Graham Cogley Award "for their excellent papers published in the Journal of Glaciology over the past two years".

From approximately 70 student-authored papers in the Journal of Glaciology and Annals of Glaciology eligible for the 2020 award, the committee shortlisted nine papers from five countries.

Their papers use novel satellite remote sensing methods and field-based radar techniques to investigate hydrological and dynamic processes on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Williamson, A., Willis, I., Arnold, N., & Banwell, A. (2018). Controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland: An Exploratory Data Analysis approach. Journal of Glaciology, 64(244), 208-226.

Tun Jan Young: Young, T., Schroeder, D., Christoffersen, P., Lok, L., Nicholls, K., Brennan, P., Doyle, S.H., Hubbard, B. & Hubbard, A. (2018). Resolving the internal and basal geometry of ice masses using imaging phase-sensitive radar. Journal of Glaciology, 64(246), 649-660.

The IACS-IGS Graham Cogley Award was established in 2019 in memory of Professor Graham Cogley who made substantial and enduring contributions to glaciology. The award recognizes excellence in glaciological research by student scientists. The award is shared between the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and the International Glaciological Society, with the IACS and IGS giving out the award in alternate years.

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# WIREs Climate Change - top-ranked journal

In the new Citescore journal rankings for 2019 from Scopus, WIREs Climate Change -- edited by Professor Mike Hulme - is the 2nd ranked journal in the subject area 'Geography, Planning and Development'. Its 2019 Citescore of 12.4 places it second behind Global Environmental Change in the 679 journals listed on Scopus in this subject area. It also comes in as the top-ranked journal in the category 'Atmospheric Sciences'.

The journal is co-sponsored by the RGS-IBG and the Royal Meteorlogical Society and Mike has been the founding editor of the journal since 2008.

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# Virtual Open Days - Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd July 2020

This year's open days are Virtual Open Days on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd July 2020.

Details are available on the University's website, where you can sign up using the booking form.

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# Resources for remote research in Human Geography

Bhaskar Vira

Dr Antonio Ferraz-de-Oliveira has curated a document, Resources for remote research in Human Geography, that was originally designed to support second year undergraduates who are rapidly reformulating their dissertation plans for the summer. This project evolved into something quite substantial, and has been welcomed by PhD students and colleagues, who are also finding the need to revise and revisit research plans.

This resource is potentially of value to a much wider community, and we have now released a version for general circulation, in the spirit of collective solidarity towards students, colleagues and researchers in these difficult times.

Ferraz de Oliveira, A., ed. (2020). Resources for remote research in Human Geography. (crowd-sourced document). Available at:

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# Conducting research at a distance - discussion group

The coronavirus pandemic has caused uncertainty and disruption to many research fieldwork plans. A new discussion group, Conducting research at a distance, fosters discussion over the challenges of conducting fieldwork at a distance, and how we can overcome these innovatively as researchers.

All in the Department of Geography are welcome to attend, including postgraduates and undergraduates. Joining details for all practical workshops and discussions are circulated during the week of the session.

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# Article award for PhD student Judit Kuschnitzki

PhD student in the Department, Judit Kuschnitzki (supervised by Alex Jeffrey), has just been awarded the Hague Journal of Diplomacy Article Award for her 2019 paper Navigating Discretion: A Diplomatic Practice in Moments of Socio-political Rupture. This is a fantastic achievement which saw a jury of 10 HJD advisory board members select Judit's paper from the 40+ research articles in the 2018-19 volumes.

Congratulations Judit!

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