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Marion Bougamont, MSc, PhD

Marion Bougamont, MSc, PhD

Research Associate

Glaciologist using modelling techniques to study the dynamics and subglacial processes that affect the mass balance of ice sheets.



  • 2011: Green Scholar at the IGPP, Scripps Institute of Oceanography (San Diego, USA)
  • 2007 to present: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge (UK)
  • 2003-2006: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Bristol Glaciology Centre, Bristol (UK)


  • BSc in Geophysics, University of Strasbourg (France) - 1997
  • MSc in Geophysics, University of Grenoble (France) - 1999
  • PhD in Earth Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz (USA) - 2003


My research primarily aims at improving the understanding of the basal mechanics of glaciers and ice streams in Antarctica and Greenland. In particular, I study how their effect on bed resistance controls the short and long-term variability of ice flow.

Ice stream flow variability in West Antarctica

Over the years, I developed a model of subglacial processes (first described in Bougamont et al., 2003), and subsequently coupled it to the Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM). The coupled model is the first higher order ice sheet model to allow the ice to slide over hard bedrock and subglacial sediments to deform following a Coulomb-Plastic flow law. The use of a very basic coupling to hydrology in the model revealed major new insights to the transient flow of ice streams underlain by plastic till, in particular that a small difference in till water content caused by incorporation of regional water may strongly impact the flow and long-term behaviour of the ice stream (Bougamont et al., 2011).

Recently, I modified the coupled models to simulate the flow evolution of the Siple Coast ice streams (West Antarctica) over multiple centuries (Bougamont et al., 2015). In this short movie, see how the modeled ice flow evolves in response to changes in basal conditions. Those changes arise when the subglacial till layer receives water flowing in a regional hydrology system, and/or when the till layer loses water to satisfy basal freezing as determined from thermal energy balance.

Dynamic Response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to surface meltwater forcing

The model was adapted to the Greenland Ice Sheet in order to investigate the dynamic response of the ice sheet to surface meltwater forcing (Bougamont et al., 2014). The model was driven with the 2010 surface melt record for the catchment of Russell Glacier, a land-terminating glacier located in West Greenland. Based on geophysical data interpretation, we described the basal environment as a weak sediment layer. We found that the observed seasonal flow variation can be explained by the evolution of sediment properties, in response to pore water pressure changes with inflow/outflow of water, subsequent to supra-glacial lake water discharge to the ice sheet base. Thus, our results point out the potential role of subglacial sediment in modulating the ice flow as a viable alternative to existing hydrology models in sectors of the ice sheet underlain with sediments. This movie shows the ice flow changing over the summer.

Research funding

  • 2013 Subglacial Access and Fast Ice Research Experiment - Natural Environment Research Council, GBP 257K (2013-2016), Research Co-investigator with P. Christoffersen (PI), B. Hubbard (Co-I) and A. Hubbard (co-I).
  • 2012 Named PDRA in the project: iSTAR-C: Dynamical Control on the Response of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica - Natural Environment Research Council, GBP 114K to SPRI (2012-2016), with D. Vaughan (PI), P. Christoffersen (co-I) and co-workers from universities in Bristol, Aberdeen, Newcastle and Leeds.
  • 2012 Isaac Newton Trust Fellowship, with P. Christoffersen, GBP 42K (2012-2014)
  • 2009 Named PDRA in the project: Investigating the Dynamic Response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to Climate Forcing using a Geophysical, Remote-Sensing and Numerical Modelling Framework - Natural Environment Research Council, GBP 88K (2009-2012), A. Hubbard (PI), P. Christoffersen (co-I), B.Kulessa (co-I).
  • 2007 Understanding contemporary changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet - Natural Environment research Council, GBP 168K (2007- 2010), Researcher Co-investigator with A. Payne (PI), P. Christoffersen (co-I) and A. Vieli (co-I).
  • 2003 Marie Curie Fellowship: 2 years of funding (EURO 85K) – declined in favor of the postdoctoral position taken in Bristol.

Research articles in the spotlight:


Selected publications


  • Bougamont, M., P. Christoffersen, S. Price, H.A. Fricker, S. Tulaczyk, S.P. Carter, 2015. Reactivation of Kamb Ice Stream tributaries in West Antarctica triggers century-scale reorganization of Siple Coast ice flow, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL065782.


  • Bougamont, M., P. Christoffersen, A.L. Hubbard, A.A. Fitzpatrick, S.H. Doyle and S.P. Carter, 2014: Sensitive response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to surface melt drainage over a soft bed, Nature Communications, 5:5052, doi:10.1038/ncomms6052
  • Christoffersen, P., M. Bougamont, S.P. Carter, H.A. Fricker and S.M. Tulaczyk, 2014, Significant groundwater contribution to Antarctic ice streams hydrologic budget, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2014GL059250
  • Beem, L.H., S.M. Tulaczyk, M.A. King, M. Bougamont, H.A. Fricker and P. Christoffersen, 2014: Variable Deceleration of Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, vol. 119, doi:10.1002/2013JF002958


  • van der Wel, N., P. Christoffersen and M. Bougamont, 2013: The influence of subglacial hydrology on the flow of Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, vol. 118, 1-14, doi:10.1029/2012JF002570



  • Bougamont, M., S. Price, P. Christoffersen, A. Payne, 2011: Dynamic patterns of ice stream flow in a 3D higher-order ice sheet model with plastic bed and simplified hydrology, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, F04018, doi:10.1029/2011JF002025.


  • Bougamont, M., J.L. Bamber, J.K. Ridley, R.M. Gladstone, W. Greuell, E. Hanna, A.J. Payne and I. Rutt, 2007: Impact of model physics on estimating the surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L17501, doi:10.1029/2007GL030700
  • Bougamont, M., E.C.Hunke and S. Tulaczyk, 2007: Sensitivity of ocean circulation to loss of West Antarctic ice shelves and ice sheet, Journal of Glaciology, 53(182), 490-498


  • Bougamont, M., J.L. Bamber and W. Greuell, 2005: A surface mass balance model for the Greenland Ice Sheet, Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, F04018, doi:10.1029/2005JF000348


  • Bougamont, M., S. Tulaczyk and I. Joughin, 2003: Response of subglacial sediments to basal freeze-on 2. Application in numerical modelling ot the recent stoppage of Ice Stream C, West Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(B4), 2223, doi:10.1029/2002JB001936
  • Bougamont, M., S. Tulaczyk and I. Joughin, 2003: Numerical investigations of the slow-down of Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica: is it shutting down like Ice Stream C?, Annals of Glaciology, 37, pp 239-246
  • Bougamont, M., and S. Tulaczyk, 2003: Glacial erosion beneath ice streams and ice-stream tributaries: constraints on temporal and spatial distribution of erosion from numerical simulations of a West Antarctic ice stream, Boreas, 32, pp 178-190. doi:10.1080/03009480310001092

External activities

  • Member, International Glaciological Society
  • Member, American Geophysical Union