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Evan Miles

Evan Miles

PhD Student in Polar Studies

Evan's research integrates fieldwork, remote sensing observations, and numerical modelling to study the mass balance and hydrology of debris-covered glaciers in Nepal.


Evan studied Mechanical Engineering (HBS) and Hydrology (MS) at Oregon State University, participating in drinking water projects in Central America and examining variability of hydrogeology in Oregon. Evan's research has progressed to alpine and polar regions, working as a GIS analyst and research assistant at Oregon State University and then the University of British Columbia, where he was involved in quality improvements of the Randolph Glacier Inventory and data preparation for 21st-century projections of mountain glaciers and ice caps. In 2012, Evan was awarded a Gates Scholarship for a PhD at the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge. His PhD research has focused on supraglacial ponds of debris-covered glaciers, and the influence they have on glacier mass balance and hydrology. Evan has been involved in several peripheral research topics including high-altitude meteorology, surface roughness of debris-covered glaciers, snowline seasonal and spatial dynamics, and multidecadal glacier change.

Outside of research, Evan is an avid mountaineer and has climbed and ski-mountaineered throughout the world, including the Cascades, Alps, Himalaya, Svalbard, and Patagonia. Notable recent achievements include first ascents of a hard ice route at 6000m in Nepal and of the last unclimbed stratovolcano in the Andes, which involved a two-way self-supported traverse of the South Patagonian Icefield. A recent project, Incognita Patagonia, combined science and adventure to explore and document a small icefield in Tierra del Fuego, surveying the local glaciers and geomorphology. Close to home, he also enjoys weekend climbing, backpacking, and skiing, and even the occasional bushwack sufferfest.


  • 2011-2012: Research Programmer, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia
  • 2010-2012: Research Assistant, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University
  • 2010-2011: GIS Analyst, Oregon Explorer Project, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University


  • PhD in Polar Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (Trinity College), UK (2012-present)
  • MS in Water Resources Science, Oregon State University, USA (2008-2011)
  • Engineer Intern (Oregon 84387EI), October 2010; NCEES and OSBEELS certification
  • Honors BS in Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University, USA (2003-2008)
  • Honors BA in International Studies, Oregon State University, USA (2003-2008)
  • Undergraduate Minors in Mathematics and Spanish, Oregon State University, USA (2003-2008)
  • Multiple Engineering Co-Operative Program (MECOP) graduate, internships at Intel Corporation (2005) and Oregon Iron Works (2006)


My PhD research is focused on the mass balance and hydrology of debris-covered glaciers, integrating field observations, remote sensing, and numerical modelling techniques to understand supraglacial ponds in the Langtang basin of Nepal. My research has included surveys of supraglacial pond structure and bathymetry, development of numerical models of supraglacial pond and ice-cliff energy balance, and an assessment of spatiotemporal pond variability based on Landsat data. I am also involved in diverse collaborative projects studying glaciers and near-surface meteorology around the world.


Recent publications

  • Buri, P., Miles, E.S., Steiner, J.F., Immerzeel, W.W., Wagnon, P., & Pellicciotti, F. (accepted). A physically-based 3D-model of ice cliff evolution over debris-covered glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 10.1002/2016JF004039/full
  • Miles, E.S., Willis, I.W., Arnold, N.S., Pellicciotti, F., & Steiner, J.F., (in press). Spatial, seasonal and interannual variability of supraglacial ponds in the Langtang Valley of Nepal, 1999–2013. Journal of Glaciology.
  • Brun, F., Buri, P., Miles, E.S., Wagnon, P., Steiner, J.F., Berthier, E., Ragettli, S., Kraaijenbrink, P., Immerzeel, W.W., & Pellicciotti, F. (2016). Quantifying volume loss from ice cliffs on debris-covered glaciers using high resolution terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry. Journal of Glaciology.
  • Pope, E., Willis, I.W., Pope, A., Miles, E.S., Arnold, N.S., & Rees, W.G. (2016). Contrasting snow and ice albedos derived from MODIS, Landsat ETM+ and airborne data from Langjökull, Iceland. Remote Sensing of the Environment, 175: 183-195.
  • Kargel, J.S., Leonard, G.J., Shugar, D.H., Haritashya, U.K., Bevington, A., Fielding, E.J., Fujita, K., Geertsema, M., Miles, E.S., Steiner, J., and 54 others. (2016). Geomorphic and geologic controls of geohazards induced by Nepal's 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Science, published online 17 Dec 2015 (10.1126/science.aac8353)
  • Buri, P., Pellicciotti, F., Steiner, J.F., Miles, E.S., & Immerzeel, W.W. (2016). A grid-based model of backwasting of supraglacial ice cliffs over debris-covered glaciers. Annals of Glaciology, 57(71): 199-211. doi:10.3189/2016AoG71A059
  • Heynen, M., Miles, E.S., Ragettli, S., Buri, P., Immerzeel, W.W., & Pellicciotti, F. (2016). Air temperature variability in a high elevation Himalayan catchment. Annals of Glaciology, 57(71): 212-222. doi: 10.3189/2016AoG71A076
  • Miles, E.S., Pellicciotti, F., Willis, I.W., 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): 29-40. doi: 10.3189/2016AoG71A421
  • Steiner, J.F., Pellicciotti, F., Buri, P., Miles, E.S., Immerzeel, W.W., & Reid, T.D. (2015). Modeling ice-cliff backwasting on a debris-covered glacier in the Nepalese Himalayas. Journal of Glaciology, 61(229): 889-907. doi: 10.3189/2015JoG14J194
  • Pellicciiotti, F., Stephan, C., Miles, E., Herreid, S., Immerzeel, W.W., & Bolch, T. (2015). Mass-balance changes of the debris-covered glaciers in the Langtang Himal, from 1974 to 1999. Journal of Glaciology, 61(226): 373-386. doi: 10.3189/2015JoG13J237
  • Ragettli, S., Pellicciotti, S., Immerzeel, W.W., Miles, E.S., Petersen, L., Heynen, M., Shea, J.M., Stumm, D., Joshi, S., & Shrestha, A. (2015). Unraveling the hydrology of a Himalayan catchment through integration of high resolution in situ data and remote sensing with and advanced simulation model. Advances in Water Resources, 78: 94-111. doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2015.01.013
  • Pfeffer, W.T., Arendt, A., Bliss, A., Bolch, T., Cogley, J.G., Gardner, A., Hagen, J., Hock, R., Kaser, G., Kienholz, C., Miles, E., Moholdt, G. Mölg, N., Paul, F., Radic, V., Rastner, P., Raup, B., Rich, J., & Sharp, M. (2014). The Randolph Glacier Inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers. Journal of Glaciology, 60(221): 537-552. doi: 10.3189/2014JoG13J176
  • Radic, V., Bliss, A., Beedlow, A.C., Hock, R., Miles, E., Cogley, G. (2014). Regional and global projections of the 21st century glacier mass changes in response to climate scenarios from GCMs. Climate Dynamics, 42(1-2): 37-58. doi: 10.1007/s00382-013-1719-7


  • REOSA Glaciology Workshop Lecturer, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, April 2014
  • GIS and Matlab Demonstrator, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2013-2014)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University (2009-2010): Map and image interpretation, GIS, Advanced GIS.
  • Lead Graduate Assistant, Study of the United States, Institute for the Environment (SUSIE), Oregon State University (2009): Physical hydrology, Water and wastewater treatment, Water resource management.

External activities

External activities and associations:

  • Gates Cambridge Scholar, 2012-2015
  • Wherry Librarian, Cambridge University Mountaineering Club, 2013-2015
  • International Glaciological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geosciences Union
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
  • American Water Resources Association
  • Engineers Without Borders – USA
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • National Ground Water Association
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honorary Society
  • The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi