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Rebecca Vignols Ba, MSci (Hons)

Rebecca Vignols Ba, MSci (Hons)

PhD Student in Polar Science

"Understanding future changes in Northern Hemisphere snow cover" - joint project between the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).


Career / qualifications

  • 2015 - 2019: British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI, Geography department, University of Cambridge): PhD in Polar Science: Understanding future changes in Northern Hemisphere (NH) snow-cover.
  • 2011 - 2015: Newnham College, University of Cambridge: Graduated June 2015 with BA and MSCI (Hons), Class 1 in Natural Sciences specializing in Geological Sciences

Grants and prizes

  • Fully-funded PhD studentship, NERC (Natural Environment Research Council), 2015 - 2019.
  • UK Science & Innovation Network Nordics Travel Award, 2018 (£400).
  • Newnham College Research and Travel Award, 2018 (£750).
  • Santander Mobility Grant, 2017 (£1000).
  • Gino Watkins Memorial Fund, 2017 (£500).
  • Newnham College Research and Travel Award, 2017 (£750).
  • Newnham College Continuing Studentship, 2016 (£500).
  • Mary-Euphrasia Mosley, Sir Bartle Frere & Worts Travel fund, 2016 (£1000).
  • Santander Mobility Grant, 2016 (£1000).
  • Gino Watkins Memorial Fund, 2016 (£750).
  • Newnham College Research and Travel Award, 2015 (£750).
  • Entrance Research Studentship, Graduate Awards and Research Support Committee, 2015 (£500).
  • Anne Jemima Clough Prize, Newnham College Education Committee, 2015 (£100).
  • Research Expenses Fund, Newnham College, 2014 and 2015 (£220).
  • Mary Euphrasia Mosley Fund, Cambridge University, 2013 (£600).
  • Travel Grant, Newnham College, 2013 (£420).
  • Travel for Geographers and Geologists Fund, Newnham College, 2013 (£250).
  • Women in Science Regional First Prize (Prix de la vocation scientifique féminine), Midi Pyrénées France, 2011 (€1000).


Supervisors: Dr Gareth Marshall (BAS) and Dr Gareth Rees (SPRI).

Understanding future changes in snow cover in response to climate change is an important research field. This is principally because the extremely high albedo of snow means that changes in snow cover have a significant impact on the Earth's global energy budget. This project focusses on Northern Hemisphere snow cover, which comprises approximately 98 percent of the global total seasonal snow and which is responsible for the largest annual and interannual differences in land surface albedo. Using remote sensing, meteorological observations and field data, changes in snow cover of the Kola Peninsula in Arctic Russia will be analysed. Field measurements of snow parameters will be used to ground-truth the satellite data: MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) fractional snow cover and albedo products. The initial focus on the area around the Khibiny Mountains in the Kola Peninsula will subsequently be extrapolated to obtain a wider regional picture, focussing on Fennoscandia. Atmospheric reanalysis data will be utilised to determine how atmospheric circulation variability affects the regional snow cover. Based on these relationships, and the output from a regional climate model (Weather Research and Forecasting model) forced by future runs from the best CMIP (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) models, snow cover predictions will be made until the end of the century based on the four main IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) emission scenarios.


Selected publications:

  • Vignols, R.M., Valentine, A.M., Finlayson, A.G., Harper, E.M., Schöne, B.R., Leng, M.J., Sloane, H.J. and Johnson, A.L., 2018. Marine climate and hydrography of the Coralline Crag (early Pliocene, UK): Isotopic evidence from 16 benthic invertebrate taxa. Chemical Geology.
  • Marshall, G.J., Kivinen, S., Jylhä, K., Vignols, R.M. and Rees, W.G., 2018. The accuracy of climate variability and trends across Arctic Fennoscandia in four reanalyses. International Journal of Climatology.
  • Marshall, G.J., Vignols, R.M. and Rees, W.G., 2016. Climate change in the Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia, during the last 50 years from meteorological observations. Journal of Climate.


  • Supervisor for Part IA course, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge.
  • Demonstrator for Part IB practicals, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge.