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Andrew G. Williamson MA MPhil

Andrew G. Williamson MA MPhil

PhD candidate in Polar Studies (NERC-funded)

Andrew is a glaciologist researching valley-glacier and ice-sheet hydrology, with a current focus on the Greenland Ice Sheet, using satellite remote sensing, numerical modelling and fieldwork.

Biography

Qualifications

  • 2014–present: PhD in Polar Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (Girton College), UK. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
  • 2013–14: MPhil (with Distinction) in Polar Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (Girton College), UK. Thesis: 'The hydrological system of Storglaciären, Sweden: integrating modelling with observations.'
  • 2010–13: MA (Hons) (First Class) in Geography, University of Cambridge (Girton College), UK. Thesis: 'The subglacial drainage system structure and morphology of Storglaciären, Sweden.'

Awards and grants

  • 2017: Commendation for IGS British Branch Meeting oral presentation
  • 2017: Cambridge Philosophical Society Travel Grant for the IGS Boulder symposium (£250)
  • 2017: Cambridge Philosophical Society Travel Grant for the EGU General Assembly (£300)
  • 2017: Pillman Academic Fund for the EGU General Assembly (£150)
  • 2016: Cambridge Philosophical Society Travel Grant for the EGU General Assembly (£250)
  • 2016: Pillman Academic Fund for the EGU General Assembly (£150)
  • 2016: Philip Lake Fund for the EGU General Assembly (£150)
  • 2015: NERC Advanced Training Short Course on fieldwork in the polar regions (~£3,500)
  • 2015: Philip Lake Fund for the IGS Iceland symposium (£600)
  • 2015: IGS Young Scientist Travel Award for the IGS Iceland symposium (€400)
  • 2015: Pillman Academic Fund for the IGS Iceland symposium (£150)
  • 2014: NERC PhD Studentship awarded by the Cambridge ESS DTP (~£86,000)
  • 2014: Girton College Senior Graduate Scholarship in Physical Sciences
  • 2014: EGU Young Scientist's Travel Award for the EGU General Assembly (€245)
  • 2014: B.B. Roberts Fund for the EGU General Assembly (~£265)
  • 2014: Philip Lake Fund for the EGU General Assembly (£100)
  • 2013: Philip Lake Fund for the AGU Fall Meeting (£200)
  • 2013: B.B. Roberts Fund for the AGU Fall Meeting (~£400)
  • 2013: Pillman Academic Fund for the AGU Fall Meeting (£500)
  • 2013: Girton College Emily Davies Graduate Scholarship in Physical Sciences (£250)
  • 2013: Girton College Ethel Sargent Scholarship (£1000)
  • 2013: Girton College Stribling Award (£1000)
  • 2013: British Hydrological Society Student Award for undergraduate thesis (£200)
  • 2013: William Vaughan Lewis Prize for undergraduate thesis (£75)
  • 2013: John Bowyer Buckley Scholarship for undergraduate results (£100)
  • 2013: Margaret Anderson Prize for undergraduate results (£150)
  • 2013: Janet Chamberlain Prize for distinction in fieldwork (£100)
  • 2013: Judith Eccelshare Travel Award for a badminton tour (£350)
  • 2012: Dr Jean Grove Memorial Fund for fieldwork (~£200)
  • 2012: David Richards Travel Scholarship for fieldwork (£240)
  • 2012: K.J. Baker Travel Award for fieldwork (£500)
  • 2010: Girton College Emily Davies Bursary (~£11,500)

Research

Andrew progressively specialised into glaciology during his undergraduate geography degree. Initially his research focused on valley-glacier hydrology, with two seasons based on Storglaciären, Sweden, providing field data that he combined with numerical modelling to re-evaluate the glacier's internal hydrological system. The second field season involved using novel DNA-based tracers to investigate the hydrological system's seasonal evolution. Andrew's interest in valley-glacier hydrology (and mass balance) continues, primarily driven by his supervision of undergraduate students, although his own research focus has now primarily switched to ice sheets.

Andrew's PhD research examines the supraglacial hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet with satellite remote sensing both in the present day and over the past few decades. The main emphasis of the research involves using MODIS, Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 data to study rapidly draining supraglacial lakes through the development of a new fully automated algorithm ("the FAST algorithm") that tracks changes to lake areas and volumes over a series of satellite images. The research combines the knowledge acquired regarding the location and timing of rapid lake drainage with a suite of other data that might be influential in promoting hydrofracture to explain rapid drainage. Andrew is also involved in using Sentinel-1 to investigate Greenland Ice Sheet and Antarctic ice shelf hydrology.

Publications

Peer-reviewed articles

  • Williamson, A.G., Willis, I.C., Arnold, N.S. and Banwell, A.F., submitted. Controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland: An Exploratory Data Analysis approach. Journal of Glaciology.
  • Gledhill, L.A. and Williamson, A.G., submitted. Inland advance of supraglacial lakes in north-west Greenland under recent climatic warming. Annals of Glaciology.
  • Miles, K.E., Willis, I.C., Benedek, C.L., Williamson, A.G. and Tedesco, M., 2017. Towards monitoring surface and subsurface lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet using Sentinel-1 SAR and Landsat-8 OLI imagery. Frontiers in Earth Science, 5(58), doi:10.3389/feart.2017.00058.
  • Williamson, A.G., Arnold, N.S., Banwell, A.F. and Willis, I.C., 2017. A Fully Automated Supraglacial lake area and volume Tracking ("FAST") algorithm: Development and application using MODIS imagery of West Greenland. Remote Sensing of Environment, 196, 113–133, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.04.032.
  • Dahlke, H.E., Williamson, A.G., Georgakakos, C., Leung, S., Sharma, A.N., Lyon, S.W. and Walter, M.T., 2015. Using concurrent DNA tracer injections to infer glacial flow pathways. Hydrological Processes, 29(25), 5257–5274, doi:10.1002/hyp.10679.

Conference contributions​

Presenting author presentations only.

  • Williamson, A.G., Arnold, N.S., Willis, I.C. and Banwell, A.F., 2017. Exploratory analysis of controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland [oral]. International Glaciological Society British Branch Meeting, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.
  • Gledhill, L.A. and Williamson, A.G., 2017. Supraglacial lakes advance inland in north-west Greenland under 30 years of climate change [poster]. International Glaciological Society British Branch Meeting, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.
  • Williamson, A.G., Arnold, N.S., Willis, I.C. and Banwell, A.F., 2017. Hydrological, glaciological and synoptic controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland [oral]. International Glaciological Society Symposium on Polar Ice, Polar Climate and Polar Change, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
  • Gledhill, L.A. and Williamson, A.G., 2017. Supraglacial lakes advance inland in north-west Greenland under 30 years of climate change [poster]. International Glaciological Society Symposium on Polar Ice, Polar Climate and Polar Change, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
  • Williamson, A., Arnold, N., Banwell, A. and Willis, I., 2017. A Fully Automated Supraglacial lake area and volume Tracking ("FAST") algorithm: development and application using MODIS imagery of West Greenland [poster]. Geophysical Research Abstracts (European Geosciences Union General Assembly), 19.
  • Williamson, A.G., Arnold, N.S., Willis, I.C. and Banwell, A.F., 2016. A fully automated supraglacial lake area and volume tracking algorithm for MODIS imagery of Greenland [poster]. ESA Advanced Training Course on Remote Sensing of the Cryosphere, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
  • Williamson, A., Banwell, A., Arnold, N. and Willis, I., 2016. Local and synoptic controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland [poster]. Geophysical Research Abstracts (European Geosciences Union General Assembly), 18, abstract no. EGU2016-440.
  • Williamson, A.G., Arnold, N.S., Willis, I.C. and Banwell, A.F., 2015. The supraglacial hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet [poster]. NERC ESS-DTP Research in Progress conference, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
  • Williamson, A.G., Banwell, A.F., Arnold, N.S. and Willis, I.C., 2015. Controls on the initiation of hydrofracture beneath supraglacial lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet [poster]. Proceedings 67, International Glaciological Society Symposium on the Hydrology of Glaciers and Ice Sheets, Höfn, Iceland.
  • Williamson, A.G., Arnold, N.S., Dahlke, H.E. and Walter, M.T., 2014. Application of novel DNA-based tracers to determine the subglacial drainage system structure and morphology of Storglaciären, Sweden [poster]. Geophysical Research Abstracts (European Geosciences Union General Assembly), 16, abstract no. EGU2014-238.
  • Williamson, A.G., Dahlke. H.E. and Willis, I.C., 2013. The subglacial drainage system structure and morphology of Storglaciären, Sweden [poster]. Geophysical Research Abstracts (American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting), abstract no. C53B-0558.

Teaching

  • Supervisor, Geographical Tripos Part II dissertations, 2015–present
  • Supervisor, Geographical Tripos Part IB Glacial Processes, 2015–present
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part IA Geographical Skills and Methods (Cartography & GIS), 2014–present
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part IB Geographical Skills (GIS and spatial data analysis), 2015–present
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part IB Glacial Processes (numerical glacier modelling), 2017–present
  • Demonstrator, Geographical Tripos Part IB Remote Sensing and the Climate System, 2014–15
  • Leader, Geographical Tripos Part IB Lötschental field trip, 2017

Dissertation supervision

Geographical Tripos Part II dissertation supervision:

  • Investigating the effect of glacial debris cover on hydraulic efficiency (Katie Miles; 2014–15)
  • Surface and melt characteristics of a glacier used for summer skiing: Grande Motte Glacier, France (Sam Lumley; 2015–16)
  • Model complexity and supraglacial melt on Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland (Joe Horrocks-Taylor; 2016–17)
  • Spatial evolution of supraglacial lakes in response to climate change, Northwest Greenland, 1985–2016 (Laura Gledhill; 2016–17)

MPhil Polar Studies thesis involvement:

  • Marine-terminating outlet glacier response to hydrological mechanisms: a comparative study at Store Gletscher and Rink Isbrae, Uummannaq Bay, West Greenland (Helena Nathan-King; 2014–15)
  • Analysis of the surface hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet using Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (Katie Miles; 2015–16)
  • Surface and subsurface meltwater ponding and refreezing on the Bach Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula (Emily Haggard; 2016–17)

External activities

Committee roles

  • Cambridge NERC ESS DTP student representative (2014–present)
  • Hummersknott Badminton Club CIC (Director, 2014–present; Treasurer, 2010–present)
  • UK Polar Network (Treasurer, 2016–17)
  • Geography Department graduate student representative (2014–17)
  • Cambridge University Hillwalking Club (Website Editor, 2014–17; President, 2012–13; Safety Officer, 2011–12)
  • Cambridge University Law Society Ball (Treasurer, 2016)
  • Girton Spring Ball (Treasurer, 2014–16)
  • Girton College MCR (Accommodation and Facilities Officer, 2014–15)
  • Girton College Badminton Club (Team Captain, 2013–14)
  • Girton College Geographical Society (President, 2011–12)

Other affiliations

  • International Glaciological Society
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geosciences Union
  • Cambridge University Geographical Society
  • Cambridge University Law Society
  • Girton College Law Society
  • Cambridge University Scientific Society
  • Cambride Union Society
  • Cambridge Philosophical Society (Fellow)