About Me

MPhys (Oxon), PhD (Reading)

I am a glacial modeller, with interests in large and small scale dynamic modelling, calving and subglacial hydrology.

Beginning in 2003, I played a central role in the development of the Glimmer-CISM community ice sheet model. Glimmer-CISM is a regional ice model that can be flexibly coupled to a GCM, through a highly-configurable interface.

More recently, I have used Elmer/Ice to model processes of iceberg calving at tidewater glacier margins. I have also begun to work on modelling subglacial hydrology and its influence on ice dynamics.

Running through all these topics is a concern for the application of sound software engineering techniques to scientific programming. Numerical models form the foundations on which much of the geosciences are built, but while the numerical and mathematical approximations used in these models are the subject of scrutiny and discussion, the way that code is developed is often given less thought. My interest in this topic led to my participation in founding the EGU journal Geoscientific Model Development.

My teaching responsibilities in Geography include the coordination of Level 1 tutorials, and the teaching of statistical techniques to Level 2 students.

Areas of Expertise

  • Ice Sheet Modelling
  • Glaciology
  • High Performance Computing
  • Scientific Software

Publications

  1. & Upper bounds on subglacial channel development for interior regions of the Greenland ice sheet. Journal of Glaciology 60(224), 1044-1052.
  2. & Modelling environmental influences on calving at Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland. The Cryosphere 8(3), 827-841.
  3. & A High-Resolution Sensor Network for Monitoring Glacier Dynamics. IEEE Sensors Journal 14(11), 3926-3931.
  4. & Testing the effect of water in crevasses on a physically based calving model. Annals of Glaciology 53(60), 90-96.
  5. & Modelling large-scale ice-sheet–climate interactions following glacial inception. Climate of the Past 8, 1565-1580.
  6. & Investigating the sensitivity of numerical model simulations of the modern state of the Greenland ice-sheet and its future response to climate change. The Cryosphere 4(3), 397-417.
  7. & The Glimmer community ice sheet model. Journal of Geophysical Research 114(F2), n/a
  8. & Closure of the Panama Seaway during the Pliocene: implications for climate and Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Climate Dynamics 30(1), 1
  9. & A variational method for orographic filtering in NWP and climate models. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 132(619), 1795

Teaching

  • GEG264B Environmental Research Methods B

    The module builds upon student knowledge covers research project design, data collection and data analysis. Students are introduced to a range of laboratory and field techniques in physical geography along with statistical analyses and presentation skills. They gain experience in describing and interpreting results derived from laboratory techniques concerned with reconstructing the depositional history of sediments, chemical analysis of sediments from a variety of sources and the simulation of geomorphological processes. Students are also introduced to dissertation research. The module culminates in a poster presentation (including short oral introduction to poster) on one of the projects they have undertaken.

  • GEG333 Geographical Research Frontiers

    This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence as a Geographer by undertaking a critical analysis of a wide variety of literature-based sources in order to develop a cogent, substantial, and persuasive argument. While the Dissertation in Geography normally focuses on the design and execution of an evidenced-based research project that assesses the capacity of students to undertake effective data analysis and interpretation, the purpose of this module is to assess the extent to which students are capable of engaging with the academic literature at the frontier of a particular part of Geography. Students select from a wide range of research frontiers in Human and Physical Geography that have been identified by the academic staff within the Department. Given that this module emphasizes student-centred learning, none of the frontiers will have been covered in other modules, although in many cases modules will have taken students up to some of these frontiers. However, to orientate students and provide them with suitable points of departure and way-stations, there will be a brief introduction to each frontier and a short list of pivotal references disseminated via Blackboard. (Note: The topic selected by you must not overlap with the subject of your Dissertation. If there is any doubt about potential overlap, this must be discussed with your Dissertation Support Group supervisor and agreed in writing.)

  • GEG344 Glaciology

    This module will provide you with the scientific basis to understand the physical behaviour of glacier ice at spatial scales ranging from individual ice crystals to continental-scale glaciation. The module core topics will include glacier mass balance, transformation of snow to ice, glacier hydrology, dynamics, ice crystal structure and deformation, glacier sliding, deformation of glacial sediments, glacier flow instabilities and glacier surging. We will then introduce example topics of current research interest. You will have the opportunity to work in a small group on a guided research project. The module is assessed through an individual paper critique and “take-home” examination, as well as group presentation of your research project results at a poster-based mini-conference, and as a report. The research project work will normally be assigned a group mark, however, individual student’s marks may be moderated based on self and peer assessment.

  • GEG347 Meteorology and Atmospheric Science

    This module provides a comprehensive introduction to meteorology, weather, and atmospheric science, focussing on short timescales (daily to seasonal). The emphasis is on the applied aspect of meteorology, and the module is designed to be accessible to students with a range of mathematical backgrounds. Meteorology is introduced as the study of weather and related phenomena. Methods of measuring the atmosphere, and the interpretation of these measurements are fundamental to the subject, as are classifications and qualitative descriptions of atmospheric phenomena. Accordingly, measurements and instruments are covered in detail at the outset. The fundamental physics of the atmosphere (motion, moisture and radiation) are discussed next. The central part of the module focuses on weather systems, both in the tropics and mid-latitudes. The final part of the module covers small-scale phenomena (e.g. tornadoes), and boundary-layer processes. Weather forecasting is a theme which runs through the module, as much of the research in meteorology has been motivated by the desire to predict the weather. The relationship between measurements, models and forecasts is explored, as are the various ways in which weather impacts on human activity (e.g. agriculture, transport, commerce).

Supervision

  • Modelling circulation within glacial fjords in south-east Greenland: Implications for sea-level rise predictions from the Greenland Ice Sheet (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Tavi Murray
  • 'Modelling and field data analysis of subglacial hydrological conditions in West Greenland' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Bernd Kulessa
  • Environmental Controls on Calving in Grounded Tidewater Glaciers (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Tavi Murray
  • Forward and adjoint ice sheet model sensitivities with an application to the Greenland Ice Sheet (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Tavi Murray

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Exchange/ERASMUS Coordinator - Geography

    2007 - Present

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2007 Present Lecturer in Glaciology Swansea University
2003 2007 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Bristol Glaciology Centre University of Bristol
1999 2003 PhD in Meteorology University of Reading
1995 1999 MPhys, Oriel College University of Oxford

External Responsibilities

  • Peer Review College member, NERC

    2009 - Present

  • Executive Editor, Geoscientific Model Development

    2009 - Present

Key Grants and Projects

  • NERC Network of sensors project ‘High-Resolution Glacier Dynamic Monitoring’ (Co-I) 2011 - 2013

  • NERC Consortium Grant ‘BRITICE-CHRONO: Constraining rates and style of marine influenced ice sheet decay’ (Co-I) 2012 - 2017

Research Groups

  • Glaciology

    The issues we aim to contribute to are: Quantification of the past and future contribution from glaciers and ice sheets to sea-level rise; Understanding the processes driving the present rapid and dramatic changes observed in glaciers, and the instabilities inherent in glacial systems; Understanding the record of palaeo-ice mass instabilities and the processes that drove these changes.