My research interests lie in using observations acquired by satellite-borne instruments to detect and monitor global environmental change. I work primarily on cryospheric change — on the glaciers of Greenland and the ice shelves of Antarctica. In these regions I make use of optical and microwave data to measure surface flow, surface elevation, and surface melt.

My current research, as a postdoc on the NERC funded MIDAS project, focusses on the stability of the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. In addition to using remote sensing to observe the state of the ice shelf surface I have been involved in two fieldwork seasons to carry out geophysical investigations of the subsurface of the ice. Geophysical techniques included ground-penetrating radar and impact seismics, alongside colleagues using hot-water borehole drilling.

In addition to glaciology my research experience includes the retrieval and analysis of atmospheric aerosol concentrations from optical satellite data, and investigation of biospheric response, as measured by remotely sensed vegetation indices, to drought.

Publications

  1. Centuries of intense surface melt on Larsen C Ice Shelf. The Cryosphere Discussions, 1-21.
  2. & Massive subsurface ice formed by refreezing of ice-shelf melt ponds. Nature Communications 7, 11897
  3. & Extensive Retreat of Greenland Tidewater Glaciers, 2000–2010. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 47(3), 427-447.
  4. & Observationally constrained surface mass balance of Larsen C IceShelf, Antarctica. The Cryosphere Discussions, 1-24.
  5. & Ice and firn heterogeneity within Larsen C Ice Shelf from borehole optical televiewing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
  6. & Calving rates at tidewater glaciers vary strongly with ocean temperature. Nature Communications 6, 8566
  7. et. al. Evaluation of seven European aerosol optical depth retrieval algorithms for climate analysis. Remote Sensing of Environment
  8. & Seasonal dynamic thinning at Helheim Glacier. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 415, 47-53.
  9. & Remote sensing of glaciers. In Remote Sensing of the Cryosphere. -156).
  10. & Brief Communication: Newly developing rift in Larsen C Ice Shelf presents significant risk to stability. The Cryosphere 9(3), 1223-1227.
  11. et. al. The glaciers climate change initiative: Methods for creating glacier area, elevation change and velocity products. Remote Sensing of Environment 162, 408-426.
  12. & Glacier dynamics at Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers, southeast Greenland, since the Little Ice Age. The Cryosphere 8(4), 1497-1507.
  13. & Response of vegetation to the 2003 European drought was mitigated by height. Biogeosciences 11(11), 2897-2908.
  14. & Oceanic heat delivery via Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord to the south-east Greenland ice sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 119(2), 631-645.
  15. et. al. Aerosol retrieval experiments in the ESA Aerosol_cci project. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 6(8), 1919-1957.

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Teaching

  • GEG252V Geographical Fieldwork skills: Vancouver

    The module is concerned with identifying and defining geographical questions within the Vancouver and southern British Columbia context and applying relevant geographical skills, knowledge and techniques to these questions. The general aims are to observe, analyse and achieve an understanding of the varied geographical landscape and inherent features of Vancouver and southern British Columbia. Students taking this module will gain experience in research design, methodologies, data analysis and presentation methods, including seminars, posters and reports. Students taking this field course focus on either the physical or human geography on the region and conduct project work appropriate to their specialism. The module comprises preparatory lectures in Swansea during teaching block 2 and a two-week field course, which typically runs in the last week of teaching block 2 into the first week of the Easter vacation.

  • GEG266 Approaches to Physical Geography

    This module aims to introduce students to the history and philosophical approaches of Physical Geography and the range of alternative approaches characterizing the discipline. In addition to conveying the main approaches and their evolution, their implication in terms of research practice are given particular emphasis, including recent examples of `good¿ and `poor¿ science. The way in which alternative approaches to Physical Geography have developed and what this entails for research is explored partly through student-centred investigation of key topics in the history of the discipline in the form of a group portfolio and an individual literature review.

  • GEG268 Dissertation Preparation

    The module prepares students for their independent research dissertation through dissertation fairs, lectures and a series of tutorials focusing upon the formulation and construction of a research proposal. The module also includes three lectures which explore career opportunities for Geography graduates and skills to enhance graduate employability.

  • 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. The emphasis is on the applied aspect of meteorology. However, as understanding of these is based on physical concepts, a basic mathematical and physical background is essential for student attending this module. The module focuses on short timescales ranging from daily to seasonal. 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. The fundamental physics of the atmosphere (motion, moisture and radiation) are discussed. The central part of the module focuses on weather systems, both in the tropics and the mid-latitudes. Finally, 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.

  • GEG358 Climate of the last 1000 years

    The aim of this module is to provide the participants with the relevant skills to place the widely reported anthropogenic influences upon climate into the perspective of a naturally changing climatic system. The module focuses upon the techniques used to reconstruct changes in climate over the last 1000 years and presents reconstructions at differing temporal scales. The module is directed towards students with a basic scientific and mathematical background.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2007 Present Research officer, SOTEAS Swansea University
2007 2007 Laboratory technician, SOTEAS Swansea University
2007 2007 Part-time temporary lecturer, SOTEAS Swansea University
2003 2007 NERC PhD studentship Swansea University
1996 2003 Copy editor Royal Meteorological Society
1989 1992 HSO (Stream 1), Atmospheric chemistry The Meteorological Office
1987 1989 SO, Trials of surface-based instruments The Meteorological Office
1984 1987 Study leave to read Physics and Meteorology, Uni. of Readi The Meteorological Office
1983 1984 ASO, Trials of upper-air equipment The Meteorological Office

Research Groups

  • Glaciology Group

    A research group dedicated to furthering knowledge in the quantification of the past and future contribution from glaciers and ice sheets to sea-level rise; the processes driving the present rapid and dramatic changes observed in glaciers, and the instabilities inherent in glacial systems; and the record of palaeo-ice mass instabilities and the processes that drove these changes.