About Me

Chair in Glaciology; Leader of Glaciology Group; Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor

PhD Glacier Geophysics (1990, Univ. Wales); BSc (1st Hons) Physics & Computer Sci (1987, UCW Aberystwyth)

Specialist subjects
Glaciology ~ Fast glacier flow, glacier instability and glacier surging ~ Glacier basal processes ~ Present and future contribution from glaciers to global sea level rise ~ Remote sensing of glacier dynamics and mass balance ~ Application of geophysical methods in geomorphology and to applied environmental problems.

Areas of Expertise

  • Glaciology
  • climate change
  • environmental geophysics
  • glaciers
  • ice sheet
  • ground-penetrating radar

Publications

  1. Ocean forcing of glacier retreat in the western Antarctic Peninsula. Science 353(6296), 283-286.
  2. On the role of buoyant flexure in glacier calving. Geophysical Research Letters 43(1), 232-240A.
  3. Improved accuracy of cross-borehole radar velocity models for ice property analysis. GEOPHYSICS 81(1), WA203-WA212.
  4. Extensive Retreat of Greenland Tidewater Glaciers, 2000–2010. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 47(3), 427-447.
  5. Seasonal dynamic thinning at Helheim Glacier. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 415, 47-53.
  6. & Reverse glacier motion during iceberg calving and the cause of glacial earthquakes. Science 349(6245), 305-308.
  7. & Dynamics of glacier calving at the ungrounded margin of Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 120(6), 964-982.
  8. & Evidence for the asynchronous retreat of large outlet glaciers in southeast Greenland at the end of the last glaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews 99, 244-259.
  9. & An automatic approach to delineate the cold–temperate transition surface with ground-penetrating radar on polythermal glaciers. Annals of Glaciology 55(67), 89-96.
  10. & A new Antarctic Peninsula glacier basin inventory and observed area changes since the 1940s. Antarctic Science 26(06), 614-624.

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Teaching

  • 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.

  • GEGM26 Climate Science and Policy

    This module will develop critical thinking about the role of science, especially climate science, in society. This role will be discussed in terms of what is desirable, what is practical and what is the present reality. We will focus on a few specific areas; how science provides advice to policy-makers (especially through the activities of bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and the symbotic/antagonistic relationship between science and the media. During the module you will consider the communication of climate science topics to scientists, the general public and to policy makers.

Supervision

  • Modelling Circulation Dynamics within a Greenland Fjord (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Nick Croft
  • 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: Dr Ian Rutt
  • 'Marine-terminating glacier dynamics and the mass budget of the northwest Greenland ice sheet' (awarded 2016)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Adrian Luckman
  • 'Improved quantification of englacial liquid water-content of a polythermal mountain glacier using borehole geophysics' (awarded 2016)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Bernd Kulessa
  • 'The late Quaternary glacial history of southeast Greenland' (awarded 2015)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr John Hiemstra
  • Tidewater glaciers advance/retreat pattern visualisation and controls: a case study in Greenland (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rita Borgo
  • "Identifying fast glacier flow: the sedimentological and micromorphological signature of surges and ice streams" (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr John Hiemstra
  • ''Using Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) to map changes in thermal regime on polythermal glaciers'' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Professor Bernd Kulessa
  • 'The Use of ASAR to Monitor the Surface Melt of Glaciers in Svalbard' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Professor Adrian Luckman
  • 'Spatial and Temporal Changes in Marine-terminating Glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula since the 1940s' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Adrian Luckman
  • 'Oceanographic controls on glaciers in southeast Greenland' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Suzanne Bevan
  • GPR Signal Analysis: An Algorithm to Determine and Classify Pipe Size and Material (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    MPhil
    Other supervisor: Professor Bernd Kulessa
    Other supervisor: Mr Adam Booth
  • Use of remote sensing to assess supra-glacial lakes depth estimations on the Greenland Ice Sheet (awarded 2013)

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

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ian Rutt
  • Environmental Controls on Calving in Grounded Tidewater Glaciers (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ian Rutt
  • Controls on the Calving Rate of North West Svalbard Glaciers from Satellite Remote Sensing (awarded 2012)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Adrian Luckman
  • Remote Sensing of Supraglacial Lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet (awarded 2012)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Timothy James
  • Polythermal glacier dynamics at Storglaciaren, Arctic Sweden, inferred using in situ geophysical techniques (awarded 2010)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Bernd Kulessa
  • The dynamics of palaeo-ice streams draining the eastern margin of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet during the Late Quaternary (awarded 2010)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr John Hiemstra
    Other supervisor: Dr Geraint Owen
  • Rutford and Evans Ice Streams investigated using Satellite Radar Interferometry and modelling (awarded 2008)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Adrian Luckman
  • Changes in volume and extent of north-west Svalbard Glaciers using airborne lidar and digital photogrammetry (awarded 2007)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Timothy James

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.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2005 Present Chair in Glaciology and Leader of Swansea Glaciology Group Swansea University
2008 2008 Walter Bean Visiting Professorship University of Waterloo, Canada
2007 2008 Bullerwell Lectures, British Geophysical Association .
2007 2008 Bullerwell Lectures, British Geophysical Association .
2007 2007 Nomination for "Welsh Woman of the Year" (Science & Technology) Swansea University
2007 2012 Leverhulme Research Leadership Award .
2007 2007 Awarded Polar Medal by HM Queen, for 'outstanding service to Polar Research'
2006 2006 AGU Union Lecture Near surface geophysics
2004 2005 Chair in Glaciology University of Leeds
2004 2005 Basal conditions on Rutford Ice Stream, Antarctica Leverhulme Research Fellowship
2002 2004 Reader in Glaciology University of Leeds
2000 2000 British Geomorphological Research Group Warwick Award for glaciological research
1993 2002 Senior Lecturer and Lecturer University of Leeds

Key Grants and Projects

  • The timing and synchronicity of coastal deglaciation in southeast Greenland 2012 - 2013

    NERC Cosmogenic Isotopic Analysis 9123.0412, £8,050

  • Changes in Glacier and Ice Shelf Extents in a climate warming hot-spot - the Antarctic Peninsula 2011 - 2013

    PhD studentship from AXA Research Fund, and £102,072

  • Constraining the Holocene retreat of marine-terminating outlet glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Bernstorffs Isfjord, South-East Greenland 2011 - 2012

    NERC Cosmogenic Isotopic Analysis 9113.1011, £8,560

  • South-East Greenland Trough Experiment 2010 - 2012

    NERC Small Grants Scheme, Co-I, NE/I017704/1, £63,795

  • Networks of Sensors in Extreme Environments: High-Resolution Glacier Dynamic Monitoring 2011 - 2014

    NERC NE/I007148/1, £1,1m

  • Swansea University :: Bringing People Together 2010 - 2013

    EPSRC Bridging the Gaps proposal, Co-I, EP/I00145X/1, £790,239

  • C3W: Climate Change Consortium Wales 2009 - 2015

    HEFCW, £4.2M – and additional £0.5M funding for outreach from Countryside Council for Wales

  • BEAMISH: Basal Conditions on Rutford Ice Stream: Bed Access, Monitoring and Ice Sheet History 2012 - 2016

    NERC AFI NE/G014159/1, £2.3m total - £155,590 Swansea

  • GLIMPSE - Stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet 2007 - 2012

    Leverhulme Research Leadership scheme, F/00391/J, £846,892

  • Discover! Club, which aims to excite girls about science and to continue to study science at GCSE, a stage when many drop these subjects 2009 - 2011

    Careers Wales West

  • Constraining the Holocene retreat of marine-terminating outlet glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, South-East Greenland 2010 - 2011

    NERC Cosmogenic Isotopic Analysis, 9098.1010, £7,130

  • Centre of Excellence for Modelling of Ice, Climate and Environment 2008

    IBM, £1.5M equivalent

  • The role of fjords in regulating ocean drivers of glacier dynamic changes in SE Greenland 2011 - 2012

    National Geographic, 111741, $19,870

  • Extending the timescales of glacier volume change in regions of GRACE-gravity anomalies in Northern Greenland 2009 - 2011

    NERC Small Grant, NE/G010366/1, £38,521

  • Seismic characterisation of subglacial conditions beneath the margin of the West Greenland Ice Sheet 2010 - 2011

    NERC Small Grant, Co-I NE/H012869/1, £41,703

  • Constraining the Holocene retreat and thinning of major outlet glacier of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Sermilik Fjord, SE Greenland 2009 - 2011

    NERC Cosmogenic Isotopic Analysis 9077.1009, £7,130 equivalent

  • Crossing boundaries: aspiration meets inspiration 2009 - 2011

    UK Resource Centre for Women in SET, £4,400

  • The nature of englacial water within polythermal glacier ice using combined radar and seismic techniques 2009 - 2010

    National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration, US$18,167

  • Dynamic changes of glaciers at the margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet 500, SPOT-5 and FORMOSAT scenes 2009

    to support Stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet project, data

  • Greenland outlet glacier dynamics during IPY 2007 - 2009

    ESA IPY AO, with A. Luckman [Swansea], R. de Lange and T. van Dam [Luxembourg], data

  • Antarctic mapping and change during IPY 2007 - 2009

    ESA IPY AO, with A. Luckman [Swansea], D. Vaughan [BAS], H. Pritchard [BAS] and B. Kulessa [Swansea], Data

  • Variations in glacier flow on the Antarctic Peninsula during IPY 2007 - 2009

    ESA IPY AO 4107, with A. Luckman [Swansea], D. Vaughan [BAS], H. Pritchard [BAS] and B. Kulessa [Swansea], Data

  • The nature of englacial water within polythermal glacier ice using combined radar and seismic techniques 2008 - 2008

    ARCFAC, £5,000 for logistic support

  • Improving estimates of the rate of sea-level rise from the Greenland Ice Sheet 2008 - 2008

    ESF Workshop, €14,000

  • Ship-board acquisition of multibeam and sub-bottom profiler data and processes acting during sediment core recovery. 2008 - 2008

    British Antarctic Survey, Ship time & £1500

  • Walter Bean Visiting Professorship 2008 - 2008

    University of Waterloo, Canada, Cdn$50,000