Research

Key research Interests

  • Transit times and pathways of meltwater through the glacial hydrological system
  • Controls on crevasse propagation, moulin formation and the drainage of supraglacial lakes
  • Working towards better implementation of hydrology within glacier and ice sheet models
  • The role of meltwater in the dynamics and evolution of palaeo ice sheets

 

Ongoing research projects

Hydrology and dynamics of the Eurasian Ice Sheets
– Main collaborators: Sarah Greenwood, Per Holmlund, Martin Jakobsson (Stockholm University) and Johan Nyberg  (Geological Survey of Sweden)

This research is focussed on an improved understanding of the retreat and dynamics of the Eurasian Ice Sheets during the Late Weichselian. I have a specific interest in the Baltic and Bothnian seas, and a combined modelling/geomorphology approach is being applied to help better constrain ice stream activity in this region. This includes investigating the controls on grounding line stability and flow dynamics, and the role of meltwater in driving retreat. Mapping of high-resolution bathymetric data provides a incredibly well-preserved insight into the subglacial environment in this area, from which we might better understand contemporary glacial processes. This work thus contributes to improving our understanding of both present day and palaeo ice sheets, and provides a unique perspective on marine-terminating ice streams.

 

Hydrocarbon pollution on Rabots Glacier, Kebnekaise, Northern Sweden
– Main collaborators: Gunhild Rosqvist and Jerker Jarsjö (Stockholm University)

In March 2012 a Royal Norwegian Air Force Hercules plane crashed just below the summit of Kebnekaise, depositing much of the wreckage and fuel onto Rabots Glacier. Through an ongoing monitoring programme we are investigating the transit pathways and likely lifetime of the hydrocarbon pollution within the glacier catchment. This includes how the pollutants behave in the snowpack, the use of dye tracers to investigate the likely transport pathways for pollution from the source zone, and detection of pollution in the proglacial environment where it enters a river used for drinking water by both animals and humans.

 

Past research projects

Meltwater transfer to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets
– Main collaborators: Douglas Mair (University of Liverpool) and Peter Nienow (University of Edinburgh)

A model for predicting the surface-to-bed transfer of meltwater through moulins and supraglacial lake drainages was developed during my PhD and applied to both the Croker Bay catchment of the Devon Ice Cap and the Leverett Glacier catchment on the southwest Greenland Ice Sheet. The transfer of meltwater to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets influences the subglacial hydrological system and ice velocities, and may become increasingly important under a future warming climate and associated expanding ablation zone. The model simulates melting in response to meteorological inputs, routing of meltwater across the ice surface, and meltwater-driven crevasse propagation. It ultimately quantifies surface-to-bed meltwater transfer over time and space, and includes the drainage of supraglacial lakes. Both present day and future climatic scenarios have been tested in this work, illustrating the potential for increased surface-to-bed meltwater delivery under a warming climate.

 

Ice cliff ablation on the debris-covered Miage Glacier, Monte Bianco, Italy
– Supervised by Ben Brock (Northumbria University)

The ablation of ice cliffs on the Miage Glacier was investigated through comparison of modelled and measured melting, testing the applicability of energy balance models for predicting ablation of these surfaces

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