BSc Aberdeen (1996); PhD Edinburgh (2009)
I use numerical models to simulate the Antarctic ice sheet both at the continental scale and at the scale of individual outlet glaciers. My interest lies in understanding how the ice sheet responds to changes in climate, and to do that we use geological evidence of past changes together with a process understanding of the modern system. Much of my work employs the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM), developed jointly by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and Potsdam Institute for Climate Research.
Response of the Antarctic ice sheet to future climate change
This ongoing project has a number of significant challenges associated with it, but the ultimate goal is to better understand the relative importance of environmental forcings in terms of their impact on ice-sheet evolution. Early results highlight the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in the next 20-30 years to avoid committing the ice-sheet to ongoing mass loss that continues for millennia. doi:10.1038/nature15706
Antarctic ice sheet dynamics during the last glacial termination
At the end of the last 'ice age', global air and ocean temperatures rose rapidly, leading to fundamental changes in the extent and behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet. By training model simulations to reproduce surface elevations inferred from geological and ice-core data we can determine how much, and how quickly, the ice-sheet contributed to sea-level rise during the deglacial period. doi:10.1038/ncomms6107
Flowline modelling of Antarctic glaciers:
Sometimes a simple model can be useful in helping to understand the dynamics of individual glaciers. A few years ago I wrote a model specifically to simulate Transantarctic outlets, with a view to be able to parameterize the model based on field measurements of ice thickness and surface velocity. The model has subsequently been used for Antarctic Peninsula work, and continues to be developed for applications spanning the Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and present-day. doi:10.1038/nclimate2369 doi:10.3189/2014JoG13J131
Students interested in ice-sheet modelling or in Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics should contact me directly to enquire about PhD opportunities.