Project: Reconciling glacial debris supply, transport and remobilisation in deglaciating catchments.

I have recently moved to Northumbria from The University of Sheffield where I studied for both my BSc and my MSc(Res). My master’s thesis focussed on evaluating current remote sensing methods of estimating debris thickness on debris covered glaciers. Debris thickness is important in a warming climate due to the insulating effect the debris has on the underlying ice. Determining the thickness helps feed more accurate information into ablation models and this in turn allows a detailed insight into the behaviour of these glaciers.

Whereas my master’s thesis focussed on the end product, the supraglacial debris layer, my PhD looks at the inputs to the debris covered glacier system as this is still a poorly understood area. I will use techniques such as repeat Structure-from-Motion (SfM) surveys combined with repeat terrestrial laser scanning to quantify headwall erosion rates, used as a proxy for debris input, along with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to try to understand englacial debris transport pathways. I aim to reconcile these components at a high spatial resolution and further inform our understanding of the behaviour of debris covered glaciers.

Matt Westoby