My project will investigate the extent of water repellent sediments at the glacier bed and how this could potentially impact glacier flow instability. Our understanding of glacier flow, particularly sliding and basal deformation processes, are incomplete. This is a huge problem for modelling instabilities in ice sheets and determining mechanisms of surging glaciers. I’ll be using hydrocarbon and microbial analysis at sites of known flow instability to determine the level of hydrophobicity in glacial sediments. This will further our understanding of the processes acting at the glacier-bed interface and determine the potential role of hydrophobic sediment in glacier flow instabilities.

Prof John Woodward