This category contains 7 posts

Probable unstable Pine Island Glacier retreat and sea level rise (new study)

Prof. Tony Payne (Bristol University) contributing author on recent study (Favier et al., 2014. Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate2094) showing that Pine Island Glacier’s grounding line is probably engaged in an unstable 40 km retreat. Using ‘state-of-the-art’ ice-sheet modelling, the team demonstrated that the dynamic contribution to sea level rise will remain at a significantly higher level compared with conditions prior to the retreat (equivalent to 3.5–10 mm eustatic sea-level rise over the 20 years).

Introducing the Liverpool team

Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the team from the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool.

Dr Mark Tamisiea

Mark Tamisea

Mark Tamisiea is a geophysicist that studies the motion of the Earth’s crust and variations of water depth in the oceans caused by past and present changes of the ice sheets. This collective response of the crust ond oceans is typically called glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). His Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder examined how solid-solid phase transitions in the Earth’s mantle might affect observations of GIA. Starting with his post-doc at the University of Toronto, his work has focused on the regional sea level changes caused by GIA. Understanding the regional differences is vital to interpreting the causes of past and present sea level change. Mark has been at the National Oceanography Centre (formally the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory) since 2007 and prior to that was at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr Svetlana Jevrejeva

Svetlana JevrejevaSvetlana Jevrejeva is a physical oceanographer who works for NOC Liverpool since 2002. Her main research interests are in the variability of global and regional sea level change and development and application of advanced statistical methods. She had contributed to the development of the wavelet coherence method and is author of the unique sea level reconstruction since 1700. She has major publications in the field of time series analysis and the application of novel statistical methods to earth science problems. During the Fifth Assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) she was a Lead Author of the Working Group 1 chapter on Sea level changes. Recent work has focused on sea level projections by 2100, changes in extreme sea levels in the past and their link to climate change.

Dr André Düsterhus

André DüsterhusAndré Düsterhus is a meteorologist specialised in statistical data analysis. He is part of iGlass since 2013 and is working on the connection between GIA modelling and observations of the sea-level variations in the past interglacials. This is done by using verification and data assimilation techniques with a focus on Bayesian statistics. Prior to his appointment at NOC Liverpool, André had received his diploma and PhD in meteorology at the University of Bonn and worked within the climate dynamics workgroup of Andreas Hense. His PhD thesis covered the development of quality assurance procedures within data publication processes. A focus was set therein on the development of statistical quality assurance tests on general data and data peer review schemes.

Introducing the Bristol team

Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the team from the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.

Professor Tony Payne

Tony payneTony is a Professor of Glaciology in the School of Geographical Sciences and has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Stirling and a PhD in Geography from the University of Edinburgh. His PhD focussed on the numerical modelling of former ice sheets. Tony’s work today mainly centres on the development and application of numerical models of glacier and ice sheet flow in order to understand the evolution and dynamics of ice streams, and their effect on the stability of ice sheets. He has a particular interest in modelling the evolution of  Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica.

Tony is a co-director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) and was heavily involved in the recent European project ICE2SEA. Tony is also a lead author of the chapter on sea level change in the very recently published 5th IPCC report.

Dr Dan Lunt

Dan LuntDan Lunt is a Reader in Climate Science in the School of Geographical Sciences and has an MPhys from the University of Oxford and a PhD on modelling the dust cycle during the Last Glacial Maximum from the University of Reading. His research interests are broad but with a particular focus on climate – ice sheet interactions during the past and in the future. Dan aims to understand the mechanisms affecting past climate change using a model-data synthesis approach . This allows models to test hypotheses derived from interpretation of paleo-data while also providing the data community with information where useful data can be collected to test new hypotheses derived from models.

Dan is an  executive editor of the EGU journal, Geoscientific Model Development, which is primarily for model descriptions, from box models to GCMs. The philosophy behind the journal, is to improve rigour and traceability in climate modelling.  He is also involved in the iGlass related European Project Past4Future and is a contributing author of the chapter on past climate change in the 5th IPCC report.

Dr Joy Singarayer

joyJoy Singarayer is an Associate Professor of Palaeoclimatology in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, having recently left the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.  Her interests  are in Quaternary climate change and further back in time with an emphasis on understanding interactions between humans, land cover/use, and climate, prehistoric and present.

Apart from iGlass, Joy has been and is involved on the following projects: terrestrial methane cycling during Paleogene greenhouse climates (NERC), the Palaeoclimate Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP3) – LGM and Holocene terrestrial carbon fluxes and climate, climate change in the last glacial cycle (BBC) and cooling the climate with crops using biogeoengineering (DEFRA).

Dr Emma Stone

Emma StoneEmma Stone is a Research Associate in the School of Geographical Sciences. She has been at Bristol since 2006 where she completed a PhD (supervised by Dan Lunt and Paul Valdes) on the impact of vegetation feedbacks on the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet under future and past climates.  Previously Emma undertook an MEarthSci at the University of Bristol and an MSc in Applied Meteorology at the University of Reading.  She is particularly interested in understanding climate – ice sheet interactions during past warm periods.

As a researcher for the European Past4Future and iGlass projects, Emma uses climate models of various complexity to model the climate interactions during the Last Interglacial (LIG) period with an emphasis on model-data comparison and is currently working on developing a robust statistical methodology for model-data comparison.  The climate output will be used in conjunction with ice sheet modelling to predict sea-level change during the LIG.

Mr Matthew Whipple

Matt WhippleMatt Whipple is a PhD student in the  Geographical and Earth Science Departments and is supervised by Mark Siddall, Eric Wolff, Joy Singarayer and Dan Lunt. Before starting his PhD in 2011 Matt completed a BSc in Geophysics at the University of Liverpool. His PhD is funded by the iGlass project and is focussed on  investigating changes in the Antarctic ice sheet and contributions to sea level during the LIG, and other past warm periods.  He  uses several methodologies which involve combining output from glacio-isostatic adjustment models, climate models, and ice core isotope records.

Introducing the Cambridge team

Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the team from the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Cambridge.

Professor Eric Wolff

ImageEric Wolff is a Royal Society Research Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University. After graduating as a chemist, he has studied ice cores from the Antarctic and Greenland for the past 30 years, using them to understand changing climate, as well as changing levels of pollution in remote areas. He also carries out research into the chemistry of the lower parts of the Antarctic atmosphere.

Until June 2013, he had worked at the British Antarctic Survey, leading their programme: “Chemistry and Past Climate”.  He chaired the science committee of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), which produced 800,000 year records of climate from the Dome C (Antarctica) ice core and co-chairs the international initiative (IPICS) to coordinate future ice core research.  He has a strong interest in understanding the similarities, differences and consequences of the interglacials of the last 800,000 years.

Dr Rob Mulvaney

ImageRobert Mulvaney is the Science Leader of the Chemistry and Past Climate programme at the British Antarctic Survey.  He is an analytical chemist and palaeoclimatologist researching climate and environment of the past using chemistry and water isotope data from the analysis of ice cores.  Particularly interests include: the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene; millennial-scale climate change; location of chemical species in ice and diagenesis during burial; permanent gas isotopes trapped in ice as indicators of ice sheet response to climate; trace gases in ice and firn as evidence of anthropogenic changes to the atmosphere.

He is responsible for the UK ice core drilling operations in Antarctica with 18 field seasons experience.  He has worked further five seasons in the Arctic with multinational ice drilling projects, including the recent NEEM Deep Ice Core Drilling Project in Greenland.  Major successes include leading the ice core drilling projects to bedrock on Berkner Island (948m), James Ross Island (364m) and Fletcher Promontory (654m) in Antarctica. In Cambridge he leads a small team working in a modern analytical laboratory alongside a -25°C cold-room measuring the chemistry of ice cores.

Dr Katy Pol

ImageKaty Pol is a palaeoclimatologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Graduated in Mathematics and Physics, she completed her PhD at the Laboratoire des Sciences et du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE) in France in 2011, exploring the millennial to sub-millennial scale climate variability occurring during interglacial periods as recorded in the EPICA Dome C ice core. As part of her post-doc position at BAS, she is involved in the European Past4Future and UK iGLASS projects, combining her knowledge in interglacial climates and ice cores to investigate climatic changes (in sea ice extent, air temperatures or sea surface temperatures for instance) affecting polar regions during warm climatic periods.

Within the iGLASS project, she is in particular in charge of compiling data from different types of archives (e.g. marine sediments, terrestrial sediments or ice cores) to provide a clear view of what were the climatic states of polar regions during the past MIS 7, 9 and 11 interglacial periods. This aims to assess the response of polar ice-sheets to different climatic conditions, a key point when wanting to better understand the processes involved in sea level rise.

Dr Emilie Capron

Emilie Capron is a palaeoclimatologist. She joined the British Antarctic Survey in 2010 after completing a Ph.D at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (France) where she analysed the air trapped in Antarctic and Greenland ice cores (air isotopic composition and methane concentration) in order to characterise the millennial-scale climatic variations during the last glacial inception and the early glacial period.

As part of the iGlass and the European Past4Future projects, she is working on a high latitude compilation of data on air and sea surface temperature changes (derived from marine sediment and ice cores) over the Last Interglacial period (115 000-130 000 years ago). This work deals in particular with the development of a common temporal framework between marine sediment and ice core records in order to provide a robust reconstruction of the sequence of climatic events over this time interval. This work will be used both as inputs for ice sheet modelling and targets for climate modelling of the Last Interglacial. In parallel to the iGlass project, Emilie analyses the ice (cation and anion content) and the trapped air (air isotopic composition) in Antarctic ice cores in order to provide constraints on the past evolution of Antarctic firns during large climatic transitions such as a deglaciation. She uses this information to help improving ice core chronologies.

Introducing the Durham team

Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the Durham University team.

Professor Antony Long
Antony holds a Chair in ImagePhysical Geography at Durham University. His research interests are Quaternary environmental change, especially past and future sea-level change and coastal evolution around Greenland and the North Atlantic.  He is particularly experienced in the use of isolation basins, estuarine and salt marsh sediments to reconstruct past sea level, and has, most notably, produced key relative sea-level datasets for Greenland, along with reconstructions of the former position of the ice sheet since deglaciation, constraining the ice load over a range of timescales.  Alongside this he has worked around the wider North Atlantic using salt marsh sediments to reconstruct sea level over decadal to millennial timescales; on buried estuarine sediments in the Irish Sea that record late glacial sea-level changes; and Holocene sea level and coastal evolution in England and north west Scotland.  Antony is Head of the Department of Geography at Durham University. He is currently a co-leader of PALSEA2, Editor in Chief of Journal of Quaternary Science, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Quaternary Research Association.

Dr Natasha Barlow
Natasha is a postdoctoral researcher on the iGlass project, having done her PhD at Durham.  Her interest is reconstructing Quaternary environments, and in particular relative sea-level change on both active and passive coasts.  Natasha is particularly experienced in the use of diatoms to quantitatively reconstruct relative sea-level change from coastal sediments, along with developing chronological frameworks.  This has led her to apply these techniques to salt marsh sediments from around the North Atlantic that act as ‘geological tide gauges’ for the last 2000 years (her previous postdoc) and reconstructions of land-level changes associated with great earthquakes in Alaska.  She also has some experience in glacial isostatic adjustment modeling and continues to work on questions regarding the impact of mass balance changes on sea level in Alaska, Iceland and South Georgia.

Introducing the York team

Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the members based at the University of York.

Prof. W. Roland Gehrels

Image Roland Gehrels is a Quaternary geologist and a physical geographer who specialises in sea-level studies. He was appointed as a Chair in Physical Geography in York in June 2013. Prior to coming to York he was at Plymouth University for almost 18 years, starting as a lecturer and going through several promotions until he was awarded a Chair in 2007. At Plymouth he was a member of the Quaternary Environments Research Group and headed a small research cluster in sea-level studies. Before that, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Durham with Ian Shennan. His PhD at the University of Maine (USA) investigated Holocene sea-level changes in the Gulf of Maine and was supervised by Dan Belknap and Joe Kelley. His first endeavours in sea-level studies were in collaboration with the late Orson van de Plassche at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam where he completed an MSc in Applied Quaternary Geology.

Dr. Margot H. Saher

ImageMargot Saher is a palaeoclimatologist specialized in foraminifera, who has been applying the study of these micro-organisms to sea-level research for the past four years. She has been working on the iGlass project since 2009; first at the University of Plymouth (which later renamed itself Plymouth University) and since June 2013 at the University of York. This was her second sea level related project; before iGlass she studied sea-level variability over the last 500 years in the North Atlantic. She has also studied benthic foraminifera ecology in the Barents Sea in relation to anthropogenic warming; this took place at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø. She received her education (MSc and PhD) at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, working with Dick Kroon and Simon Jung.

Introducing the Southampton team

Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the University of Southampton members, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Dr Ivan Haigh

ivan_haigh_oes1449Ivan is the co-ordinator of the iGlass project. In the last 12 years he has worked on a wide range of projects in both industry and academia covering many different aspects of coastal oceanography, with a particular focus on sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Ivan’s main research interests are:

  • assessing historic and determining future changes in mean and extreme sea levels at local, regional and global scales; and
  • determining how to effectively translate global projections of absolute sea level rise down to regional and local scales in practical terms that will aid coastal managers and engineers inform flood and erosion risk-based management and for future planning.

In this regard, he is interested in all aspects of sea level variations from time scales of minutes (ocean surface waves), hours (seiches, tides), days (storm surges), through to longer term changes (seasonal, inter-annual and longer-term changes in mean sea levels, lunar tidal cycles). He has experience in assessing observational datasets (i.e. tide gauge records, wave buoy data) and tide/surge and wave numerical modelling for short (forecasting, navigation) and long (coupling with climate models to assess past/present and potential future changes in storm surges, extreme sea levels and coastal flooding) term applications.

Prof. Eelco Rohling

Eelco was instrumentEelcoal in setting up the iGlass project and continues to be very involved despite moving to Australia (to take up the pretigious Australian Laureate Fellowship in Feb 2013). Eelco’s current research aims to understand climate and sea-level change on timescales relevant to longer-term planning, by characterising the relationship between past sea-level and ice-volume change and other key climate factors such as temperature and greenhouse gases, and by quantifying how rapidly sea level may adjust to climate change.

Eelco has received a prestigious UK Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and been a visiting scientist to the Lamont Doherty Earth Observation in the United States, invited Professor at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, the Vice President of Palaeoclimatology of the European Geoscience Union and a Corresponding Fellow at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most significant research contributions have focussed on the processes of past climate change on decadal to millennial time scales and the consequences of hydrological change on ocean circulation, marine ecosystems, and organic carbon sequestration or burial.

Dr Fiona Hibbert


Fiona is a research fellow and project manager for the iGlass project. She is currently working on a global compilation of data on interglacial sea level changes (derived from corals, speleothems etc.) and information on the past extent and dynamics of ice sheets. Fiona is a palaeoceanographer with keen interest in past climates (especially ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions) and her main research interests are:

  • Interglacial sea level
  • Interglacial palaeoclimate
  • Dynamics (and dating) of past ice sheets

Prior to joining iGlass, Fiona worked on (and continues to work on…)

  • The paleoceanography of the North Atlantic
  • The history of the former British-Irish Ice Sheet
  • Ice-rafted debris and its provenance
  • Tephra, marine radiocarbon and other methods of age control within marine sediments

Felicity Williams

Felicity is at the end of her second year as an iGFWilliamslass consortium PhD funded by NERC. Felicity’s project involves investigating the relationship between the Red Sea Relative Sea Level curve and global ice volume over the past 500,000 years. To do this she is developing models of global ice volume and combining Glacial Isostatic Adjustment modelling with sea level indicators such as coral data. Mark Tamisiea (Liverpool) and Eelco Rohling (Canberra, Australia), are her two iGlass supervisors. So far she has researched the geological development of the Red Sea, reviewed many, many papers on the collection and dating of coral data, and reviewed the issues associated with determining variations in global ice volume beyond the last glacial maximum. GIA modelling of the Hanish Sill, a critical location associated with the Red Sea Method for determining the Red Sea relative sea level curve, has started to deliver some very interesting results.

Felicity graduated with an MSci Physics from Imperial College in 2000, and spent several years working in the UK Civil Service before returning to academia via the MSc Oceanography at the National Oceanographic Centre, University of Southampton.


Dr. Cheng Zhao

Cheng is a palaChengeoclimatologist and geochemist working on coral sea level index points. He has been working on the iGlass project since 2012. Prior to this Cheng worked extensively on lake records of Holocene climate (including Tibet and North America) and joined the Southampton team in May 2012 from the University of Hong Kong.



November 2020

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