I am primarily a glaciologist. My research focuses on processes at the base of ice sheets, in particular on how friction, subglacial hydrology and sediment deformation influence ice flow. This work has included hydrological tracing experiments in Greenland, and numerical simulations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet with the ‘PISM’ ice sheet model.
I am also interested in how the response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to previous climates can help us constrain projections of future ice sheet evolution. One interesting period is the Last Interglacial (about 130,000 years ago), when the climate in the Southern Hemisphere high latitudes was only a little warmer than present, but sea level was several metres higher. As part of the EU-funded TiPACCs project, I have been compiling climate reconstructions and running ice sheet simulations covering the last 2 glacial cycles (220,000 years). These simulations will help us understand Antarctica’s contribution to the higher sea-level during the last interglacial, and will provide an indication of whether the ice sheet could make this contribution again under projected future warming.