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Research Themes

Our research concerning glaciers and climate change is focused around four research themes. These themes are listed below, with further information provided on the linked pages.

ant031. Thermal and mechanical processes at the beds of cold glaciers - this project aims to move closer to an understanding of the behaviour of cold-based glaciers by building deductive depositional models based on glaciodynamic processes, focusing on glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica.

2. Quaternary Geomorphology of the Southern Alps - our work in the Southern Alps has two broad sub-themes. The first investigates the behaviour of glaciers in tectonically active alpine landscapes, focusing on reconstructing how glaciers behaved during Pleistocene ice advances in the trunk valleys. The second looks at the response of the landscape to disturbance events, focusing on how slopes and rivers respond to disturbance events such as coseismic mass movements and high magnitude rainfall events and indeed if such disturbance events have distinct signatures.

3. Mass Balance of Glaciers - this project focuses on how glaciers in New Zealand, Tanzania and the high latitudes are responding to climate change, with particular emphasis on the nature of regional variability in the mass balance of glaciers in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and the implications these changes have on ecosystems, tourism and power generation.

4. Ice Shelf Dynamics - this project focuses on developing an understanding of the entrainment, transfer and deposition of sediment by ice shelves; specifically the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica; with a particular emphasis on developing a model for the accretion and transfer of ice and debris in ice shelves, along with a glaciological basis for palaeoclimatic reconstructions derived from geological investigations of ice shelf moraines.

© 2009 Department of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand