The cryosphere, and ice sheets in particular, stores enough water to change global sea level by hundreds of metres. Indeed, sea level was lower at the last glacial maximum by about 130m. How the cryosphere will evolve in the future remains difficult to predict in detail. Oxford scientists are making measurements in the field and developing models to understand modern processes in ice, and how these interact with processes in the ocean, atmosphere and solid Earth.
Over the past million years, ice sheets have waxed and waned. They grow slowly but disintegrate rapidly. Mechanisms for ice loss are of particular importance. From surface melting driven by a warmer atmosphere, to changes in circulation and heat transport driven by a warming ocean, to changes in the flow of glaciers on annual and decadal timescales, Oxford scientists are gaining insight into this crucial element of the climate system.
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Relevant Research Groups
Research interests include the coupled dynamics of ice sheets and subglacial hydrology, and other problems in involving melting, freezing, and fluid flow.
Glacier and Ice Sheet Modelling
Focused on physics of sea ice, interaction of ice sheets and glaciers with the ocean