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The Glaciology Group in the SFU Department of Earth Sciences studies glacier and ice-sheet dynamics, the hydrology of glacierized systems, and the relationship of these systems to climate. Our interests have led us to explore the hydrology and dynamics of alpine glaciers, outburst floods from ice-dammed lakes, glacier surges and glacier-climate interactions. Field-based and modelling techniques complement one another in most of these pursuits. See our research page for details.


2018/09/01: Anna Gribbon has just joined the Glaciology Group as an M.Sc. candidate co-advised by Bernhard Rabus in Engineering Science. Anna completed her MPhys at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

2018/07/31: Alex Pulwicki's first M.Sc. paper on estimating winter balance at multiple scales has just been accepted by The Journal of Glaciology. Over 9000 direct measurements of snow depth and density were used to pinpoint sources of uncertainty in estimating glacier-wide winter balance. Click here for a one-page summary.

2018/07/22: We are just back from the field where the BSI IceRadar system was used to detect the bed of the Kaskawulsh Glacier beneath 800+ metres of ice. Thanks to Ecologist Team Leader for Kluane National Park and Reserve, Carmen Wong, for joining us on this survey.

2018/07/16: An actively surging glacier was discovered in the headwaters of the Donjek River during our recent survey of the terminus of the Kluane Glacier. Click here for more information.

2018/06/30: A big congratulations to PDF Laura Thomson who is off to Queen's this fall to take up her position as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning!

2018/04/25: PDF Leif Anderson's paper Holocene glacier and climate variations in Vestfirðir, Iceland, from the modeling of Drangajökull ice cap has just been accepted by Quaternary Science Reviews. This work is a contribution to the ANATILS project, funded by RANNIS (P.I. Áslaug Geirsdóttir), aimed at integrating paleoclimate reconstructions with numerical modeling of glacier variations to understand abrupt climate change in the North Atlantic region.

2018/04/16: Flavien Beaud's latest paper has just been published in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 'Excavation of subglacial bedrock channels by seasonal meltwater flow' highlights how bedrock erosion by particles entrained in water-filled subglacial channels can initiate the formation of tunnel valleys and inner gorges.

2018/02/26: New paper 'Bedrock fracture characteristics as a possible control on the distribution of surge-type glaciers', led by PhD candidate Jeff Crompton, has just been accepted by the Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface. Click here for a one-page summary. Thanks to Steve Israel and the Yukon Geological Survey for supporting this research.

2018/02/20: PhD candidate Jeff Crompton has won the Stan Paterson Scholarship of the Canadian Geophysical Union! This scholarship was endowed by Stan Paterson himself (1924-2013), author of the classic textbook The Physics of Glaciers .

2018/02/08: Congratulations to Dr. Laura Thomson on being awarded both an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue research at SFU on Arctic glacier dynamics, and the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on the quality and capacity of Arctic glacier monitoring through the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zürich, all in the space of a week!

2018/01/31: The SFU Glaciology Group is thrilled to welcome a brand new member! Thanks to Marissa Campbell for our new logo.

2018/01/25: Congratulations to Alex Pulwicki on winning an Outstanding Student Paper Award at the 2017 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for her poster entitled 'Uncertainty in Estimates of Net Seasonal Snow Accumulation on Glaciers from In Situ Measurements' .

2017/12/15: Graduate students Jeff Crompton and Alex Pulwicki presented their research at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.

2017/11/17: Alex Pulwicki successfully defended her master's thesis entitled 'Multi-scale investigation of winter balance on alpine glaciers'. Congratulations, Alex!

2017/11/03: SFU Postdoctoral Fellow Laura Thomson injects some science into an upcoming freeride film on Axel Heiberg Island.

2017/10/19: New paper in JGR on using ambient noise cross-correlation techniques to monitor water drainage in moulins on the Kaskawulsh Glacier.

2017/09/15: The field team is back from Yukon, after a late-season drainage of Kaskawulsh Lake. MSc candidate Dave Bigelow and others retrieved the instruments that had been monitoring the lake filling and drainage cycle all summer.

2017/09/05: Welcome to PhD candidate Erik Young, the newest member of the Glaciology Group. Erik received his master's degree from McGill with a thesis entitled 'Earthquake slip surface distribution in a lithologically heterogeneous shear zone core'.

2017/09/05: MSc candidate Alex Pulwicki is one of the first recipients of the SFU KEY Big Data Scholarships for her work using statistical methods to estimate winter balance and its uncertainty. Congratulations, Alex!

2017/08/01: Congratulations to Flavien Beaud on winning an Outstanding Student Poster Award at the 2017 meeting of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his poster entitled 'Numerical modelling of esker formation in semi-circular subglacial channels'.

2017/05/26: Flavien Beaud successfully defended his PhD thesis! 'Numerical investigations of subglacial hydrology as a direct and indirect driver of glacial erosion'. Flavien is headed to Caltech with a Postdoctoral Fellowship from SNF to work with Mike Lamb.

2017/05/11: Gwenn Flowers joined SFU Postdoctoral Fellow Laura Thomson, Luke Copland (University of Ottawa) and Miles Eccelestone (Trent University) for a spring field season in the High Arctic on White Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island.

2017/04/28: Flavien Beaud gave an invited talk at the European Geosciences Union Meeting in Vienna.

2017/04/03: Congratulations to MSc candidate Dave Bigelow, the latest NSERC scholarship recipient in the Glaciology Group!

2017/03/21: New paper in GRL on the future demise of Barnes ice cap, and what this says about our 21st century climate, by former SFU postdoc Adrien Gilbert. See the AGU press release.

2017/03/13: Congratulations to M.Sc. candidate Alex Pulwicki for winning the People's Choice Award in the Faculty of Science Three-Minute Thesis competition and for placing third in the university-wide finals!

2017/2/21: Welcome to PDF Leif Anderson who has moved to SFU to continue his postdoctoral work on the ANATILS collaborative project.

2016/12/10: Welcome to PDF Laura Thomson who has been awarded a W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellowship in Northern Research.

2016/07/29: New paper out on Barnes ice cap sensitivity to climate and internal dynamics by former SFU postdoc Adrien Gilbert.

2016/06/28: Bugs, boats and big data defined our trip to Miller Lake near Pemberton, BC, with UW-Tacoma collaborator Dan Shugar. Thanks to the UW Quaternary Research Center for supporting this pilot project.

2016/06/18: Gwenn Flowers, Jeff Crompton and Alex Pulwicki participated in the International Summer School in Glaciology from 7-17 June 2016 in McCarthy, Alaska, put on by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

2016/05/30: Alex Pulwicki, Gwenn Flowers, Coline Ariagno and Ali Criscitiello are back from a successful spring field campaign to measure snow depth and density across three glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains of Yukon, followed by a pilot project in the icefields with Sian Williams.

2016/04/30: Congratulations to PhD candidate Jeff Crompton and MSc candidate Alex Pulwicki for receiving NSERC Scholarships!


If you are interested in graduate studies and your research interests lie within the scope of the current research program, please send an e-mail inquiry to Dr. Gwenn Flowers and include your CV and transcripts. Inquiries are welcomed from students of a variety of science backgrounds, including earth sciences, physics, applied mathematics and engineering. Prospective students must have at least the equivalent of university-level calculus and physics. For more information about applying, see SFU's Graduate Program.