Department of Geography, University of Otago, PhD
The hydrological regime of a cold-based glacier, Wright Lower Glacier, Antarctica
Glaciers are important indicators of climate change due to their intimate connection with climate patterns. In Antarctica, predictions of future climate change have focused on the large ice sheets and ice shelves, with valley glaciers on the continent being largely ignored. Consequently, sea level rise approximations are conservative. One way to rectify this situation is to monitor the hydrology of these glaciers. By considering the hydrology of McMurdo Dry Valley glaciers, questions from the Science Strategy regarding climate change predictions for the Ross Sea region can be answered, an important undertaking as we approach the International Polar Year. This proposal will take a watershed approach of hydrology in the Wright Lower Basin, connecting the glacier with the proglacial stream. The research aims to understand melt processes and drainage configurations, and to characterise glacier hydrochemistry, leading to the construction of a hydrological model.
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MacDonell, S., Fitzsimons, S. 2008. The formation and hydrological significance of cryoconite holes. Progress in physical geography 32(6): 595-610. doi: 10.1177/0309133308101382