Marsden funding success

posted 7 Nov 2018, 17:05 by Jono Conway   [ updated 7 Nov 2018, 17:24 ]

We're excited to see Jono land a Marsden Fast-Start grant to pursue research into how clouds affect glacier response to climate change. 

Here's a small summary of the research:

Glaciers are iconic motifs of mountain landscapes with significant cultural, environmental, scientific, and economic value. While we know that they are hyper-sensitive to changes in their local climate, our understanding of exactly how mountain glaciers will respond to climate change is incomplete. Specifically, the extent to which cloud cover will amplify or reduce the melting of a glacier in response to warming is uncertain. Clouds alter the solar and infrared radiation available for glacier melt, and can enhance or dampen the influence of surface meteorology and surface albedo feedbacks on melt. The processes controlling the interactions between clouds, surface meteorology and melt, and how those interactions may change in a warming climate, have not been well studied. We will use novel meteorological data collected over glaciers in the Southern Alps of New Zealand and other mountain regions around the world, along with state-of-the-art glacier-atmosphere modelling, to explore the processes through which clouds control the exchange of radiation, heat, and moisture between a glacier and the overlying atmosphere. By unravelling the interacting effects of these processes on glacier melt in diverse mountain locations, our research will add to our fundamental understanding of the processes determining mountain glacier response to climate change.

Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies - one of the study's field sites