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Glaciology is the study of ice in the environment. Important components are seasonal snow, sea ice, glaciers, ice sheets and frozen ground. Glaciology at the University of Washington includes course curriculum and research related to all of these components of ice in the environment. Glaciological research at the University of Washington is carried out by faculty and graduate students in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Quaternary Research Center and Applied Physics Laboratory.

What is Glaciology?

Glaciology is the study of ice in the environment. Important components are seasonal snow, sea ice, glaciers, ice sheets and frozen ground. The extent of these types of ice reflects the present and past climate.

Examples are: hemispheric snow cover in winter, thickness of sea ice on the polar oceans, depth of frozen ground, volumes of glaciers and the physical and chemical properties in layers cored from ice sheets.

The ice also affects climate. For example, the large areas covered by snow and sea ice reflect solar radiation away from the Earth's surface and thereby influence the heat balance of the earth.

Because these ice components are only decimeters to meters thick, they can change on time scales as short as seasons and can influence climate at all time scales. Glaciers and ice sheets are hundreds to more than one thousand meters thick and change significantly only on decadal or much longer time scale. On these longer time scales they can influence atmospheric circulation and global sea level. More locally all of these types of ice influence hydrology, geomorphic processes and pose various natural hazards.


Welcome to the Glaciology Group

News and Links:

The 2014 Northwest Glaciologists’ Meeting will be hosted by University of Alaska - Fairbanks.

Several UW Glaciology research teams are currently in Antarctica doing fieldwork. Check out Max Stevens' blog about the Beardmore Glacier.

The WAIS Divide Ice Core project recently retrieved a deep ice core into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Regina Carns started a blog during fieldwork and continues to update with glaciology-related posts. Check out Regina's blog from the ice.

Recent dissertations by UW glaciologists can be found here.

Check out the UW PCC Climate Calendar and keep up on climate-related events at the UW.

For K-12 girls: Girls on Ice 2011, a program founded at the University of Washington, now based out of UAF.

The Blue Glacier webpage for the UW monitoring project.

Glaciology Lunch:

12:30 Tuesdays in ATG 406

Website maintained by Max Stevens :: maxstev *at*