Research

My research interests and expertise are focused on glacier dynamics and glacier-climate interactions, and my research bridges the fields of glacial geomorphology, glaciology, climatology and remote sensing. Geographically, I have led and collaborated on research examining glacier dynamics and glacier change in Scotland, Iceland, Norway and the European Alps. As part of my research, I emphasise the use of a multi-method approach, which integrates multiple GIS, remote-sensing and/or field-based glacial-geological methods.

Thus far, my research has focused on two main themes: (1) examining glacier-climate interactions using moraines; and (2) reconstructing the extent, style and dynamics of past mountain glaciers.


Examining glacier-climate interactions using moraines

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Photo: a ‘sawtooth’ moraine on the foreland of Skálafellsjökull, southeast Iceland, formed by pushing of subglacial till at a heavily-crevassed glacier margin (see Chandler et al., 2016)

Moraines are crucial landforms for reconstructing glacier dynamics of Quaternary ice masses, and potentially represent invaluable proxies for glacier-climate interactions. Thus, understanding the formation, significance and preservation potential of moraines in modern glacial settings – where they can be directly linked to glaciological and climatic conditions – is crucial to their application in palaeoglaciological contexts.

Research under this theme involves examining seasonal climatic controls on glacier dynamics (i.e. how the motion of glaciers varies in time and space) through mapping the distribution of moraines and studying their internal composition, as well as statistical analysis of moraine spacing and climatic data (e.g. Chandler et al., 2016, QSR; Chandler et al., 2016, arktos).


Extent, style and dynamics of past mountain glaciers

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Photo: the Gaick Pass in Central Scotland, which was occupied by a plateau icefield outlet glacier during the Younger Dryas (see Chandler et al., 2019).

Investigating the geomorphological signatures of former or formerly more extensive, mountain glaciers (cirque glaciers to ice-caps) enables the reconstruction of their three-dimensional form and dynamics. The reconstructions can, in turn, be used to calculate palaeoclimatic parameters for glaciated regions. The importance of this research is twofold: Firstly, it provides crucial palaeoclimatic data which are needed to test and refine numerical models. Secondly, detailed understanding of past glacier response to changing climate can help contextualise ongoing, and predicted, glacier fluctuations.

Research under this theme principally involves extensive geomorphological mapping (in the field and from aerial photos) to establish the distribution and pattern of glacial landforms. This mapping is then used to reconstruct the three-dimensional form (extent, morphology and thickness) of past mountain glaciers (e.g. Chandler and Lukas, 2017; Chandler et al., 2019).

 

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