Richard Parsons

Richard Parsons

Personal profile

Research interests

I use a combination of observational and numerical methods to better understand the calving process of glaciers and investigate how these can be better represented numerically.

Numerical modelling is perfomed using the finite element ice-flow model, Úa, with observations primarily based on remote sensing data from Greenland, Iceland and Antarctica.

Of particular interest is Crane Glacier, located in the Antarctic Peninsula. Following the dramatic breakup of the Larsen-B ice shelf in 2002, tall ice-cliffs were exposed at this outlet glacier, which is the only such event to have occurred within the timeframe of abundant, high-resolution remote sensing datasets. This provides a unique opportunity to validate and constrain the Marine-Ice-Cliff-Instability hypothesis.

Biography

I spend as much time as I can in the outdoors. There's nowhere that I'm happier than when I'm in the mountains; places scattered with snow and ice, where nature thrives and human impact is low.

After working for close to a decade as an engineer, I wanted my work life to reflect the things that are important to me personally, and a chance to engage more with the environments that I love.

My research now focusses on the calving processes of glaciers. My aims are to reduce levels of uncertainty in global sea level rise projections by improving calving processes in numerical ice sheet modelling.

Despite being at the farthest reaches of the Earth, the behaviour of the Antarctic Ice Sheets remain sensitive to human activity. The future response of these glaciers are in turn consequential to human life around the world, making our understanding of these process of high importance.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Environmental Science and other Physical Science, MSc, Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction, Northumbria University

Award Date: 19 Nov 2022

Mechanical Engineering, MEng, University of Southampton

Award Date: 1 Jul 2011

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