School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Peter Nienow

(Professor of Glaciology)

Telephone No :- 0131 - 650 - 9139

Fax No :- 0131 - 650 - 2524

Room 2.04 - Institute of Geography

Email -


My research interests primarily concern process glaciology and in particular:

  • Glacier hydrology – the structure and seasonal evolution of glacial drainage systems.
  • Ice dynamics – hydrological controls on basal sliding and the stability of ice flow.
  • Glacier erosion – factors controlling sediment evacuation from subglacial drainage systems.
  • Snowpack structure – temporal and spatial variations in supraglacial snowpack structure.
  • Cryospheric response to climate change.

Research experience: My research has been driven by field-based investigations in the Alps, Canadian High Arctic, Norway and Greenland starting with my first Alpine PhD. field season in 1990. Much of the fieldwork has been undertaken at Haut Glacier d’Arolla, Switzerland, John Evans Glacier, Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic and Leverett Glacier, Greenland on collaborative projects investigating glacier hydrology, ice dynamics and their links and responses to a variety of climate change forcing scenarios. My recent work has taken me to Greenland to investigate processes controlling refreezing in the snowpack and determine the effect of density variations in the snowpack on elevation estimates obtained from airborne radar altimeters. My research has been supported through a number of funding bodies including fifteen NERC grants.