Dr Andrew Sole

School of Geography and Planning

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

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+44 114 222 7951

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Dr Andrew Sole
School of Geography and Planning (nee Geography)
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Andrew Sole received an MA (First Class Honours) in Physical Geography from the University of Edinburgh in 2005 and a PhD in glaciology (entitled 'Investigating Greenland Outlet Glaciers') from the University of Bristol in 2010. From 2009 to 2012 Andrew worked on ‘The role of atmospheric forcing on the dynamic stability of Greenland’s outlet glaciers’ as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Andrew joined the University of Sheffield in 2012 as a Faculty Research Fellow, becoming a Lecturer in Physical Geography in 2017 and Senior Lecturer in 2020.

Research interests

Andrew's research is focused on furthering our understanding of the mass balance and dynamic stability of glaciers and ice sheets (particularly the Greenland Ice Sheet) in a changing climate through the use of satellite and airborne remote sensing, fieldwork and numerical modelling.

Current research

The role of atmospheric forcing on the dynamic stability of Greenland’s outlet glaciers

This work aims to quantify the effect of surface generated melt-water fluctuations on ice motion at the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet. There has been significant recent research focus on the role that surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet might play in forcing changes in its flow rate in a warmer climate. Since 2009, Andrew has been part of a team collecting ice motion, ice thickness, air temperature and hydrology data at both a land and ocean terminating transect of the Greenland Ice Sheet to distances of more than 100 km from the ice margin. The resulting data are being used to further our understanding of the links between ice sheet hydrology and dynamics and to improve the representation these links in ice sheet models.

Leverett GlacierLeverett Glacier, west Greenland (Photo: Andrew Sole)

Interactions between Greenland’s marine-terminating outlet glaciers and the ocean

The retreat and acceleration of Greenland Ice Sheet marine-terminating outlet glaciers, which are responsible for a large portion of the total mass lost from the ice sheet each year, have been linked to regional ocean warming. Fjords constitute an important link between these outlet glaciers and the deep ocean, however the processes controlling propagation of warm water along them to the glaciers' calving termini are poorly understood. The primary aim of this research is to investigate how variations in ice sheet runoff and ocean temperature perturb fjord circulation, the transport of oceanic heat along fjords, ice front melt rates and thus tidewater glacier stability. The findings are being used to inform ice sheet and ocean models which seek to simulate the evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet under climate change scenarios.

Southwest GreenlandThe calving front of Kangiata Nunata Sermia, southwest Greenland (Photo: Andrew Sole)

Short-term ice flow variations on the Antarctic Peninsula

Atmospheric warming has increased surface melting across the Antarctic Peninsula, yet the impact of this on ice dynamics has yet to be considered. This research uses the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellite constellation to monitor ice motion, and regional climate models to simulate ice melt, in order to investigate climatic influences on ice flow.

Transfer of basal variability to the surface of ice masses and its influence on hydrology

The slipperiness and relief at the bed of ice sheets affects their surface topography, which in turn controls the spatial distribution of supraglacial lakes and rivers. This research investigates the long-term effects of changing ice surface topography on ice sheet hydrology and dynamics.


Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Software / Code