Dr Ethan Lee

School of Geography and Planning

Postdoctoral Researcher in Glacial Modelling

Ethan Lee smiling in a blue shirt and cap with a lanyard
Profile picture of Ethan Lee smiling in a blue shirt and cap with a lanyard

Full contact details

Dr Ethan Lee
School of Geography and Planning
Room C02
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Ethan Lee obtained his BSc in Physical Geography from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2018. He then completed his MSc(Res) at the University of Leeds in 2019, focusing on glacial mass changes across the Himalayas since the Little Ice Age (LIA). In 2024, he earned his PhD titled ‘The Frozen Tropics: An Investigation into Palaeoglaciations within Northern Perú,’ studying past glaciations in the tropics since the Late Pleistocene using numerical modelling and geomorphological techniques.

Currently, he is a PDRA (Postdoctoral Research Associate) at the University of Sheffield on the Deplete and Retreat project, funded by a NERC highlight topic grant. His research involves glacial numerical modelling across the Andes using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM). This modelling aims to understand future extents of glaciers across the Andes under various future climate scenarios, contributing to our knowledge of their viability as future water resources.

Additionally, Ethan has collaborated with Canadian researchers at the University of Calgary to model potential glacial overdeepenings that may be exposed in North America in the future. This is funded by the UKRI-Mitacs Globalink Doctoral Exchange program. The research provides insights into the spatial distribution and extent of these features, aiding in future planning for glacial lake outburst flood mitigation downstream, as well as assessing their hydropower and tourism potential.

Research interests

Water Security and Scarcity in the Andes

He is a PDRA on the Deplete and Retreat Project that focuses on water resources across the South American Andes. This work has installed automated weather stations (AWS) across the Andes, along with glacier monitoring equipment. Ethan is conducting the numerical modelling over the glaciers to understand their future extents, along with their remaining volume, to future climate changes. This will inform future hydrological modelling to understand their future variability as water resources for downstream communities.

Tropical Glaciers

Tropical glaciers exhibit extreme sensitivity to global temperature variations, often responding earlier than mid- and high-latitude glaciers. As a result, they serve as excellent physical indicators of both current and past climate change. Their susceptibility to insolation forcing and localised effects of sea surface temperatures (SST) makes them an ideal study region for understanding climate changes during the Late Quaternary. Additionally, low-elevation glaciations within the tropics, which occurred during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), provide valuable insights into disentangling Late Pleistocene climate change from Holocene climate fluctuations.

Mountain Glaciations

Mountain glaciers worldwide are experiencing rapid decline due to climate change. These glaciers often function as natural water towers, playing a crucial role in supporting downstream communities, acting as a buffer to drought conditions that are exhibited by climate change. His research focuses on both the historical and future extents of mountain glaciers, building upon his previous work with Himalayan glaciers, and those in the Andes. By analysing geomorphological evidence of past glacier positions, his research contributes to training numerical models that enhance our understanding and prediction of their future extent and dynamics to future climate changes.


Journal articles


Teaching interests
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Glacial Geomorphology
  • Glaciations
Professional activities and memberships


John Glen award for best student poster, International Glaciological Society British Branch meeting, 2022.

UKRI-Mitacs Doctoral Research Exchange Scholarship Award (~£10,000)


British Society for Geomorphology

Quaternary Research Association