Professor Chris D Clark
Sorby Chair of Geoscience
Room number: E6
Telephone (internal): 27941
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7941
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7941
Palaeoglaciology (the extent and dynamics of former ice sheets) and palaeo-ice stream signatures and ice-stream operation. Remote sensing, digital elevation models (DEMs), glacial geomorphology.
Full publication list, abstracts and links for download can be found at Google Scholar
My primary research interest is in glacial geomorphology, in particular the understanding of processes that lead to the formation of subglacial bedforms (drumlins, flutes etc), and the inverse solution that uses the pattern and distribution of such landforms to reconstruct the behaviour of ice sheets that existed during the last glaciation. I choose to use satellite imagery and elevation models for these purposes because they frequently permit new evidence to be detected and because they allow mapping at a scale compatible with the former ice sheet.
BRITICE-CHRONO is NERC consortium project that I led along with some 40+ researchers from eight universities, plus the British Geological Survey, British Antarctic Survey, NERC's radiocarbon facility and Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre. The focus was on dating the retreat of the former British-Irish Ice Sheet to learn how rapidly ice retreated across the continental shelf and across the marine-to-terrestrial transition and then to use this knowledge to improve numerical ice sheet models used to predict changes in our existing ice sheets. Our team collected samples for dating from the Shetland to the Scilly Isles and from the seafloor surrounding Ireland and Britain, totalling 914 sites and yielding over 600 new ages on ice retreat. The British-Irish Ice Sheet is now the world’s most well constrained retreating ice sheet and is being used to develop ice sheet modelling. More on the BRITICE CHRONO project.
I am leading PALGLAC which is a European Research Council Advanced Grant. By focussing on the most numerous and spatially-extensive records of palaeo ice sheet activity - glacial landforms - this project aims to revolutionise understanding of past and future ice sheets. Our team will vastly increase the available record for tuning or validating ice sheet models, develop new tools for gathering landform and geochronological information, and establish procedures for integrating these into ice sheet modelling experiments.
Highlights of my research are:
Aligning with my main research interests and skills, my teaching is used to impart knowledge, technological expertise and curiosity about glacial environments. I am particularly interested in teaching about how we can use landforms from past glaciations to better understand how ice sheets and glaciers work, and from this, to inform us about the operation of the existing ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland and the mountain glaciers of the world.
I teach students how to use geographic information systems (GIS) and satellite images to analyse and advance knowledge, and in the second year I teach some of the basics of glaciology and glaciation. By the third year, once our students have become proficient at reading published academic papers on the latest advances, we get stuck in on some interesting topics about the production of glacial landforms and how we can use these to decipher the extent and dynamics of ice sheets, such as the one that once covered Britain.
My main teaching activity is via lectures but also includes practical classes, reading groups where we interrogate scientific publications, and some class debates and discussions. For me some of the most satisfying 'teaching' is in supervising the undergraduate research projects (dissertations) and especially so when we discover something new.
Chris teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Publication list, abstracts and links for download can also be found at Google Scholar.
Many papers are available as open access (i.e. free to download) by searching clark, c in White Rose Research Online.