Dr Jeremy Ely

Independent Research FellowDr Jeremy Ely

Jeremy Ely obtained his BSc in Geography from the University of Sheffield in 2011, where he stayed to undertake his PhD titled “Flow Signatures on the Bed and the Surface of Ice sheets.” He was employed on the BRITICE-CHRONO project as a research associate in ice sheet modelling and data interaction. Jeremy is now a NERC Independent Research Fellow.

Email: j.ely@sheffield.ac.uk

Research Highlights

Glacial GeomorphologyDigital elevation model of subglacial bedforms (drumlins)

I am interested in the formation of subglacial bedforms, the landforms which are produced at the sole of a glacier or ice sheet. My research led to the confirmation of a long held (40 year!) hypothesis that subglacial bedforms belong to a morphological continuum. I have also dug holes into subglacial bedforms, and flown UAVs over them in order to work out how they form. I am also interested in the formation of meltwater related landforms.

Palaeo-ice sheets Outline of the extent of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet

The action of the ice sheets which existed during the last ice age can be deciphered from the landforms and sediments they left behind. I am currently employed on BRITICE-CHRONO, where my job is to make numerical ice sheet models interact with data pertaining to the last ice sheet to cover Britain and Ireland. I am also interested in the glaciation of Alaska.

Ice Sheet SurfacesThe surface of Byrd Glacier, Antarctica

The surfaces of ice sheets display many features which can tell us about the nature and history of ice flow. My research uses extensive mapping of the surface of Antarctica, combined with geophysical data of ice sheet conditions, in order to understand how these beautiful ice-scapes form.

Supra-glacial hydrology of AntarcticaWater moving across the surface of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

I was part of the team which discovered the widespread occurrence of meltwater streams on the surface of Antarctica. This surprising discovery has large implications for the future of the ice sheets in Antarctica. Future work will help understand how these systems evolve, and the impact they have on ice sheet dynamics.



Ely, J.C., Clark, C.D., Spagnolo, M., Hughes, A.L.C., and Stokes, C.R. 2018. Using the size and position of drumlins to understand how they grow, interact and evolve. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 43 (5), pp. 1073-1087.

Clark, C.D., Ely, J.C., Spagnolo, M., Hahn, U., Hughes, A.L. and Stokes, C.R., 2018. Spatial organization of drumlins. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 43(2), pp.499-513.

Evans, D.J., Roberts, D.H., Bateman, M.D., Medialdea, A., Ely, J., Moreton, S.G., Clark, C.D. and Fabel, D., 2018. Sedimentation during Marine Isotope Stage 3 at the eastern margins of the Glacial Lake Humber basin, England. Journal of Quaternary Science.

Phillips, E., Spagnolo, M., Pilmer, A.C.J., Rea, B.R., Piotrowski, J.A., Ely, J.C. and Carr, S. 2018. Progressive ductile shearing during till accretion within the deforming bed of a palaeo-ice stream. Quaternary Science Reviews. 193, 1-23.

Clark, C.D., Ely, J.C., Greenwood, S. L., Hughes, A.L.C., Meehan, R., Barr, I.D., Bateman, M.D., Bradwell, T., Doole, J., Evans, D.J.A., Jordan, C.J., Monteys, X., Pellicer, X. and Sheehy, M. 2018. BRITICE Glacial Map, version two: A map and GIS database of glacial landforms of the British-Irish Ice Sheet. Boreas, 47(1), pp.11-27.

Bateman, M.D., Evans, D.J., Roberts, D.H., Medialdea, A., Ely, J. and Clark, C.D., 2018. The timing and consequences of the blockage of the Humber Gap by the last British− Irish Ice Sheet. Boreas, 47, 1, 41-61.


Barr, I.D., Ely, J.C., Spagnolo, M., Clark, C.D., Evans, I.S., Pellicer, X.P., Pellitero, R. and Rea, B.R. 2017. Climate patterns during former periods of glacier initiation in Britain and Ireland: inferences from the cirque record. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Spagnolo, M., Bartholomaus, T.C., Clark, C.D., Stokes, C.R., Atkinson, N., Ely, J.C., Graham, A., King, E. and Pritchard, H.D. 2017. The periodic topography of ice stream beds; insight from the Fourier spectra of mega-scale glacial lineations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

Livingstone, S.J., Chu, W., Ely, J.C. and Kingslake, J., 2017. Paleofluvial and subglacial channel networks beneath Humboldt Glacier, Greenland. Geology, 45(6), pp.551-554.

Kingslake, J., Ely, J.C., Das, I. and Bell, R.E., 2017. Widespread movement of meltwater onto and across Antarctic ice shelves. Nature, 544(7650), pp.349-352.

Ely, J.C., Clark, C.D., Ng, F.S.L. and Spagnolo, M., 2017. Insights on the formation of longitudinal surface structures on ice sheets from analysis of their spacing, spatial distribution, and relationship to ice thickness and flow. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 122(4), pp.961-972.

Small, D., Clark, C.D., Bateman, M.D., Chiverrell, R.C., Duller, G.A.T., Ely, J.C., Fabel, D., Medialdea, A., Moreton, S.G. and Smedley, R. 2017. Devising quality assurance procedures for assessment of legacy geochronological data relating to deglaciation of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. Earth Science Reviews, 164, 232-250.

Ely, J.C., Graham, C., Barr, I.D., Rea, B.R., Spagnolo, M. and Evans, J. 2017. Using UAV acquired photography and structure from motion techniques for studying glacier landforms: application to the glacial flutes at Isfallsglaciären. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 42 (6), 877-888.

Spagnolo, M., Pellitero, R., Barr, I.D., Ely, J.C., Pellicer, X.M. and Rea, B.R. 2017. ACME, a GIS tool for Automated Cirque Metric Extraction, Geomorphology, 278, 280-286.


Ely, J.C., Gribble, E.A. and Clark, C.D. 2016, The Glacial Geomorphology of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and Ahklun Ice Cap, Southern Alaska. Journal of Maps, 12, pp.415-424.

Ely, J.C., Clark, C.D., Spagnolo, M., Stokes, C.R., Greenwood, S.L., Hughes, A.L., Dunlop, P. and Hess, D., 2016. Do subglacial bedforms comprise a size and shape continuum?. Geomorphology, 257, pp.108-119.

Ely, J.C. and Clark, C.D., 2016. Flow-stripes and foliations of the Antarctic ice sheet. Journal of Maps, 12(2), pp.249-259.

Spagnolo, M., Phillips, E., Piotrowski, J.A., Rea, B.R., Clark, C.D., Stokes, C.R., Carr, S.J., Ely, J.C., Ribolini, A., Wysota, W. and Szuman, I., 2016. Ice stream motion facilitated by a shallow-deforming and accreting bed. Nature communications, 7.


Hillier, J.K., Smith, M.J., Armugam, R., Barr, I., Boston, C.M., Clark, C.D., Ely, J.C., and 20 others. 2015. Manual mapping of drumlins in synthetic landscapes to assess operator effectiveness. Journal of Maps, 11(5), pp.719-729.

Livingstone, S.J., Piotrowski, J.A., Bateman, M.D., Ely, J.C. and Clark, C.D., 2015. Discriminating between subglacial and proglacial lake sediments: an example from the Dänischer Wohld Peninsula, northern Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews, 112, pp.86-108.


Spagnolo, M., King, E.C., Ashmore, D.W., Rea, B.R., Ely, J.C. and Clark, C.D., 2014. Looking through drumlins: testing the application of ground-penetrating radar. Journal of Glaciology, 60(224), pp.1126-1134.

Spagnolo, M., Clark, C.D., Ely, J.C., Stokes, C.R., Anderson, J.B., Andreassen, K., Graham, A.G. and King, E.C., 2014. Size, shape and spatial arrangement of mega‐scale glacial lineations from a large and diverse dataset. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39(11), pp.1432-1448.


I have a diverse range of teaching experience, spanning over 5 years and have taught inside the lecture theaters, classrooms, labs and on field classes. I currently teach on the following modules:

  • GEO6669: Polar and Alpine Change Research Project
  • GEO388: Glacial Environments
  • GEO117: New Horizons

My past teaching includes:

  • GEO345: Glacial and Periglacial Environments
  • GEO266: Research Skills for Physical Geography
  • GEO206: Environmental Change
  • GEO233: Glacial Environments
  • GEO255: Environmental Modelling
  • GEO210: Geographic Information Systems
  • GEO163: Information and Communication Skills for Geographers
  • GEO150: Practical Methods for Physical Geography
  • GEO167: Geospatial Technologies
Funding and Awards


  • Principal Investigator: NERC Independent Research Fellowship. "A novel approach to constraining ice sheet models with glacial geomorphology." £589,660.
  • Principal Investigator: European Space Agency Category-1 proposal, “The drainage of meltwater across Shackleton Glacier, Antarctica”. 2017.
  • Principal investigator: TanDEM-X Scientific Access to data grant. 2017.
  • Principal Investigator: SURE Scheme award, 2015: “The Pattern of Ice Sheet Dynamics and Retreat in Alaska.” Awarded Value: £1080.
  • Principal Investigator: INTERACT Transnational Access Award, 2014: “Flute Morphometry from Photogrammetry (FluMP).” Awarded Value: €8,700, plus 36 field person days.
  • Co-Investigator: NERC-GEF Loan, 2014: “Insights on the formation of glacial bedforms and ice-bed interaction using fluting field morphometrics, sedimentology and sediment thicknesses.” Estimated value: £2,800.
  • CliC travel support, 2014: £500.


  • Dick Chorley Medal and Prize for Postgraduate Research, British Society for Geomorphology, 2016.
  • John Glen award for best student poster, International Glaciological Society British Branch meeting, 2012.

Email: j.ely@shef.ac.uk

Room number: C13b

Phone: 0114 222 7990