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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr David Small

Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43478
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 401
Post Doctoral Research Associate, Sea Level, Ice and Climate

Contact Dr David Small (email at

Research Overview

My research focuses on understanding how ice sheets have responded to past climate change with the aim of providing information that can help us better understand the future of the present day ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. I primarily use surface exposure dating to constrain when and how quickly past ice sheets deglaciated. By combining this information with records of past climate change we can understand how factors such as climate and topography influence the ice sheets behaviour.

My previous work has focussed on the former British-Irish Ice Sheet as part of the BRITICE-CHRONO NERC consortium. My role in this project involved numeous geochronological sampling campaigns and quality assurance of legacy geochronological data. 

Currently my research is focussed on understanding the evolution of the Antarctic Ice sheets over a range of timescales (millions-of-years up until the last few thousands-of-years). This involves applying a range of geochronological methods, primarily cosmogenic nuclides but also luminescence dating, to rocks exposed at the surface and, in forthcoming years, from samples currently buried beneath the ice sheet. These samples can provide crucial information on the timing of past changes in the ice sheets configuration and answer critical questions. One such question is whether key sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet have recently been smaller-than-present. Making a contribution to answering this question is the focus of a recent NERC Independent Research Fellowship award.

Research Groups

Department of Geography

Selected Publications

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Selected Grants

  • 2020: NERC Independent Research Fellowship