Departmental Research Projects
Dr Pippa Whitehouse
My research focuses on understanding glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA); the response of the Earth system to changes in ice and ocean loading during a glacial cycle. I investigate how this process can be used to understand changes in sea-level, solid earth deformation, and the volume of the global ice sheets during the last glacial cycle, and in the present day. Previous areas of interest include North America, Scandinavia and Siberia, but my current research primarily focuses on Antarctica.
My expertise lies in running a suite of numerical models that reflect ice dynamics, spatially-variable sea-level change, and deformation of the heterogeoenous Earth. These models allow me to predict how ice sheets grow and decay, how the sea level rises and falls, and how the solid Earth changes shape through time. I collaborate closely with a range of data scientists - geologists, glaciologists, geodesists, seismologists - who provide information that can constrain or validate my modelling.
Ongoing GIA processes are detected by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. GRACE data must therefore be corrected for GIA effects before we can quantify the present rate of ice-sheet mass change. There remain large uncertainties on the GIA signal across Antarictica, and this is one of the primary motivations for my research.
Past and Ongoing Research
W12a GIA Model Output
GIA model output, which may be used to correct GRACE and altimetry data for the effects of GIA in Antarctica, is available for download. Please see Whitehouse et al. (2012, GJI) and the readme file for further details.
NERC Independent Research Fellowship (2013-2018)
My Fellowship research focused on understanding the impact of 3D variations in Earth structure on GIA across Antarctica. This work has led to advances in our ability to quantify present-day rates of ice loss across Antarctica.
During my Fellowship I worked with a number of international collaborators and am grateful for their co-operation. These collaborators include Wouter van der Wal (TU Delft), Terry Wilson (Ohio State University), Doug Wiens (Washington University in St Louis), Ed Bueler (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) and Matt King (University of Tasmania).
Post Fellowship research
Furthering our understanding of feedbacks between ice dynamics, Earth deformation, and sea-level change, via coupled modelling and data assimilation.
I was a collaborator on the UKANET project that used seismic data to improve our understanding of Earth structure beneath the Antarctic Peninsula. My fieldwork blog gives an insight into the work involved when installing such instruments at the ends of world!
I currently lead a 5-year NERC-funded project that makes use of data from the UK Antarctic GPS network to advance our understanding of Earth rheology across West Antarctica. Through this project we are upgrading the GPS network so that data are transmitted in real time, and are available to all via the UNAVCO data archive.
Solid Earth Response and influence on Cryosphere Evolution (SERCE)
SERCE is a Scientific Research Program funded by the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR). With Prof. Matt King, I am currently co-director of this program, which seeks to facilitate collaboration with the goal of advancing our understanding of the interactions between the solid earth and the cryosphere to better constrain ice mass balance, ice dynamics and sea level change in a warming world.
For wider audiences
I have written a layman's summary of glacial isostatic adjustment, which explains the scientific theory behind my research. In addition, the methods that we use to determine the rate at which Antarctica is currently losing ice are described in the Autumn 2012 edition of NERC's Planet Earth magazine. I also delivered the Bullerwell Lecture in 2016 in which I summarise my current work on 3D GIA modelling; a video of the recording from the 2016 PGRIP Meeting is available to view.
- Defining models of glacial isostatic adjustment in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula (UKANET): Better constraints on Earth structure and uplift
- Determination of a New Global GPS-Derived Surface Velocity Field and its Application to the Problem of 20th Century Sea-Level Rise, The
- Glaciated North Atlantic Margins (GLANAM)
- Improved models of West Antarctic glacial isostatic adjustment through new crustal motion data
- Thinning History of the Foundation - Thiel Trough Ice Stream: A Key Control on Deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Weddell Sea Embayment
- Glacial isostatic adjustment
- Ice-sheet modelling
- Solid Earth deformation
- Global sea-level change
- Records of Antarctic ice-sheet change
- Records of Antarctic relative sea-level change
Chapter in book
- Whitehouse, P.L. & Bradley, S.L. Eustatic sea-level changes since the Last Glacial Maximum. In: Elias, S.A. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences, 2nd Edition. Elsevier (Amsterdam); 2013:439-451.
- Whitehouse, P.L & England, P.C The Viscosity Distribution in Asia. Eos Trans. AGU; 2002.
- The Imbie Team Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2018. Nature. 2020;579:233-239.
- Edward, H., Pattyn, F., Navarro, F., Favier, V., Goelzer, H., van den Broeke, M.R., Vizcaino, M., Whitehouse, P.L., Ritz, C., Bulthuis, K. & Smith, B. Mass balance of the ice sheets and glaciers – progress since AR5 and challenges. Earth-Science Reviews. 2020;201:102976.
- Small, D., Pittard, M., Whitehouse, P., Jones, R. & Bentley, M. Antarctic ice sheet palaeo-thinning rates from vertical transects of cosmogenic exposure ages. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2019;206:65-80.
- Simms,A.R., Lisiecki, L., Gebbie, G., Whitehouse, P.L. & Clark, J.F. Balancing the last glacial maximum (LGM) sea-level budget. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2019;205:143-153.
- Jones, R.S., Small, D., Cahill, N., Bentley, M.J. & Whitehouse, P.L. iceTEA: Tools for plotting and analysing cosmogenic-nuclide surface-exposure data from former ice margins. Quaternary Geochronology. 2019;51:72-86.
- Jones, R.S., Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J., Small, D. & Dalton, A.S. Impact of glacial isostatic adjustment on cosmogenic surface-exposure dating. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2019;212:206-212.
- Siegert, Martin J., Kingslake, Jonny, Ross, Neil, Whitehouse, Pippa L., Woodward, John, Jamieson, Stewart S.R., Bentley, Michael J., Winter, Kate, Wearing, Martin, Hein, Andrew S., Jeofry, Hafeez & Sugden, David E. Major ice‐sheet change in the Weddell Sector of West Antarctica over the last 5000 years. Reviews of Geophysics. 2019;57:1197-1223.
- O'Donnell, J.P., Brisbourne, A.M., Stuart, G.W., Dunham, C.K., Yang, Y., Nield, G.A., Whitehouse, P.L., Nyblade, A.A., Wiens, D.A., Anandakrishnan, S., Aster, R.C., Huerta, A.D., Lloyd, A.J., Wilson, T. & Winberry, J.P. Mapping crustal shear wave velocity structure and radial anisotropy beneath West Antarctica using seismic ambient noise. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 2019;20:5014-5037.
- Whitehouse, P.L., Gomez, N., King, M.A. & Wiens, D.A. Solid Earth change and the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Nature Communications. 2019;10:503.
- O'Donnell, J.P., Stuart, G.W., Brisbourne, A.M., Selway, K., Yang, Y., Nield, G.A., Whitehouse, P.L., Nyblade, A.A., Wiens, D.A., Aster, R.C., Anandakrishnan, S., Huerta, A.D., Wilson, T. & Winberry, J.P. The uppermost mantle seismic velocity structure of West Antarctica from Rayleigh wave tomography: insights into tectonic structure and geothermal heat flow. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2019;522:219-233.
- Whitehouse, Pippa Ancient ice sheet had a growth spurt. Nature. 2018;559:487-488.
- Kingslake, J., Scherer, R., Albrecht, T., Coenen, J., Powell, R., Reese, R., Stansell, N., Tulaczyk, S., Wearing, M. & Whitehouse, P.L. Extensive retreat and re-advance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Holocene. Nature. 2018;558:430-434.
- Whitehouse, P.L. Glacial Isostatic Adjustment modelling: historical perspectives, recent advances, and future directions. Earth Surface Dynamics. 2018;6:401-429.
- Simms, A.R., Whitehouse, P.L., Simkins, L.M., Nield, G., DeWitt, R. & Bentley, M.J. Late Holocene relative sea levels near Palmer Station, northern Antarctic Peninsula, strongly controlled by late Holocene ice-mass changes. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2018;199:49-59.
- Shepherd, A., Ivins, E., Rignot, E., Smith, B., van den Broeke, M., Velicogna, I., Whitehouse, P., Briggs, K., Joughin, I., Krinner, G., Nowicki, S., Payne, T., Scambos, T., Schlegel, N., Geruo, A., Agosta, C., Ahlstrøm, A., Babonis, G., Barletta, V., Blazquez, A., Bonin, J., Csatho, B., Cullather, R., Felikson, D., Fettweis, X., Forsberg, R., Gallee, H., Gardner, A., Gilbert, L., Groh, A., Gunter, B., Hanna, E., Harig, C., Helm, V., Horvath, A., Horwath, M., Khan, S., Kjeldsen, K., Konrad, H., Langen, P., Lecavalier, B., Loomis, B., Luthcke, S., McMillan, M., Melini, D., Mernild, S., Mohajerani, Y., Moore, P., Mouginot, J., Moyano, G., Muir, A., Nagler, T., Nield, G., Nilsson, J., Noel, B., Otosaka, I., Pattle, M.P., Peltier, W.R., Nadege, P., Rietbroek, R., Rott, H., Sandberg-Sørensen, L., Sasgen, I., Save, H., Schrama, E., Schröder, L., Seo, K-W., Simonsen, S., Slater, T., Spada, G., Sutterley, T., Talpe, M., Tarasov, L., van de Berg, W.J., van der Wal, W., van Wessem, M., Vishwakarma, B.D., Wiese, D. & Wouters, B. Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet from 1992 to 2017. Nature. 2018;558:219-222.
- Nield, G.A., Whitehouse, P.L., van der Wal, W., Blank, B., O'Donnell, J.P. & Stuart, G.W. The impact of lateral variations in lithospheric thickness on glacial isostatic adjustment in West Antarctica. Geophysical Journal International. 2018;214:811-824.
- Massam, A., Sneed, S., Lee, G., Tuckwell, R., Mulvaney, R., Mayewski, P.A. & Whitehouse, P. A comparison of annual layer thickness model estimates with observational measurements using the Berkner Island ice core, Antarctica. Antarctic Science. 2017.
- Whitehouse, Pippa L., Bentley, Michael J., Vieli, Andreas, Jamieson, Stewart S.R., Hein, Andrew S. & Sugden, David E. Controls on Last Glacial Maximum ice extent in the Weddell Sea embayment, Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research, Earth Surface. 2017;122:371-397.
- de Boer, B., Stocchi, P., Whitehouse, P.L. & Van de Wal, R.S.W. Current state and future perspectives on coupled ice-sheet – sea-level modelling. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2017;169:13-28.
- Bentley, M.J., Hein, A.S., Sugden, D.E., Whitehouse, P.L., Shanks, R., Xu, S. & Freeman, S.P.H.T. Deglacial history of the Pensacola Mountains, Antarctica from glacial geomorphology and cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2017;158:58-76.
- Patton, H., Hubbard, A., Andreassen, K., Auriac, A., Whitehouse, P.L., Stroeven, A., Shackleton, C., Winsborrow, M., Heyman, J. & Hall, A. Deglaciation of the Eurasian ice sheet complex. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2017;169:148-172.
- Verleyen, Elie, Tavernier, Ines, Hodgson, Dominic A., Whitehouse, Pippa L., Kudoh, Sakae, Imura, Satoshi, Heirman, Katrien, Bentley, Michael J., Roberts, Steve J., De Batist, Marc, Sabbe, Koen & Vyverman, Wim Ice sheet retreat and glacio-isostatic adjustment in Lützow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2017;169:85-98.
- Zhao, C., King, M.A., Watson, C., Barletta, V.R., Bordoni, A., Dell, M. & Whitehouse, P. Rapid ice unloading in the Fleming Glacier region, southern Antarctic Peninsula, and its effect on bedrock uplift rates. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2017;473:164-176.
- Clement, A.J.H., Whitehouse, P.L. & Sloss, C.R. An examination of spatial variability in the timing and magnitude of Holocene relative sea-level changes in the New Zealand archipelago. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2016;131:73-101.
- Auriac, A., Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J., Patton, H., Lloyd, J.M. & Hubbard, A. Glacial isostatic adjustment associated with the Barents Sea ice sheet: a modelling inter-comparison. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2016;147:122-135.
- Nield, G.A., Whitehouse, P.L., King, M.K. & Clarke, P.J. Glacial Isostatic Adjustment in response to changing Late Holocene behaviour of ice streams on the Siple Coast, West Antarctica. Geophysical Journal International. 2016;205:1-21.
- King, M.A., Whitehouse, P.L. & van der Wal, W. Incomplete separability of Antarctic plate rotation from glacial isostatic adjustment deformation within geodetic observations. Geophysical Journal International. 2016;204:324-330.
- Hodgson, D.A., Whitehouse, P.L., De Cort, G., Berg, S., Verleyen, E., Tavernier, I., Roberts, S.J., Vyverman, W., Sabbe, K. & O'Brien, P. Rapid early Holocene sea-level rise in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica. Global and Planetary Change. 2016;139:128-140.
- Matsuoka, K., Hindmarsh, R.C.A., Moholdt, G., Bentley, M.J., Pritchard, H.D., Brown, J., Conway, H., Drews, R., Durand, G., Goldberg, D., Hattermann, T., Kingslake, J., Lenaerts, J.T.M., Martin, C., Mulvaney, R., Nicholls, K., Pattyn, F., Ross, N., Scambos, T. & Whitehouse, P.L. Antarctic ice rises and rumples: Their properties and significance for ice-sheet dynamics and evolution. Earth-Science Reviews. 2015;150:724-745.
- van der Wal, Wouter, Whitehouse, Pippa L. & Schrama, E.J.O. Effect of GIA models with 3D composite mantle viscosity on GRACE mass balance estimates for Antarctica. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2015;414:134-143.
- Bradley, S.L., Hindmarsh, R.C.A., Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J. & King, M.A. Low post-glacial rebound rates in the Weddell Sea due to Late Holocene ice- sheet readvance. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2015;413:79-89.
- Wolstencroft, M., King, M. A., Whitehouse, P. L., Bentley, M. J., Nield, G. A., King, E. C., McMillan, M., Shepherd, A., Barletta, V., Bordoni, A., Riva, R. E. M., Didova, O. & Gunter, B. C. Uplift rates from a new high-density GPS network in Palmer Land indicate significant late Holocene ice loss in the southwestern Weddell Sea. Geophysical Journal International. 2015;203:737-754.
- Nield, G.A., Barletta, V.R., Bordoni,A., King, M.A., Whitehouse, P.L., Clarke, P.J., Domack, E., Scambos, T.A. & Berthier, E. Rapid bedrock uplift in the Antarctic Peninsula explained by viscoelastic response to recent ice unloading. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2014;397:32-41.
- Williams, Simon D.P., Moore, Philip, King, Matt A. & Whitehouse, Pippa L. Revisiting GRACE Antarctic ice mass trends and accelerations considering autocorrelation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2014;385:12-21.
- Hanna, E., Navarro, F.J., Pattyn, F., Domingues, C.M., Fettweis, X., Ivins, E.R., Nicholls, R.J., Ritz, C., Smith, B., Tulaczyk, S., Whitehouse, P.L. & Zwally, H.J. Ice-sheet mass balance and climate change. Nature. 2013;498:51-59.
- Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J. & Le Brocq, A.M. A deglacial model for Antarctica: geological constraints and glaciological modelling as a basis for a new model of Antarctic glacial isostatic adjustment. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2012;32:1-24.
- Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J., Milne, G.A., King, M.A. & Thomas, I.D. A new glacial isostatic adjustment model for Antarctica: calibrated and tested using observations of relative sea-level change and present-day uplift rates. Geophysical Journal International. 2012;190:1464-1482.
- Shepherd, A., Ivins, E. R., Geruo, A., Barletta, V.B., Bentley, M.J., Bettadpur, S., Briggs, K.H., Bromwich, D.H., Forsberg, R., Galin, N., Horwath, M., Jacobs, S., Joughin, I., King, M.A., Lenaerts, J.T.M., Li, J., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Luckman, A., Luthcke, S.B., McMillan, M., Meister, R., Milne, G., Mouginot, J., Muir, A., Nicolas, J.P., Paden, J., Payne, A.J., Pritchard, H., Rignot, E., Rott, H., Sørensen, L.S., Scambos, T.A., Scheuchl, B., Schrama, E.J.O., Smith, B., Sundal, A.V., van Angelen, J.H., van de Berg, W.J., van den Broeke, M.R., Vaughan, D.G., Velicogna, I., Wahr, J., Whitehouse, P.L., Wingham, D.J., Yi, D., Young, D. & Zwally, H.J. A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance. Science. 2012;338:1183-1189.
- Nield, G.A., Whitehouse, P.L., King, M.A., Clarke, P.J. & Bentley, M.J. Increased ice loading in the Antarctic Peninsula since the 1850s and its effect on glacial isostatic adjustment. Geophysical Research Letters. 2012.
- King, M.A., Bingham, R.J., Moore, P., Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J. & Milne, G.A. Lower satellite-gravimetry estimates of Antarctic sea-level contribution. Nature. 2012;491:586–589.
- King, M.A., Keshin, M., Whitehouse, P.L., Thomas, I.D., Milne, G.A. & Riva, R.E.M. Regional biases in absolute sea-level estimates from tide gauge data due to residual unmodeled vertical land movement. Geophysical Research Letters. 2012;39.
- Watcham, E.P., Bentley, M.J., Hodgson, D.A., Roberts, S.J., Fretwell, P.T., Lloyd, J.M., Larter, R.D., Whitehouse, P.L., Leng, M.J., Monien, P. & Moreton, S.G. A new relative sea level curve for the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2011;30:3152-3170.
- Roberts, S.J., Hodgson, D.A., Sterken, M., Verleyen, E., Vyverman, W., Sabbe, K., Balbo, A., Bentley, M.J. & Whitehouse, P.L. Geological constraints on glacio-isostatic adjustment models of relative sea-level change during deglaciation of Prince Gustav Channel, Antarctic Peninsula. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2011;30:3603-3617.
- Le Brocq, A.M., Bentley, M.J., Fogwill, C.J., Hubbard, A.L., Sugden, D.E. & Whitehouse, P.L. Reconstructing the contribution of the Weddell Sea sector, Antarctica, to sea level rise since the last glacial maximum, using numerical modelling constrained by field evidence. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2011;30:2422-2432.
- Thomas, I., King, M.A., Bentley, M.J., Whitehouse, P.L., Penna, N.T., Williams, S.D.P., Riva, R.E.M., Lavallee, D.A., Clarke P.J., King, E.C., Hindmarsh, R.C.A. & Koivula, H Widespread low rates of Antarctic glacial isostatic adjustment revealed by GPS observations. Geophysical Research Letters. 2011;38.
- Whitehouse, P.L., Allen, M.B. & Milne, G.A. Glacial isostatic adjustment as a control on coastal processes: An example from the Siberian Arctic. Geology. 2007;35:747-750.
- Whitehouse, Pippa., Latychev, Konstantin., Milne, Glenn A., Mitrovica, Jerry X. & Kendall, Roblyn. Impact of 3-D Earth structure on Fennoscandian glacial isostatic adjustment: Implications for space-geodetic estimates of present-day crustal deformations. Geophysical Research Letters. 2006;33:L13502.
- Whitehouse, P.L, England, P.C & Houseman, G.A A physical model for the motion of the Sierra Block relative to North America. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2005;237:590-600.
- King, M.A. & Whitehouse, P. On the Up. Planet Earth. 2012;14-15.
- Whitehouse, P. & Näslund, J-O. Climate and climate-related issues for the safety assessment SR-Site: Chapter 3.3. Isostatic adjustment and shore-level changes. 2010;TR-10-49, pp. 75-106.
- Whitehouse, P. Glacial isostatic adjustment and sea-level change state of the art report. 2009;105.
- Whitehouse, P. Climate and climate-related issues for the safety assessment SR-Can: Chapter 3.3. Isostatic adjustment and shoreline migration. 2006;68-92.
Available for media contact about:
- Geophysics: Antarctica
- Environmental change: Antarctica
- The Earth: Rocks & natural forces: Antarctica
- Environmental change: Sea-level change
- 2018: Quantifying West Antarctic mantle viscosity via precise GPS measurement of Earth's response to surface mass balance anomalies (£529167.74 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
- 2014: Defining models of glacial isostatic adjustment in West Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula (UKANET): better constraints on Earth structure and uplift (£114431.93 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
- 2013: Constraining Antarctica's contribution to sea-level change: development of a new glacial isostatic adjustment model for Antarctica (£406340.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)