Departmental Research Projects
Professor Chris Stokes
My research is focussed on glaciers, and ranges from the monitoring of small mountain glaciers over the last few decades to large-scale reconstructions of ice sheets over tens of thousands of years. A common theme of much of my work is the use of remote sensing (e.g. satellite imagery), which allows repeat monitoring of changes in present-day glaciers and provides an efficient means to visualise and investigate the landforms left behind by former ice sheets during the last ice age.
Together with postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and collaborators from both the UK and abroad, recent research can be grouped under the following broad themes:
Measuring and monitoring the response of glaciers to recent climate change: this involves both satellite remote sensing and field-based studies to investigate how glaciers are responding to recent climate change and variability, with a particular focus on glaciated regions of Russia (e.g. the Caucasus, Russian High Arctic islands and Siberia), Norway, and major outlet glaciers in Greenland and East Antarctica.
Reconstructing former ice sheet and ice stream dynamics: this work uses satellite imagery to map glacial landforms left behind by former ice sheets in order to reconstruct their evolution and links to the ocean-climate system. Early work focussed on locating and reconstructing the behaviour of fast-flow features, known as ice streams, and this has since evolved into looking at their role in the deglaciation of former ice sheets. A key component of this work has been to assess how well numerical ice sheet models reproduce ice stream dynamics, which has implications for predicting and modelling future ice sheet behaviour. Whilst much of this work has been focussed on the North American (Laurentide) Ice Sheet, I’ve contributed to studies on all of the world’s major ice sheets.
Investigating the formation of subglacial bedforms: satellite imagery is an efficient technique to map a variety of glacial landforms created by glaciers and ice sheets. Recent work has contributed towards the collection of large datasets of landform characteristics and these have been used to formulate and test ideas about their formation (e.g. drumlins and mega-scale glacial lineations) and refine numerical models of ice flow over sediments. These datasets have also been used to help interpret recent geophysical evidence of subglacial bedforms beneath ice streams in Antarctica.
Glacial landforms and landscapes on Mars: imagery of Mars is now comparable (and, in places, much better) than that for the Earth’s surface. Based on Earth analogues, recent work has investigated the potential role of glaciers (and liquid water) in shaping Martian landscapes.
My research contrubutions have been recognised through the award of a Philip Leverhulme Prize and the British Society for Geomorphology’s Gordon Warwick Medal. I have served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Maps (2012-2016) and currently serve on the Editorial Boards for The Cryosphere (2012-) and Geology (2018-). I have also served as Vice-President (2013-2015) and President (2015-2017) of the International Glaciological Society's British Branch.
External Research Projects
Former PhD Students
- Emily Hill (2020): The past and future impact of ice tongue loss on outlet glaciers in northern Greenland
- Bertie Miles (2017): The patterns and drivers of recent outlet glacier change in East Antarctica
- Hannah Bickerdike (2017): The glacial geomorphology of the Loch Lomond (Younger Dryas) Stadial in Britain
- Christopher Darvill (2015): The nature and timing of glaciation in southermost South America.
- Rachel Carr (2014): Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic Seas.
- Robert Storrar (2014): Reconstructing subglacial meltwater dynamics from the spatial and temporal variation in the form and pattern of eskers.
- Andrew Turner (2013): Deglaciation of the Great Glen, Scotland: reconstructed from geophysical surveys and landform mapping.
- Philip Prescott (2013): Quantifying subglacial roughness and its link to glacial geomorphology and ice speed.
- Heather Channon (2012): Multi-scale analysis of the landforms and sediments of palaeo-ice streams.
- Victoria Brown (2012): Ice stream dynamics at the north-western margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.
- Katie Grant (2010): Changes in glacier extent since the Little Ice Age and links to 20th/21st Century climatic variability on Novaya Zemlya, Russian Arctic.
- Emily Hill, Newcastle University
- Arminel Lovell, Newcastle University
- Emilia Piasecka, UIT The Arctic University of Norway
- Climate Change and Glacier Dynamics in the Caucasus and the Mountains of Southern Siberia
- Glaciated North Atlantic Margins (GLANAM)
- Identification and characterisation of ice stream sticky spots: an improved understanding of ice stream basal mechanics and shut-down
- Reconstructing Ice Stream Behaviour During Marine Ice Sheet Collapse
- Terrestrial Record of Former Arctic Ice Streams: Elucidating the Controls on Ice Stream Location and Vigour, The
- Testing the Instability Mechanism for Subglacial Bedform Production
- Understanding Marine Ice Stream Retreat Using Numerical Modelling and Geophysical Data
- Dalton, A.S., Margold, M., Stokes, C.R., Tarasov, L., Dyke, A.S., Adams, R.S., Allard, S., Arends, H.E., Atkinson, N., Attig, J., Barnett, P.J., Barnett, R.L., Batterson, M., Bernatchez, P., Borns Jr, H.W., Breckenridge, A., Briner, J.P., Brouard, E., Campbell, J.E., Carlson, A.E., Clague,J.J., Curry, B.B., Daigneault, R.A., Dubé-Loubert, H., Easterbrook, D.J., Franzi, D.A., Friedrich, H.G., Funder, S., Gauthier, M.S., Gowan, A.S., Harris, K.L., Hétu, B., Hooyer, T.S., Jennings, C.E., Johnson, M.D., Kehew, A.E., Kelley, S.E., Kerr, D., King, E.L., Kjeldsen, K.K., Knaeble, A.R., Lajeunesse, P., Lakeman, T.R., Lamothe, M., Larson, P., Lavoie, M., Loope, H.M., Lowell, T.V., Lusardi, B.A., Manz, L., McMartin, I., Nixon, F.C., Occhietti, S., Parkhill, M.A., Piper, D.J.W., Pronk, A.G., Richard, P.J.H., Ridge, J.C., Ross, M., Roy, M., Seaman, A., Shaw, J., Stea, R.R., Teller, J.T., Thompson, W.B., Thorleifson, H.L., Utting, D.J., Veillette, J.J., Ward, B.C., Weddle, T.K. & Wright Jr, H.E. An updated radiocarbon-based ice margin chronology for the last deglaciation of the North American Ice Sheet Complex. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2020;234:106223.
- Miles, B.W.J., Stokes, C.R., Jenkins, A., Jordan, J.R., Jamieson, S.S.R. & Gudmundsson, G.H. Intermittent structural weakening and acceleration of the Thwaites Glacier Tongue between 2000 and 2018. Journal of Glaciology. 2020;66:485-495.
- Arthur, J.F., Stokes, C.R., Jamieson, S.S.R., Carr, J.R. & Leeson, A.A. Recent understanding of Antarctic supraglacial lakes using satellite remote sensing. Progress in Physical Geography. 2020;44:837-869.
- Palacios, David, Stokes, Chris R., Phillips, Fred M., Clague, John J., Alcalá-Reygosa, Jesus, Andres, Nuria, Angel, Isandra, Blard, Pierre-Henri, Briner, Jason P., Hall, Brenda L., Dahms, Dennis, Hein, Andrew S., Jomelli, Vincent, Mark, Bryan G., Martini, Mateo A., Moreno, Patricio, Riedel, Jon, Sagredo, Esteban, Stansell, Nathan D., Vazquez-Selem, Lorenzo, Vuille, Mathias & Ward, Dylan J. The deglaciation of the Americas during the Last Glacial Termination. Earth-Science Reviews. 2020;203:103113.
- Leigh, J. R., Stokes, C. R., Evans, D. J. A., Carr, R. J. & Andreassen, L. M. Timing of Little Ice Age maxima and subsequent glacier retreat in northern Troms and western Finnmark, northern Norway. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. 2020;52:281-311.
- Cook, A.J. Copland, L. Noel, B.P.Y. Stokes, C.R. Bentley, M.J., Sharp, M.J. Bingham, R.G. & van den Broeke, M.R. Atmospheric forcing of rapid marine-terminating glacier retreat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Science Advances. 2019;5:eaau8507.
- Pope, Ed L., Normandeau, Alexandre, Cofaigh, Colm Ó., Stokes, Chris R. & Talling, Peter J. Controls on the formation of turbidity current channels associated with marine-terminating glaciers and ice sheets. Marine Geology. 2019;415:105951.
- Leigh, J.R., Stokes, C.R., Carr, J.R., Evans, I.S., Andreassen, L.M. & Evans, D.J.A Identifying and mapping very small (<0.5 km²) mountain glaciers on coarse to high-resolution imagery. Journal of Glaciology. 2019;65:873-888.
- Ely, J.C., Clark, C.D., Hindmarsh, R.C.A, Hughes, A.L.C, Greenwood, S.L., Bradley, S.L., Gasson, E., Gregoire, L., Gandy, N., Stokes, C.R. & Small, D. Recent progress on combining geomorphological and geochronological data with ice 1 sheet modelling, demonstrated using the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2019.
- Lovell, Arminel M., Carr, J. Rachel & Stokes, Chris R. Spatially Variable Glacier Changes in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal, 2000 to 2016. Remote Sensing. 2019;11:1452.
- Batchelor, C.L., Margold, M., Krapp, M., Murton, D.K., Dalton, A.S., Gibbard, P.L., Stokes, C.R., Murton, J.B. & Manica, A. The configuration of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets through the Quaternary. Nature Communications. 2019;10:3713.
- Stokes, C.R., Sanderson, J.E., Miles, B.W.J., Jamieson, S.S.R. & Leeson, A.A. Widespread distribution of supraglacial lakes around the margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Scientific Reports. 2019;9:13823.
Available for media contact about:
- Environmental change: Glaciers and climate change
- Geography: Glacial landforms
- 2018: Assessing the sensitivity of major Antarctic outlet glaciers to recent and future changes in the ocean-climate system (£324184.00 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
- 2012: How important are ice streams in accelerating ice sheet deglaciation? (£197631.56 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
- 2010: Philip Leverhulme Prize (£70000.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
- 2009: Reconstructing marine ice sheet collapse-International Joint Project (£10602.00 from The Royal Society)
- 2006: TESTING THE INSTABILITY THEORY (£5517.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)