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
- 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
- Newton, M., Evans, D.J.A., Roberts, D.H. & Stokes, C.R. Bedrock mega-grooves in glaciated terrain: a review. Earth-Science Reviews. 2018;In press.
- Stokes, C.R. Geomorphology under ice streams: moving from form to process. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2018;43:85-123.
- Bickerdike, H.L., O'Cofaigh, C., Evans, D.J.A & Stokes, C.R. Glacial landsystems, retreat dynamics and controls on Loch Lomond Stadial (Younger Dryas) glaciation in Britain. Boreas. 2018;47:202-224.
- Margold, M., Stokes, C.R. & Clark, C.D. Reconciling records of ice streaming and ice margin retreat to produce a palaeogeographic reconstruction of the deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2018;189:1-30.
- Piasecka, Emilia D., Stokes, Chris R., Winsborrow, Monica C.M. & Andreassen, Karin Relationship between mega-scale glacial lineations and iceberg ploughmarks on the Bjørnøyrenna Palaeo-Ice Stream bed, Barents Sea. Marine geology. 2018.
- Clark, Chris D., Ely, Jeremy C., Spagnolo, Matteo, Hahn, Ute, Hughes, Anna L.C. & Stokes, Chris R. Spatial organization of drumlins. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2018;43:499-513.
- Lovell, A.M., Carr, J.R. & Stokes, C.R. Topographic controls on the surging behaviour of Sabche Glacier, Nepal (1967 to 2017). Remote Sensing of Environment. 2018;210:434-443.
- Ely, J.C., Clark, C.D., Spagnolo, M., Hughes, A.L.C. & Stokes, C.R. Using the size and position of drumlins to understand how they grow, interact and evolve. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2018;43:1073-1087.
- Hill, E.A., Carr, R.J. & Stokes, C.R. A review of recent changes in major marine-terminating outlet glaciers in northern Greenland. Frontiers in Earth Science. 2017;4:11.
- Stokes, C.R. Deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet from the Last Glacial Maximum. Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica. 2017;43:377-428.
- Darvill, C.M., Stokes, C.R., Bentley, M.J., Evans, D.J.A. & Lovell, H. Dynamics of former ice lobes of the southernmost Patagonian Ice Sheet based on a glacial landsystems approach. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2017;32:857-876.
- Miles, B.W.J., Stokes, C.R. & Jamieson, S.S.R Simultaneous disintegration of outlet glaciers in Porpoise Bay (Wilkes Land), East Antarctica, driven by sea ice break-up. The Cryosphere. 2017;11:427-442.
- Lovell, A.M., Stokes, C.R. & Jamieson, S.S.R. Sub-decadal variations in outlet glacier terminus positions in Victoria Land, Oates Land and George V Land, East Antarctica (1972-2013). Antarctic Science. 2017;29:468-483.
- Spagnolo, Matteo, Bartholomaus, Timothy C., Clark, Chris D., Stokes, Chris R., Atkinson, Nigel, Dowdeswell, Julian A., Ely, Jeremy C., Graham, Alastair G. C., Hogan, Kelly A., King, Edward C., Larter, Robert D., Livingstone, Stephen J. & Pritchard, Hamish D. The periodic topography of ice stream beds: Insights from the Fourier spectra of mega-scale glacial lineations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 2017;122:1355-1373.
- Carr, R., Stokes, C.R. & Vieli, A. Threefold increase in marine-terminating outlet glacier retreat rates across the Atlantic Arctic: 1992-2010. Journal of Glaciology. 2017;58:72-91.
Available for media contact about:
- Environmental change: Glaciers and climate change
- Geography: Glacial landforms
- 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)