Dr Caroline Clason
Profiles

Dr Caroline Clason

Lecturer in Physical Geography

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Role

I am a lecturer in Physical Geography specialising in glaciology and glacial hydrology, and the Deputy Lead of the Centre for Research in Environment and Society

Qualifications

Academic positions:

Lecturer in Physical Geography, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth (2016 - present)

Visiting Research Fellow, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth (2015-2016)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University (2012-2016)

Visiting Researcher, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada (2010-2011)


Qualifications:

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), University of Plymouth, 2017

PhD, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, UK (2008-2012) "Quantitative controls on the routing of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets"

1st class BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Science, University of Dundee, UK (2004-2008)

Professional membership

Member of the European Geosciences Union

Member of the Quaternary Research Association

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Teaching interests

Stage 1:
GGX1205: Geographical Journeys
GGX1206: Sustainable Futures
GGP1206: Environment and Climate

Stage 2:
GGX2201 - Principles and Applications of Geography 1
GGX2202 - Principles and Applications of Geography 2 (module leader)
GGP2204 - Cold Environments (module leader)

Stage 4:
GGX3200 - Dissertation in Geography (module leader)
GGX3201 - Advanced Fieldwork in Geography
GGX3203 - Work Based Learning in Geography
Stage 4 tutor

MSc:
GEES506 - Climate Change: Science and Policy
GEES519 - Environmental knowledge: from field to stakeholder

Research interests

My primary research interests are: 1) the pathways and transit times of glacial meltwater, and their relationship to the dynamics and stability of glaciers and ice sheets; and 2) the impact of retreating glaciers on downstream water quality and availability. I have experience in field-based glaciological research in Greenland, Arctic Scandinavia, Iceland, and the European Alps, and have contributed to improved implementation of glacial hydrology within glacier and ice sheet models. My current research is focussed on water resources in glacier-fed catchments, including the transport of anthropogenic pollutants through the glacial hydrological system. This work is supported by active research grants from NERC (Newton Fund) and the Royal Geographical Society, and applies an interdisciplinary approach to assess the impacts of changing meltwater availability on water security and environmental quality downstream of glaciated catchments under changing patterns of climate and land use.


Current research projects

Integrated upstream and downstream thinking to mitigate the water security challenges of Peruvian glacier retreat (SIGMA:Peru)

Main collaborators: Will Blake, Sally Rangecroft, Jess Kitch (University of Plymouth), Nick Selmes, Stefan Simis (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), and Sergio Morera (Geophysical Institute of Peru)

A growing population, combined with changes to water availability and quantity due to climate change, is increasing the pressure on dwindling water supplies in the Peruvian Andes. Glaciers provide a critical water supply to millions living in South America, acting as buffers to Andean water supplies as they contribute by slowly releasing water through melt which contributes to drinking water, agriculture, hydroelectricity and industry. Containing over 70% of the world’s tropical ice glaciers, Peru is at the heart of this water security concern as glaciers in the region are rapidly retreating. Our project seeks to evaluate the past, present and future problems associated with glacial retreat in Peru, with regards to water quantity and quality, and study the impacts on basin-wide water, food and energy security. Working collaboratively alongside both UK and Peruvian researchers, and between natural and social sciences, the project aims to develop strategies to improve water security in the region for local people, industry and agriculture.


Fallout radionuclides on glaciers: an emerging issue for water quality

Main collaborators: Will Blake, Kim Ward (University of Plymouth), Giovanni Baccolo (University Milano-Bicocca), Edyta Lokas (Institute of Nuclear Physics PAS), Phil Owens (UNBC), and Nick Selmes (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)

Fallout radionuclides (FRNs) and other anthropogenic contaminants are transported in the atmosphere and subsequently deposited on and stored within glaciers. In response to changes in climate and associated glacier retreat, these contaminants can be released from glaciers into downstream catchments decades after the original source of contamination was active. Furthermore, interaction with an ice surface material called ‘cryoconite’ can lead to accumulation of contaminants, resulting in enhanced and potentially harmful concentrations. Very little research has been conducted to date on FRNs in glacier catchments; our work aims to fill geographical gaps in knowledge of FRNs in the global cryosphere and collaborate with the wider research community to assess potential impact on the downstream environment and the populations reliant upon glacier-fed waters for drinking water, grazing and irrigation. I have conducted field campaigns in Sweden and Iceland in support of this research, with cryoconite and sediment samples collected in these locations analysed for the presence of radioactive materials and heavy metals at the University of Plymouth Consolidated Radio-isotope Facility (CoRIF). A new international network of researchers in the fields of glaciology, environmental radioactivity and biogeochemistry has recently been developed, with an aim to build a spatial database for FRNs in glacial environments globally and better understand the physical processes resulting in accumulation of FRNs on glaciers. If you would like to contribute to this project then please contact me.


The hydrology and dynamics of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet

Main collaborators: Sarah Greenwood, Per Holmlund, Martin Jakobsson (Stockholm University), and Johan Nyberg (Geological Survey of Sweden)

This research is focussed on developing an improved understanding of the retreat and dynamics of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet during the Late Weichselian. I have a specific interest in the Baltic and Bothnian sea areas, and a combined modelling/geomorphology approach has been applied to help better constrain past ice stream activity in this region, including investigating the controls on grounding line stability and flow dynamics, and the role of atmospheric warming and meltwater production in driving ice retreat. Mapping of high-resolution bathymetric data provides an incredibly well-preserved insight into the subglacial environment in this area, from which we hope to better understand contemporary glacial processes in other regions. This work thus contributes to improving our understanding of both present day and palaeo ice sheets, and provides a unique perspective on marine-terminating ice streams and possibilities for rapid retreat.


Hydrocarbon pollution on Rabots Glacier, Kebnekaise, Northern Sweden

Main collaborators: Gunhild Rosqvist and Jerker Jarsjö (Stockholm University)

In March 2012 a Royal Norwegian Air Force Hercules plane crashed just below the summit of Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain, depositing much of the wreckage and fuel onto Rabots Glacier. Through an ongoing monitoring programme we are investigating the transit pathways and likely lifetime of hydrocarbons within the glacier catchment. This includes how the pollutants behave in the snowpack, the use of dye tracers to investigate the transport pathways for pollution from the source zone to downstream, and detection of pollution in the proglacial environment where it enters a river catchment used for drinking water by both animals and humans.

Postgraduate supervision

Starting October 2019: Dylan Beard, “Glaciers as secondary sources of anthropogenic pollutants: an emerging socio-environmental, challenge”, University of Plymouth (PhD; Director of Studies). 

Starting October 2019: Jessica Kitch, “Quantifying and predicting Andean sediment dynamic response to natural and anthropogenic changes at the basin scale”, University of Plymouth (PhD; co-supervisor).

2019-present: Luis Ovando Fuentealba, “Validation of a hierarchical mixing model within a catchment sediment budget context”, University of Plymouth (PhD; co-supervisor).

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Caroline Coch, “Pathways and transit time of meltwater in the englacial drainage system of Rabots Glacier, Kebnekaise, Sweden”, Stockholm University (Master’s, completed May 2014)

Ane LaBianca, “Spreading of petroleum products spilled in a glacier environment at Kebnekaise, Northern Sweden”, Stockholm University (Master’s, completed June 2014)

Grants & contracts

2019-2021: NERC-CONCYTEC (Newton Fund) UK-Peru collaborative project on “Integrated upstream and downstream thinking to mitigate the water security challenges of Peruvian glacier retreat". £458,211, (P.I.).

2018-2019: RGS Environment and Sustainability Research Grant, “Release of legacy fallout radionuclides from retreating glaciers: coproducing ‘risk maps’ with the Sami to inform adaptations to an emerging threat in Arctic Sweden”, £15000, (co P.I.).

2018-2019: Seed project funding (University of Plymouth) to support a workshop and sample analysis to assess the prevalence of fallout radionuclides across currently glaciated high latitude regions of the northern hemisphere, £5000 (P.I.).

2018: QRA Quaternary Research Fund, “Accumulation of historical anthropogenic pollutants in the supraglacial environment: a case study on SE Iceland”, £1250, (P.I.).

2017: INTERACT Transnational Access, “Glacier Recession as a Source of Environmental Pollutants”, €2926, (P.I.).

2014-2015: Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning (postdoctoral research grant), “A combined geomorphological and modelling approach to reconstructing the deglaciation of the last Scandinavian Ice Sheet”, 295500 SEK, (P.I.).

2013: Bolin Climate Centre grant to support collaborative ice sheet modelling work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA, 20000 SEK, (P.I.).

2010-2011: Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship (based at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada), “Meltwater-enhanced sliding of glaciers: A predictive model for routing of surface meltwater to the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet”, £17000, (P.I.)..

Mather, A.E., Fyfe, R.M., Clason, C.C., Stokes, M., Mills, S. & Barrows, T., (accepted), Automated mapping of relict patterned ground: an approach to evaluate morphologically subdued landforms using UAV and Structure-from-Motion technologies, Progress in Physical Geography

Box, J.E., Sharp, M., Aðalgeirsdóttir, G., Ananicheva, M., Anderson, M.L., Carr, R., Clason, C.C., Colgan, W.T., Copland, L., Glazovsky, A., Hubbard, A., Kjeldsen, K.K., Mernild, S., Moholdt, G., Moon, T., Wagner, T., Wouters, B. & Van Wychen, W., (2017), Changes to Arctic land ice, in: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) 2017, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway, 137-168

Greenwood, S.L., Clason, C.C., Nyberg, J., Jakobsson, M. & Holmlund, P., (2017), The Bothnian Sea ice stream: early Holocene retreat dynamics of the south-central Fennoscandian Ice Sheet, Boreas, 46, 346-362

Gudlaugsson, E., Humbert, A., Andreassen, K., Clason, C.C., Kleiner, T. and Beyer, S., (2017), Eurasian ice sheet dynamics and sensitivity to subglacial hydrology, Journal of Glaciology, doi: 10.1017/jog.2017.21

Clason, C.C., Greenwood, S.L., Selmes, N., Lea, J.M., Jamieson, S.S.R., Nick, F.N. & Holmlund, P., (2016), Controls on the early Holocene collapse of the Bothnian Sea Ice Stream, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 121, 2494–2513, doi:10.1002/2016JF004050

Everett, A., Murray, T., Selmes, N., Rutt, I., Luckman, A., James, T.D., Clason, C.C., O’Leary, M., Karunarathna, H., Moloney, V. & Reeve, D., (2016), Annual down‐glacier drainage of lakes and water‐filled crevasses at Helheim Glacier, south east Greenland, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 121, 1819–1833

Greenwood, S.L., Clason, C.C. & Jakobsson, M., (2016), Ice-flow and meltwater assemblages in the Gulf of Bothnia, in Dowdeswell, J.A., Canals, M., Jakobsson, M., Todd, B.J., Dowdeswell, E.K. & Hogan, K.A. (eds), Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient. Geological Society, London, Memoirs, 46, 321–324, http://doi.org/10.1144/M46.163

Holmlund, P., Clason, C. & Blomdahl, K., (2016), The effect of a glaciation on East Central Sweden: case studies on present glaciers and analyses of landform data, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority report number: 2016:21 ISSN: 2000-0456, available at www.stralsakerhetsmyndigheten.se

Greenwood, S.L., Clason, C.C., Helanow, C. & Margold, M., (2016), Theoretical, contemporary observational and palaeo perspectives on ice sheet hydrology: processes and products, Earth-Science Reviews, 155, 1-27

Greenwood, S.L., Clason, C.C., Mikko, H., Nyberg, J., Peterson, G. & Smith, C.A., (2015), Integrated use of LiDAR and multibeam bathymetry reveals onset of ice streaming in the northern Bothnian Sea, GFF, DOI:10.1080/11035897.2015.1055513

Clason, C.C., Coch, C., Jarsjö, J., Brugger, K., Jansson, P., & Rosqvist, G., (2015), Dye tracing to determine flow properties of hydrocarbon-polluted Rabots Glaciär, Kebnekaise, Sweden, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 19, 2701-2715

Clason, C.C., Mair, D.W.F., Nienow, P.W., Bartholomew, I.D., Sole, A., Palmer, S. & Schwanghart, W., (2015), Modelling the transfer of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of Leverett Glacier, Southwest Greenland, The Cryosphere, 9, 123-138

Clason, C.C., Applegate, P. & Holmlund, P., (2014), Modelling Late Weichselian evolution of the Eurasian ice sheets forced by surface meltwater-enhanced basal sliding, Journal of Glaciology, 60 (219), 29-40

Clason, C.C., Mair, D.W.F., Burgess, D.O. & Nienow, P.W., (2012), Modelling the delivery of supraglacial meltwater to the ice/bed interface: application to the southwest Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada, Journal of Glaciology, 58 (208), 361-374

Clason, C.C., (2012), Quantitative controls on the routing of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets, PhD thesis - University of Aberdeen


Key publications are highlighted

Journals
Articles
Baccolo G, Lokas E, Gaca P, Massabò D, Ambrosini R, Azzoni RS, Clason C, Di Mauro B, Franzetti A 2019 'Cryoconite as an efficient monitor for the deposition of radioactive fallout in glacial environments' The Cryosphere Discussions 1-25 , DOI
Mather AE, Fyfe R, Clason C, Stokes M, Mills S & Barrows TT 2018 'Automated mapping of relict patterned ground: An approach to evaluate morphologically subdued landforms using unmanned-aerialvehicle and structure-from-motion technologies' Progress in Physical Geography , DOI PEARL
Gudlaugsson E, Humbert A, Andreassen K, Clason CC, Kleiner T & Beyer S 2017 'Eurasian ice-sheet dynamics and sensitivity to subglacial hydrology' Journal of Glaciology , DOI PEARL
Greenwood SL, Clason CC, Nyberg J, Jakobsson M & Holmlund P 2016 'The Bothnian Sea ice stream: early Holocene retreat dynamics of the south-central Fennoscandian Ice Sheet' Boreas 46, 346-362 , DOI PEARL
Clason CC, Greenwood SL, Selmes N, Lea JM, Jamieson SSR, Nick FM & Holmlund P 2016 'Controls on the early Holocene collapse of the Bothnian Sea Ice Stream' Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface , DOI PEARL
Greenwood SL, Clason CC & Jakobsson M 2016 'Ice-flow and meltwater landform assemblages in the Gulf of Bothnia' Geological Society, London, Memoirs 46, (1) 321-324 , DOI PEARL
Everett A, Murray T, Selmes N, Rutt IC, Luckman A, James TD, Clason C, O'Leary M, Karunarathna H 2016 'Annual down-glacier drainage of lakes and water-filled crevasses at Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland' Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121, (10) 1819-1833 , DOI PEARL
Greenwood SL, Clason CC, Helanow C & Margold M 2016 'Theoretical, contemporary observational and palaeo-perspectives on ice sheet hydrology: Processes and products' Earth-Science Reviews 155, 1-27 , DOI PEARL
Greenwood SL, Clason CC, Mikko H, Nyberg J, Peterson G & Smith CA 2015 'Integrated use of LiDAR and multibeam bathymetry reveals onset of ice streaming in the northern Bothnian Sea' GFF 137, (4) 284-292 , DOI PEARL
Clason CC, Coch C, Jarsjö J, Brugger K, Jansson P & Rosqvist G 2015 'Dye tracing to determine flow properties of hydrocarbon-polluted Rabots glaciär, Kebnekaise, Sweden' Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19, (6) 2701-2715 , DOI PEARL
Clason CC, Mair DWF, Nienow PW, Bartholomew ID, Sole A, Palmer S & Schwanghart W 2015 'Modelling the transfer of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of Leverett Glacier, Southwest Greenland' The Cryosphere 9, (1) 123-138 , DOI PEARL
Clason CC, Applegate PJ & Holmlund P 2014 'Modelling Late Weichselian evolution of the Eurasian ice sheets forced by surface meltwater-enhanced basal sliding' Journal of Glaciology 60, (219) 29-40 , DOI PEARL
CLASON C, MAIR DWF, BURGESS DO & NIENOW PW 2012 'Modelling the delivery of supraglacial meltwater to the ice/bed interface: application to southwest Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada' Journal of Glaciology 58, (208) 361-374 , DOI PEARL
Chapters
Box JE, Sharp M, Aðalgeirsdóttir G, Ananicheva M, Anderson ML, Carr R, Clason CC, Colgan WT, Copland L 2017 'Changes to Arctic land ice' Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) 2017 Oslo, Norway Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) 137-168 PEARL
Reports
Holmlund P, Clason CC & Blomdahl K 2016 The effect of a glaciation on East Central Sweden: case studies on present glaciers and analyses of landform data. Swedish Radiation Safety Authority PEARL
Other Publications
Clason CC 0 Quantitative controls on the routing of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets. 0 0 PEARL