Dr Caroline Clason

Dr Caroline Clason

Lecturer in Physical Geography

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


Academic positions:

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

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

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

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


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 Quaternary Research Association

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Teaching interests

PLG503/GEES519 - Environmental knowledge: from field to stakeholder (module leader)

GGX1200 - Geography Matters
GGX1201 - Introducing Geography 1: Society and Environment
GGX1202 - Practising Geography 1
GGX1203 - Introducing Geography 2: Changing Places
GGX1204 - Practising Geography 2

GGX2200 - Fieldwork in Geography
GGX2201 - Principles and Applications of Geography 1
GGX2202 - Principles and Applications of Geography 2
GGP2204 - Cold Environments (module leader)

GGX3200 - Dissertation in Geography
GGX3201 - Advanced Fieldwork in Geography
GGX3203 - Work Based Learning in Geography
GEOL3002 - Earth Science Independent Research Project and Professional Skills

Research interests

Key research interests
  • Transit times and pathways of meltwater through the glacial hydrological system
  • Controls on crevasse propagation, moulin formation and the drainage of supraglacial lakes 
  • Working towards better implementation of hydrology within glacier and ice sheet models 
  • The role of meltwater in the dynamics and stability of palaeo ice sheets

Ongoing research projects

Hydrology and dynamics of the Eurasian Ice Sheets
– Main collaborators: Sarah Greenwood, Per Holmlund, Martin Jakobsson (Stockholm University) and Johan Nyberg  (Geological Survey of Sweden)

This research is focussed on an improved understanding of the retreat and dynamics of the Eurasian Ice Sheets during the Late Weichselian. I have a specific interest in the Baltic and Bothnian seas, and a combined modelling/geomorphology approach is being applied to help better constrain ice stream activity in this region. This includes investigating the controls on grounding line stability and flow dynamics, and the role of meltwater in driving retreat. Mapping of high-resolution bathymetric data provides a incredibly well-preserved insight into the subglacial environment in this area, from which we might better understand contemporary glacial processes. 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.

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, 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 the hydrocarbon pollution within the glacier catchment. This includes how the pollutants behave in the snowpack, the use of dye tracers to investigate the likely transport pathways for pollution from the source zone, and detection of pollution in the proglacial environment where it enters a river used for drinking water by both animals and humans.

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

INTERACT Transnational Access funding of €2,926 to support fieldwork on project: “Glacier Recession as a Source of Environmental Pollutants”, 2017

Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning, postdoctoral stipend of 295500 SEK, 2014

Bolin Climate Centre travel grant of 20000 SEK for collaborative work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, 2013

Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship of £17000 for 12 months of research at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2010-2011)

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


Cryosphere blog: https://meltingplanet.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Caroline_Clason