I am a glaciologist specialising in reconstructing glacier dynamics over multiple timescales, from both field and remotely sensed data, particularly in the Antarctic Peninsula, Britain and Patagonia. I am also interested in using ice-sheet and climate models to constrain the interaction between glaciers and climate. I wrote and developed the AntarcticGlaciers website as part of an ongoing commitment to outreach, education and research impact.
Email: bethan [at] AntarcticGlaciers.org or bethan.davies [at] rhul.ac.uk
Address: Dr Bethan Davies, Centre for Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX
Website: RHUL Department of Geography
Following an undergraduate degree in Geography at Nottingham University (2004), and an MSc in Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway, University of London (2005), I undertook a PhD in Glacial Geology at Durham University (2009). My thesis was called: “British and Fennoscandian ice-sheet interactions during the Quaternary”. This involved spending a lot of time logging and analysing glacial tills exposed in coastal cliff sections in County Durham.
After a brief stint as an Assistant Marine Geologist at the British Antarctic Survey, I then moved on to Aberystwyth University, where I worked as a post-doctoral research associated in the Centre for Glaciology. I worked on a project entitled, “Glacial history of the NE Antarctic Peninsula on centennial to millennial timescales”. I then took up a position a PDRA at the Department for Meteorology at the University of Reading, where I analysed ice sheet evolution using coupled climate and ice-sheet models.
I am now a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography (Quaternary Science) at Royal Holloway, University of London. I am the Director of the MSc Quaternary Science in the Centre for Quaternary Research. If you liked this website, why not consider coming to study with us?
Glacier and ice-sheet modelling
I am interested in using numerical computer models to understand how climate interacts with glaciers and ice sheets. At present, I am using large ice-sheet models to understand northern hemisphere ice-sheets, climate and sea-level during the past glacial cycle. I also use glacier models to constrain cryospheric response to climate change, and to relate glacier fluctuations, reconstructed from field evidence, to climate. I was recently awarded a SCAR (Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research) Fellowship to spend six months at the Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, where I worked on modelling glacier and climate interactions during the Holocene.
Palaeo ice-sheet reconstruction
I am also interested in using geological data to reconstruct past ice-sheet fluctuations. I use geomorphological mapping and chronological techniques to constrain past ice-sheet dynamics and rates and magnitudes of change. I have particular expertise in cosmogenic nuclide dating. During fieldwork, we take rock samples and analyse their isotopic chemistry to see how long they have been exposed to the surface. This gives us the age of ice sheet retreat in the area.
I have worked extensively in the Antarctic Peninsula, Britain and in Greenland, and have conducted several expeditions to these regions.
Remote sensing of glacier change
I use satellite images to understand more recent glacier recession and ice-shelf collapse. I have used satellite data to conduct glacier inventories and am a member of the GLIMS initiative, using satellite data to analyse and quantify glaciers in Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula.
I undertook two field seasons to James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula (2011, 2012) and a third to Alexander Island in November 2012. I have also been on expeditions to Iceland (2000, 2003) and Greenland (2006). I have conducted extensive fieldwork in Britain.
- September 2014 onwards – Lecturer, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
- April 2014 – July 2014: Research Scientist, NCAS-Climate, Department for Meteorology, University of Reading.
- March 2013 – August 2013: SCAR Fellow, Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
- April 2010 – March 2014: PDRA, IGES, Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK
- July 2009 – Feb 2010: Assistant marine geologist, British Antarctic Survey, UK
- August 2006: Research assistant to David Roberts in Greenland
- August 2004: Laboratory analyst, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Oct 2005 – April 2009: PhD in Quaternary Geology, Durham University
- Sept 2004 – Sept 2005: MSc in Quaternary Science, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Sept 2001 – Sept 2004: BA (Hons) in Geography, Nottingham University
Science communication and outreach
- Wrote www.AntarcticGlaciers.org (launched June 2012), a website that delivers peer-reviewed science to the public, A-Level and undergraduate students. The website underpins and supports my university teaching, increases the visibility and impact of my research, and broadens my professional network.
- Public lectures at venues such as the British Science Festival.
Invited guest contributions to other science communication outlets:
- Changing glaciers in Antarctica. Climatica.
- Reconstructing past glaciers. To The Poles.
- Why is communicating climate change science hard? Bogology.
- Interview at the Barometer podcast on science communication
- Interview for Geography in the News for the Royal Geographical Society
- Invited contributor to Geography Review, a magazine for school students and Geography teachers
- Sprint 2014: Article for Earth Heritage magazine: http://www.earthheritage.org.uk/ehpdf/EH41_1-14f.pdf
See here for an up-to-date list of publications.
Selected key publications:
Davies, B.J., Golledge, N.R., Glasser, N.F., Carrivick, J.L., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Barrand, N.E., van den Broeke, M.R., Hambrey, M.J., Smellie, J.L., 2014. Modelled glacier response to centennial temperature and precipitation trends on the Antarctic Peninsula. Nature Climate Change. Read the associated AntarcticGlaciers webpage.
Ó Cofaigh, C., Davies, B.J., Livingstone, S.L., Johnson, J., Smith, J., Anderson, J.B., Bentley, M.J., Canals, M., Dowdeswell, J.A., Evans, J., Glasser, N.F., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Hodgson, D., Larter, R.D., and Domack, E., 2014. Reconstruction of ice sheet changes in the Antarctic Peninsula sector since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews 100, 87-110.
Davies, B. J. and N. F. Glasser (2014). “Analysis of www.AntarcticGlaciers.org as a tool for online science communication. Correspondence paper.” Journal of Glaciology 60(220): 1-8. Download the preprint: Davies_and_Glasser_2014_preprint
Glasser, N. F., Davies, B. J., Carrivick, J. L., Rodés, A., Hambrey, M. J., Smellie, J. L., and Domack, E. (2014). Ice-stream initiation, duration and thinning on James Ross Island, northern Antarctic Peninsula. Quaternary Science Reviews 86, 78-88. Download the Glasser et al. 2014 Preprint.
Davies, B.J.,Carrivick, J.L., Glasser, N.F., Hambrey, M.J., & Smellie, J.S., 2012. Variable glacier response to atmospheric warming, northern Antarctic Peninsula, 1988–2009. The Cryosphere 6, 1031-1048. doi:10.5194/tc-6-1031-2012 (download PDF)
Davies, B.J.,Roberts, D.H., Bridgland, D.R., Ó Cofaigh, C., & Riding, J.B., 2011. Provenance and depositional environments of Quaternary sediments in the North Sea Basin. Journal of Quaternary Science 26, 59-75.
Davies, B.J., Bridgland D.R., Roberts, D.H., Ó Cofaigh, C., Pawley, S.M., Candy, I., Demarchi, B., Penkman, K.E.H., & Austin, W.E.N., 2009. The age and stratigraphic context of the Easington Raised Beach, County Durham, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 120, 183-198.
Davies, B.J., Roberts, D.H., Ó Cofaigh, C., Bridgland, D.R., Riding, J., Phillips E.R., & Teasdale, D.A., 2009. Interlobate ice sheet dynamics and ice marginal controls on sediment deposition at Whitburn Bay, County Durham, England. Boreas 38, 555-578.
Antarctic Palaeoenvironments and Earth Surface Processes. Editors: Hambrey, M.H., Barker, P.F., Barrett, P.J., Bowman, V.C., Davies, B.J., Smellie, J.L. & Tranter, M., 2013. Geological Society of London Special Publication, Volume 381.
Quaternary of Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire. QRA Field Guide (September 2013). Editors: Davies, B.J, Bridgland, D.R., Yorke, L., and Roberts, D.H., 2013. 208 pp.
You can download my PhD thesis from here.
Citation: Davies, B.J., 2009. British and Fennoscandian Ice-Sheet Interactions during the Quaternary, Unpubl. PhD Thesis. Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, 502 pp.
Ethesis from the Durham University website (smaller)