About Bethan Davies

I am a Senior Lecturer in Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway University of London, specialising in glaciology and glacial geology. I wrote and developed the AntarcticGlaciers.org website as part of an ongoing commitment to outreach, education and research impact. Read more about me at www.antarcticglaciers.org/bethan-davies.

Creating digital resources for outreach and science communication

Science communication is increasingly important for environmental scientists, and the digital realm offers great opportunity. How can we maximise it?

Recently, I joined a seminar hosted by the British Society for Geomorphology where I discussed how we can provide effective outreach and public engagement resources in the digital format. I gave a keynote talk, where I outlined some of the main points from my experience of running AntarcticGlaciers.

You can watch the full seminar and the other talks, which were all excellent, on the BSG website.

You can watch my talk here:

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A Practical Guide to Glacial Sediments, 2nd edition

The first edition of “A Practical Guide to the study of Glacial Sediments” (Edited by David Evans and Doug Benn) was an essential handbook to all students of glacial geology. It has helped countless undergraduate and MSc dissertation students, and my well-thumbed copy has come with me every time I go into the field.

It is therefore a delight to see the second edition, published in 2021, with numerous updates and full colour.

Practical Guide to the Study of Glacial Sediments, 2nd edition

The second edition is published by the QRA and is available to purchase for £20 (inc. p&p) from the QRA website. QRA members get a discount! See the flyer below for details of the chapters and content.

This comprehensive book promises to be absolutely essential to anyone undertaking practical work with glacial sedimentology, ranging from sediment description and logging, particle size, clast form, shape and orientation in glacial sediments, thin-section analysis of glacial sediments, and till geochemistry, particle lithology and mineral properties.

Each chapter contains detailed instructions and recipes, accompanied by full colour images. Recommend it to your library!

Submit to our EGU session: Glaciation and climate change in the Andean Cordillera

This year, EGU (19-30 April 2021) will be virtual and online. The registration fee is substantially reduced and there are numerous fee waivers. The virtual conference format is tried and tested and there has never been a better time to get involved in EGU!

Neil Glasser, Jacob Bendle and myself have proposed a session to vEGU21 called Glaciation and Climate Change in the Andean Cordillera (CR1.5). The deadline for abstract submission is January 13th 2021. Please submit an abstract to our interdisciplinary session!

Session proposal:

The Andean Cordillera is cryospherically diverse, with high mountain glaciation in the north and large temperate ice masses in the south. These ice masses are critical for water security, the prevalence of geohazards, and a potentially substantial contribution to global sea level. The climatic influences on these ice masses vary across the Cordillera, and are strongly affected by large scale ocean-atmospheric systems such as ENSO and the Southern Annular Mode.

South America is one of the few landmasses in the ocean-dominated Southern Hemisphere available for terrestrial environmental and climate reconstructions. Palaeoclimatic records suggest that Patagonia was sensitive to the Antarctic Cold Reversal and variations in the Southern Annular Mode, which drives changes in the Southern Westerly Winds. Changes in these winds affect both Patagonia and Antarctica today. Further north, the glaciers in Peru and Bolivia are receding rapidly, threatening water security in these latitudes. These glaciers are strongly affected by rising atmospheric air temperatures and changes in ENSO. The high climate sensitivity of these glaciers and icefields, as well as their large latitudinal transect across the Andes, renders them a useful barometer of changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation and palaeoclimate.

We invite interdisciplinary contributions that investigate climate and cryosphere interactions over a range of timescale. This session will bring together researchers working on contemporary mass balance and climatology in the Andean Cordillera, Quaternary palaeoclimatic reconstructions from proxy data (including from lakes, bogs, marine records, aeolian records, ice cores, etc.), (palaeo)climate modelling, and reconstructions of former, present and future ice extent and dynamics from field-based studies and numerical modelling. It will provide a forum in which researchers can contrast their data and shed light on Quaternary glaciations and their palaeoclimatic drivers in South America. We especially invite studies that use data-model comparisons to improve projections of future climate and ice mass behaviour in the Andean Cordillera.

Free online lecture: The Glaciers are melting: What happens next?

12th November 2020, 7 pm

You can watch the lecture on YouTube:

Register here: https://www.readingculturelive.co.uk/events/the-glaciers-are-melting-what-happens-next/


In her presentation to the Reading Climate Festival, Dr Bethan Davies will be describing how, globally, glaciers are shrinking. What are the effects of this shrinkage? World-wide concern about rising sea levels already exists; are these shrinking glaciers adding to the rise? Will it affect water consumption, irrigation, and industry? 1.9 million people live directly downstream of glacierised mountain regions and depend on the water supply provided by the glaciers. Millions more live in low-lying coastal areas. What happens next?

Dr Bethan Davies is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Royal Holloway University of London. Her interdisciplinary research advances our understanding of how ice masses behave in different climatic regimes and environments. Her work is internationally recognized for strategic advances in debates about ice-sheet behaviour and cryosphere-ocean-atmosphere interactions at different timescales. Her broad research interests are focused on glaciation over the last 25,000 years in Antarctica, Britain, Greenland and Patagonia, global glacier recession from remote sensing, and science communication.

Podcast on Antarctica, geopolitics and climate change

Welcome to Seminar sessions, our new podcast featuring experts across Royal Holloway.

Episode 6 of the Seminar Sessions podcast is here! We’re always hearing about climate change and worries over the polar regions, but what does it all actually mean? Greg and Summer are joined by Professor Klaus Dodds and Dr Bethan Davies who discuss the physical and human concerns facing the polar regions today.

Polar Literacy Project

As science communicators and educators, it can be difficult to evaluate exactly what are the key messages to communicate.

The Polar Literacy Initiative (website: polar-ice.org) has done a great job in highlighting the seven key principles about polar regions that we should aim to communicate. These are the ‘big ideas’ that the general public should know about the Polar Regions.

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