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.

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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Funding from the Antarctic Science International Bursary

I am delighted to announce that I have been awarded funding from the Antarctic Science International Bursary to support some further development of educational resources on AntarcticGlaciers.

These funds will be used for website development and to support the production of more introductory resources. These educational resources will target students aged ~14 years, and will focus on Antarctica.

Thwaites Glacier

Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica, is of particular concern to scientists. Here, warm water is pushed up onto the continental shelf, where it flows along the bottom until it reaches the floating ice shelf in front of Thwaites Glacier.

Thwaites Glacier today is rapidly losing mass in response to changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions.

Thwaites Glacier
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