Marte Hofsteenge PhD candidate investigating meteorological controls on glacier mass balance change in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. She is using observations from automatic weather stations and energy balance modelling to study the ablation of the Dry Valley glaciers and their meteorological drivers, as well as using weather forecasting tools and atmospheric re-analysis products to identify large-scale drivers of melt.
The aim is to better understand what the main meteorological drivers of glacial melt are, and which weather conditions or phenomena are related to extreme melt events. For example, while foehn winds are important in generating melt, moist-air outbreaks bringing clouds and snowfall shut down the melt. Understanding how these larger scale circulation drivers might change will provide insight into the consequences of a warming climate on glacier melt and the dependent ecosystem.
Supervision of this work is by the University of Otago, the University of Canterbury and NIWA, with assistance from Utrecht University in the Netherlands during COVID-19 border closures.