Bethan Davies

Bethan Davies photo

Lecturer in Physical Geography, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London


I am a glaciologist, interested in how glaciers respond to climate change. I study how they changed during the past 10,000 years to contextualise how they are changing today, and use these data to better understand how glaciers might change in the future.


I am a glacial geologist interested in the interaction between glaciers and climate over multiple timescales. I specialise in ice-sheet and glacier reconstruction in temperate and high latitudes. I use field studies and chronostratigraphical methods (especially cosmogenic nuclide dating) to quantify ice-sheet response to past climate change. I am very interested in how glaciers and ice sheets shrank at the end of the last Glacial period, when temperatures rose very quickly.

I am particularly interested in glacial processes at the ice-bed interface, and use detailed sedimentological analyses and micromorphology to analyse processes of entrainment, deposition and deformation. This gives us information about how glacier dynamics and subglacial thermal regime evolved during ice-sheet recession.

To understand how quickly glaciers are currently receding, and how this behaviour is changing, I use satellite images to analyse glacier and ice sheet behaviour over the past forty years. I am very interested in how glaciers in Antarctica respond to ice-shelf collapse.

Finally, I use numerical models to relate past ice-sheet and glacier fluctuations to climate, and to gain insights into how glaciers and ice sheets may respond to climate change over the next few hundred years. My current research interests are orientated towards the Antarctic Peninsula, the Patagonian Ice Sheet and the last British-Irish Ice Sheet.

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