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Professor Julian A. Dowdeswell, BA, MA, PhD

Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and Professor of Physical Geography

Glaciologist, working on the form and flow of glaciers and ice caps and their response to climate change, and the links between former ice sheets and the marine geological record, using a variety of satellite, airborne and shipborne geophysical tools.


Julian Dowdeswell graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1980, and studied for a Masters Degree at INSTAAR in the University of Colorado and for a Ph.D. in the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

His research interests include: (a) the dynamics of large ice masses and their response to climate change; (b) the application of airborne and satellite geophysical techniques in glaciology, and (c) processes and patterns of sedimentation in glacier-influenced marine environments. He has worked, on the ice and from airborne platforms, in a number of areas of the Arctic, including Svalbard, Russian Franz Josef Land and Severnaya Zemlya, Iceland, East Greenland and Baffin, Devon and Ellesmere Islands in Arctic Canada. He has also undertaken many periods of work on icebreaking research vessels in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, in the fjords and on the continental shelves of Svalbard and Greenland, and in Antarctica.

Julian has been awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen for 'outstanding contributions to glacier geophysics' and has also received the Founder's Medal (2008) and the Gill Memorial Award (1998) from the Royal Geographical Society. In 2011 he was awarded the Louis Agassiz Medal by the European Geosciences Union for 'outstanding contributions to the study of polar ice masses and to the understanding of the processes and patterns of sedimentation in glacier-influenced marine environments.' In 2014 he was awarded the IASC Medal by the International Arctic Science Committee.

Julian is Brian Buckley Fellow in Polar Science at Jesus College.




Major research interests

Current research grants

Airborne geophysical investigations of basal conditions at flow transitions of outlet glaciers on the Greenland Ice Sheet

PI: J.A.D.
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NE/H020667)
£840,000 (2010-14).

Will climate change in the Arctic increase landslide-tsunami risk in the UK?

PIs: J.A.D., with P. Talling.
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NE/K000187)
£40,193 (2012-16).

Airborne geophysical investigations of conditions at the bed of fast-flowing outlet glaciers of large Canadian Arctic ice caps

PI: J.A.D.
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NE/K004999)
£540,000 (2013-2016)

Supervision of Doctoral and Masters dissertations

Doctoral and Masters dissertations supervised include the following:


Selected Publications


Journal Papers

2000 and earlier

External activities