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Allen Pope B.A. (Hons), M.Phil.

PhD Student

Allen's research is based on using remotely sensed data (LiDAR, ATM, Landsat, etc.) to monitor the dynamics and mass balance of glaciers, icecaps, and ice sheets.


Originally from Newton, MA (USA), through a love of the outdoors and some fortuitous travelling, Allen came to develop a fascination with glaciers and all things polar. Allen studied Chemistry and Earth & Planetary Sciences (with a citation in French Language) at Harvard University from 2004 until 2008; for a summer field course, he participated as a student researcher on the Juneau Icefield Research Program 2007. After completing his undergraduate degree, he moved to Cambridge, England in October 2009 to begin SPRI's MPhil in Polar Studies funded by Trinity College's Eben Fiske Studentship and has remained at SPRI for a PhD. His work is supported by a US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Allen has participated in field research in locations such as New England (structural geology), Southeast Alaska's Juneau Icefield (GPS surveys, mass balance), Namibia (carbonate geology, Snowball Earth), and Antarctica's Dry Valleys (cosmogenic nuclide analysis). With a diverse research background, Allen's current research focuses on remote sensing of the cryosphere.



My PhD research is focused on taking advantage of the increased spatial and spectral resolution of the Airborne Thematic Mapper (ATM) relative to Landsat ETM+ imagery in order to develop a more effective method for remote sensing of glacier facies to serve as a proxy for mass balance. Field research collecting in situ reflectance of various glacial surfaces with a field spectroradiometer (July-August 2010; see our fieldwork blog) in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard and Langjökull, Iceland is a crucial component. I also have a polar-related Twitter feed @PopePolar.

Ongoing research begun during my MPhil is centred on using photoclinometry to interpolate an incomplete LiDAR survey of Langjökull Icecap, Iceland and using the resulting data set to investigate how the icecap has evolved over the last decade. Findings included a revised mass balance of the icecap, visualization of a recent surge of outlet Hagafellsjökull Eystri, and potential clues as to the future behaviour of the icecap.

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