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SPRI Review 2000: SPRI Review 2000

SPRI Review 2000

Snow and Ice Physics

Professor E.M. Morris

Professor Liz Morris came to SPRI on secondment from the British Antarctic Survey in June 2000 with the general remit to encourage closer collaborative links between the University of Cambridge and BAS and to establish her own research programme and group in the Institute.

Professor Morris is a glaciologist who has worked on alpine glaciers, in the Antarctic, and, for the last two years, in the Canadian Arctic. Her collaborative research with the Canadian National Glaciology Programme team on the mass balance of small ice caps has continued since her move to the Institute, and she hopes to develop this work in the future. With a colleague from CEH-Wallingford, she has been developing a technique for profiling snow density using neutron scattering with a series of experiments using the Institute coldrooms. They intend to seek funding for commercial development of the instrument. A third strand of research concerns the modelling of snowmelt in forested areas. Professor Morris shares a CASE student, Melody Tribbeck, working on this topic with Professor R Gurney of the NERC Environmental Science Systems Centre at the University of Reading, where she has been Visiting Professor for the last five years.

Professor Morris will also continue to work with BAS colleagues. She is a member of the project teams working on Surface Processes Affecting Antarctic Climate (SPACE) and Basin Balance Assessment and Synthesis (BBAS) as part of the core programme and will be preparing bids for further joint research under the Antarctic Funding Initiative system. As BAS Arctic Science Liaison Officer, she has the task of developing and facilitating Earth systems science initiatives in which BAS scientists have an interest and providing a bridge between BAS and the wider Arctic community. There is clearly scope for taking advantage of the physical proximity to build strong links between BAS and Institute scientists.

BAS and Institute directors have a mutual interest in polar research and wish to see a strong and dynamic UK scientific community capable of, and actively engaged in world-class, priority research in the polar regions. This vision, which lies behind her secondment to the Institute, is shared by NERC, which recently asked Professor Morris to become the NERC Arctic Science Advisor. Her role will be to develop and/or facilitate new Earth system science initiatives that require Arctic expertise and to provide a focal point for UK research activities in the Arctic. As a first step she has become the NERC representative on the European Union ENVINET and LSF programmes and will work with the NERC Arctic Station manager to provide pre-season advice to new groups planning to work in Ny-Ålesund.