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Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

I study debris-covered glaciers in the Himalaya by way of fieldwork, remote sensing and numerical modelling. My primary research focus is developing methods of mapping supraglacial debris thickness on Himalayan glaciers.

Biography

As an undergraduate and master's student I studied geology, then after graduating I spent two years as a gold explorationist in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am now working towards a glaciology PhD at British Antarctic Survey and Scott Polar Research Institute. I am particularly interested in understanding the effects of climate change on Himalayan glaciers as a water resource in South Asia.

Career

  • 2014 - present: PhD candidate in Polar Studies. British Antarctic Survey and Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (Jesus College), UK.
  • 2013 - 2014: Exploration Geologist. Stratex West Africa (Liberia, Senegal)
  • 2012 - 2013: Exploration Geologist. Stratex East Africa (Ethiopia)
  • Summer 2011: Analytical Scientist. Atomic Weapons Establishment (UK)

Qualifications

  • 2014 - present: PhD candidate in Polar Studies. British Antarctic Survey and Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (Jesus College), UK.
  • 2008 - 2012: MSci (Hons) in Geology. University of Southampton, UK.

Awards and research grants

  • 2014: International Glaciological Society grant for travel to present at IGS Kathmandu Symposium ($750).
  • 2014: Jesus College Doctoral Research Fund for conference travel and accommodation (£350).
  • 2014: NERC DTP grant for the research of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalaya (£86,000).
  • 2012: Hodson-Najoan Prize for best third year Geology dissertation at University of Southampton (£200).

Research

In the Himalaya, debris-covered glaciers make up 10-20% of total glacier area, thereby constituting an important water resource. Supraglacial debris thickness is a key control on the surface energy balance of these glaciers, yet debris thickness measurements are sparse due to difficulties of data collection. My research focuses on developing and evaluating methods of mapping debris thickness on Himalayan glaciers.

Research interests

  • Mountain glaciology
  • Debris-covered glaciers
  • Glacier change
  • Ground-penetrating radar
  • Terrestrial thermography
  • Remote sensing
  • Glacial hazards

Publications

  • McCarthy M, Pritchard H, Willis I, King E (in press) Ground-penetrating radar measurements of debris thickness on Lirung Glacier, Nepal. Journal of Glaciology.

External activities

  • International Glaciological Society (member)
  • Royal Geographical Society (member)
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (member)
  • UK Polar Network (member)