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Professor Elizabeth M. Morris, OBE, BSc, PhD, DSc

Professor Elizabeth M. Morris, OBE, BSc, PhD, DSc

Glaciologist, working on the mass balance of polar ice sheets and their response to climate change using field observations, remote sensing techniques and modelling.


Liz Morris graduated from the University of Bristol in 1967 and remained at the Bristol Physics Department to study for a PhD. Her research interests have included (i) basal processes of alpine glaciers (ii) development of physics-based models for hydrological and hydrochemical processes especially those involving snow and ice and (iii) the mass balance and dynamics of polar ice sheets. She has worked in the European Alps, Canadian Rockies, Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Svalbard and Antarctica.

Liz was appointed OBE in the Millennium Honours List for services to Polar Science and was awarded the Polar Medal in 2003. In 2012 she gave the Nye Lecture at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Bristol and Honorary Membership of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences. In 2016 she was awarded the Richardson Medal of the International Glaciological Society. She is a member of Wolfson College.


  • 2016 to date: Emeritus Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University
  • 2006 -16: Senior Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University
  • 2015: Professor of Ice Physics, University of Reading
  • 2000-06: Seconded from the Natural Environment Research Council (British Antarctic Survey) to the Scott Polar Research Institute as NERC Arctic Science Adviser
  • 1999-2000: Research Activities Coordinator, British Antarctic Survey.
  • 1996: Guest Professor, University of Innsbruck.
  • 1995 to 2010: Visiting Professor, University of Reading.
  • 1986-1999: Head of Ice and Climate Division of the British Antarctic Survey.
  • 1975-86: Principal Scientific Officer at the Institute of Hydrology
  • 1973-75: Senior Research Associate, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.


  • B Sc in Physics, University of Bristol, U.K., 1968.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Physics), University of Bristol, U.K., 1972.
  • Doctor of Science, University of Bristol, U.K. 2015


Major research interests

  1. Development of neutron scattering method for snow density profiling
  2. Snow modelling


Selected publications

  • E M Morris, Mulvaney, R., Arthern, R. J., Davies, D., Gurney, R. J., Lambert, P., De Rydt, J., Smith, A. M., Tuckwell, R. J., Winstrup, al. (2017) Snow densification and recent accumulation along the iSTAR traverse, Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica. JGR Earth Surface doi: 10.1002/2017JF004357
  • Morris, E M, Montgomery, L N, Mulvaney, R (2021) Modelling the transition from grain-boundary sliding to power-law creep in dry snow densifcation. J Glaciol, 1-14. doi:10.1017/jog.2021.95
  • B. Vandercrux, Macferrin, M., Machgruth, H., Colgan, W.T., van As, D., Heilig, A., Stevens, C.M., Charalampidis, C., Fausto, R.S., Morris, E.M. Moseley-Thompson, E., Koenig, L., Montgomery, L.N., Miège, C., Simonsen, S.B. , Ingerman-Nielsen, T., Box, J.E.(2018) , Brief communication: Firn data compilation reveals the evolution of the firn air content on the Greenland ice sheet. The Cryosphere Discussions DOI: 10.5194/tc-2018-172.
  • S Kowalewski, Helm, V, Morris, E M, Eisen, O (2021) The regional scale surface mass balance of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica over the period 2005-2014, derived from airborne radar soundings and neutron probe measurements. The Cryosphere 15(3) 1285–1305 doi:10.5194/tc-15-1285-2021.
  • E. M. Morris (2018) Modeling Dry-snow densification without Abrupt Transition. Geosciences 8, 464, doi:10.3390/geosciences8120464
  • Morris, E.M. and D J Wingham. (2014) Densification of polar snow: measurements, modelling and implications for altimetry. JGR Earth Surfaces, doi: 10.1002/2013JF002898
  • Morris, E.M. and D J Wingham. (2015) Uncertainty in mass balance trends derived from altimetry; a case study along the EGIG line, Central Greenland. J Glaciol. Vol.61 No.226 p.345-356 doi:10.3189/2015JoG14J123.
  • Morris, E M and Wingham, D J (2011) The effect of fluctuations in surface density, accumulation and compaction on elevation change rates along the EGIG line, Central Greenland. J. Glaciol. Vol. 57 (203) p.416-430.
  • Hawley, R L, Brandt, O, Morris, E M, Kohler, J, Shepherd, A P, Wingham, D J (2008) Techniques for measuring high-resolution firn density profiles: a case study from Kongsvegen, Svalbard. J Glaciol. Vol. 54 (186) p.463-468.
  • Demuth, M.N., Marshall, H.-P. and Morris, E.M. (2008). High-resolution near-surface snow stratigraphy inferred from ground-based 8-18 GHz FMCW radar measurements: Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada 2005-06, CryoSat Validation Experiment. 64th Eastern Snow Conference Proceedings. May, St. John's NFLD, 9 pp.
  • Morris, E. M. (2008), A theoretical analysis of the neutron scattering method of measuring snow and ice density, J. Geophys. Res., 113, F03019, doi:10.1029/2007JF000962.
  • R L Hawley, E M Morris and J McConnell (2008). Rapid techniques for determining annual accumulation applied at Summit Station, Greenland. J Glaciol. Vol.54 No.188 p.839-845.
  • Brandt, O., R.L. Hawley, J. Kohler, J.O. Hagen, E.M. Morris, T. Dunse, J.B.T. Scott, and T. Eiken, (2008) Comparison of airborne radar altimeter and ground-based Ku-band radar measurements on the ice cap Austfonna, Svalbard, The Cryosphere Discuss. J1 - TCD, 2 (5), 777-810.
  • Gray, J.M.N.T., Morland, L.W. and Morris, E.M. (1995). A phase changing dry snow pack model. J. Glaciol. 41, 11-29.
  • Morris, E.M., Mulvaney, R. (1995). Recent changes in surface elevation of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet. Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde and Glazialgeologie 31, 7-15.
  • Morris, E.M., Bader, H.-P. and Weilenmann, P. (1997). Modelling temperature variations in polar snow using DAISY. J Glaciol. 43, 180-191.
  • Morris, E.M., King, J.C., Turner, J., Peel, D.A. and Doake, C.S.M. (1997). Antarctic Climate Change. The Globe 36, 3.
  • Weidick, A., Morris, E.M. (1998). Local glaciers surrounding the continental ice sheets. In: Into the second century of world glacier monitoring - prospects and strategies. (Ed: Haeberli, W.) Studies and Reports in Hydrology 56, 197-205. UNESCO Publishing, Paris.
  • Glendinning, J.H.G. and Morris, E.M. (1999) Incorporation of spectral and directional radiative transfer in a snow model. Hydrological Processes 13, 12/13, 1761-72.
  • Morris, E.M. (1999). Surface ablation rates on Moraine Corrie Glacier, Antarctica. Global and Planetary Change 22, 221-31.
  • Morris, E.M. (2002). Techniques for predicting runoff from glacierized areas. In: Peyto Glacier - One century of science. (Eds: Demuth, M.N., Munro, D.S. and Young, G.J.) National Hydrology Research Institute Science Report. NHRI, Saskatoon.
  • Turner, J, Lachlan-Cope, TA, Marshall, GJ, Morris, EM, Mulvaney, R and Winter,W (2002) Spatial variability of Antarctic Peninsula net surface mass balance. Journal of Geophysical Research. Vol 107 doi:10.1029/2001JD000755.
  • Morris, E.M. and Vaughan, D.G. (2003) Spatial and temporal variation of surface temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula and the limit of variability of ice shelves. In: Antarctic Peninsula Climate variability: A historical and paleoenvironmnetal perspective . Eds: E Domack, A Burnett, A Leventer, P Conley, M Kirby and R Bindschadler. Antarctic Research Series. Vol.79 p.61-68.Tribbeck, M J, Gurney, R J, Morris, E M and Pearson, D W C (2004) A new snow-SVAT to simulate the accumulation and ablation of seasonal snow cover beneath a forest canopy. Journal of Glaciology. Vol.50 No. 169 p.171-182.Morris, E.M. and Mulvaney, R. (2004) Recent variations in surface mass balance of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet. Journal of Glaciology. Vol.50 No. 169 p.257-267.
  • Morris, E M and Cooper, J D (2004) Density measurements in ice boreholes using neutron scattering. Journal of Glaciology. Vol. 49 No. 167 p. 599-604.
  • Hawley, R L, Morris, E M, Cullen R, Nixdorf, U, Shepherd, A P and Wingham, D J (2006) ASIRAS Airborne Radar Resolves Internal Annual layers in the Dry-snow zone of Greenland. GRL Vol.33, L04502, doi:10.1029/2005GL025147
  • Morris, E.M. (2006). Techniques for predicting runoff from glacierized areas. In: Peyto Glacier - One century of science. (Eds: Demuth, M.N., Munro, D.S. and Young, G.J.) National Hydrology Research Institute Science Report No.8. NWRI, Saskatoon,p.203-225.
  • Tribbeck, M J, Gurney, R J and Morris, E M (2006) The Radiative Effect of a Fir Canopy on a Snowpack. Journal of Hydrometeorology, Vol. 7, No. 5, pages 880B895.
  • Hawley, R.L. and Morris E.M. (2006) Borehole stratigraphy and neutron-scattering density measurements at Summit, Greenland. Journal of Glaciology Vol. 52 No. 179 p. 491- 6.
  • Scott, J B T, Mair, D, Nienow, P, Parry, V and Morris, E M (2006) A ground-based radar backscatter investigation in the percolation zone of the Greenland ice sheet. Remote Sensing of the Environment. 104, 361-373.
  • Cullen, R, Davidson, MD, Drinkwater, MR, Haas, C, Hawley, RL, Mavrocordatos, CM, Morris, EM, Rack,W, Viau, P and Wingham, DJ (2006) ESA's new range of radar altimters for the extraction of geophysical parameters from land, sea ice and ocean surfaces. In: 15 years of progress in radar altimetry. Proceedings of the Venice Symposium 2006. Ed: D Danesy ESA Special publication SP-614
  • Scott, J B T, Nienow, P, Parry, V, Mair, D, Morris, E M and Wingham, D J (2006) The importance of seasonal and annual layers in the backscatter to radar altimeters across the percolation zone of an ice sheet. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L24502, doi:10.1029/2006GL027974.
  • Demuth M.N., E.M. Morris, H.P. Marshall, D.A. Fisher, J. Sekerka, R.M. Koerner and A.L.Gray. (2006) Characterising percolation and wet-snow facies variability on Devon Island Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada. International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) 2006 Proceedings, Telluride, Colorado.
  • Shepherd, A , Zhijun Du, , Benham, T J, Dowdeswell, J A and Morris, E M (2007) Mass balance of the Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic Annals of Glaciology 46, p.249-254

External activities

  • President of the International Glaciological Society (IGS), 2002-05
  • President, ICSI (International Commission on Snow and Ice), 1995-2001
  • ICSI Representative, SCAR Working Group on Glaciology, 1987-2001
  • Vice-President of IGS 2000-2003
  • Member, IGS Council 1995-1999
  • Member, Royal Society Antarctic Research Committee, 1992-96
  • Chief Scientific Editor, 5th International Symposium on Antarctic Glaciology (VISAG), 1993
  • Member, Hadley Centre Scientific Steering Group, 1991
  • Member, UGAMP Scientific Steering Committe , 1990-91
  • Chairman, ICSI Division of Seasonal Snow Cover & Avalanches, 1983-91