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Associate Professor in the Department of Geography213+44 (0) 191 33 41887

Biography

My primary research interests are: 1) the pathways and transit times of glacial meltwater, and their relationship to the dynamics and stability of glaciers and ice sheets; and 2) the impact of retreating glaciers on downstream water quality and availability. I have experience in field-based glaciological research in Greenland, Arctic Scandinavia, Iceland, and the European Alps, with additional interests in the improved implementation of glacial hydrology within glacier and ice sheet models. My current research is focussed on water resources in glacier-fed catchments, including the transport of anthropogenic pollutants through the glacial hydrological system. This work applies an interdisciplinary approach to assess the impacts of changing meltwater availability on water security and environmental quality downstream of glaciated catchments under changing patterns of climate and land use.

Academic history
  • Assistant Professor of Physical Geography, Department of Geography, Durham University, UK (2022-present)
  • Associate Professor of Glaciology, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK (2020-2022)
  • Lecturer in Physical Geography, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK (2016-2020)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK (2015-2016)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden (2012-2016)
  • Visiting Researcher, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada (2010-2011)
Qualifications
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), University of Plymouth, UK, 2017
  • PhD, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, UK (2008-2012) “Quantitative controls on the routing of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets”
  • 1st class BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Science, University of Dundee, UK (2004-2008)
Current research projects

Integrated upstream and downstream thinking to mitigate the water security challenges of Peruvian glacier retreat (SIGMA:Peru)

Collaborators: Will Blake, Jess Kitch (University of Plymouth), Sally Rangecroft (Exeter University); Nick Selmes (Plymouth Marine Laboratory); Sergio Morera (Geophysical Institute of Peru)

A growing population, combined with changes to water availability and quantity due to climate change, is increasing the pressure on dwindling water supplies in the Peruvian Andes. Glaciers provide a critical water supply to millions living in South America, acting as buffers to Andean water supplies as they contribute by slowly releasing water through melt which contributes to drinking water, agriculture, hydroelectricity and industry. Containing over 70% of the world’s tropical ice glaciers, Peru is at the heart of this water security concern as glaciers in the region are rapidly retreating. Our project seeks to evaluate the past, present and future problems associated with glacial retreat in Peru, with regards to water quantity and quality, and study the impacts on basin-wide water, food and energy security. Working collaboratively alongside both UK and Peruvian researchers, and between natural and social sciences, the project aims to develop strategies to improve water security in the region for local people, industry and agriculture.

Fallout radionuclides on glaciers: an emerging issue for water quality

Collaborators: Will Blake, Dylan Beard, Geoff Millward (University of Plymouth); Giovanni Baccolo (University Milano-Bicocca); Edyta Lokas (Institute of Nuclear Physics PAS); Phil Owens (UNBC)

Fallout radionuclides (FRNs) and other anthropogenic contaminants are transported in the atmosphere and subsequently deposited on and stored within glaciers. In response to changes in climate and associated glacier retreat, these contaminants can be released from glaciers into downstream catchments decades after the original source of contamination was active. Furthermore, interaction with an ice surface material called ‘cryoconite’ can lead to accumulation of contaminants, resulting in enhanced concentrations. Very little research has been conducted to date on FRNs in glacier catchments; our work aims to fill geographical gaps in knowledge of FRNs in the global cryosphere and collaborate with the wider research community to assess potential impact on the downstream environment and the populations reliant upon glacier-fed waters for drinking water, grazing and irrigation. In recent years we have developed a new international network of researchers in the fields of glaciology, environmental radioactivity, and biogeochemistry, with an aim to build a spatial database for FRNs in glacial environments globally and to better understand the physical processes resulting in accumulation of FRNs on glaciers.

Grants awarded
  • 2019-2022: NERC-CONCYTEC (Newton Fund), “Integrated upstream and downstream thinking to mitigate the water security challenges of Peruvian glacier retreat". £458211 (PI).
  • 2022: INTERACT Transnational Access, “Subglacial Hydrology Analysis using Repeat Drone Survey (SHARDS)”. €5400 (co-I).
  • 2020-2021: GCRF (internal competition), “Nuestro Rio (our river): Local perspectives on water quality in the Rio Santa, Peru”. £55,526 (co-I).
  • 2020: BBSRC, UKRI Public Engagement Research Grant, "GlacierMap: mapping glacier change in the Peruvian Andes". £20063 (PI).
  • 2020: INTERACT Transnational Access, “The radioactive memory of high Arctic glaciers: Rad-ICE”. €21070 (co-I).
  • 2018 (ongoing): RGS Environment and Sustainability Research Grant, “Release of legacy fallout radionuclides from retreating glaciers: coproducing ‘risk maps’ with the Sami to inform adaptations to an emerging threat in Arctic Sweden”. £15000 (co-PI).
  • 2018-2019: Seed project funding (University of Plymouth), supporting international workshop and sample analysis to assess the prevalence of fallout radionuclides across currently glaciated high latitude regions of the northern hemisphere. £5000 (PI).
  • 2018: QRA Quaternary Research Fund, “Accumulation of historical anthropogenic pollutants in the supraglacial environment: a case study on SE Iceland”. £1250 (PI).
  • 2017: INTERACT Transnational Access, “Glacier Recession as a Source of Environmental Pollutants”. €2926 (PI).
  • 2014-2015: Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning, “A combined geomorphological and modelling approach to reconstructing the deglaciation of the last Scandinavian Ice Sheet”. 295500 SEK (PI).
  • 2013: Bolin Climate Centre grant, supporting collaborative ice sheet modelling work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA. 20000 SEK (PI).
  • 2010-2011: Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship (based at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada), “Meltwater-enhanced sliding of glaciers: A predictive model for routing of surface meltwater to the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet”. £17000 (PI).
PhD supervision
  • 2021-present: Enrique Gabriel Munoz Arcos, “Evaluating sediment residence time for improved management of legacy and contemporary river basin pollution”, University of Plymouth (PhD; co-supervisor).
  • 2020-present: Jess Kitch, “Quantifying and predicting Andean sediment dynamic response to natural and anthropogenic changes at the basin scale”, University of Plymouth (PhD; Director of Studies).
  • 2019-present: Dylan Beard, “Glaciers as secondary sources of anthropogenic pollutants: an emerging socio-environmental, challenge”, University of Plymouth (PhD; Director of Studies).
  • 2019-present: Luis Ovando Fuentealba, “Validation of a hierarchical mixing model within a catchment sediment budget context”, University of Plymouth (PhD; co-supervisor).

Research interests

  • Glacier and ice sheet hydrology
  • Water security in glacier-fed catchments
  • Accumulation and release of contaminants in glacial environments
  • Palaeo ice sheet hydrology and dynamics
  • Art-science collaboration
  • Citizen science

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Environmental change: Glacier and ice sheet change
  • Landscape systems: Glacial hydrology
  • Pollution: Contamination in polar and alpine environments
  • Environmental change: Water security in glaciated catchments

Publications

Chapter in book

  • Greenwood, SL, Clason, CC & Jakobsson, M (2016). Ice-flow and meltwater landform assemblages in the Gulf of Bothnia. In Geological Society of London. 46: 321-324.

Doctoral Thesis

  • Clason, CC (2012). Quantitative controls on the routing of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of glaciers and ice sheets. PhD.

Journal Article

  • Muñoz-Arcos, E, Millward, GE, Clason, CC, Bravo-Linares, C & Blake, WH (2022). Understanding the complexity of sediment residence time in rivers: Application of Fallout Radionuclides (FRNs). Earth-Science Reviews 104188.
  • Dextre, Rosa María, Eschenhagen, María Luisa, Hernández, Mirtha Camacho, Rangecroft, Sally, Clason, Caroline, Couldrick, Laurence & Morera, Sergio (2022). Payment for ecosystem services in Peru: Assessing the socio-ecological dimension of water services in the upper Santa River basin. Ecosystem Services 56: 101454.
  • Beard, Dylan B, Clason, Caroline C, Rangecroft, Sally, Poniecka, Ewa, Ward, Kim J & Blake, Will H (2022). Anthropogenic contaminants in glacial environments II: Release and downstream consequences. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment
  • Beard, Dylan B, Clason, Caroline C, Rangecroft, Sally, Poniecka, Ewa, Ward, Kim J & Blake, Will H (2022). Anthropogenic contaminants in glacial environments I: Inputs and accumulation. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment 46(4): 630-648.
  • Clason, Caroline, Rangecroft, Sally, Kallis, Gina, Lewin, Shaun & Mullier, Tom (2021). GlacierMap: a virtual opportunity to explore the Andes’ vanishing glaciers. Geography 106(3): 148-153.
  • Clason, Caroline C, Blake, Will H, Selmes, Nick, Taylor, Alex, Boeckx, Pascal, Kitch, Jessica, Mills, Stephanie C, Baccolo, Giovanni & Millward, Geoffrey E (2021). Accumulation of legacy fallout radionuclides in cryoconite on Isfallsglaciären (Arctic Sweden) and their downstream spatial distribution. The Cryosphere 15(11): 5151-5168.
  • Baccolo, Giovanni, \Lokas, Edyta, Gaca, Pawe\l, Massabò, Dario, Ambrosini, Roberto, Azzoni, Roberto S, Clason, Caroline, Di Mauro, Biagio, Franzetti, Andrea, Nastasi, Massimiliano & others (2020). Cryoconite: an efficient accumulator of radioactive fallout in glacial environments. The Cryosphere 14(2): 657-672.
  • Baccolo, Giovanni, Nastasi, Massimiliano, Massabò, Dario, Clason, Caroline, Di Mauro, Biagio, Di Stefano, Elena, \Lokas, Edyta, Prati, Paolo, Previtali, Ezio, Takeuchi, Nozomu & others (2020). Artificial and natural radionuclides in cryoconite as tracers of supraglacial dynamics: Insights from the Morteratsch glacier (Swiss Alps). Catena 191: 104577.
  • Mather, AE, Fyfe, RM, Clason, CC, Stokes, M, Mills, S & Barrows, Timothy T (2019). Automated mapping of relict patterned ground: An approach to evaluate morphologically subdued landforms using unmanned-aerial-vehicle and structure-from-motion technologies. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment 43(2): 174-192.
  • Gudlaugsson, Eythor, Humbert, Angelika, Andreassen, Karin, Clason, Caroline C, Kleiner, Thomas & Beyer, Sebastian (2017). Eurasian ice-sheet dynamics and sensitivity to subglacial hydrology. Journal of Glaciology 63(239): 556-564.
  • Greenwood, Sarah L, Clason, Caroline C, Nyberg, Johan, Jakobsson, Martin & Holmlund, Per (2017). The Bothnian Sea ice stream: early Holocene retreat dynamics of the south-central Fennoscandian Ice Sheet. Boreas 46(2): 346-362.
  • Everett, A, Murray, T, Selmes, N, Rutt, IC, Luckman, A, James, TD, Clason, Caroline, O'Leary, M, Karunarathna, H, Moloney, V & others (2016). Annual down-glacier drainage of lakes and water-filled crevasses at Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121(10): 1819-1833.
  • Greenwood, Sarah L, Clason, Caroline C, Helanow, Christian & Margold, Martin (2016). Theoretical, contemporary observational and palaeo-perspectives on ice sheet hydrology: processes and products. Earth-Science Reviews 155: 1-27.
  • Greenwood, Sarah, Clason, Caroline, Mikko, Henrik, Nyberg, Johan, Peterson, Gustaf & Smith, Colby (2015). Integrated use of LiDAR and multibeam bathymetry reveals onset of ice streaming in the northern Bothnian Sea. GFF
  • Clason, Caroline, Coch, Caroline, Jarsjö, Jerker, Brugger, Keith, Jansson, Peter & Rosqvist, Gunhild (2015). Dye tracing to determine flow properties of hydrocarbon-polluted Rabots glaciär, Kebnekaise, Sweden. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19: 2701-2715.
  • Clason, Caroline, Mair, Douglas, Nienow, Peter, Bartholomew, Ian, Sole, Andrew, Palmer, Steven & Schwanghart, Wolfgang (2015). Modelling the transfer of supraglacial meltwater to the bed of Leverett Glacier, Southwest Greenland. The Cryosphere 9: 123-138.
  • Clason, Caroline C, Applegate, PJ & Holmlund, Per (2014). Modelling Late Weichselian evolution of the Eurasian ice sheets forced by surface meltwater-enhanced basal sliding. Journal of Glaciology 60(219): 29-40.
  • Clason, Caroline, Mair, Douglas WF, Burgess, David O & Nienow, Peter W (2012). Modelling the delivery of supraglacial meltwater to the ice/bed interface: application to southwest Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Glaciology 58(208): 361-374.

Report

  • Box, Jason E, Sharp, Martin, A\dhalgeirsdóttir, Gu\dhfinna, Ananicheva, Maria, Anderson, ML, Carr, Rachel, Clason, CC, Colgan, William T, Copland, Luke, Glazovsky, Andrey & others (2017). Changes to Arctic land ice. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).
  • Holmlund, Per, Clason, CC & Blomdahl, Klara (2016). The effect of a glaciation on East Central Sweden: case studies on present glaciers and analyses of landform data. Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.