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G Hilmar Gudmundsson

Professor of Glaciology and Extreme Environments

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

Hilmar Gudmundsson conducts research in glaciology with a specific focus on the future evolution of glaciers and ice-sheets in a warming world.


Since 2018.    Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK

2001-2017     British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK.

1996-2001     Section of Glaciology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

2016       Visiting Professor at Institut national des sciences appliquées de Toulouse, France.

2015       Visiting lecturer at the Indian Institute of Science in Pune, India.

2014       Visiting Professor at Caltech, Pasadena, US.

2013       Visiting Professor at the Lanzhou Institute of glaciology, China

Campus Address

Ellison Building
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne

0191 349 5778


Habilitation ETH,  Zurich, 2004,

Dr. sc, Nat. ETH Zurich, 1994                                      

Dipl, Phys ETH Zurich 1989

BS in Physics and Geophysics, Univ. of Iceland, 1986.

Current and Recent Projects

Processes, drivers, and predictions:  Modelling the response of Thwaites Glacier over the next century using ice/ocean coupled models. 

NSFgeo/NERC. 2018-09 to 2022-09. This is a joint UK+US grant involving several partners and a number of PDRAs, of which two will be based at UNN. UK-PI.


Assessing the sensitivity of major East Antarctic outlet glaciers to recent and future changes in the ocean-climate system.

Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom, 2018-01 to 2020-12. Grant NE/R000719/1. A joint NERC grant with Durham University. I’m the UNN PI, Prof. Chris Stokes at Durham University is the overall PI of the project. Two funded PDRAs. GBP 304,049.


Ice shelves in a warming world: Filchner Ice Shelf system, Antarctica

Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom, 2015-03 to 2020-03. Grant NE/L007037/. A large NERC grant involving several different UK institutes and strong links to international partners (AWI, Germany) and several PDRAs.  PI. GBP 2,479,265.


iSTAR-C - Dynamical control on the response of Pine Island Glacier

Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom. 2013-01 to 2018-01, Grant: NE/J005754/1. A large consortium grant involving a number of institutes and several PDRAs.  Co-PI. GBP 853,558


The spatial and temporal distribution of 20th Century Antarctic Peninsula glacier mass change and its drivers. Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom) 2013-09 to 2016-03, Grant: NE/K004867/1, Co-I. GBP 263,032


An Aircraft-Deployable GPS Stake Network for Antarctic Glaciers

Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom. 2011-01 to 2014-03, Grant: NE/I007156/1. One funded PDRA.  PI. GBP 542,717


The role of atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions in ice loss from Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers, West Antarctica

Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom, 2010-11 to 2015-05. Grant: NE/H02333X/1.  Co-PI. GBP 501,605

Key Publications and Outputs

Reese, A. R., Gudmundsson, G. H., Levermann, A., & Winkelmann, R. (2017). The far reach of ice-shelf thinning in Antarctica. Nature Climate Change.

Gudmundsson, G. H., De Rydt, J., & Nagler, T. (2017). Five decades of strong temporal variability in the flow of Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 63(237), 164–175.

Favier, L., Durand, G., Cornford, S. L., Gudmundsson, G. H., Gagliardini, O., Gillet-Chaulet, F., … Le Brocq, a. M. (2014). Retreat of Pine Island Glacier controlled by marine ice-sheet instability. Nature Climate Change, 5(2), 117–121.

Gudmundsson, G. H. (2013). Ice-shelf buttressing and the stability of marine ice sheets. The Cryosphere, 7(2), 647–655.

Gudmundsson, G. H. (2011). Ice-stream response to ocean tides and the form of the basal sliding law. Cryosphere, 5(1), 259–270.

Gudmundsson, G. H., & Raymond, M. (2008). On the limit to resolution and information on basal properties obtainable from surface data on ice streams. Cryosphere, 2(2), 167–178.

Professional Activity

Vice President of the International Glaciological Society

Chief editor of  scientific journal `The Cryosphere’

President of the EGU Division on Cryospheric Sciences  (2009-2013)

Chief-Scientific Editor of Annals of Glaciology, volume 51.

Scientific Editor of Annals of Glaciology, volumes 31 and 36.

Member of the international review panel of the Danish Council of Independent Research in Natural Sciences. (2012-2015).

Member of the steering committee of the Geophysical Equipment Facility. UK. (2008-2012)

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

I’m interested in the processes controlling the flow of glaciers and ice sheets. I’m fascinated by how complex the behaviour of large ice masses can be, how glaciers respond to external changes in the environment, and how they in turn affect the environment around them.

I’m a physicist by background and my research takes a combined observational, numerical and theoretical approach to understand the processes governing the behaviour of glaciers.

Sponsors and Collaborators

Current and recent research is primarily supported by funding by NERC and NSF.

In addition, past research has been supported by EU, DFV, SNF, CNRS and CAS.  


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