Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair

EV1-234, ext. 43629

Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Glacier Hydrology and Ice Dynamics 

Christine joined the department following a postdoctoral fellowship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research interests are focused on the development of subglacial hydrological networks and the impact of this on ice dynamics on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. She analyses these systems using a combination of numerical modelling methods and data integration.

Key areas of graduate supervision:

Numerical modeling, glacial hydrology, ice dynamics, glaciology data collection.

Research interests:

My research interests center in glacial hydrology and ice dynamics. In particular, I use numerical models of subglacial water flow combined with remote sensing and in situ data to determine the impact of hydrological development underneath ice sheets and valley glaciers on ice flow.

My current research has three primary themes:

  1. Using numerical models to assess stability of subglacial lakes in the Antarctic and their impact on the dynamics of fast-flowing ice streams. These large bodies of water accumulate and drain under the ice on scales of years to decades. I am also interested in the seasonal development of Greenland subglacial hydrological networks, particularly in regions of inland ice where the warming climate is allowing greater access of water to the bed of the ice sheet.
  2. Field-based data collection from surge-type glaciers in the Yukon. I go to my Yukon field sites several times a year and collect data from dGPS networks, time-lapse cameras and in situ hot water borehole drilling. These data are being applied to analysis of surging glacier dynamics and also hydrological modeling.
  3. Geophysical analysis of ice shelf stability in the Antarctic. I use aerial and ground-based geophysical data, along with remote sensing and modeling approaches to assess controls on ice shelf stability, which controls the rate of grounded Antarctic ice flow into the ocean, and therefore sea level rise.

Cumulatively, these research interests aim to answer questions about the future of glaciers and ice sheets in our changing climate and contribute to predictions of ice-climate feedbacks.

Potential graduate student projects:

I welcome inquiries from students interested pursuing a Masters or PhD in glacial dynamics. Current PhD topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Investigation of surging glacier dynamics in the Yukon Territory
  • Supraglacial hydrology modeling on ice sheets and valley glaciers
  • Assessing ice dynamic controls on fractures forming in Antarctic ice shelves
  • Modelling the impact of basal hydrology on grounding line stability in the Antarctic
  • Testing the applicability of subglacial hydrology equations using in situ data
  • Assessing subglacial sediment characteristics from glaciers in the Yukon Territory

Please contact me if you would like to discuss these projects or other potential avenues of research.

Recent publications:

  • Dow C.F., Lee W-S, Greenbaum J, Blankenship D, Greene C, Poinar K. Forrest A, Young D, Zappa C, (2018). Basal channels drive active surface hydrology and transverse ice-shelf fracture. Science Advances, 4, eaao7212, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao7212
  • Dow, C.F., Werder, M., Nowicki, S., Walker, R., Babonis, G., Csatho, B. and Morlighem, M. (2018) Dynamics of active subglacial lakes in Recovery Ice Stream. Journal of Geophysical Research, 123(4), 837-850.
  • Dow, C. F., Karlsson, N. B., & Werder, M. A. (2018). Limited Impact of Subglacial Supercooling Freeze‐on for Greenland Ice Sheet Stratigraphy. Geophysical Research Letters45(3), 1481-1489
  • Walker, R. T., Werder, M. A., Dow, C. F., & Nowicki, S. M. (2017). Determining ice-sheet uplift surrounding lakes with a viscous plate model. Frontiers in Earth Sciences5, 103.
  • Kulessa, B., Hubbard, A.L., Booth, A.D., Bougamont, M., Dow, C.F., Doyle, S.H., Christoffersen, P., Gusmeroli, A. and Jones, G.A. (2017) Seismic evidence for complex sedimentary control of Greenland Ice Sheet flow. Science Advances, 3(8), e1603071, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603071
  • Dow, C.F., Werder, M.A., Nowicki, S., Walker, RT..(2016) Modeling Antarctic subglacial lake filling and drainage cycles. The Cryosphere, 10, 1381–1393, doi:10.5194/tc-10-1381-2016

  • Dow, C.F., Kulessa, B., Rutt, I.C., Tsai, V.C., Pimentel, S., Doyle, S.H., van As, D., Lindbäck, K., Pettersson, R., Jones, G.A., and Hubbard, A. (2015)  Modeling of subglacial hydrological development following rapid supraglacial lake drainage. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, 120, 1127–1147, doi:10.1002/2014JF003333.
  • Dow, C.F., Kulessa, B., Rutt, I. and Hubbard, A. (2014). Upper bounds on subglacial channel development for interior regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Journal of Glaciology, 60 (224), 1044-1052.
  • Dow, C.F., Kavanaugh, J.L., Sanders, J.W. and Cuffey, K.M. (2014).   A test of common assumptions used to infer subglacial water flow through overdeepenings. Journal of Glaciology, 60 (222), 725-734.
  • Fitzpatrick, A.A.W., Hubbard, A., Box, J.E., Quincey D.J., van As, D., Mikkelsen, A.P.B., Doyle, S.H., Dow, C.F., Hasholt, B., and Jones, G.A. (2014). A decade of supraglacial lake volume estimates across a land-terminating margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The Cryosphere 8, 107-121.
  • Dow, C.F., Hubbard, A., Booth, A.D., Doyle, S.H., Gusmeroli, A. and Kulessa, B. (2013) Seismic evidence of a sediment layer underlying Russell Glacier, West Greenland. Annals of Glaciology 54 (64), 135-141.
  • Jones, G.A. Kulessa, B., Doyle, S.H., Dow, C.F., and Hubbard, A. (2013). An automated approach to the location of icequakes using seismic waveform amplitudes.  Annals of Glaciology, 54 (64), 1-9.
  • Doyle, S.H., Hubbard, A., Dow, C.F., Jones, G.A., Fitzpatrick, A., Gusmeroli, A., Kulessa, B., Lindbäck, K., Pettersson, R., and Box, J.E. (2013). Ice tectonics during the rapid tapping of a supraglacial lake on the Greenland Ice Sheet, The Cryosphere  7 (1), 129-140.
  • Dow, C.F., Kavanaugh, J.L., Sanders, J.W. and Cuffey, K.M.  (2011). Subsurface hydrology of an overdeepened cirque glacier. Journal of Glaciology. 57 (206), 1067-1078.
  • Sanders, J.W., Cuffey, K.M., MacGregor, K.R., Kavanaugh, J.L. and Dow, C.F. (2010). Dynamics of an alpine cirque glacier. American Journal of Science. 310, 217-227.
  • Kavanaugh, J.L., Moore, P.L., Dow, C.F., and Sanders, J.W. (2010). Using pressure pulse seismology to examine basal criticality and the influence of sticky spots on glacial flow.  Journal of Geophysical Research, 115 (F04025), doi:10.1029/2010JF001666.
University of Waterloo

Profiles by type