Assistant Professor

Dr. Van WychenRoom EV1-230, ext. 33958

Wesley joined the department in 2019, after leading the Canadian Cryospheric Information Network and Polar Data Catalogue at the University of Waterloo. Prior to this, he worked as a Research Scientist within the Public Service of Canada (2016-2018). His research interests are broad, but largely related to remote sensing of the cryosphere (in particular glaciers and glacier dynamics) and oceans (currents and oil spills), geospatial data management and historical climate data rescue.

Key Areas of Graduate Supervision:

Remote sensing, glaciology, glacier dynamics, remote sensing of oceans (sea ice, currents), data management, climate data rescue.

Research Interests

My primary research interests relate to utilizing remote sensing (satellite imagery) and field data to observe variability in glaciers and glacier motion. My work largely utilizes Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) data to create regional scale monitoring of ice masses in Canada. In support of this work, I have undertaken fieldwork in Yukon, Nunavut, the Rocky Mountains and Svalbard (Norwegian Arctic). This research is critical for understanding how glaciers in Canada (and worldwide) are responding to a changing climate.

In addition to this, I am also interested in the application of SAR remote sensing datasets to observe ocean processes (currents, sea ice) and monitor human activities (detection of oil spills). Further, I am also interested in research projects related to data management and long-term data preservation as well as historical climate data rescue projects.

Recent Publications

  • Normandeau, A., Dietrich, P., Clarke, J. H., Van Wychen, W., Lajeuness, P., Burgess, D., and Ghienne, J-F., (2019), The retreat pattern of glaciers controls the activity of turbidity currents on high-latitude fjord deltas (eastern Baffin Island), Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 124.  doi:
  • Medrzycka, D., Copland, L., Van Wychen, W., and Burgess, D. (2019), Seven decades of uninterrupted advance of Good Friday Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island, Arctic Canada, Journal of Glaciology, 65(251): 440-452. doi: 10.1017/jog.2019.21.
  • Biron, K., Van Wychen, W., and Vachon, P.W. Gulf stream detection from SAR Doppler Anomaly. (2019) Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 44(4): 311-320. Doi: 10.1080/07038992.2018.1516130.
  • Copland, L., White, A., Crawford, A., Mueller, D.R., Van Wychen, W., Thomson, L., and Vincent, W.F. (2018), Glaciers, Ice Shelves and Ice Islands in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. Integrated Regional Impact Study 2 (Eastern Arctic). Book Chapter.
  • Van Wychen, W., Vachon, P.W., Wolfe, J., and Biron, K. (2018), The utility of Sentinel-1 data for ocean surface feature analysis in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 44(2), pp 1-9. doi: 10.1080/07038992.2018.1461558.
  • Mortimer, C.A., Sharp, M., and Van Wychen, W. (2018), Influence of recent warming and ice dynamics on glacier surface elevation in the Canadian High Arctic, 1995-2014. Journal of Glaciology. 64(245), pp 450-464. doi: 10.1017/jog.2018.37.
  • Van Wychen, W., Copland, L., Jiskoot, H., Gray, L., Sharp, M., Burgess, D. (2018), Surface Velocities of Glaciers in western Canada from speckle-tracking of ALOS PALSAR and RADARSAT-2 data. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing.  44(1), 57-66. doi: 10.1080/07038992.2018.14433529 *Runner-up for best paper presented in the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing for 2018.
  • Box, J., and Sharp, M. with contributing authors Adalgeirsdottir, G., Ananicheva, M., Andersen, M.L., Carr, R., Clason, C., Colgan, W. T., Copland, L., Glazovsky, A., Hubbard, Al., Kjeldsen, K.K., Mernild, S., Moholdt, G., Moon, T., Wagner, T., Wouters, B., Van Wychen, W. (2017), Changes to Arctic Land Ice (Chapter 6). In: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) 2017. pp. 137-168. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway.
  • Jiskoot, H., Fox, T.A., and Van Wychen, W. (2017), Tributary-trunk interaction, ice flow and icefalls, in a dendritic Glacier. Journal of Glaciology, 63(241), pp 912-928. doi: 10.1017/JoG.2017.58.
  • Pimentel, S., Flowers, G., Sharp, M., Danielson, B., Copland, L., Van Wychen, W., Duncan, A., Kavanaugh, J. (2017), Modelling seasonal dynamics of a major marine-terminating Arctic glacier. Annals of Glaciology. 58(74), pp 118-130. doi: .10.1017/aog.2017.23.
  • Van Wychen, W., David, J., Copland, L., Burgess, D. O., Gray, A. L., Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J.A., Benham, T. (2017), Variability in Ice Motion and Dynamic Discharge from Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Glaciology. 63(239), pp 436-449. doi: 10.1017/jog.2017.2.
  • Van Wychen, W., and Copland, L. (2017). Ice Shelf Calving Events and Ice Island Drift Mechanisms in the Canadian High Arctic. Copland, L. and Mueller, D. (eds). Arctic Ice Shelves and Ice Islands. Springer Nature, Dordrecht, 425pp. doi: 10.1007/987-94-024-1101-0.
  • Al-Ibadi, M., Sprick, J., Athinarapu, S., Stumpf, T., Paden, J., Leuschen, C., Rodriguez, F., Crandall, D., Fox, G., Burgess, D., Sharp, M., Copland, L., Van Wychen, W. (2017), DEM Extraction of the Basal Topography of the Canadian Archipelago Ice Caps via 2D Automated Layer-Tracker. Proceedings from the 2017 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, July 23-28, 2017. Fort Worth, Texas, United States of America.
  • Van Wychen, W., Davis, J., Burgess, D. O., Copland, L., Gray, A. L., Sharp, M., Mortimer, C. (2016). Characterizing inter-annual variability of glacier dynamics and dynamic discharge (1999-2015) for the ice masses of Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 121(1), doi: 10.1002/2015JF003708.
  • Schellenberger, T., Van Wychen, W., Copland, L., Kaab, A., and Gray, L. (2016), An intercomparison of techniques for determining velocities of maritime Arctic glaciers, Svalbard using Radarsat-2 Wide Fine mode data. Remote Sensing. 8(9), 785, doi: 10.3390/rs8090785.
  • Gilbert, A., Flowers, G., Miller, G., Rabus, B., Van Wychen, W., Gardner, A., Copland, L. (2016), Sensitivity of Barnes Ice Cap, Baffin Island, Canada, to climate state and internal dynamics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.  doi: 10.1002/2016Jf003839.
  • Gray, L., Burgess, D., Copland, L., Dunse, T., Hagen, J.O., Langley, K., Moholdt, G., Schuler, T., Van Wychen, W. (2016) On the bias between ice cap surface elevation and Cryosat results. In: Ouwehand, L. (ed.) Conference Proceedings, European Space Agency Living Planet Symposium 2016. European Space Agency Special Publication SP-740.
  • Van Wychen, W., Copland, L., Burgess, D. O., Gray, L. and Schaffer, N. (2015). Dynamics and Frontal Ablation from the Ice Masses of Baffin and Bylot Islands, Nunavut, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 52: 11. doi: 10.1139/cjes-2015-0087.
  • Van Wychen, W, Burgess, D.O., Gray, L., Copland, L., Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J.A., and Benham, T.J. (2014). Glacier Velocities and Dynamic Ice Discharge from the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut, Canada. Geophysical Research Letters, 41: 2. doi: 10.1002/2013GL058558.
  • White, A., Copland, L., Mueller, D and Van Wychen, W. (2014). Assessment of historical changes (1959-2012) and the causes of recent break ups of the Petersen Ice Shelf, Nunavut, Canada. Annals of Glaciology, 56: 69. doi: 10.3189/2015AoG69A687.
  • Van Wychen, W., Copland, L., Gray, L., Burgess, D.O., Danielson, B. and Sharp, M. (2012). Spatial Variation of Ice Motion and Ice Flux from Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut Canada. Journal of Glaciology, 58: 210. doi: 2012 doi: 10.3189/2012JoG11J164.
  • De Abreu, R., Gauthier, M., Van Wychen, W. (2006). SAR-Based Oil Pollution Surveillance in Canada: Operational Implementation and Research Priorities. Conference Proceedings OceanSAR 2006 –   Third Workshop on Coastal and Marine Applications of SAR, St. John’s, NL.
University of Waterloo

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