Christine Dow awarded NSERC Canada Research Chair in Glacier Hydrology and Ice Dynamics 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Water Institute member Christine Dow, assistant professor in Waterloo’s Department of Geography and Environmental Management, was awarded an NSERC Canada Research Chair in Glacier Hydrology and Ice Dynamics. The appointment is valued at $500,000 over five years.

Dow’s research interests are focused on the development of subglacial hydrological networks and their impact on ice dynamics on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. She analyzes these systems using a combination of numerical modelling methods and data integration.

Christine Dow and colleagues on glacierDow became fascinated with glaciers during a field trip to Iceland when she was an undergraduate student at The University of Edinburgh.

“We had the chance to visit a glacier and take part in the science, such as measuring water conductivity,” says Dow. “It was showing us a hidden environment that still has so much to be discovered – I was just hooked after that”.

Following her love of glaciers, Dow completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she examined the characteristics of subglacial lakes in Recovery Ice Stream of East Antarctica, using a 2D subglacial hydrology model. 

Today, Dow’s work transcends the water conductivity tests that initially inspired her interest in studying glaciers. She’s researching Antarctic ice shelves and their stability in a warming climate. Her research is helping to understand the impact of climate change on some of the biggest bodies of ice on the planet. This has involved two field seasons in Terra Nova Bay in the Antarctic to date, with hopefully more in the future. The research she is contributing to is shedding light on some frightening truths.

“The Antarctic might destabilize within the next 500 years,” says Dow. “It was predicted that it might take a few thousand years, but recent studies suggest it could be much quicker than that.”

Dow joins the Water Institute’s other Canada Research Chairs. Find out more about the Water Institute’s Canada Research Chairs

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