Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Professor Brice Rea

Department / group: Geography and Environment, School of Geosciences
Personal URL: Not available

Research interests:

Glacial and periglacial geomorphology/geology

Glacial tectonics

Glacier-climate interactions and reconstruction

Ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere dynamics in region of the North Atlantic

Centrifuge modelling of earth surface processes

Basal ice rheology, chemistry, sliding and erosion

High-latitude -altitude weathering processes and rates

Long-term landscape evolution in passive glaciated mid- and high-latitude margins

Career history:

2015-present: Reader, Geography and Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.

2009-2015: Senior Lecturer, Geography and Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.

2004-2009: Lecturer, Geography and Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.

2003-2004: Petrophysics Staff Scientist, Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme (IODP), Department of Geology University of Leicester.

2001-2003: Logging Staff Scientist, Ocean Drilling Programme (ODP), Department of Geology University of Leicester.

1998-2001: Research Associate, Department of Earth Sciences, Cardiff University.

1995-1998: Research Fellow, School of Geosciences, Queen’s University Belfast.

1994-1995: Teaching Assistant, School of Geosciences, Queen’s University Belfast.

1990-1994: PhD. Plucking and abrasion beneath temperate plateau icefields. School of Geosciences, Queen’s University Belfast.

Active research projects:

Glacier crevassing

This work has evolved from a long established interest in surging glaciers, their dynamics, geomorphic signature and identification in the palaeo-landform record. A recent publication applied a Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) analysis to crevassing on surging glaciers. This found that Mode 1 (open perpendicular to the principal tensile stress) extensional crevasses, which form a component of crevasse-squeeze ridge networks found in association with extant surging glaciers are most likely to have originated as full-depth bottom-up basal crevasses.

Greenland Ice Sheet

To date work has focused on the Uummannaq region. Over four field seasons horizontal and vertical transects have been ground-truthed and sampled for terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) exposure analyses in order to establish the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and subsequent retreat geometries and chronologies. A further component of this work is the investigation of the longterm landscape evolution utilising a suite of analytical and modelling techniques. Ultimately, it will focus on determining the complex feedbacks between landscape and ice dynamics as this landscape of selective linear erosion evolved.

Glacier-climate interactions and reconstructions

Currently this research has a number of foci. The reconstruction of palaeo-glaciers using geomorphological and chronological data to constrain numerical reconstructions has been a longstanding interest. From these reconstructions empirical relationships provide the opportunity to constrain quantitative estimates of palaeo-climate, specifically palaeo-precipitation. Work in this area is currently ongoing in SW Scotland in the Tweedsmuir Hills as the focus of Danni Pearce’s PhD. A further development of this approach is looking at the reconstruction of small niche glaciers, in areas marginal for glacierization, where radiation shading and headwall avalanching play significant role in mass balance.

Recent publications:

Lane, TP., Roberts, DH., Rea, BR., Cofaigh, C. & Vieli, A. (2015). ‘Controls on bedrock bedform development beneath the Uummannaq Ice Stream onset zone, West Greenland’. Geomorphology, vol 231, pp. 301-313.

Pellitero-Ondicol, R., Rea, BR. & Spagnolo, M. (2015). ‘A GIS tool for automatic calculation of glacier equilibrium-line altitudes’. Computers & Geosciences, vol 82, pp. 55-62.

Lane, TP., Roberts, DH., Ó Cofaigh, C., Rea, BR. & Vieli, A. ‘Glacial landscape evolution in the Uummannaq region, West Greenland’. Boreas, vol 45, no. 2, pp. 220-234.

Lovell, H., Fleming, EJ., Benn, DI., Hubbard, B., Lukas, S., Rea, BR., Noormets, R. & Flink, AE. (2015). ‘Debris entrainment and landform genesis during tidewater glacier surges’. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, vol 120, no. 8, pp. 1574-1595.

Lea, JM., Mair, DWF. & Rea, BR. (2014). ‘Evaluation of existing and new methods of tracking glacier terminus change’. Journal of Glaciology, vol 60, no. 220, pp. 323-332.

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