Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

FIORD – Forum for Ice-Ocean Research Development

Rising global sea levels threaten coastal communities and infrastructures around the world. They are expected to continue to rise over the next century in the face of continued global warming melting the polar ice sheets and ice caps, but the rate at which they will rise cannot be predicted with high confidence due to a limited understanding of the complex interaction between changes to climate and ocean with the polar ice masses.

FIORD is a new initiative, integrated through SAGES, that aims to pool Scotland’s extensive research base in glaciology and oceanography in order to improve our understanding of the process interactions between the atmosphere, the ocean, and the polar ice masses. Our members lead research in ice-ocean interactions in Greenland and Antarctica, and also in Svalbard.

Recent Publications


Bunce, C., J. R. Carr, P. W. Nienow, N. Ross.: Ice front change of marine-terminating outlet glaciers in northwest and southeast Greenland during the 21st Century. Journal of Glaciology. 2018.

Christie, F. D. W., Bingham, R. G., Gourmelen, N., Steig, E. J., Bisset, R. R., Pritchard, H. D., Snow, K., and Tett, S. F. B.: Glacier change along West Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land Sector and links to inter-decadal atmosphere–ocean variability, The Cryosphere, 12, 2461-2479,, 2018.

Cowton, T.R., Sole, A.J., Nienow, P.W., Slater, D.A. and Christoffersen, P., 2018. Linear response of east Greenland’s tidewater glaciers to ocean/atmosphere warming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(31), pp.7907-7912.

Fraser, NJ and Inall ME (2018) Influence of barrier wind forcing on heat delivery towards the Greenland Ice Sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123 (4)

Fraser, NJ, Skogseth, R, Nilsen, N and Inall, ME (2018) Circulation and exchange in a broad Arctic fjord using glider based observations. Polar Research, 37 (1)

Fraser, NJ, Inall, ME, Magaldi, MG, Haine, TWN and Jones, SC. (2018) Wintertime fjord-shelf interaction and ice sheet melt in southeast Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 123.

Kougkoulos, I., S. J. Cook, L. A. Edwards, L. Clarke, E. Symeonakis, J. M. Dortch, K. Nesbitt.: Modelling glacial lake outburst flood impacts in the Bolivian Andes, Natural Hazards, 2018.

Kougkoulos, I., S. J. Cook, V. Jomelli, L. Clarke, E. Symeonakis, J. M. Dortch, L. A. Edwards, M. Merad. : Use of multi-criteria decision analysis to identify potentially dangerous glacial lakes, Science of The Total Environment, 621, 1453-1466, 2018.


Moyer, A.N., Nienow, P.W., Gourmelen, N., Sole, A.J., and  Slater, D.A. (2017). Estimating Spring Terminus Submarine Melt Rates at a Greenlandic Tidewater Glacier Using Satellite Imagery. frontiers in Earth Science, 5, 107, doi: 10.3389/feart.2017.00107. 2017.


Cook, S. J., Kougkoulos, I., Edwards, L. A., Dortch, J., and Hoffmann, D.: Glacier change and glacial lake outburst flood risk in the Bolivian Andes, The Cryosphere, 10, 2399-2413,, 2016.


Cook, S. J. and Quincey, D. J.: Estimating the volume of Alpine glacial lakes, Earth Surf. Dynam., 3, 559-575,, 2015.

FIORD Organisation

FIORD is a SAGES Forum, a strategic grouping of research strength across the Scottish geosciences community. At any time it has a Convenor and Representative Group, with representation across institutions and career stages. The current composition is as follows;

Rob is a glaciologist whose principal research in Antarctica addresses the causes and pace of polar ice-sheet change, and the contributions of polar ice sheets to global sea levels.

Finlo is a physical oceanographer whose interdisciplinary research links high latitude physical oceanographic process with diverse ecological responses.


Tom is a glaciologist whose research to date has focussed primarily on the Greenland Ice Sheet, and in particular on the processes that control and complicate its response to climate change.


Rachel is a PhD student who primarily focuses on palaeoclimates and glaciology. She investigates climate forcings in alpine environments including Scandinavian Mountains and the Transantarctic Mountains.


Joe is a glaciologist whose research primarily involves developing models of iceberg calving and applying them to Greenlandic glaciers.

Brice is an interdisciplinary researcher whose principal research across the North Atlantic high latitudes explores ice-ocean interactions and glacial geomorphology and sedimentology.

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