Midgard Glacier in East Greenland has retreated ~10 kilometers up its fjord since 2000.
Scene center is 66.44°N, 36.74°W.
I made this video using Google Earth Engine.
Dr. Kristin Poinar studies earth’s ice sheets, especially the Greenland Ice Sheet, as well as Antarctica and past ice sheets (e.g., the Laurentide).  She and her group ask questions about ice dynamics and the interactions between ice flow and liquid water.  How, when, and where does surface melt water get to the ice-sheet bed, and how does this affect ice dynamics?  The group writes and uses numeric models of specific ice-sheet processes, informed and validated by remote sensing products, to investigate how Earth’s ice sheets work.
Ilulissat Icefjord
Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland, where icebergs from Jakobshavn Glacier float by on their journey to the ocean.

Student research

There are opportunities for undergraduate (including gap year or summer research experiences), Master’s, and PhD work in my lab, for students with quantitative backgrounds or interests.  If a certain research topic interests you, send me an email or drop in to my office to tell me why you’d be a good fit!

Research topics

  • Model-based investigations of glacier flow, including glacier testbed modeling
  • Formation of moulins
  • Crevasse field locations and prediction
  • Firn aquifers
  • Formation and life cycle of crevasses on mountain glaciers
  • Flow of surface meltwater
  • Subsurface meltwater
  • Permafrost on the periphery of current or past ice sheets
  • Recent history and near future of particular Greenland glaciers, e.g. Helheim Glacier
  • Model-based investigations of glacier history (this can be related to glacial geology)
  • Surging glaciers
  • Supraglacial streams that incise deep canyons
  • Englacial fracture network
  • Detection of subglacial tills
  • Seismoelectric geophysics on ice
  • Sidewall stresses and ice flow of outlet glaciers (Greenland/Antarctica) or ice streams (Antarctica)
  • GHub, an online data and computing hub centered around Greenland glaciology
… and more!   Drop me a note and we’ll explore a research fit!

The Gilkey Glacier trench, Juneau Icefield, Alaska. Learn more at