Understanding climate
for the benefit of society

Seminar talk: Investigations of physical processes in the snowpack through modeling and field measurements

Max Stevens from University of Washington will give a seminar talk on March 16.

Photo Max Stevens
Max Stevens


Short biography:

Max Stevens is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA. He completed his PhD at the University of Washington in 2018. His research is broadly focused on understanding processes in polar snow and firn including compaction, water percolation, isotope diffusion, and air diffusion. He approaches this research using both numerical modeling and field data collected on research expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland.



Understanding physical processes in the snow atop polar ice sheets, which is called firn, is important for several applications in glaciology. The ice-core community relies on models that simulate firn age, movement of air through the firn’s pore structure, and diffusion of water isotopes in firn in order to interpret climate records from ice cores. The ice-sheet mass-balance community relies on firn-compaction and firn-hydrology models to estimate how much mass the ice sheets are losing in a warming climate. Despite their necessity, models simulating firn evolution have historically been based on a steady-state assumption and an incomplete understanding of the physics governing the relevant processes. Additionally, a lack of field data has made it challenging to assess firn models’ performance and uncertainty. This talk will highlight results from several projects designed to improve firn models and understand their uncertainty. These projects include development of the Community Firn Model, an open-source model framework which allows intercomparisons of firn-densification models, field campaigns in Greenland to measure firn compaction and meltwater retention in Greenland, and field campaigns at the South Pole to measure firn compaction and firn microstructure.


Arranged date for the seminar talk: Mar 16, 2020 at 14:15, BCCR lecture room 4020, Jahnebakken 5.