Nicholas Barrand


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Dr Barrand is broadly interested in supervision of research projects in the following areas: glacier and ice sheet mass balance, remote sensing of ice flow dynamics, remote sensing of snow and ice melt, ice flow and melt modelling, regional-scale glacier area, volume and velocity change, response of glaciers to climate change, ice shelf processes, and environmental and hydrological applications of remote sensing tools, particularly in the polar regions.


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Personal profile

Research interests

Nick’s research and teaching interests focus on the two great glaciology issues of our time: glacier and ice sheet mass balance, dynamics and contribution to sea-level rise; and the role and future evolution of glaciers as water resources. His research group address these issues using field observations and measurements, numerical modelling, optical and microwave remote sensing and a range of interdisciplinary approaches.


Nick was educated at the Universities of Newcastle (BSc), Leeds (MSc), and Leeds / Swansea, UK (PhD). His published MSc research concerned spaceborne observation of controls on glacier surging in the Karakoram Himalaya. His PhD research, supervised by Tavi Murray in collaboration with the Norsk Polarinstitutt, continued to employ earth observation and geodetic techniques (digital photogrammetry and airborne laser altimetry), this time in combination with extensive field validation, to investigate mass balance and climate linkages of glaciers in the Norwegian High Arctic (Svalbard). In 2008 he took up the position of Government of Canada IPY Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada, working with Martin Sharp on the sea-level contribution of glaciers in the Yukon, and satellite remote sensing and field validation of glacier change in the Canadian sub Arctic (Nunatsiavut) and high Arctic (Nunavut). In 2010 he joined the NERC British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK, to work with Richard Hindmarsh and David Vaughan on Antarctic Peninsula ice flow modelling, observation and modelling of Antarctic surface melt dynamics, and mass balance and dynamics of high-latitude glaciers and ice caps. He joined the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Professor of Glaciology in 2021. 

Nick leads a research group in Birmingham focusing on the two key glaciology issues of our time: mass balance, dynamics, and sea-level rise from Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets; and the role and future evolution of glaciers as water resources. The group uses a wide range of methodological, theory-based and applied approaches to address these two key issues, including field observations and measurements, numerical modelling of ice flow and melt, optical and microwave remote sensing, and interdisciplinary approaches incorporating elements of hydrological earth system science, environmental economics, and even socio/cultural studies. We also have particular interest in innovations in glacio-hydrological modelling, glacio-hydro-groundwater interactions, the climate-glacier-hydrology modelling chain, iceberg calving and fracture, and understanding the changing role of snow and ice in mountain water security.


P.G.Cert. Academic Practice, University of Birmingham (Distinction)
Ph.D. Glaciological Remote Sensing, University of Wales Swansea
M.Sc. Geographical Information Science, University of Leeds (Distinction)
B.Sc. Physical Geography, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1st Class Hons.)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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