Photo: Matt Chernos

Photo: Matt Chernos

People

Lab Director

Michele Koppes

Biography: Dr. Koppes is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Faculty Associate at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, and Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Landscapes of Climate Change at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on landscape response to climate change, from the current day to the long term. Current research projects include quantifying glacier change in response to warming climate and warming oceans, the landscape response to changing glacier dynamics, and the effects of climate change on meltwater resources in BC, Patagonia, Antarctica, Greenland and the Himalayas.

I am fascinated with all rates of geomorphic change, particularly the effects of humans on the landscape and how we compare to other natural geomorphic agents such as glaciers and rivers. In addition to my core scholarly interests, I am involved local and international political and policy debates surrounding climate change (as a former US legislative consultant), creative science communication endeavors (as a TED Senior Fellow), and experiential education (such as co-founding Girls on Ice).

I hold PhD and MSc degrees from the University of Washington and a BA (Honours) from Williams College.

Personal Website: http://blogs.ubc.ca/koppes/

Email: koppes@geog.ubc.ca

PhD Students

Alexandra Winter-Billington

Biography: My doctoral research is on changes to glacier mass balance and melt water generation in the Indian Himalaya given climate change. In collaboration with scholars at The Indian Institute for Science Education and Research (Pune) and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, among others, I have set up a comprehensive monitoring system at Satopanth Glacier in Uttarakhand and am specifically addressing the effect of extensive supra-glacial debris on energy transfers and melt as well as high-frequency avalanching on both energy and mass balance. As well as projecting regional melt water discharge, I aim to create a transferable, physically based model of the energy flux in supraglacial debris that will eliminate the need for laborious field work, and to model the avalanche contribution to mass and energy balance of alpine valley glaciers. 

Additionally I am looking at orographic effects in the Himalaya and collecting data to ground-truth climate reanalysis datasets that are used to project fresh water discharge from the mountains. My ultimate aim is to contribute to improved resilience of vulnerable communities given likely changes to fresh water supply.

In general my interests are physically-based numerical modeling for enhanced understanding of glaciological processes, especially in the context of a changing climate, the dynamics and processes unique to debris covered glaciers, the impact of avalanches on glacier dynamics, and the processes of paraglacial relaxation in recently deglacierised landscapes.

Email: alex.winter-billington@geog.ubc.ca

McDowell Profile Photo Iceland.jpg

Graham McDowell

Biography: I am interested in the socio-ecological dimensions of cryospheric change in high mountain and Arctic regions. To this end, I have led projects in the Nepal Himalaya, Rocky Mountains, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic as well as numerous global-scale assessments of environmental change in cold regions. My doctoral research, supervised by Drs. Michele Koppes and Leila Harris, builds upon this experience and is focused on 1) characterizing how changes in the high mountain cryosphere––particularly climate-related changes in snow/glacial hydrology––propagate through interlinked socio-ecological systems and 2) the development of principles for responding to cryospheric changes in ways that are both socially and ecologically tenable. I am combining insights from socio-ecological systems scholarship, human dimensions of climate change research, and fieldwork in globally significant high mountain regions to elicit information found at the intersection of coupled systems thinking, critical social theory, and lived experiences of environmental change. The project contributes broadly to the advancement of integrative environmental change scholarship, while also providing actionable governance recommendations for supporting human well-being and ecological resilience in the context of a rapidly changing cryosphere.

Prior to beginning my doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia, I completed an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford and an Honours degree in Geography at McGill University.

Personal Website: grahammcdowellresearch.com

Email: grahammcdowell@gmail.com

MSc. Students

Matt Chernos

Biography: My name is Matt Chernos and I am a Hydrologist and Data Analyst. I am a former Master of Science student in the Geography Department at the University of British Columbia. I spent my master's research trying to understand how the presence of a lake at a glacier terminus affects the melt rate at Bridge Glacier, British Columbia. Now I spend a lot of time modelling mountain hydrology for industry, government, and not-for-profit stakeholders. I like mountains, glaciers, travelling to cool places to see more mountains and glaciers, and cool (open-source!) data analysis.

Personal Website: https://mattchernos.wordpress.com

Email: mchernos@gmail.com

Lucy MacKenzie

Biography: Although I am now currently pursuing a PhD in fluvial geomorphology, glaciers and glaciated landscapes were my first true (academic) love. In the last year of my undergrad I completed an honours thesis under the supervision of Michele Koppes. For that project I surveyed the proglacial area of Bridge Glacier in order to develop a better understanding of the sedimentological and morphological characteristics of different deposits and the deglacial history of the area. Since then, I have switched to fluvial geomorphology and am now experimentally investigation thresholds of morphologic stability in steep channels.

Email: lucy.gmack@gmail.com

Alexis Moyer

Biography: I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh in the GeoSciences department, researching spatial and temporal differences in iceberg melt rates along with western coast of the Greenland Ice Sheet. I completed my MSc in Geography at the University of British Columbia in 2015, where my research focused on streamflow response to the retreat of a lake-calving glacier in the Southern Coast Mountains of BC.  Other research interests include glaciohydrologic modeling and the use of remote sensing to analyze cryospheric responses to climate change.

Email: a.n.moyer@sms.ed.ac.uk

                     Lawrence Bird

Biography: Lawrence is currently a Water Resources specialist working with Associated Environmental in Vernon, BC. He completed his MSc in Geography at the University of British Columbia in 2014, focused on the hydrology and thermal regime of Bridge Lake, a proglacial lake fed by Bridge Glacier in the southern Coast Mountains.

 Email: birdl@ae.ca

Haley Williams

Biography: My research is focused on the landscape relaxation response to rapid deglaciation in Icy Bay, Alaska.  Other research interests include the use of remote sensing and statistical modeling to analyze glacier hypsometry and its influence on responses to climate change. I recently completed my MSc program in Geography at the University of British Columbia in 2018, and am currently working as a geomorphologist for BGC in Vancouver, BC.

Email: haley.williams@alumni.ubc.ca

Undergraduate Research Assistants

                    Nikita Wallia – Summer 2016

                    Julia Newton – Summer 2014

                    Alistair Davis- Summer  2013