Dr Nicholas E. Barrand BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr Nicholas E. Barrand

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor of Glaciology
Senior Admissions Tutor

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Nicholas Barrand is a glaciologist focusing on glacier mass balance, sea-level rise, and the role, importance, and future evolution of glaciers as water resources. His research group addresses these issues using a range of interdisciplinary approaches including field observations and measurements, numerical modelling, and optical and microwave remote sensing.


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


Nick was educated at the Universities of Newcastle (B.Sc.), Leeds (M.Sc.), and Leeds / Swansea, UK (Ph.D.). His published M.Sc. research investigated spaceborne observation of controls on glacier fast flow (surging) in the Karakoram Himalaya. His Ph.D. 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 International Polar Year 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 in 2013 and is currently an Associate Professor of Glaciology.


Current Teaching

  • Research Methods and GIS (co-module lead)
  • Environmental Research in High Latitudes (module lead)
  • Swiss Alps Fieldclass
  • Contributions to Fieldwork & Tutorials, Global Environmental Issues, Research Projects

Postgraduate supervision

Excellent and eligible students are encouraged to contact me informally in the first instance, and then to apply for postgraduate research in glaciology and/or remote sensing at the University of Birmingham. Candidates will normally hold relevant masters and first class or equivalent honours degrees in numerate disciplines such as Geophysics, Earth Science, Physical Geography, Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science. Research postgraduate opportunities are advertised on the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) PhD Project webpages, and those of the Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA). Prospective students are also encouraged to contact me to suggest or to develop their own ideas for postgraduate research projects. I am 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, the role of glaciers in water security, and environmental and hydrological applications of remote sensing tools, particularly in the polar regions.

Students from the UK and EU are eligible for competitively-funded studentship support from NERC via CENTA, although other options are available. Prospective international students are advised to contact me to discuss relevant funding opportunities.

Current Research Postgraduate Students:
- Xinran Liu (Ph.D. 2023-2027, with J. Larsen, others, UoB)

Former Research Postgraduate Students:
- Marko Closs (Ph.D. 2022) Lead Supervisor. Now pursuing graduate opportunities
- David Clark (M.Sci., 2020), Lead Supervisor. Now pursuing graduate opportunities
- Jonathan Mackay (Ph.D., 2020), Lead Supervisor. Now staff scientist British Geological Survey, UK
- Arie Vatresia (Ph.D., 2018), Co-supervisor. Now Bengkulu University, Indonesia 
- Clemens Schannwell (Ph.D., 2017), Lead Supervisor. Now Max Planck Institute, Germany
- Marit van Tiel (M.Sc., 2016), Co project supervisor. Now ETH Zürich, Switzerland
- Benjamin Man (M.Sci., 2014), Lead Supervisor. Now Open University, UK
- Robert Way (M.Sc., 2013), Co-supervisor. Now Assistant Professor, Queens University, Canada
- Jodie Chadbourn (M.Sc., 2012), Co-supervisor. Now in consultancy, Canada


Glacier and ice sheet mass balance; regional and global sea-level rise

  • Optical and microwave remote sensing of the cryosphere
  • Snow and ice melt modelling, numerical modelling of ice flow and hydrology
  • Arctic, Antarctic and high-mountain climatology
  • Glaciers as water resources and mountain water security
  • Glacial and periglacial hydrology and geomorphology
  • Interdisciplinary downstream impacts of cryosphere change

 Recent Grant Funding

  • Impacts of Cryosphere-Hydrosphere Change on Ecosystems and Livelihoods in northern Nunatsiavut, Canada: IMAGINE.’ (PI), with R. Way (Queens), A. Trant (Waterloo), L. Hermanutz (MUN), A. Currier (Montreal), D. Hannah (Birmingham), J. Ford, D. Quincey (Leeds) Canada-Inuit Nunangat-UK Arctic Research Programme (CINUK) [£801,040].
  •  Challenges to Economic Development Through Hydropower in Central Asia.’ (Co-I), with J. Larsen (PI, Birmingham), R. Day (Co-I, Birmingham) Institute for Global Innovation, UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund [£11,500].
  •  Water Security & Climate Change Adaptation in Peruvian Glacier-Fed Rivers: RAHU.’ (Co-I), with W. Buytaert (PI, Imperial), D. Hannah (Co-I, Birmingham), M. Siegert (Co-I, Imperial) NERC (UK) CONCYTEC (Peru), Newton-Paulet Fund [£498,669].
  •  Isotope Analyses of Glacial & Hydrological Change, Virkisa River, Iceland.’ 2017–2018 (PI), with J. Mackay (Co-I, British Geological Survey), NERC National Isotope Geoscience Facility (NIGF) [in-kind analytical support, £21,000].
  •  Interdisciplinary Modelling of Climate Change in Coastal West Antarctica - Network for Staff Exchange and Training: IMCONet.’ (Co-I), with D. Abele and others (PI, Alfred Wegener Institute), EU Interdisciplinary Research Staff & Exchange Scheme (IRSES) [£665,000].
  •  Arctic Environments: Vulnerabilities and Opportunities: AEVO.’ (Co-I), with K. Arrell and others (PI, Leeds),
  • World Universities Network (WUN) Research Development Fund [£36,000].


Google Scholar - Publications

[40] Clark, D. & N.E. Barrand (2021) ‘Half a century of glacier mass balance at Cordilleras Blanca and Huaytapallana, Peruvian Andes.’ In revision, 2021. Preprint https://eartharxiv.org/repository/view/1938/.

[39] Mackay, J.D., N.E. Barrand, D.M. Hannah, S. Krause, C.R. Jackson, J. Everest, A.M. MacDonald & B.E.O. Dochartaigh (2020) ‘Proglacial groundwater storage dynamics under climate change and glacier retreat.’ HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, 34 (26), 5456–5473, doi:10.1002/hyp.13961.

[38] Ashley, K.E., J. Bendle, R. McKay, J. Etourneau, F.J. Jimenez-Espejo, A. Condron, A. Albot, X. Crosta, C. Riesselman, O. Seki, G. Masse, N.R. Golledge, E. Gasson, D.P. Lowry, N.E. Barrand, N. Bertler, C. Escutia & R. Dunbar (in review, 2020) ‘Mid-holocene Antarctic sea ice increase driven by marine ice sheet retreat.’ CLIMATES OF THE PAST DISCUSSIONS, doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-3.

[37] Mackay, J.D., N.E. Barrand, D.M. Hannah, S. Krause, C.R. Jackson, J. Everest & G. Adalgeirsdottir (2019) `Future evolution and uncertainty of river flow regime change in a deglaciating river basin.' HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE, 23, 1833–1865, doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-443.

[36] Schannwell, C., S. Cornford, D. Pollard & N.E. Barrand (2018) ‘Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves.’ THE CRYOSPHERE, 12, 2307-2326, doi:10.5194/tc-12–2307-2018.

[35] Costi, J., J. Arigony-Neto, M. Braun, B. Mavlyudov, N.E. Barrand, A. Barbosa da Silva & J. Cardia Simoes (2018) ’Estimating surface melt and runoff on the Antarctic Peninsula using ERA-Interim reanalysis data.’ ANTARCTIC SCIENCE, 30 (6), 379-393, doi:10.1017/S0954102018000391.

[34] Mackay, J.D., N.E. Barrand, D.M. Hannah, S. Krause, C.R. Jackson, J. Everest, & G. Adalgeirsdottir (2018) ‘Glacio-hydrological melt and runoff modelling: application of a limits of acceptability framework for model comparison and selection.’ THE CRYOSPHERE, 12, 2175–2210, doi:10.5194/tc-12-2175-2018.

[33] Milner, A.M., K. Khamis, T.J. Battin, J.E. Brittain, N.E. Barrand, L. Fuereder, S. Cauvy-Fraunie, G.M. Gislason, D. Jacobsen, D.M. Hannah, A.J. Hodson, E. Hood, V. Lencioni, J.S. Olafsson, C.T. Robinson, M. Tranter & L.E. Brown (2017) ‘Glacier shrinkage driving global changes in downstream systems.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, 114 (37), 9770-9776, doi:10.1073/pnas.1619807114.

[32] Barrand, N.E., T.J. Bell, R.G. Way & M.J. Sharp (2017) ‘Changes in area and thickness of glaciers in the Torngat Mountains (northern Labrador, Canada).’ THE CRYOSPHERE, 11, 157-168, doi:10.5194/tc-2016-171.

[31] Schannwell, C., N.E. Barrand & V. Radic ́ (2016) ‘Future sea-level rise from tidewater and ice-shelf tributary glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula.’ EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 453, 161–170, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.07.054.

[30] Meredith, M.P., S.E. Stammerjohn, H.J. Venables, H.W. Ducklow, D.G. Martinson, R.A. Ianuzzi, M.J. Leng, J.M. van Wessem, C.H. Reijmer & N.E. Barrand (2016) ‘Changing distributions of sea ice melt and meteoric water west of the Antarctic Peninsula.’ DEEP SEA RESEARCH PART II: TOPICAL STUDIES IN OCEANOGRAPHY, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.04.019.

[29] van Wessem, J.M., S.R.M. Ligtenberg, C.H. Reijmer, W.J. van de Berg, M.R. van den Broeke, N.E. Barrand, E.R. Thomas, J. Turner, J. Wuite, T.A. Scambos & E. van Meijgaard (2016) ‘The modelled surface mass balance of the Antarctic Peninsula at 5.5 km horizontal resolution.’ THE CRYOSPHERE, 10, 271–285, doi:10.5194/tc-10-271-2016.

[28] Bracegirdle, T.J., N.E. Barrand, K. Kusahara & I. Wainer (2016) `Predicting Antarctic climate using climate models.` ENVIRONMENTS PORTAL – Antarctic Climate, Version 1. environments.aq, tinyurl.com/jtwstga.

[27] Schannwell, C., N.E. Barrand & V. Radic ́ (2015) ‘Modelling ice dynamic contributions to sea-level rise from the Antarctic Peninsula.’ JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH - EARTH SURFACE, 120 (11), 2374–2392, doi:10.1002/2015JF003667.

[26] Way, R.G., T.J. Bell & N.E. Barrand (2015) ‘Glacier change from the Little Ice Age to present in the Torngat Mountains, northern Labrador, Canada.’ GEOMORPHOLOGY, 246, 559–569, doi:10.1016/ j.geomorph.2015.07.006.

[25] Arendt, A. and the Randolph Consortium (including N.E. Barrand) (2015) ‘Randolph Glacier Inventory – A Dataset of Global Glacier Outlines: Versions 1.0 - 5.0.’ GLOBAL LAND ICE MEASUREMENTS FROM SPACE, Boulder, Colorado, USA. Digital Media, glims.org/RGI/, doi:10.7265/N5-RGI-60.

[24] Luckman, A., A. Elvidge, D. Jansen, B. Kulessa, P. Kuipers Munneke, J. King & N.E. Barrand (2014) ‘Surface melt and ponding on Larsen C Ice Shelf and the impact of foehn winds.’ ANTARCTIC SCIENCE, 26 (6), 625–635, doi:10.1017/S0954102014000339.

[23] Way, R.G., T.J. Bell & N.E. Barrand (2014) ‘An inventory and topographic analysis of glaciers in the Torngat Mountains, northern Labrador, Canada.’ JOURNAL OF GLACIOLOGY, 60 (223), 945–956, doi:10.3189/2014JoG13J195.

[22] Davies, B.J., N.R. Golledge, N.F. Glasser, J.L. Carrivick, S.R.M. Ligtenberg, N.E. Barrand, M.R. van den Broeke, M.J. Hambrey & J.L. Smellie, J.L., (2014) ‘Modelled glacier response to centennial temperature and precipitation trends on the Antarctic Peninsula.’ NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, 4, 993–998, doi:10.1038/ nclimate2369.

[21] Pfeffer, W.T., A.A. Arendt, A. Bliss, T. Bolch, J.G. Cogley, A.S. Gardner, J.O. Hagen, R. Hock, G. Kaser, C. Kienholz, E.S. Miles, G. Moholdt, N. Mölg, F. Paul, V. Radic ́, P. Rastner, B. Raup, J. Rich, M.J. Sharp & the Randolph Consortium (including N.E. Barrand) (2014) ‘The Randolph Glacier Inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers.’ JOURNAL OF GLACIOLOGY, 60 (221), 537–552, doi:10.3189/2014JoG13J176.

[20] Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., E. Hanna, N.E. Barrand, P.R. Porter & A.J. Hodson (2014) ‘Examination of a physically-based, high-resolution, distributed Arctic temperature-index melt model, on Midtre Lovénbreen, Svalbard.’ HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, 28, 134–149, doi:10.1002/hyp.9526.

[19] Barrand, N.E., H. Machguth & J.O. Hagen (2013) ‘Observing changes in near-polar glaciers in the northern and southern hemispheres.’ EOS, TRANSACTIONS AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION, 94 (23), 208, doi:10.1002/2013EO230007.

[18] Barrand, N.E., R.C.A. Hindmarsh, R.J. Arthern, C.R. Williams, J. Mouginot, B. Scheuchl, E. Rignot, S.R.M. Ligtenberg, M.R. van den Broeke, T.L. Edwards, A.J. Cook & S.B. Simonsen (2013) ‘Computing the volume response of the Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet to warming scenarios to 2200.’ JOURNAL OF GLACIOLOGY, 59 (215), 397–409, doi:10.3189/2013JoG12J139.

[17] Turner, J., N.E. Barrand, T.J. Bracegirdle, P. Convey, D.A. Hodgson, M. Jarvis, A. Jenkins, G. Marshall, M.P. Meredith, H. Roscoe, J. Shanklin, J. French, H. Goose, M. Guglielmin, J. Gutt, S.S. Jacobs, M.C. Kennicutt, V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Mayewski, F. Navarro, S. Robinson, T.A. Scambos, M. Sparrow, C. Summerhayes, K. Speer & A. Klepikov (2013) ‘Antarctic climate change and the environment - an update’. POLAR RECORD, 50 (3), 237–259, doi:10.1017/S0032247413000296.

[16] Barrand, N.E., D.G. Vaughan, N. Steiner, M. Tedesco, P. Kuipers Munneke, M.R. van den Broeke & S.J. Hosking (2013) ‘Trends in Antarctic Peninsula surface melting conditions from observations and regional climate modelling.’ JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH - EARTH SURFACE, 118, 1–16, doi:10.1029/2012JF002559.

[15] Fretwell, P., H.D. Pritchard, D.G. Vaughan, J.L. Bamber, N.E. Barrand, R. Bell, C. Bianchi, R.G. Bingham, D.D. Blankenship, G. Casassa, G. Catania, D. Callens, H. Conway, A.J. Cook, H.F.J. Corr, D. Damaske, V. Damm, F. Ferraccioli, R. Forsberg, S. Fujita, T. Furukawa, P. Gogineni, J.A. Griggs, G. Hamilton, R.C.A. Hindmarsh, P. Holmlund, J.W. Holt, R.W. Jacobel, A. Jenkins, W. Jokat, T. Jordan, E.C. King, W. Kra- bill, M. Riger-Kusk, K. Tinto, K.A. Langley, S.V. Popov, E. Rignot, D.M. Rippin, A. Rivera, N. Ross, M.J. Siegert, K. Shibuya, A.M. Smith, D. Steinhage, M. Studinger, B. Sun, R.H. Thomas, I. Tabacco, B. Welch, D.A. Young, C. Xiangbin & A. Zirizzotti, A. (2013) ‘Bedmap2: improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica.’ THE CRYOSPHERE, 7, 375-393, doi:10.5194/tc-7-375-2013.

[14] Paul, F., N.E. Barrand, S. Baumann, E. Berthier, T. Bolch, K. Casey, H. Frey, S.P. Joshi, V. Konovalov, R. Le Bris, N. Mölg, G. Nosenko C. Nuth, A. Pope, A. Racoviteanu, P. Rastner, B. Raup, K. Scharrer, S. Steffen & S. Winsvold (2013) ‘On the accuracy of glacier outlines derived from remote sensing data.’ ANNALS OF GLACIOLOGY, 54 (63), 171-182, doi:10.3189/2013AoG63A296.

[13] James, T.D., T. Murray, N.E. Barrand, H.J Sykes, A.J. Fox and M.A. King (2012) ‘Observations of enhanced thinning in the upper reaches of Svalbard glaciers.’ THE CRYOSPHERE, 6, 1369–1381, doi:10.5194/tc-6-1369-2012.

[12] Cook, A.J., T. Murray, A. Luckman, D.G. Vaughan & N.E. Barrand (2012) ‘A new 100-m Digital Elevation Model of the Antarctic Peninsula from ASTER Global DEM: methods and accuracy assessment.’ EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE DATA, 4, 129-142, doi: 10.5194/essd-4-129-2012.

[11] Brown, B.R., M. Lemay, M. Allard, N.E. Barrand, C. Barrete, Y. Begin, T. Bell, M. Bernier, S. Bleau, D. Chaumont, Y. Dibike, A. Frigon, P. Leblanc, D. Paquin, M.J. Sharp and R. Way (2012) ‘Climate variability and change in the Canadian Eastern Subarctic IRIS region (Nunavik and Nunatsiavut).’ IRIS-4 INTEGRATED REGIONAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, M. Allard & M. Lemay (eds.), ArcticNet, Quebec, Universit ́e Laval.

(10) Turner, J., N.E. Barrand, J. French, H. Goose, M. Guglielmin, S.S. Jacobs, A. Jenkins, V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Mayewski, J. Robinson, H. Roscoe & J. Shanklin (eds.) (2012) ‘Antarctic climate change and the environment - the 2012 supplement’, SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE ON ANTARCTIC RESEARCH. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

[9] Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., N.E. Barrand, P.R. Porter, A.J. Hodson and T. Murray (2011) ‘Recent High-Arctic glacial sediment redistribution: a process perspective using airborne lidar.’ GEOMORPHOLOGY, 125, 27–39, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.08.012.

(8) Bell, T., N.E. Barrand, J. Chadbourn, R. Way & P. Leblanc (2010) ‘Glaciers of the Torngat Mountains, northern Labrador: how many and for how long?’. In IRIS-3 INTEGRATED REGIONAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (Eastern subarctic Canada), ArcticNet, Quebec.

[7] Barrand, N.E. and M.J. Sharp (2010) ‘Sustained rapid shrinkage of Yukon glaciers since the 1957–58 International Geophysical Year.’ GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 37, L07501, doi: 10.1029/2009GL042030.

[6] Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., P.R. Porter, N.E. Barrand, D.I. Benn, M. Temminghoff & S. Lukas (2010) ‘High-Arctic glacial-periglacial interactions and the development of terrain morphology on Brøggerhalvøya, Svalbard’. PROCEEDINGS OF GEO2010: 63rd Canadian Geotechnical and 6th Canadian Permafrost Conference.

[5] Barrand, N.E., T.D. James and T. Murray (2010) ‘Spatiotemporal variability in elevation changes of two high-Arctic valley glaciers.’ JOURNAL OF GLACIOLOGY, 56 (199), 771-780, doi: 10.3189/002214310794457362.

[4] Barrand, N.E., T. Murray, T.D. James, S.L. Barr and J.P. Mills (2009) ‘Optimising photogrammetric DEMs for glacier volume change assessment using laser-scanning derived ground control points.’ JOURNAL OF GLACIOLOGY, 55 (189), 106-116, doi: 10.3189/002214309788609001.

[3] Kohler, J., T.D. James, T. Murray, C. Nuth, O. Brandt, N.E. Barrand, H.F. Aas and A.J. Luckman (2007) ‘Acceleration in thinning rate on western Svalbard glaciers.’ GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 34, L18502, doi:10.1029/2007GL030681.

[2] James, T.D., T. Murray, N.E. Barrand and S.L. Barr (2006) ‘Extracting photogrammetric ground control from lidar DEMs for change detection.’ PHOTOGRAMMETRIC RECORD, 21 (116), 312-328, doi: 10.1111/j.1477-9730.2006.00397.x.

[1] Barrand, N.E. and T. Murray (2006) ‘Multivariate controls on the incidence of glacier surging in the Karakoram Himalaya.’ ARCTIC, ANTARCTIC AND ALPINE RESEARCH, 38 (4), 489–498, doi: 10.1657/1523-0430(2006)38.

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