Dr. Karen Alley

Assistant Professor

Environment and Geography


Ph.D. University of Colorado Boulder (2017)

B.A. Colgate University (2012)


GEOG2550 Geomorphology

GEOG1290 Introduction to Physical Geography

Research Interests:

My research is part of the large glaciological community effort to understand how the world’s glaciers and ice sheets are contributing to sea-level rise in a warming climate. I am particularly interested in the ice-ocean interactions that largely control the stability of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets and many smaller ice caps and glaciers. Much of my work has focused on the nature of melting beneath the floating ice shelves that fringe the Antarctic continent, which in turn modulates rates of ice delivery to the ocean. My current interests have expanded to include processes at all boundaries of ice streams: calving processes control rates of ice-tongue retreat and ice-shelf collapse, grounding-line processes change velocities and the impacts of the ocean-induced melting, and shear-margin processes control the stability of the grounded ice that feeds the ice-ocean interfaces. Understanding the future of the ice sheets also benefits from studying these processes on smaller ice caps and glaciers that represent varying geometries at different stages of retreat.

Most of my work is carried out through remote sensing techniques, particularly visible-band imagery and laser altimetry, along with some active radar. I also utilize numerical modeling and field data.

Contact Info: