Michael Grimes

Michael Grimes


I'm currently studying for a PhD on an NERC funded doctoral training programme with research intersts in glaciology and proglacial lansdcape evolution, specifically in northeast Greenlands peripheral glaciers and ice caps. 

As an undergraduate at Durham University my studies focussed on glaciology, in particular reconstructing Holocene glacier activity in the UK and Iceland. I studied an MSc in GIS at the University of Leeds where, working under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Carrivick and Dr Duncan Quincey, I utilised complex geospatial analysis and techniques to map glacial landforms on the previously unmapped Clavering Island in northeast Greenland.

Research interests

I am currently investigating proglacial landscape evolution in northeast Greenland in response to Holocene climate change. 

My research interests include:  

  • Geomorphological mapping
  • Sedimentology
  • Remote sensing and digital image processing
  • Fieldwork in glaciated environments
  • Climate change
  • Proglacial landscape evolution
  • Sediment connectivity
  • Numerical modelling 
  • GIS

Mountain glacier systems are more acute to smaller-scale trends in climate change and so detailed analysis of sediment sourcing, pathways and sinks in proglacial environments may elucidate more detailed trends in Holocene climate change and associated discharges and fluxes in nutrients, freshwater and carbon. Such analogues are critical to understandings of drivers and feedbacks of rapid climate change. Glacial systems effectively act as long term barometers of global and local climatic fluctuations. More sensitive valley glaciers such as those to be observed in this research may elucidate smaller scale fluctuations in local precipitation and climate, not reflected in record of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s retreat. Similarly, the discharge from melting valley glaciers and ice caps has been shown to have significant impacts on sea level and salinity which in turn impact on global climate drivers such as thermohaline circulation. Investigation of Holocene landscape change in northeast Greenland where small ice caps and valley glaciers are extensive yet have been neglected in prior research is critical then to expanding our understanding of former glaciers responses to climatic forcing and may provide important data currently missing from sea level and climate change models. Moreover, such research into sensitive valley glaciers and the geomorphological proxies explicating their former activity within the landscape aligns with the fundamental aims of the NERC’s ‘Arctic programme’ and, where landforms relate to late-Holocene post-LIA activity, the NERC societal challenge ‘managing environmental change’. There is also potential to expand upon well-established process-form models for high-arctic valley/alpine glacier landforms and the ever growing literature surrounding landsystems, with potential to develop a new landsystem model for high arctic/sub-polar maritime valley and alpine style glaciations which may subtly deviate from models developed in similar settings in Arctic Norway.

Through I research I hope to explore past, contemporary and future proglacial processes in Northeast Greenland. 


  • 2010-2013 BSc Physical Geography, Durham University
  • 2016-2017 MSc GIS, University of Leeds