Lead PI for the project, Duncan is Associate Professor in Geomorphology in the School of Geography, University of Leeds. His research focuses on the evolution of glacial and alpine environments, with particular emphasis on glacier flow and the processes controlling glacier mass loss in the Himalaya. He is a skilled remote sensing analyst known for developing optical- and SAR-based methods for retrieving surface velocity data from satellite imagery, and for employing novel field-based methods such as Structure-from-Motion to study geophysical processes. His early work focussed on the spatial and temporal evolution of Himalayan glacial lakes and their association with inactive glacier ice, showing for the first time the extent of stagnant debris-covered tongues in the Everest region of Nepal. He has since worked on deriving multi-temporal surface velocities on surge-type glaciers in the Karakoram to investigate the basal processes controlling their initiation, and most recently on forecasting the evolution of Himalayan glacier ice under an insulating debris cover. He has fourteen years’ experience working on Himalayan glaciers and has led successful field campaigns in Pakistan, India and Nepal, including three seasons at Khumbu Glacier.
Excited about the project (science) because:
We’re really not sure whether this will work or not! If it does, then we will gain the first real insight into the englacial properties of these glaciers – so it should hopefully be a voyage of discovery!
Excited about the project (non-science) because:
I get to eat lots of Haribo guilt-free! And I get to return to the most amazing scenery anywhere in the world – opening my office door every morning to look up the Khumbu icefall is an absolute joy (and privilege).
Favourite spare-time activity:
Running – although we share a love-hate relationship at times – and watching the mighty toon – howay the lads!
Highest altitude before the project (and where):
5500 m – at this very location. Comically, the first time I got this high I left my camera in the lodge at the foot of the hill (5000 m) – but being so young and spritely back then I managed to leg it back down and up again before Profs Hambrey and Glasser arrived at the top.
Worst fieldwork experience:
None – ever. Fieldwork can’t be bad. We’re so lucky to have a job where people pay us to explore wonderful places. That said, holding onto my tent in hurricane-force winds in Arctic Sweden wasn’t exactly a laugh…