The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Neil Ross

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography


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**NEW** May 2020 - My International Glaciological Society (IGS) global seminar 'The Foundation Ice Stream-Acdemy Glacier Complex, Antarctica' is available to view 

Interests: Glacier Geophysics; Near-Surface Geophysics; Antarctic Glacial History; Basal properties of glaciers and ice sheets; Subglacial lakes and hydrology; Quaternary Environments; Permafrost; Peatlands; Geomorphology 

  • Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography (Newcastle University) 2017-present
  • Lecturer in Physical Geography (Newcastle University) 2012-2017
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate in Glacier Geophysics (University of Edinburgh) 2007-2012
  • PhD Earth Sciences (Cardiff University) 2002-2006
  • MSc Quaternary Science (Royal Holloway, London) 2000-2001
  • BSc (Hons) Geography (St Andrews) 1995-1999  


Current projects:

Past projects:

Fingerprinting ‘El Niño Costero’: a unique opportunity to document the signature of an extreme flood event in northern Peru - NERC Urgency Grant (PI Andy Henderson - £52,394) 

Greenland Ice Velocities and Environmental change (GIVE) - Newcastle University Research Excellence Academy (REA) Research Project 2017-2019 (PI Rachel Carr; Postdoctoral Researcher Stephen Brough)

Ice thickness and bed properties in west Greenland to improve ice dynamic and hydrological models (School of GPS Research Committee Grant: £1000)

Peatland geophysics: Geophysical imaging and characterisation of Cors Caron, mid-Wales (Quaternary Research Association Research Grant: £760; School of GPS Research Committee Grant: £800).

Proglacial geophysics:  3D geophysical imaging and quantification of proglacial landscape evolution 2010-2016, Gígjökull, Iceland  (School of GPS Research Committee Grant: £1,000). 

Peatland geophysics & palaeoenvironments: Postglacial environmental history of Wolf Crags and Moss, northern Lake District (School of GPS Research Committee Grant: £1,000).

Ice-penetrating radar: A portable, adaptable, low-frequency ice-penetrating radar system for ice-sheet hydrology and dynamics - Nov 2014 to Oct 2015 (Royal Society Research Grant: £15,000).

Antarctic subglacial topography: Better Beds (Newcastle University Humanities and Social Science Faculty Early Career Research Grant: £3,800).

West Antarctic ice streams:  Airborne geophysical survey (radio-echo sounding, gravity and magnetics) of the Institute and Moller ice streams in West Antarctica. This project, funded by the NERC Antarctic Funding Initiative (AFI), was led by Martin Siegert in collaboration with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, York and Exeter. The project characterised the basal boundary conditions and flow dynamics of ice streams in the Weddell Sea sector of West Antarctica.  By 2014, the project team had published nine research papers detailing their results.

PhD supervision:

Ethan Lee (Newcastle University) - ongoing [lead-supervisor] NERC IAPETUS2 DTP Glacial history of the tropical Andes, Peru

Devin Harrison (Newcastle University) - ongoing [lead-supervisor] NERC IAPETUS DTP Controls on the large-scale sedimentary architecture of Icelandic sandar

Felipe Napoleoni (Durham University) - ongoing [co-supervisor] Subglacial hydrological flow routing and sediment transport of the Ellsworth-Whitmore Block, West Antarctica

Jake Collins-May (Newcastle University) - ongoing [co-supervisor] Newcastle University Research Excellence Academy (REA) The geomorphic history of the Nereidium Montes, Mars

Will Smith (Newcastle University) - ongoing [co-supervisor] Newcastle University Research Excellence Academy (REA) Supraglacial deposition of large rock avalanches as a source of nutrients for glacial and extra-glacial ecosystems

MPhil supervision (Newcastle University):

Lauren Derby - ongoing [lead supervisor]  Subglacial controls on the ice flow of Foundation Ice Stream, Antarctica

Sigurdis Bjorg Jonasdottir - ongoing [co-supervisor] Reconstructing palaeo jokulhlaup magnitude and frequency on the western and northwestern flanks of Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland

Former postgraduate students/projects

Guy Paxman (Durham University) - PhD awarded 2019 [co-supervisor] Antarctic Palaeotopography

Hafeez Jeofry (Imperial College London) - PhD awarded 2019 [co-supervisor] Quantifying ice-sheet vulnerability to internal ice-sheet processes

Kate Winter (Northumbria University) - PhD awarded 2016 [co-supervisor] Englacial stratigraphy, debris entrainment and ice sheet stability of Horseshoe Valley, West Antarctica

Devin Harrison (Newcastle University) [2016-2018] - MPhil Geomorphic Evolution of the Gígjökull Basin - lead supervisor

Jake Collins-May (Newcastle University) [2016-2018] - MPhil The Morphology and Development of Putative Fluvial Landforms in Southern Hale Crater Ejecta; Mars - co-supervisor

Charlotte Bunce (Newcastle University) [2015-2017] - MPhil Contrasting the dynamic response of marine-terminating outlet glaciers in north-west and south-east Greenland to 21st century climate warming - co-supervisor

Aimee Spriggs (Newcastle University) [2013-2016] - MPhil Seismic history of the Banning Fault: insights from geomorphological mapping, surface and curvature analysis. - lead supervisor

Awards: President's Award of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society [2014]

Near-Surface Geophysics at Newcastle University

Physical Geography at Newcastle has a range of near-surface geophysical equipment for environmental research. We have: (a) a suite of ground penetrating radars; (b) an ice-penetrating radar; and (c) a seismic reflection sub-bottom profiling system.

Ground Penetrating Radars (GPRs):

Ice-penetrating radar:

Blue Systems Integration ice-penetrating radar ( with 5 MHz and 10 MHz antenna sets (Mingo and Flowers, 2010). The system has been deployed on the Greenland Ice Sheet, where it has sounded ice up to 550 m thick with 10 MHz antennas.

Sub-bottom profiling system:

SyQwest CHIRP sub-bottom profiler, with 3.5 kHz and 10 kHz transducers. The system can be configured for use in either: (a) larger boats with our Bathy-2010PC ( or; (b) smaller boats using our StrataBox ( 


Harrison D, Ross N, Russell AJ, Dunning SA. Post-jökulhlaup geomorphic evolution of the Gígjökull Basin, Iceland. Annals of Glaciology 2019, 60(80), 127-137

Mingo, L., and Flowers, G.E., (2010).  An integrated lightweight ice-penetrating radar system. Journal of Glaciology, 56, 709-714.

Ross, N., Sole, A.J., Livingstone, S.J., Igneczi, A., and Morlighem, M., (2018). Near-margin ice thickness and subglacial water routing, Leverett Glacier, Greenland. Arctic, Alpine and Antarctic Research, 50, e1420949.



Undergraduate Teaching (2020/21)

GEO3128 - Polar Environments  (module leader)

Postgraduate Teaching (2020/21)

Awards: 'Taught Supervisor of the Year' [Newcastle University Students' Union (NUSU) Teaching Excellent Awards 2016]