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Ellyn M. Enderlin

Assistant Professor

Department of Geosciences

Boise State University

Office: 3167 Environmental Research Building

Welcome to Boise State Glaciology!

My group's research aims to advance our understanding of the varying sensitivity of glaciers to climate change so that society is able to prepare for, and hopefully mitigate/minimize, the impacts of glacier loss on the Earth system. Recent and ongoing research projects focus on combining remotely-sensed and in situ observations to develop a better understanding of controls on the flow of marine-terminating glaciers (i.e., glacier dynamics) as well as seasonal snow in mountain regions and on glaciers. I am particularly interested in glacier-ocean interactions, namely submarine melting and iceberg calving, and how changes in these interactions influence the rate of glacier mass loss. My group has conducted a number of projects focused on ice-ocean interactions, including remote sensing projects focused on mapping glacier terminus position change and iceberg melting, as well as numerical modeling of marine-terminating glaciers. My group is part of the larger Cryosphere Geophysics And Remote Sensing (CryoGARS) group in the Department of Geosciences at Boise State University and I collaborate with a number of faculty at Boise State and the University of Idaho. Please contact me if you're interested in joining my group!

I am passionate about getting undergraduate students involved in research so that they leave college with the ability to conduct research and convey their research to the public. I am particularly interested in providing research opportunities to women and other under-represented populations in STEM fields since my undergraduate research experiences are what got me interested in glacier research. In line with my interests in mentoring to promote early-career scientists, I am currently an early-career representative to the Cryosphere section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). If you have early-career concerns that you would like addressed by AGU, feel free to email me.

I also enjoy giving presentations on glaciers and climate change to middle and high school students (see Outreach tab). If you're a teacher looking for a guest speaker, please contact me!

Group News

Spring 2021

Even though I welcomed a new addition to my family on January 10th (Tyler Jacob Enderlin) and I'm on maternity leave for most of the semester, my students continue to make great research progress! Some highlights are listed below, including links to some recent publications and upcoming presentations.

  • Congrats to undergrad intern Rebecca Muhlheim for winning an American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Presentation Award for her research on Greenland's peripheral glaciers.

  • Congrats to Andrew Nolan and Jukes Liu on the publication of their Honors undergraduate and MS theses research projects, respectively.

  • Welcome to new undergraduate research assistant Maddie Gendreau!

  • Check out undergraduate research assistant Caitlin Oliver's work on Antarctic iceberg melting at the Boise State Undergraduate Research Showcase on Friday, April 23rd. More info here: https://sites.google.com/boisestate.edu/urs2021

  • Check out the research of my 4 graduate students at the Boise State Graduate Research Showcase on April 7th-9th. More info here: https://www.boisestate.edu/graduatecollege/gss/ Congrats to Rainey and Jukes for winning Deans awards for their presentations!

(above) Rebecca Muhlheim's OSPA-winning AGU poster.

(right) Caitlin Oliver's research showcase poster.

Colten Elkin MS Thesis Defense

Colten successfully defended his thesis on March 3rd. Congrats!! A recording of his defense can be accessed here.

Rainey Aberle MS Thesis Defense

Kate Bollen MS Thesis Defense

I had the privilege of giving an invited seminar about my research on icebergs as part of the University of Minnesota Polar Geospatial Center's Users Webinar Series at the end of September and that video has now been posted on Youtube. If you want to hear about why I have been using high-resolution commercial satellite images to analyze iceberg elevations, I encourage you to check out the video!

My group focuses on developing an improved understanding of modern changes to the Earth's cryosphere. Although I am a glaciologist and most of my research has focused on glacier change, I also have been analyzing iceberg elevation data as a means to infer changes in ice-ocean interactions near glacier margins and I have new projects that also explore the use of a variety of tools to improve estimates of snow depth on and off glaciers in mountain regions.

Check out the Polar Literacy website: https://polar-ice.org/polar-literacy-initiative/. There are several video interviews with early career scientists, interactive data stories that can be worked into classroom activities (https://polar-ice.org/polar-data-stories/), and a number of other resources!

I was selected to work with a large interdisciplinary group focused on Polar Literacy (primarily run by Rutgers and Ohio State) and was able to create this AWESOME video explaining my work and how I got interested in studying glaciers. Apologies for the horrid background in my at-home temporary office due to covid-related campus closures! My research fits under Polar Literacy Principle #2: ICE IS THE DOMINANT FEATURE OF THE POLAR REGIONS.

Fall 2020

With the upheaval in normal academic lives caused by covid, I never updated the page to reflect all my group's activities from last Winter!

Updates from the covid era:

  1. Rainey Aberle, Kate Bollen, and Colten Elkin had to postpone their thesis proposal defenses. They are now presenting their proposals in September 2020!

September 16 @ 3pm (https://boisestate.zoom.us/j/99707348512): Colten Elkin's proposal on Mapping seasonal snow fluxes in the western United States and Alaska using ICESat-2

September 18 @ 3pm (https://boisestate.zoom.us/j/92543695397?pwd=MG90Z29FTmlGLzdXY2g3RFVvcXltdz09): Rainey Aberle's proposal on Assessing controls on Antarctic Peninsula glacier dynamics using a numerical ice flow model

September 23 @ 3pm (https://boisestate.zoom.us/j/98983277624?pwd=ZXNxNFhObFZ5aXQyNVljci9HamlRUT09): Kate Bollen's proposal on Quantification and analysis of dynamic mass loss from Greenland’s peripheral glaciers

  1. Jukes Liu successfully completed her MS thesis "Automated glacier terminus detection for Greenland's peripheral glaciers" and submitted a paper describing the new method she developed for mapping glacier termini in optical satellite imagery. Congrats Jukes! She will be staying as an EGGhead to complete her PhD in Geophysics, with research projects expanding on analysis of marine-terminating glacier discharge and iceberg calving as well as glacier surging.

  1. I recently received funding from the National Science Foundation Arctic Natural Sciences program to study relationships between glacier dynamics and subglacial hydrology through analysis of detailed in situ observations, remote sensing data, and modeling activities focused on Turner Glacier in SE Alaska. In early fall 2020, the glacier will be instrumented with 5 on-ice GNSS/GPS (with a rock base station) to map glacier speed and elevation change with high precision, 5 on-ice and 6 pairs of off-ice seismic stations to map subglacial water flow, 1 autonomous stationary ice-penetrating radar to map thickness and en/subglacial properties, and 2 on-ice automated weather stations to constrain surface accumulation and melt. Photos to follow!

  1. There will be several openings for new students in my group over the next year or so! I received funding from the NASA EPSCoR program to strengthen the cyosphere research program in Idaho through mountain glaciers and snow research and education efforts at Boise State and the University of Idaho. More details will be provided on the EPSCoR program soon, but the project will fund 3 grad students at BSU and 1 at UI so please contact me if you're interested in a graduate research project focused on the cryosphere!

  1. I will also be giving a number of (remote) talks this fall! Check out my University of Minnesota Polar Geospatial Center talk on high-resolution digital elevation models for iceberg analysis on September 30 @ 11am US Mountain Time and International Glaciological Society talk on glacier ice-ocean interactions on October 14 @ 2pm US Mountain Time. Links to follow.

Winter/Spring 2019

Before the covid pandemic sent everything into chaos, my students participated in a number of cryosphere-focused field opportunities! Below I've included some photos from graduate students Rainey Aberle & Kate Bollen's travels to Volcan Villarrica in Chile for fieldwork on the glacier-clad volcano (lower left = arriving at the glacier), graduate student Colten Elkin's snow sampling short-course in New Hampshire (upper left = drone demonstration), and from Bogus Basin snow sampling for the NASA SnowEx program (right).

FALL 2019

Check out the bios for all the new students in the Enderlin Glaciology Group (aka the EGGheads) under the Students tab! We have a diverse set of ongoing projects, ranging from the development of new methods to automatically map changes in glacier length, to assessing spatio-temporal patterns in mass loss from Greenland's peripheral glaciers, to modeling of the response of glaciers to ocean change inferred from satellite-derived iceberg melt rates, to quantifying spatial patterns in snow depth in the mountains using ICESat-2 laser altimeter data. Expect to see results from these research projects at conferences and publications in the next year or so!

If you want to get my advice on navigating your career and starting a family, check out my guest blog post for USAPECS https://usapecs.wixsite.com/usapecs/post/personal-and-professional-success-are-not-mutually-exclusive-by-ellyn-enderlin. I also recommend that you attend the USAPECS Career Development Panel on Monday, Dec. 9th, from 2-3pm in the Moscone South Career Center Theatre and the informal women in the cryosphere social at the Mikkeller Bar on Tuesday, Dec. 10th, at ~8pm (after the AGU Cryosphere Business Meeting and Reception). There will be tons of people at both events to provide diverse insights on early career issues.

It's a relatively light AGU year for my group but check out the following presentations if you're in San Francisco for the 2019 Fall Meeting, including my talk Monday at 5pm. Also, if you're early in your career and interested in things cold and snowy/icy, don't miss the USAPECS Career Development Panel on Monday, December 9th at 2pm in the Career Center Theatre in Moscone South. I'll be sitting on the panel this year, (hopefully) dishing out helpful advice on navigating a career path that may be a little more circuitous than you had planned and time management tips that have helped me stay happy and mostly sane as I've navigated academia and motherhood.


What are glaciers and why is it important that they are shrinking? How and why do I study glaciers? Have I always wanted to be a glaciologist/geophysicist? What other things do geophysicists study & what careers are out there? Check-out https://futurumcareers.com/why-do-some-glaciers-melt-faster-than-others for my answers to these questions AND ideas for activities that you can incorporate into classroom/outreach activities!


MS students Will Kochtitzky & Mariama Dryak and Honors undergrads Andrew Nolan & Emily Miller all completed their theses and earned their degrees this spring! Congrats all!

Recent PhD graduate Jessica Scheick & Will Kochtitzky also had three papers published between them:

Kochtitzky, W., H. Jiskoot, L. Copland, E. Enderlin, R. McNabb, K. Kreutz, & B. Main, 2019. Variations in terminus advance, kinematics, and mass redistribution during eight surges of Donjek Glacier, St. Elias Range, Canada, 1935 to 2016. J. Glaciol., doi:10.1017/jog.2019.34 .

Scheick, J., E. M. Enderlin, & G. Hamilton, 2019. Semi-automated open water iceberg detection from Landsat applied to Disko Bay, West Greenland. J. Glaciol., doi:10.1017/jog.2019.23.

Scheick, J., E. M. Enderlin, E. M. Miller, & G. Hamilton, 2019. First order estimates of coastal bathymetry in Ilulissat and Naajarsuit Fjords, Greenland, from remotely-sensed iceberg observations. Remote Sensing, 11(8), 935, doi:10.3390/rs11080935.

My group (clockwise from lower left): Emily Miller, Mariama Dryak, Lynn Kaluzienski, Jukes Liu, me, Will Kochtitzky, Andrew Nolan, and Jessica Scheick.

AGU 2018

Going to the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in 2018? Check-out my group's presentations, including my talks on Monday afternoon (C14A-01 @ 4pm) and Wednesday morning (C31B-02 @ 8:15am)!

Group dinner winter 2018 (from left to right): Peter Enderlin, Ellyn Enderlin (+ Winston Enderlin), Andrew Nolan, Emily Miller, Jessica Scheick, Lynn Kaluzienski, Jukes Liu, & Mariama Dryak. Missing: William Kochtitzky.

Fall 2018

New graduate student: The CCI Glaciology & CompuMAINE groups are happy to add Julia ("Jukes") Liu to our teams! Jukes will be developing an automated technique to map changes in glacier length over time using the Landsat image archive. Welcome Jukes!

Summer 2018

The UMaine Glaciology and CompuMAINE labs have paired-up on the NASA-funded project “Quantification and Analysis of Greenland Glacier and Ice Cap Discharge using Automated Landsat Terminus Change Time Series and NASA Data Products”. This is a joint project led by Dr. Ellyn Enderlin from the Climate Change Institute and School of Earth and Climate Sciences and Dr. Andre Khalil, founder and director of the CompuMAINE Lab. The CompuMAINE lab is collaborating with the Enderlin lab to develop an automated satellite image analysis procedure to help answer the questions below.

The overall aim of the proposed project is to quantify dynamic mass loss from Greenland’s peripheral glaciers and ice caps (GICs) over the last two decades and to assess variations in their ice discharge with respect to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. Two questions guide this work:

1) Has terminus retreat and/or ice flow acceleration substantially contributed to mass loss from Greenland’s GICs over the last two decades?

2) Do spatial and temporal patterns in Greenland GIC dynamics differ from the ice sheet’s outlet glaciers due to differences in their sensitivity to atmospheric and oceanic forcing?

Group photo at the final group lunch of spring 2018 (from left to right): Mariama Dryak, Jess Scheick, Lynn Kaluzienski (skyping on phone), Emily Miller, Andrew Nolan, & Will Kochtitzky.

Winter/Spring 2018

PAPERS! PAPERS! AND MORE PAPERS! If you are interested in learning about the use of remotely-sensed iceberg melt rates as a means to infer variations in ocean conditions in glacial fjords, check out my paper recently published in The Cryosphere: https://www.the-cryosphere.net/12/565/2018/. The iceberg melt data that my students and I produced for Greenland suggest that although ocean conditions in glacial fjords generally adhere to expected spatial patterns based on variations in regional air and ocean temperatures, differences in fjord geometry lead to deviations from expected patterns: long fjords packed with icebergs have lower melt rates than fjords where icebergs are rapidly transported to the open ocean. Whether these variations are due to differences in water temperature or circulation between fjords is an area of future interest.

Masters student Will Kochtitzky also recently had his undergraduate thesis work published in the Journal of Glaciology: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology/article/improved-estimates-of-glacier-change-rates-at-nevado-coropuna-ice-cap-peru/AE2C29B25C4757967B2C6CEB8C918C33. Congrats Will! He mapped glacier change at the Coropuna Ice Cap in Peru using Landsat satellite images.

I also have a paper on variations in controls on mass loss from Columbia Glacier in Alaska at seasonal to inter-annual time scales that is under review at the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. Check back for updates on the publication of these papers and more!

Fall 2017

New graduate student: The CCI Glaciology group is happy to add Mariama Dryak to our team! Mariama is TAing this year and will also be assisting with research on Antarctic iceberg melting. Mariama will be using very high-resolution satellite images to estimate iceberg melt rates around Antarctica and (hopefully) link melt rate variations in space and time to changes in ocean conditions and melting beneath Antarctica's ice shelves. Welcome Mariama!

Polar-ICE Data Story: I've been working with the Polar-ICE (Polar Interdisciplinary Coordinated Education; https://polar-ice.org/) program to develop an interactive learning module on glacier change that meets US grade 6-9 Next Generation Science Standards. The short module pairs real satellite observations of glacier retreat and air temperature change at Hintereisferner, Austria, with the global carbon dioxide record to help students understand causes and effects of global warming. The data stories are accompanied by a variety of complementary resources so that teachers can build lesson plans that include real-world data analysis and fit seamlessly into their curricula. Check-out the data story here: https://polar-ice.org/focus-areas/polar-data-stories/

Winter 2017

New Project on Antarctic Icebergs: Starting in June, I will be expanding the scope of my research on iceberg melting as part of an NSF-funded project titled "Antarctic Submarine Melt Variability from Remote Sensing of Icebergs". The project will compare spatial and temporal variations in iceberg melt rates, obtained using repeat very-high resolution (~0.5 m pixel width) satellite images, with variations in ice shelf thinning and ocean forcing. The major objectives of the project are to determine whether (1) differences in iceberg melting can be used as a proxy for variations in melting of Antarctica's ice shelves and (2) current ocean models are capable of simulating changes in ocean forcing, which have important implications for our ability to accurately predict future changes in Antarctic ice shelf stability.

Fall 2016

UMaine Glaciology in the News! Check-out the press release issued by the American Geophysical Union on iceberg melting in Greenland's glacial fjords: http://news.agu.org/press-release/most-meltwater-in-greenland-fjords-likely-comes-from-icebergs-not-glaciers/

New undergraduate research assistant: Time-lapse photos of glaciers and glacial fjords, like those featured in the movie "Chasing Ice", provide the opportunity to observe rapid changes in ice-ocean interactions. Undergraduate Mike Driscoll is currently working with time-lapse photos from Helheim Glacier in SE Greenland (see real-time photos here: http://glacierresearch.org/realtime-images.html) to characterize changes in iceberg calving. These data will be used to quantify iceberg calving volumes, which will be compared to glacier stress time series in order to assess the glacier's sensitivity to changes in terminus position.

New graduate student: The CCI Glaciology group is happy to add a new graduate student, Will Kochtitzky. Will is assisting with research on my Greenland iceberg melting project: he is extracting iceberg meltwater flux and melt rate estimates for ~6 fjords in Greenland using very high-resolution satellite images. Welcome Will!

Spring 2016

Undergraduate Research: Undergraduate research assistant and UMaine junior, Caroline Carrigan, presented her research results on iceberg melting at the UMaine Center for Undergraduate Research symposium. This was Caroline's first scientific poster! She presented her preliminary results on submarine melting for icebergs calved from Alison Glacier in NW Greenland and Zachariae Isstrom in NE Greenland. She's found that 2011 iceberg melt rates were similar in both locations, with an average of ~0.04 m/d and no significant seasonal variations. She'll be expanding her datasets to investigate seasonal and inter-annual variations in iceberg submarine melting near these two glaciers during her senior year at UMaine.