Ellyn M. Enderlin

Research Assistant Professor
Climate Change Institute &
School of Earth and Climate Sciences
University of Maine
Email: ellyn.enderlin@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter: @glacier_doc

My research projects focus on combining remotely-sensed and in situ observations and numerical ice flow modeling to develop a better understanding of the environmental triggering mechanisms and internal controls of marine-terminating glacier behavior (i.e., glacier dynamics). I am particularly interested in glacier-ocean interactions, namely submarine melting and iceberg calving, and how changes in these interactions influence the rate of mass loss from the fast-flowing glaciers that drain the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. I completed my Ph.D. research under the supervision of Dr. Ian Howat (Glacier Dynamics Group, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center) in 2013. Since then, I have been working  at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute. Information on my research interests can be found under the Research tab.

I am also 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.

I am actively involved in a number of outreach activities.
I co-chaired the US national committee for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (USAPECS) from 2015-2017 and I am currently an early-career representative to the Cryosphere Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). If you have ideas for USAPECS activities (webinars, blog posts, workshops, panel discussions, socials, etc.) or 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 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.

Group News

Summer 2018

NASA funding is now available to support a 2-year Masters in glaciology and remote sensing starting in Fall 2018 (or later if necessary)!

The UMaine Glaciology and CompuMAINE labs are looking for an interdisciplinary Masters student who will assist in 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 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?

The CompuMAINE Lab (Computational Modeling, Analysis of Imagery, and Numerical Experiments) is an image and signal processing, analysis, and modeling laboratory located at the University of Maine flagship campus. The CompuMAINE lab is collaborating with the Enderlin lab to develop an automated satellite image analysis procedure to help answer the questions above. The graduate student will be expected to lead the numerical analyses under the co-mentoring of Drs. Enderlin and Khalil. The graduate student will also be expected to present the results of his/her analysis at relevant scientific meetings (for which travel funds are available) and assist with manuscript preparation. A full stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance coverage are available, for two years.

Please contact Dr. Ellyn Enderlin or Dr. Andre Khalil if you are interested in learning more about this graduate opportunity.

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

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/

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!

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.