Dr Simon Carr, BSc Hons (London), PhD (London),
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography
School of Geography
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
Phone: +44 (0)20 7882 2780
Fax: 020 7882 7479
Much of Simon’s research examines the interactions between climate, glaciers and landscape on short to long timescales. This work is directed towards reconciling the climatic and glaciological modelling of ice-mass behaviour with the geomorphological and sedimentary evidence of recent and Quaternary glaciation. Simon is also interested in the relevance of Geography, seeing the subject as the key link between ‘hard’ science and the wider world. In particular, Simon is working on the ways in which the Internet and global mass-media are used to communicate the science and implications of climate change. Simon is an active member of the Centre for Micromorphology, and is developing new methods and approaches to the study of microscopic characteristics of sediments in a variety of environmental contexts.
Micro-scale Analysis of Sediments
Simon’s primary research expertise focuses on the techniques and applications of thin-section micromorphology in analyzing unconsolidated sediments. He has led developments in the production of thin sections of glacigenic sediments, and the development of criteria for discriminating between subglacial and glacimarine sediments. Significant investment within the Centre for Micromorphology has opened up new avenues of research using SEM and 3D Computed Tomography, and automated analysis of thin sections using a MetriPol birefringence imaging system. These are helping yield fundamental new information on the behaviour and implications of deforming sediment. Whilst Simon has focused primarily on glacial sediments, new work examining the significance of sediment structure on pollutant fluxes demonstrates the application of such techniques to key environmental problems.
Small glaciers and ice-caps are considered by the IPCC to be the most sensitive indicators of climate change, and have a disproportionate influence over rising global sea level on short timescales. It is therefore critical to fully understand the dynamics and climatic sensitivity of small glaciers. Building from a glacial-climatological monitoring programme in central Iceland established in 2002, Simon has instigated a long-term glacier monitoring programme at Kerlingarfjöll. Simon is using studies such as these to inform research on the climatic inferences of former mountain glaciation, reconstructing the form and dynamics of Late Quaternary marginal glaciers in the UK and Southern Africa to provide quantitative data on palaeotemperature and palaeoprecipitation. Such data is critical for the testing and calibration of high resolution climate models.
Late Quaternary Glaciation of NW Europe
Understanding the nature, dynamics and history of glaciation through the Quaternary period is essential to developing better understanding of the implications of recent, current and future climate change. Simon’s research has focused on two key areas of interest. Firstly, interpreting the glacial history of the North Sea is central to developing a better understanding of the relationship of the climatically unstable British ice sheet with the much larger and more stable Fennoscandian ice sheet. With the recent publication of an ice sheet configuration (Carr et al., 2006), Simon’s focus is shifting to examining the chronology of the last glacial cycle. Secondly, the mountainous regions between the edge of the Quaternary Scandinavian ice sheets and the European Alps are of great significance in understanding the nature and synchronaeity of regional glaciation, and also for regional climate reconstruction.
Current Research Students
- Amanda Ferguson (2008–11, PhD) Polyphase deformation in subglacial and proglacial deposits of the UK. College Studentship with support from BGS. Second Supervisor.
- Clare Boston (2008–11, PhD) Patterns and timing of lateglacial glaciation in the Monadhliath Mountains, central Scotland. NERC studentship. Second Supervisor
- Heather Channon (2007–10, PhD): Sediment strain at the boundaries of former ice streams: multi-scale analysis of the role and significance of subglacial sediment deformation. NERC studentship. Principal Supervisor.
Completed Research Students
- Lorna Linch (2006–10, Full-Time PhD): Micromorphology of iceberg scour-marks in the Quaternary record. NERC studentship. Second Supervisor.
- Peter Walton (2004–2010, Full-Time PhD): The ‘added-value’ of eLearning in teaching environmental change in Higher Education. Self-funded project. Principal Supervisor
- Danielle Pearce (2003–2010, Part-Time PhD): Glacier mass-balance response to climate change: assessing the significance of glacier climate as a regional proxy. Self-funded project. Principal Supervisor.
- Christopher Coleman (2002–2006, Full-Time PhD, Oxford Brookes University): The landscape response to rapid climate change: the Lateglacial of the Usk Valley, south Wales. Oxford Brookes Social Sciences & Law Scholarship Bursary. Principal Supervisor.
- Walton, P.J., Carr, S.J. (2011) The role of eLearning in supporting student reflection on climate change. In Haslett, S., France, T., Gedye, S (eds) Pedagogy of Climate Change. GEES Publications, Plymouth. Chapter 7: 78-87.
- Carr, S.J. (2011) Glyn Tarell Geotrail. Fforest Fawr Geopark Geological Trails. Brecon Beacons National Park, Brecon.
- Meer, J.J.M. van der, Carr, S.J., Kjær, K.H. (2010). Mýrdallsjökull’s forefields under the microscope. The micromorphology of meltout and subglacial tills. In: A. Schomacker, J. Krüger & K.H. Kjær (Eds.) The Mýrdallsjökull ice cap, Iceland. Glacial processes, sediments and landforms on an active volcano. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Developments in Quaternary Science 13, 159-180.
- Carr, S.J., Lukas, S., Mills, S.C. (2010) Glacier reconstruction and mass‐balance modelling as a geomorphic and palaeoclimatic tool. Invited Paper for Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 35, 1103-1115.
- Hiemstra, J.F., Carr, S.J. (2010) Ice in Late Quaternary Shetland: British, Scandinavian or local produce? Quaternary Newsletter 120, 25-30.
- Mills, S.C., Grab, S.W., Carr, S.J., (2009) Late Quaternary moraines along the Sekhokong range, eastern Lesotho: contrasting the geomorphic history of north- and south-facing slopes. Geografiska Annaler 91A (2), 121-140.
- Mills, S.C., Grab, S.W., Carr, S.J. (2009) Recognition and palaeoclimatic implications of Late Quaternary niche glaciation in Eastern Lesotho. Journal of Quaternary Science 24, 647-663. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1247.
- Coleman, C.G., Carr, S.J., Parker, A.G. (2009) Modelling topoclimatic controls on palaeoglaciers: implications for inferring palaeoclimate from geomorphic evidence. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 249-259.
- Coleman, C.G., Carr S.J. (2008) Complex relationships between Younger Dryas glacial, periglacial and paraglacial landforms, Brecon Beacons, South Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists Association 119, 259-276.
- Carr, S.J., Coleman, C.G. (2007) An improved approach for the reconstruction of former glacier mass-balance and dynamics. Geomorphology 92, 75-90.
- Carr, S.J., Coleman, C.G., Humpage, A.J., Shakesby, R.A. (eds) (2007) The Quaternary of the Brecon Beacons; Field Guide. Quaternary Research Association, London. 280pp
- Carr, S.J., Engel, Z., Kalvoda, J., Parker, A.G. (2007) Towards a revised model of Late Quaternary mountain glaciation in the Krkonose Mountains, Czech Republic. In Goudie, A.S., Kalvoda, J. (eds.) Geomorphological Variations. P3K Press, Prague, 253-268.
- Carr, S.J., Goddard, M. (2007) Role of particle-size in the development of till fabric: implications for using eigenvectors in understanding glacier dynamics. Boreas 36, 371-385.
- Carr, S.J., Holmes, R., van der Meer, J.J.M., Rose, J. (2006) The Last Glaciation in the North Sea Basin; micromorphological evidence of extensive glaciation. Journal of Quaternary Science 21, 131-153.
- Carr, S.J. (2004) Micro-scale features and structures. Chapter 6 in Evans, D.J.A., and Benn, D.I. (eds) A Practical Guide to the study of Glacial Sediments. Arnold, London, 115-144.
- Carr, S.J., Rose, J. (2003) Till fabric patterns and significance: particle response to subglacial stress. Quaternary Science Reviews 22, 1415-1426.
- Carr, S.J., Engel, Z., Kalvoda, J. Parker, A.G. (2002) Sedimentary evidence for extensive glaciation of the Úpa valley, Krkonose Mountains, Czech Republic. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 46(4) 523-537.
- Carr, S.J. (2001) Micromorphological criteria for discriminating subglacial and glacimarine sediments: evidence from a contemporary tidewater glacier, Spitsbergen. Quaternary International 86, 71-79.
- Carr, S.J. (2001) A glaciological approach for the discrimination of Loch Lomond Stadial glacial landforms in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 112, 253-262.
- Carr, S.J., Haflidason, H., Sejrup, H.P., (2000) Micromorphological evidence supporting Late Weichselian glaciation of the Northern North Sea. Boreas 29, 315-328.
- Carr, S.J. (1999) The micromorphology of Last Glacial Maximum sediments in the southern North Sea. Catena 35, 123-145. 19 citations.
- Carr, S.J., Lee, J.A. (1998) Thin section production of diamicts; problems and solutions. Journal of Sedimentary Research 68, 217-221. 14 citations.
Simon currently contributes to, or is module convenor for the following modules:
GEG4201: Earth Portrait of a Planet
GEG4202: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
GEG4207: Planet Earth: Global Systems
GEG5206: Global Environmental Change
GEG5211: Research Strategies in Physical Environments
GEG6207: Extreme Environments (Not running 2011–12)
GEG6214: Science and Politics of Climate Change
Postgraduate teaching:Simon contributes to the MSc Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway, University of London, teaching a specialist course in Micromorphoplogy of Quaternary Sediments, as part of the collaborative Centre for Micromorphology.
Professional activities and outreach:
Simon is a member of the Fforest Fawr Geopark Management Group. Fforest Fawr (the name translates as 'Great Forest' in English) is a swathe of upland country which was included within the Brecon Beacons National Park when it was designated in 1957. The Geopark is designated on the basis of its rich geological and landscape resources. Simon also acts as a screener and panel member for the Royal Geographical Society Geographical Fieldwork Grant scheme.