Menu

The School of Geography

People menu

Dr Simon Carr, BSc Hons (London), PhD (London),

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

email: s.j.carr@qmul.ac.uk
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7882 2780
Location: Geography building, Room 210

Profile

Simon Carr

Twitter: @DrSimonCarr

I joined QMUL in 2006, having previously lectured at Oxford Brookes University from 1997. My research and teaching focuses on 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 both modern and past glaciation.

Key publications:

  • Mills, S. C., Grab, S. W., Rea, B. R., Carr, S. J., & Farrow, A. (2012). Shifting westerlies and precipitation patterns during the Late Pleistocene in southern Africa determined using glacier reconstruction and mass balance modelling. Quaternary Science Reviews, 55(C), 145–159. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.08.012
  • Hodgkins, R., Carr, S., Pálsson, F., Guðmundsson, S., & Björnsson, H. (2012a). Modelling variable glacier lapse rates using ERA-Interim reanalysis climatology: an evaluation at Vestari- Hagafellsjökull, Langjökull, Iceland. International Journal of Climatology, 33(2), 410–421. doi:10.1002/joc.3440
  • Hodgkins, R., Carr, S., Pálsson, F., Guðmundsson, S., & Björnsson, H. (2012b). Sensitivity analysis of temperature-index melt simulations to near-surface lapse rates and degree-day factors at Vestari-Hagafellsjökull, Langjökull, Iceland. Hydrological Processes, 26(24), 3736–3748. doi:10.1002/hyp.8458
  • 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.

Teaching

I teach on a range of undergraduate Geography and Environmental Science modules at QMUL, and also contribute to the MSc Quaternary Science at RHUL. I am a great believer in making the connections between ‘traditional’ Human and Physical Geography, and view Geography as the discipline that is best suited for the communication of science to a wider audience.

Student evaluation of my teaching highlights that I am ‘engaging and informative, and lectures are topical and interesting’ (GEG6214), ‘lectures were well taught, stimulating and interesting’ (GEG5206) and ‘lectures are engaging and interactive’ (GEG4209). I was nominated in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for a Drapers Award for teaching and learning, and in 2013 was the winner of the QMSU Teaching Award for Employability Enhancement for embedding employability and career skills into GEG6214: Science & Politics of Climate Change.

Research

Research interests:

My research focuses on 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. My research broadly fits into three main themes:

 

glacimarine sediments
Thin section of modern glacimarine sediments, St. Jonsfjorden, Svalbard. Thin sections provide an un-paralled opportunity to examine undisturbed sediment and soil samples, allowing examining of in situ structures using light and scanning electron microscopy.

1. Micro-scale Analysis of Sediments: my primary research expertise focuses on the techniques and applications of microscopic analysis of unconsolidated sediments. I have led developments in the production of thin sections of glacigenic sediments, developing criteria for discriminating between subglacial and glacimarine sediments. Significant new research using SEM and 3D X-Ray CT, and automated analysis of thin sections are yielding 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. 

 


Automatic Weather Station next to Fannborgjökull, Kerlingarfjöll, Central Iceland. This is one of 3 permanent AWS installations in central Iceland providing year-round meteorological data. This data is compared with mass-balance studies on the small glacier in the background, as well as larger scale analysis of the nearby Langjökull ice cap. It is suggested that these Icelandic glaciers are the most climatically sensitive in the Northern Hemisphere.

2. Marginal Glaciation: 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, I am developing a long-term glacier monitoring programme at Kerlingarfjöll. I am using such studies 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. Funded by the Royal Society, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

 

micromorphology
Simon has used thin section micromorphology to reconstruct the events of the last glaciation in the North Sea basin. The maps show the extent of ice at three key stages, whilst the timeline shows a tentative chronology of advance and retreat during the Last Glacial Maximum.
3. 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. My research has focused on interpreting the glacial history of the North Sea, which 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. 

Publications

  • Carr, S. J., & Hiemstra, J. F. (2013). Sedimentary evidence against a local ice-cap on the Shetland Isles at the Last Glacial Maximum. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 124(3), 484–502. doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2012.10.006
  • Mills, S. C., Grab, S. W., Rea, B. R., Carr, S. J., & Farrow, A. (2012). Shifting westerlies and precipitation patterns during the Late Pleistocene in southern Africa determined using glacier reconstruction and mass balance modelling. Quaternary Science Reviews, 55(C), 145–159. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.08.012
  • Hodgkins, R., Carr, S., Pálsson, F., Guðmundsson, S., & Björnsson, H. (2012a). Modelling variable glacier lapse rates using ERA-Interim reanalysis climatology: an evaluation at Vestari- Hagafellsjökull, Langjökull, Iceland. International Journal of Climatology, 33(2), 410–421. doi:10.1002/joc.3440
  • Hodgkins, R., Carr, S., Pálsson, F., Guðmundsson, S., & Björnsson, H. (2012b). Sensitivity analysis of temperature-index melt simulations to near-surface lapse rates and degree-day factors at Vestari-Hagafellsjökull, Langjökull, Iceland. Hydrological Processes, 26(24), 3736–3748. doi:10.1002/hyp.8458
  • Carr, S. J. (2012) Glyn Tarell Geotrail. Fforest Fawr Geopark Geological Trails. Brecon Beacons National Park, Brecon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Carr, S. J., Lee, J.A. (1998) Thin section production of diamicts; problems and solutions. Journal of Sedimentary Research 68, 217-221.

PhD Supervision

Postgraduate research opportunities in Earth Surface Science

Current Research Students

  • Astrid Ruiter: (2012–15) Glacitectonics of the Dogger Bank, North Sea Basin. Joint QMUL/BGS scholarship. Primary Supervisor.
  • John Groves: (2012–15) 3D structure of environmental materials. QMUL Principal’s scholarship. Primary Supervisor.
  • Amanda Ferguson: (2008–14) Polyphase deformation in subglacial and proglacial deposits of the UK. College Studentship with support from BGS. Second Supervisor.

Completed Research Students

  • Clare Boston: (2008–12) Patterns and timing of lateglacial glaciation in the Monadhliath Mountains, central Scotland. NERC studentship. Second Supervisor.
  • Heather Channon (2007–12): Sediment strain at the boundaries of former ice streams: multi-scale analysis of the role and significance of subglacial sediment deformation. NERC studentship. Primary Supervisor.
  • Peter Walton (2004–2011): The ‘added-value’ of eLearning in teaching environmental change in Higher Education. Self-funded project. Primary Supervisor.          
  • Lorna Linch (2006–10): Micromorphology of iceberg scour-marks in the Quaternary record. NERC studentship. Second Supervisor.
  • Danielle Pearce (2003–2010, MPhil): Palaeoclimatic significance of Younger Dryas glaciation of the Lake District, Northern England . Self-funded. Primary Supervisor.
  • Christopher Coleman (2002–2006, 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. Primary Supervisor.

I welcome expressions of interest and enquiries from potential PhD students who would like to work on research projects related to my fields of expertise.

Public engagement

I am a member of the Fforest Fawr Geopark Management Group, and also of the Strategic Planning Group for the Geopark. 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.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and is a member of the RGS-IBG Fieldwork & Expeditions Committee (since 2012). Since 2009, I have been a panel member for the Royal Geographical Society Geographical Fieldwork Grant scheme, which awards funds to encourage undergraduate students to undertake independent overseas fieldwork.

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.

Bookmark and Share
Return to top