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Catriona Fyffe

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Institute of Science & the Environment

Contact Details


tel: 01905 542440

I have a particular interest in glaciology and hydrology and specialise in understanding how a supraglacial debris cover influences the melt and drainage system of glaciers. Methods such as dye tracing, measurements of glacier velocity and monitoring of the runoff from the proglacial stream are used to investigate the glacier drainage system. My work also involves modelling the influence of debris on glacial melt, based on weather data collected from the glacier. More recently, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones) have become a useful tool within my research, since they can be used to collect high resolution imagery and elevation data about the glacier surface.


PhD in Geography ‘The Hydrology of Debris-covered Glaciers’, Dundee University
BSc (Hons.) Geography and Environmental Science, Dundee University

Teaching & Research

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

I am involved in teaching on the BSc Geography and BSc Physical Geography courses, with my teaching relating to a wide range of physical geography topics. Current teaching covers:

  • GEOG1110 Dynamic Earth
  • GEOG1100 Geographical Investigations
  • GEOG2120 Mountain Environments, Landscapes and Hazards
  • GEOG3002 Independent Study in Geography

Research Interests

I am currently involved with three strands of glaciology/hydrology research:

  • the hydrology of debris-covered glaciers - specifically the impact of a debris cover on the structure and evolution of the hydrological system, and consequent impacts on the glacier dynamics and proglacial runoff signal;
  • the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to quantify the grain size of river gravel bars;
  • ice melt (ablation) and debris cover formation in dirty ice areas (where ice has a discontinuous cover of debris), investigated using UAVs and modelling methods.  

I am a member of the River Science Research Group.

Professional Bodies

Professional Bodies



Shaw, T. E., Brock, B. W., Fyffe, C. L., Pellicciotti, F., Rutter, N. and Diotri, F. (2016) Air temperature distribution and energy balance modelling of a debris-covered glacier, Journal of Glaciology, 62 (231) 185-198.

Fyffe, C. L., Reid, T. D., Brock, B. W., Kirkbride, M. P., Diolaiuti, G., Smiraglia, C. and Diotri, F. (2014) A distributed energy-balance melt model of an alpine debris-covered glacier, Journal of Glaciology, 60 (221) 587-602.

Fyffe, C. L. (2013) Section 4.3: Tracer Investigations. In: Clarke, L. (ed.) Geomorphological Techniques (Online Edition). British Society for Geomorphology; London, UK. ISSN: 2047-0371.

Fyffe, C. L. (2012) The hydrology of debris-covered glaciers, University of Dundee, PhD thesis.

External Responsibilities

External Responsibilities