The Physics of Glaciers, 3rd Edition



At one time or another, who among us has not marveled at the beauty of the snow and ice-covered Alps, or admired the tenacity of polar explorers and the adventurous spirits of climbers on the glacier-clad summits of the high Himalaya? The fascination of distant ice covered expanses has enlisted more than a few recruits into the ranks of glaciologists, but many, if not most, of today's students of glaciology are a slightly less romantic and more mathematical lot, attracted by the quantitative world of physics and the applied sciences of polar climatology, ice mechanics, and snow hydrology.

Once a relatively quiet branch of geophysics filled with venturesome climbers capable of reaching the objects of their study, glaciology is now a field that is fueled by a rapid influx of talent, technology, and new ideas due to the increasingly acknowledged relationships between global climate, sea level, and ice sheets. While the understanding of glacier processes has seen significant progress, as a result there is also a sense of being overwhelmed by the voluminous and sometimes speculative theories and field observations associated with an expanding discipline.