Accessibility statement

Francesca Falcini
Phd Student



Francesca is a PhD student who is interested in glaciology, remote sensing, and GIS. Her current research project is focussed on the roughness of palaeo-ice stream beds. After completing her MSc, where she researched the effect of ice shelf collapse on tributary glaciers for her dissertation, she worked for two years at the Environment Agency. This was a varied role that included working in the groundwater and asset performance teams. However, she was drawn back to the world of glaciers and started her PhD at the University of York in January 2015.

She is a British Society for Geomorphology (BSG) postgraduate forum rep and a keen tweeter. For icy insights find her on Twitter @FranFalcini.  


2015 - present

PhD Student

Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

2011 - 2012

MSc  Glaciology

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University

2008 - 2011

BSc (Hons) Physical Geography

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University



Description of PhD

Title: Using surface roughness to explore patterns of palaeo-fast glacier flow and landscape evolution in deglaciated terrain

Supervisors: Dr. David Rippin and Dr. Katherine Selby

Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Description of thesis

My PhD project is focussed on calculating roughness of palaeo ice stream beds. Bed roughness is the vertical variation of terrain over a given horizontal distance. Ice streams are an important control on the behaviour of ice sheets, and in turn, bed roughness is one of a number of controls on ice stream location and flow. However, the inaccessibility of the bed beneath contemporary ice sheets has hampered research, limiting the ability to accurately model ice sheets. Radio Echo Sounding (RES) profiles have enabled measurements of macro scale (> 10 km horizontal length) bed roughness underneath ice streams in Antarctica. However, derived roughness maps are relatively coarse, which makes interpretation of bed roughness results difficult, and does not allow for a range of bed roughness scales to be measured. Palaeo-ice streams can be used as analogues of active ice streams and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) such as NEXTmap (5 m resolution) provide a high resolution 3D data set which has the potential to produce roughness signatures for individual landform and bedform types. This project will quantify bed roughness of palaeo-ice streams, and compare the bed roughness of different glacial landforms and bedforms 


Selected publications

Falcini, FAM (2012). Acceleration of the Sjögren and Röhss Glaciers following the collapse of the Prince Gustav Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula. MSc Thesis, Aberystwyth University.

Contact details

Francesca Falcini
PhD Student
Department of Environment and Geography
Wentworth Way, University of York
YO10 5NG