Brent Minchew

Assistant Professor
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

Office: 54-310

Phone: 617-324-3704


Research Summary

I am a geophysicist working to understand the interactions between climate, the cryosphere, and the solid Earth. I use a combination of geodetic observations—primarily interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)—and physical models to study dynamical systems and their various responses to environmental forcing. Most of my research focuses on the dynamics of glaciers, with an emphasis on the mechanics of glacier beds, ice-ocean interactions, and ice rheology. By modulating ice flow and directly influencing glacier erosion rates, these factors play critical roles in glacier and ice sheet evolution, the dynamic response of glaciers to climate change, and the impact of glaciers on landform evolution and the global carbon cycle over human to geological timescales. My preferred approach to understanding complex systems is to focus on short-timescale (hourly to sub-decadal) variations in the dynamics of large-scale systems in response to known forcings. Examples of this work include spatiotemporal observations and models of the dynamic response of glaciers to surface meltwater flux, ocean tidal forcing, and ice shelf thinning. Read more

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