Dan Lowry

PhD student Dan Lowry in front of a watefall


Phone: 04 463 5004
Email: Dan.Lowry@vuw.ac.nz
Office: CO 511


BSc Brown (2012); MSc Michigan (2014)
PhD candidate

PhD thesis

Working title

Climate-forced ice sheet modelling of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica


Project aim and description

The transition between the grounded ice sheet and floating ice shelf, known as the grounding line, acts as a key control on marine ice sheet dynamics by determining the ice flux from the grounded ice sheet. An increase in this flux, in the form of a retreat, contributes to global sea level rise. This is of particular relevance for the West Antarctic ice sheet, as the reverse slope bathymetry of the continental shelf creates a configuration prone to runaway retreat, a process that may be currently impacting some regions. As the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) plays an integral role in buttressing both the East and West Antarctic ice sheets, and thus has strong potential to control future sea level rise. Understanding its deglaciation history is critical for producing accurate projections of future changes. In my Ph.D. thesis, I use a combination of proxy data and climate-forced ice sheet simulations to interpret the RIS deglaciation history, assess the sensitivity of RIS grounding line migration to past atmospheric and oceanic changes, and provide future projections of RIS changes and sea level contributions of the ice drainage basins.


Lowry, D.P., Golledge, N.R., Bertler, N.A.N., Jones, R.S., and McKay, R.M. (2019). Deglacial grounding-line retreat in the Ross Embayment, Antarctica, controlled by ocean and atmosphere forcing. Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 8. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav8754

Lowry, D.P., Golledge, N.R., Menviel, L., Bertler, N.A.N. (2019). Deglacial evolution of regional Antarctic climate and Southern Ocean conditions in transient climate simulations. Climate of the Past, 15, 189-215. doi: 10.5194/cp-15-189-2019

Morril, C., Lowry, D.P., and Hoell, A., (2018). Thermodynamic and dynamic causes of pluvial conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum in western North America. Geophysical Research Letters 45(1): 335-345. doi: 10.1002/2017GL075807

Lowry, D.P., Poulsen, C.J., Horton, D.E., Torsvik, T.H., Pollard, D., (2014). Thresholds for Paleozoic ice sheet initiation. Geology 42(7). doi:10.1130/G35615.1

Friedlander, S.M, Herrmann, A.L., Lowry, D.P., Mepham, E.R., Lek, M., North, K.N., Organ, C.L., (2013). ACTN3 Allele Frequency in Humans Covaries with Global Latitudinal Gradient. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52282. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052282


Lowry, D.P., Golledge, N.R., Bertler, N.A.N. Climate-forced ice sheet modelling of the Ross Ice Shelf. International Glaciological Society International Symposium on the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2017).

Morrill, C., Lowry, D.P. Temperature forcing of hydroclimate since the last glacial in western North America. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (2016).

Lowry, D.P., Golledge, N.R., Bertler, N.A.N. Climate Model-Ice Core Comparison for Roosevelt Island, West Antarctica. Joint Antarctic Research Institute Workshop (2016).

Morrill, C., Lowry, D.P., Euker, B. Using paleoclimate data to inform future projections of hydroclimate change. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Rendezvous (2016).

Lowry, D.P., Poulsen, C.J., Horton, D.E., Torsvik, T.H., Pollard, D. Controls on Paleozoic ice sheet initiation. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (2013).

Lowry, D.P., Morrill, C. Changes in the global hydrological cycle: Lessons from modeling lake levels at the Last Glacial Maximum. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (2011).