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Climate Change Institute

Gordon Hamilton

Professor, Climate Change Institute & School of Earth & Climate Sciences

Gordon Hamilton

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Climate Change Institute
University of Maine 
Orono, ME  04469


I am a physical glaciologist studying the behavior of modern ice sheets and their role in the climate system. My research focuses on understanding ice sheet mass balance -- how much mass is coming in, how much mass is going out, and the processes responsible for each. A major component of my work involves satellite remote sensing, but I also conduct field work in Greenland and Antarctica using a variety of instruments and methods including GNSS, terrestrial LiDAR, GPR.

Research interests

Current research projects include:

  • outlet glacier dynamics and kinematics
  • ice-ocean interaction in Greenland
  • ice shelf stability in Antarctica
  • icebergs


  • Straneo, F., R.G. Curry, D.A. Sutherland, G.S. Hamilton, C. Cenedese, K. Våge & L.A. Stearns. 2011. Impact of fjord dynamics and glacial runoff on the circulation near Helheim Glacier. Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo1109
  • Andersen, M.L., T. Larsen, M. Nettles, P. Elósegui, D. van As, G.S. Hamilton, L.A. Stearns, J.L. Davis, A. Ahlstrøm, J. de Juan, G. Ekström, L. Stenseng, S.A. Khan, R. Forsberg & D. Dahl-Jensen. 2010. Spatial and temporal melt variability at Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, and its effect on ice dynamics. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, F04041, doi:10.1029/2010JF001760.
  • Straneo, F., G.S. Hamilton, D.A. Sutherland, L.A. Stearns & A. Rosing-Asvid. 2010. Rapid circulation of warm subtropical waters in a major glacial fjord in East Greenland. Nature Geoscience, 3, 182-186, doi:10.1038/ngeo764.
  • De Juan, J., P. Elósegui, Nettles, M., J.L. Davis, G.S. Hamilton, T. Larsen, L.A. Stearns, A. Ahlstrøm, M.L. Andersen, S.A. Khan, L. Stenseng, G. Ekström & R. Forsberg. 2010. Sudden increase in tidal response linked to calving and acceleration at a large Greenland outlet glacier. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L12501, doi:10.1029/2010GL043289.
  • Breton, D.J. & G.S. Hamilton. 2009. Design, optimization and calibration of an automated density gauge for firn and ice cores. Journal of Glaciology, 55(194), in press.
  • Spaulding, N.E., D.A. Meese, I. Baker, P.A. Mayewski & G.S. Hamilton. 2009. A new technique for firn grain size measurements. Journal of Glaciology, 55(194), in press.
  • Mayewski, P. A., M. P. Meredith, C. P. Summerhayes, J. Turner, A. Worby, P. J. Barrett, G. Casassa, N. A. N. Bertler, T. Bracegirdle, A. C. Naveira Garabato, D. Bromwich, H. Campbell, G. S. Hamilton, W. B. Lyons, K. A. Maasch, S. Aoki, C. Xiao, & T. van Ommen. 2009. State of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate system. Reviews of Geophysics, 47, RG1003, doi:10.1029/2007RG000231.
  • Nettles, M., T. Larsen, P. Elosegui, G.S. Hamilton, L.A. Stearns, A. Ahlstrom, J.L. Davis, M.L. Andersen, J. de Juan, S.A. Khan, L. Stenseng, G. Ekstrom & R. Forsberg. 2008. Step-wise changes in glacier flow speed coincide with calving and glacial earthquakes at Helheim Glacier, Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L24503, doi:10.1029/2008GL036127.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Stearns, L.A., B.L. Smith & G.S. Hamilton. 2008. Increased flow speed on a large East Antarctic outlet glacier caused by subglacial floods. Nature Geoscience, 1, 827-831, doi: 10.1038/ngeo356.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Sneed, W.A., R. LeB. Hooke & G.S. Hamilton. 2008. Accelerating thinning rate of Barnes Ice Cap, Baffin Island, Arctic Canada. Geology, 36, 71-74, doi: 10.1130/G24013A.1.

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  • Stearns, L.A. & G.S. Hamilton. 2007. Rapid volume loss from two East Greenland outlet glaciers quantified using repeat stereo satellite imagery. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L05503, doi:10.1029/2006GL028982.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Sneed, W.A. & G.S. Hamilton. 2007. Evolution of melt pond volume on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L03501, doi:10.1029/2006GL028697.

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  • Raup, B., A. Kaeaeb, J. Kargel, M.P. Bishop, G.S. Hamilton, E. Lee, F. Rau, F. Paul, D. Soltesz, S.J. Singh Kalsa, M. Beedle & C. Helm. 2007. Remote Sensing and GIS technology in the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) Project. Computers and Geoscience, 33, 104-125.
  • Khan, S.A., J. Wahr, L.A. Stearns, G.S. Hamilton, T. van Dam, K.M. Larson & O. Francis. 2007. Elastic uplift in southeast Greenland due to rapid ice mass loss. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L21701, doi:10.1029/2007GL031468.

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  • Arcone, S.A., V.B. Spikes & G.S. Hamilton. 2005. Deformation of polar firn by differential accumulation and ice flow: interpretation of a 400-MHz short-pulse radar profile from West Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 51(174), 407-422.
  • Arcone, S.A., V.B. Spikes & G.S. Hamilton. 2005. Stratigraphic continuity in 400-MHz radar profiles in West Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 39, 195-201.
  • Bertler, N. & 48 others. 2005. Snow chemistry across Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 41, 167-180.
  • Csatho, B., Y. Ahn, T. Yoon, C.J. van der Veen, S. Vogel, G.S. Hamilton, D. Morse, B. Smith & V.B. Spikes. 2005. ICESat measurements reveal complex pattern of elevation changes on Siple Coast ice streams, Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L23S04, doi:10.1029/2005GL024289.
  • Dixon, D.A., P.A. Mayewski, S.D. Kaspari, K. Kreutz, G.S. Hamilton, K. Maasch, S.B. Sneed & M.J. Handley. 2005. A 200-year sulfate record from 16 Antarctic ice cores and associations with Southern Ocean sea ice extent. Annals of Glaciology, 41, 155-166.
  • Hamilton, G.S. 2005. Topographic control of regional accumulation rate variability at South Pole and implications for ice core interpretation. Annals of Glaciology, 39, 214-219.
  • Hamilton, G.S., V.B. Spikes & L.A. Stearns. 2005. Spatial patterns in mass balance of the Amundsen Sea and Siple Coast sectors of West Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, v. 41, 105-112.
  • Kargel, J.S., M.J. Abrams, M.P. Bishop, G.S. Hamilton, A. Kaeaeb, H.H. Kieffer,  F. Paul, F. Rau, B. Raup & L.A. Stearns. 2005. ASTER imaging contributions to Global Land Ice Measurements from Space. Remote Sensing of the Environment, 99, 187-219.
  • Stearns, L.A. & G.S. Hamilton. 2005. A new velocity map for Byrd Glacier, East Antarctica, from sequential ASTER satellite imagery. Annals of Glaciology, 41, 71-76.
  • Stearns, L.A., G.S. Hamilton & N. Reeh. 2005. Multi-decadal record of ice dynamics on Daugaard Jensen Gletscher, East Greenland, from satellite imagery and terrestrial measurements. Annals of Glaciology, 42, 53-58.
  • Steig, E.J. & 16 others. 2005. High-resolution ice cores from US ITASE (West Antarctica): development and validation of chronologies and determination of precision and accuracy. Annals of Glaciology, 41, 77-85.
  • Hamilton, G.S. and V.B. Spikes. 2004. Evaluating a satellite-altimeter derived digital elevation model of Antarctica using precision kinematic GPS profiling. Global and Planetary Change, 42(1-4), 17-30.
  • Jacka, T.H., G.S. Hamilton & 8 others. 2004. A strategy for the collection and synthesis of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance data. Global and Planetary Change, 42 (1-4), 1-16.
  • Kaspari, S.D., P.A. Mayewski, D.A. Dixon, V.B. Spikes, S.B. Sneed, M.J. Handley & G.S. Hamilton. 2004. Climatic variability in West Antarctica derived from annual accumulation rate records from ITASE firn/ice cores. Annals of Glaciology, 39, 585-591.
  • Spikes, V.B., G.S. Hamilton, S.A. Arcone, D.A. Dixon, S.D. Kaspari & P.A. Mayewski. 2004. Variability in accumulation rates from GPR profiling of firn in West Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 39, 238-243.
  • Siegert, M.J., R.C.A. Hindmarsh and G.S. Hamilton. 2003. Spatial variation in mass balance and the possible exposure of ancient (85 ka) ice at a site in central East Antarctica. Quaternary Research, 59, 114-121.
  • Spikes, V.B., G.S. Hamilton, B. Csatho and I.M. Whillans. 2003. Thickness changes on Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Stream C, West Antarctica, derived from airborne laser altimeter measurements. Journal of Glaciology, 49(165), 223-230.
  • Hamilton, G.S. 2002. Mass balance and accumulation rate across Siple Dome, West Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 35, 102-107.
  • Hamilton, G.S. and I.M. Whillans. 2002. Local rates of ice sheet thickness change in Greenland. Annals of Glaciology, 35, 79-83.
  • Hamilton, G.S. and I.M. Whillans. 2000. Point measurements of mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet using precision vertical GPS surveys. Journal of Geophysical Research, 105(B7), 16,295-16,301.
  • Hamilton, G.S., I.M. Whillans & P.J. Morgan. 1998. First point measurements of ice sheet thickness change in Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 27, 125-131.
  • Whillans, I.M., C.J. Merry & G.S. Hamilton. 1997. Investigation of a possible crevasse near the main airstrip on McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 24, 152-157.
  • Hamilton, G.S. & J.A. Dowdeswell. 1996. Controls on glacier surging in Svalbard. Journal of Glaciology, 42(140), 157-168.?
  • Dowdeswell, J.A., R. Hodgkins, A.-M. Nuttal, J.O. Hagen & G.S. Hamilton. 1995. Mass balance as a control on the frequency and occurrence of glacier surges in Svalbard, Norwegian High Arctic. Geophysical Research Letters, 22, 2909-2912.
  • Dowdeswell, J.A., G.S. Hamilton & J.O. Hagen. 1991. The duration of the active phase on surge-type glaciers: contrasts between Svalbard and other regions. Journal of Glaciology, 37(127), 388-400.
  • Hamilton, G.S. 1988. The development, age, and present status of a rock glacier in the Posets Massif, Spanish Pyrenees. Pirineos, 131, 43-56.



PhD (1992) University of Cambridge; BSc (1988) University of Aberdeen

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