Physics of Glaciers book cover

Physics of Glaciers

Explains the physical principles underlying the behaviour of glaciers and ice sheets and concludes with a chapter on the information about past climate and atmospheric composition obtainable from ice cores. The past 40 years have seen major advances in most aspects of the subject; the book concentrates on these. It is an updated and expanded version of the second edition, and is now available in the long-awaited paperback format. Much of the book deals with developments since the second edition was published.Dr Paterson's introduction to glacier studies was with the British North Greenland Expedition in 1953-4. He emigrated to Canada in 1957 and between 1959 and 1980 studied glaciers in the Canadian Arctic and the Rocky Mountains, mainly under the auspices of the Canadian Government's Polar Continental Shelf Project. Since 1980 he has done consulting work and has also been a visiting scientist with the Geophysics Department at the University of Copenhagen (three times) and with the Australian Antarctic Division. He has also given a comprehensive lecture course at the Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology in Lanzhou, China. He is now retired (more or less) and lives in British Columbia.

Graduate students starting research, also established workers in glacier studies and related subjects such as geomorphology, climatology and paleoclimatology.

Paperback, 496 Pages

Published: August 1999

Imprint: Butterworth Heinemann

ISBN: 978-0-7506-4742-7


  • "It is a monumental legacy. It easily surpasses the first two editions, both in scope and in details."--Global and Planetary Change II

    "This book by Paterson remains a seminal text in the field of glaciology. Now in its third edition this text persists as a benchmark book."--Quarternary Science Reviews, vol. 15, no. 4

    "Like its previous editions, this book is destined to become a classic. It is readable and is a well-written addition to any geophysicist's book collection."--EOS

    "This is an excellent text both for research and teaching purposes"--S. Carr, Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University

    "[A] major achievement, involving a comprehensive rewriting and reorganization of the material contained in earlier editions, and including a significant amount of new material that will be appreciated by both old and new audiences."--Pure and Applied Geophysics


  • Introduction; The Transformation of Snow to Ice; Mass Balance; Heat Budget and Climatology; Structure and Deformation of Ice; Hydraulics of Glaciers; Glacier Sliding; Deformation of Subglacial Till; Structures and Fabrics of Glaciers and Ice Sheets; Flow of Ice Shelves and Ice Streams; Non-Steady Flow of Glaciers and Ice Sheets; Surging and Tidewater Glaciers; Ice Core Studies; Appendices; References; Subject Index.


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