The Physics of Glaciers book cover

The Physics of Glaciers

Explains the physical principles underlying the behaviour of glaciers and ice sheets. Concentrates on the major advances made in most aspects of the subject in the past 30 years with about half devoted to work done in the last 10 years i.e. since the first edition was published. The new edition is updated, expanded and in SI units

For graduate students starting research; also for established workers in glacier studies and related subjects such as geophysics, ice physics and geology


Published: June 1981

Imprint: Pergamon

ISBN: 978-0-08-024005-3


  • Independent opinion of the Second Edition:

    The second edition of W.S.B. Paterson's excellent textbook is now is a very valuable source of information for any scientist becoming involved in some field of glaciological research.

    News Bulletin of the International Glaciological Society

    The first edition of The Physics of Glaciers was published in 1969 and was widely acclaimed at that time. It became the standard textbook for students of glacier dynamics. Because of the considerable advances in understanding glacier flow that have been made in the past twelve years, we are indeed fortunate that Stan Paterson has taken the time to prepare a second edition.

    National Science Foundation


  • Preface to first edition

    Preface to second edition


    The transformation of snow to ice

    Structure and deformation of ice

    The mass balance of a glacier

    Glacier measurement techniques

    Glacier flow I: ice deformation

    Glacier Flow II: basal sliding

    Hydrology of glaciers

    Flow of ice sheets and ice shelves

    Distribution of temperature in glaciers and ice sheets

    Structures and fabrics in glaciers and ice sheets

    The response of a glacier to changes in mass balance

    Glacier surges

    Heat budget and climatology of glaciers

    Ice core studies


    Subject index

    Geographic index


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