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Physics of Glaciers - 3rd Edition - ISBN: 9780750647427, 9780080513867

Physics of Glaciers

3rd Edition

Author: W. S. B. Paterson
Paperback ISBN: 9780750647427
eBook ISBN: 9780080513867
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 16th August 1999
Page Count: 496
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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.

Key Features

  • New paperback edition of a classic text
  • Well-known and respected author
  • Updated and expanded since the second edition, reflecting the advances in most aspects of the subject over the last 40 years


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

Table of Contents

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


No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 1999
16th August 1999
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

W. S. B. Paterson

Affiliations and Expertise

Emeritus, University of Copenhagen, Australian Antarctic Division, and Canadian Polar Continental Shelf Project


Reviews of the Hardback 3rd edition:

"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."

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

Ratings and Reviews